Thursday, July 06, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

I saw the third X-Men movie last night.

There may be some spoilers in what I say about it, so if you don't want to know what happens, surf away now...

The biggest problem about this movie is that it has an awful lot to live up to. The first X-Men movie was good, but the second one was (in my opinion) one of the best three superhero movies ever made (along with the original Superman movie from 1978 and last year's Batman Begins).

X-Men the last stand would have been an adequate sucessor to the first X-Men movie, but unfortunately X2 raised the bar so high that X3 couldn't even come close. And, of course, the trailer for Superman Returns (directed by the man who made X-Men and X2) showed immediately before the film, which reminded the audience that this probably wasn't going to be the best superhero movie they would see this year.

So what was right with it? Cool action scenes, lots of new (to the movies) mutants, some with really cool mutations, some emotional depth, a few genuinely emotional moments, a few unexpected plot twists, a few nods to the fans and Hank McCoy, The Beast.

But what was wrong with it? Wanton destruction of major characters (Cyclops should have had a better send off than that), too convoluted a plot (we should have cared a lot more about the 'Leech' but we didn't), too many silly bits, stretching the limits of the laws of the Marvel Universe (OK, so suspension of disbelief is required for a superhero movie, but things like gravity should still work - the Golden Gate Bridge should have collapsed once Magneto let go of it; and the Angel can't fly from upstate New York to San Francisco in about the same time as the X-jet...), Halle Berry (still doesn't seem right in the role of Storm, please nobody cast her in another superhero movie ever again), and the 'Dark Phoenix' storyline was totally wasted - all she did was mope around for most of the film, she could have been such a fantastic uber-supervillain.

Marvel have quite cleverly left their options open here, by killing off or incapacitiating most of the main characters (Cyclops, Phoenix, Prof. X, Magneto, Mystique, Rogue, etc.) they will have to focus future films on a different team of X-Men, which will undoubtedly make the salaries budget smaller and will open up the films to new (to the movies) mutants. Wolverine is still there, so he can go off and have a solo movie and Storm is still there to be the school teacher - hopefully this means her role in future films will be small.

So will I watch it again (which is always my main test for how good a movie is)? Yes, probably, I may even get the DVD when it comes out. So I guess this film comes in at about 7/10 on my movie ranking scale.

Ricky's Movie Rankings Scale:
  1. Really awful
  2. Awful
  3. Bad
  4. OK for passing the time on a wet Sunday afternoon
  5. Reasonably entertaining
  6. Good, but not worth repeat viewings
  7. Good enough to watch more than once
  8. Very good, will probably get the DVD
  9. Excellent, worth a 2nd trip to the cinema and pre-order the DVD
  10. Outstanding, could watch this film many times and still enjoy it
For me, only Star Wars: A New Hope, the Empire Strikes Back and Raiders of the Lost Ark make it to a 10/10 rating, this may be because they all came out when I was young. I don't expect that anything that comes out when I am in my 30s can compete with those films.

Superman the movie, Batman Begins and X2 all come in at 9/10


Update: November 2006, having bought the DVD

I think it is a better film on DVD! Watched it tonight and thoroughly enjoyed it. And of course, I now know that Superman Returns wasn't the fantastic thing it should have been, so X-Men 3 is still in the running for 'best superhero movie of 2006' - still haven't decided that one though.


At 8:54 am, Blogger Ricky Carvel said...

Apparently I should have stayed until the end of the credits. Maybe all the major characters weren't as killed off as we thought...


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