Friday, June 02, 2006

X-MEN 3: THE LAST STAND

Why we fight?

Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Hugh Jackman,
Halle Berry, Sir Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen

Tagline: Take a Stand

Much flack has been launched at large target Vinnie Jones, for his turn in X3 as the Professor’s rough and tumble brother Juggernaut. He may be hammily reprising the same character from Swordfish, Eurotrip and She’s The Man, a version of the role that made him famous in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, only watered down into Wolf from Gladiators, but think about it: precisely who is equipped for a part requiring a giant metal helmet, a computer-imposed muscle body and dialogue ranging from ‘I need a pee’ to ‘I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!’? Yet more grievances have been saved for infamous director Brett ‘Man, he ain’t gonna be in X-Men 4’ Ratner, but again, look at what he’s up against. To his credit, he manages to steer the franchise to a conclusion reminiscent of Revenge of the Sith, in that while thrilling on at least the first viewing, there isn’t much to really praise.

In the correct hands (i.e. the Marvel equivalent to those who penned Justice League Unlimited) Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Phoenix, Rogue, Beast, Mystique, Iceman, Pyro, Juggernaut, Angel, Callisto, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Multiple Man, Jubilee, Flea, Siryn, Leech, Kid Omega, Arclight, Psylocke, Lizard Man, Spike, Toad, Glob Herman and many more wouldn’t live up to the oft-repeated ‘too many mutants’ claim, but instead almost half of the dialogue is wasted in an unambitious attempt to signpost who each character is (powers not personalities). If only the writers had realised that nearly every mutant’s power can be explained visually, they could have saved twenty minutes, enough to write a developed love triangle story for Rogue, Kitty and Bobby (if you like, I’m not that fussed). Those given more attention, likely the stroppiest actors, end up feeling unsettling and in the way of the plot. Take Wolverine, as he’s getting his own pic soon; the comics and cartoons about him involve him getting into scraps, settling old rivalries, enduring brutal psychological torture and generally misbehaving like James Dean. Then and only then is he in a position to do something out of character like feeling sorry for a cute girl, being licked by a kitty (kitty, not Kitty) or saying something to remind you he’s the funniest mutant in the room. Hugh Jackman is out of character all the time here, enfeebled on his knees four times and emasculated so much that you actually start to ask yourself if he had more hair in the previous film. The only exception is Beast, brilliantly cast and splendidly played.

A flaw of the whole trilogy and of nearly all other Marvel blockbusters (and many other blockbusters like The Fifth Element, Mystery Men and a couple of Superman’s) is the dependence on a certain type of cinematic ending, sometimes called the ‘A Giant Alien Force More Violent and Sick Than Anything You Can Imagine Ending’, whereby in an orgy of sexual grunts and state of the art light effects, sodding huge waves of molten, burning, Dolby 5.1 whooshing, clothes-vaporising, Ark-of-the-Covenant-y energy come soaring out of something, endangering everyone’s well-being. The only way to stop this apocalyptic firework show is to become (or die like) a man, a timid cop-out, both because we know it’ll go away and because character development crammed into one of these endings is lazy, lazy stuff. It can work in a comic, but it’s very, very rare to get it right onscreen.

Oh, and the Stan Lee cameo is far too early on.

PS- For those of you who haven’t seen it, stay for the end to hear more from your favourite character in the trilogy in a scene guaranteed to elicit thunderous cusses from everyone in the cinema.

2 Comments:

Blogger Dude said...

You should probably read these film reviews. They're your sort of diatribe:

http://www.exile.ru/2006-June-02/kino_kwikeez.html

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