by Dan Geer, published on Sunday, June 24, 2007 at 05:51:12|
When director Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise after X2, fans of the films got worried. Why would he do such a thing, when he did such a great job with the last two? His reason was because he wanted to do the new Superman Returns movie. Well, fine. I am sure it will be a great film. Nevertheless, anyone who loves the X-Men started sweating bullets when they found out Brett Ratner (who directed the Rush Hour films) would be directing the third X-Men movie. He's not a bad director by any means, but could he really handle a comic book film? As it turns out, yes he can. While this film did not completely fulfill what I wanted for the third X-Men movie, and while it is about 20 minutes too short (it only runs at about 104 minutes), this film is a blast.
What we have in this new movie is a plot by billionaire Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy) to provide a cure for all mutants. His heart and soul have been poured into this cure because of his son's mutation (his son, played by Ben Foster, sports giant wings and can fly vast distances - hence his mutant name Angel). The cure comes from another mutant named Jimmy (Cameron Bright), or "Leech," who's mutation is able to suppress the mutant gene in any mutant. Simply take the antibody his body produces and inject it into any mutant, and they become regular human beings.
But what does this really mean to the mutant community? Should mutants really choose to turn themselves into regular people? Shouldn't regular people accept mutants for who they are? Just like any issue we deal with in real life when we have people who are different than we are, this film explores these issues in comic book form. While many mutants do not want to change because they feel they should not have to, and while they are correct, mutants like "Rogue" (Anna Paquin) would love a cure, since her mutation kills anyone she touches and she wants to be closer to her boyfriend Bobby (Shawn Ashmore), also known as "Iceman." Or what about Dr. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) who has a blue body covered in blue hair (hence his mutant name Beast)? He sees the benefits of curing his mutation, as he could avoid persecution by people who oppose mutants. It is clear by his appearance alone that he must have struggled greatly to become head of the Department of Mutant Affairs in the U.S. government.
The other aspect is that certain mutants feel that it will not be a choice, and that the cure will be forced upon them. Magneto (played brilliantly as always by Ian McKellen) starts an opposition to the cure and starts a war. His thoughts seem to be confirmed when he finds guns that have cure-bullets so to speak, although the government intends for them to be used against mutants who use their abilities for evil. What ensues is the ultimate battle between mutants. Considering just how many mutants (all with different abilities) are in this film, it is truly a sight to behold to just see them just go at it.
Of course, this is where Ratner is able to squeeze in parts for tons of mutants from the comics to show off their abilities. We even get more of Colossus (a person who can turn himself completely into metal) and Kitty Pryde (the girl who can walk through walls). Perhaps Ratner tries too hard to include too many mutants, but at the same time if one is going to create a war between mutants, this is exactly what you would see.
This movie really is entertaining. But like what was said before, it is too short - mainly because It would have been nice to have time to explore Jean Greys character more. As we saw at the end of X2, her powers were evolving and she was becoming a new being. We find out that this new persona is the Phoenix, who can pretty much do anything, but when she becomes Phoenix she is out of control. Her character is struggling between her good side (Jean Grey) and Phoenix throughout the whole film (be forewarned, she uses her powers against mutants who we would rather not see her use them against), and this creates a very interesting storyline for herself, as well as with Cyclops (James Marsden) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) since they both love her. It has to be admitted, however, that while we do not get enough of Phoenix, what we do get to see of the Phoenix is spectacular and will not disappoint.
As always, Wolverine still gets tons of screen time, and things we did not know before get revealed about Charles Xavier. There is a good story in this film, and despite so many different characters scattered about, this film seems to work nicely for what little time we get to spend with them.
This movie does have some cheesy lines that just flat out need to be overlooked in order to enjoy this film. Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine, and a new mutant called The Juggernaut (played humorously by Vinnie Jones) deliver some tin-ear dialogue that is meant to be either motivational or kick-butt that just does not work. But these lines are few and far between, so to avoid these for the sake of enjoying the rest of the film should not be too hard of a task.
In the end, Brett Ratner came through. He may not have made the perfect X-Men movie, but Phoenix, Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine (who tears it apart in this movie!), and Beast all make it worth while to go see it. These characters could not have been envisioned any better. Sure, I am no comic book expert, so I cannot say dogmatically whether or not this film, or the last two for that matter, are true to their source material. What I can say is that this is a highly entertaining film with a good plot and exhilarating action sequences (particularly when Magneto takes the entire Golden Gate Bridge and moves it in the air to make a bridge to Alcatraz where they keep Leech... or any time Wolverine or Beast just kick the living crap out of people) that make you grip your seat in suspense.
One last thing that needs to be mentioned is that you MUST stay until the end of the credits at the end of the film. Not only does the end of the film before the credits leave it wide open for another X-Men film (even though this one is called The Last Stand), but there is a little scene that was shot that was attached to the end of the credits as well that leaves no doubt in ones mind that another movie will come. To put it simply, I got really excited by what I saw with this scene, so do not miss out!
Rating: 3 out of 4