Review: X-3

As a lifelong X-Men fan, I was of two minds while watching X-Men: The Last Stand. One part enjoyed seeing these actors once again embody these characters. If there's one thing that this trilogy has gotten right, it is casting. The other half of my brain, as a knowledgeable film fan, couldn't understand why the filmmakers were unwilling to rely on that strength. The movie sets itself on a collision course early and races through even token attempts to explore these characters in an effort to get to the big fights. The actors are then left to make the most of incredibly limited dialogue and often screen time.

All the same, there are some great smile inducing moments, from simply Kelsey Grammar's presence as Beast (and his line upon seeing the chaos Magneto has wrought) to seeing Kitty Pride's knack for outsmarting her adversaries. The action is entertaining and occasionally ingenious (as when we see how Pyro's talents complement Magneto's).

Still, I'm a bit disappointed in what I see as wasted potential. So much effort seems to have gone into working out the logistics of moving so many characters around the screen and stuffing so much plot into an hour and a half that the connective tissue was left out, to the point that actors are often barely able to get their lines out before the film cuts to another scene. It would have been nice to see not only more character but also a full consideration of the ramifications of the plot, both as an allegory and as it directly affected the world of these films.

Instead we get a massive, entertaining battle scene that ends the story by distracting the audience and hoping we don't remember to ask questions (although Whedon did much the same thing in the original Cure storyline). It's not exactly a satisfying end to this film, let alone the entire trilogy. Still, as the film ends it seems as though the filmmakers follow the example of the comics and press the reset button, allowing a follow-up movie to include just about every character that survived the film (and couple that didn't). Except of course, for my favorite character in comics since the age of 10.

Ultimately this film mirrors a period in the comics that I like to refer to as the interregnum -- that period toward the end of Claremont's run until Morrison took over wherein certain bright spots did appear, but the majority of X-Men comics were on cruise control. It's a shame, though, that two of the best X-stories ever were stuffed in the trunk.

But when the line in the movie that gets the best reaction is a reference to an internet video, you realize something's missing.



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