And now for the moment you’ve all been waiting for…


SUPERGIANT WARNING: This review WILL include spoilers. If you don’t want it spoiled yet, don’t read it!

The rumor is that X-Men 3: The Last Stand will be the last X-Men movie, and if that’s true, it would certainly explain one of the problems this movie suffers from: Character Blitz. The filmmakers added plenty of new characters into the movie and didn’t really give them any sort of development or useful screentime. Take Angel for example. He appears very briefly in the movie, and never in any capacity as an X-Man. That scene in the promos of him flexing his wings? That’s about it. That and a return at the end to rescue his father for a feel good moment. Woo.

Magneto’s new Brotherhood is the worst case of this. Not only do you have a mass of new characters, but meaningless ones at that! Somebody please tell me why in the world the filmmakers decided to essentially make up or rewrite characters as Brotherhood members when they had so much good villain potential to draw from already? Avalanche, Blob, Black Tom, Omega Red, Sauron, there are any number of easily recognizable villains to use. Who do the filmmakers pick?

Pyro and Juggernaut – Both of these two actually DO belong here, as they’re both classic X-Men villains. I loved Vinnie Jones’ rendition of Juggernaut and his hilarious line about his helmet “Keeps my face lookin’ pretty!”
Quill – You know that guy who makes spikes come out of his body and face? That’s Quill. Quill in the comics is a kid, one of the many students at the Xavier Institute. He’s a background character and little more. Why they would want to pick him for the movie makes little sense
Callisto – Callisto is a name many X-fans will recognize. She’s a sometime-ally, sometime-foe of the X-Men, as leader of the Morlocks, a group of mutants who live underground as they feel they’re too ugly to survive in the “surface world”. Of course, you’d never know any of that from the movie, as they cast a black woman to play her, and gave her the powers of super-speed and mutant detection. Pretty much a complete rewrite.
Multiple Man – The guy who “robbed 7 banks…all at the same time”. I like this character, but in the comics, he’s a hero, not a villain. I can see putting him as one, but he really just had a bit part anyway
Psylocke – Yeah, she’s in there. You remember that girl with the purple hair who’s only real on-screen activity was turning un-invisible? That was supposed to be Psylocke. One of the best of the X-men and they A) Make her a villain, B) Make her a BACKGROUND villain, and C) Completely rewrite her powers. Sigh.
Arclight – She was the girl who used her shockwave powers to break apart all of the Cure-guns. They actually got her powers relatively right. Fans of older X-Men comics will recognize the humor in having her and Callisto on the same team (Arclight was a member of a villain team called the Marauders, who were responsible for slaughtering the Morlocks. Callisto would in regular continutity hate her.
They also had a male version of Marrow (The guy who threw bone spikes at Wolverine). Uhh…okay.

This villain team, on the whole, SUCKS. I also didn’t much care for the writing out of Cyclops and Rogue. I know Cyclops was written out because the actor playing him essentially left the movie, but come on, recast him. It’s not like Cyclops was a big part of the first two anyway. If you can recast James Bond, you can recast Cyke. Nope, they just kill him off. Rogue’s character is conflicted about the cure the whole movie, so she’s essentially out of the action for most of it. So you’d think with two characters out, they could bring in a couple more to get a little spotlight. Nope, not really. Colossus just gets more bit parts, including two of his famous “fastball specials” (Step one: Pick up Wolverine. Step two: Find bad guy. Step three: Throw Wolverine at bad guy.), and Shadowcat (recast for the THIRD TIME) just adds a pretty face to make Rogue jealous. Oh, and she calls Juggernaut a “d***head”. Woop-de-doo.

So, lame character usage aside, the movie fares rather well. I enjoyed the way they explained bringing Phoenix into the movies, as well as Jean’s breakdown into madness. The entire “Cure” backdrop made for a great subplot as well. It’s actually an adaptation of a recent comic plot written by Joss Whedon (of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, and Firefly fame), and they even use one of his characters (The Indian doctor, Dr. Kavita Rao).

There’s plenty of good action, and the end fight scene is spectacular. I’m glad they finally unleashed Storm, and showed exactly what someone with her powers could do (though having Halle Berry as a frontwoman again is annoying). And do not get me going on the awesomeness of Kelsey Grammer. Was there EVER a man more suited to play Beast? Perfect mix of brilliance and ferocity, exactly how Beast should be done. The effects for his fight scenes were awesome, his dialogue and delivery were great (“You don’t shed on the furniture”), and his makeup was perfect. He’s one casting decision you’ll never hear me complain about.

Famke Jannsen did Phoenix very well, mixing raw rage and sorrow, and the scene where she kills the Professor had me agape. The climax of the movie, well, I have mixed feelings about. The massive amounts of killing seemed a little over the top, and yet one the reasons the Phoenix was so feared in the comics is because she once destroyed an entire galaxy. I’m also wondering why they stopped using the flame effects in this movie (go watch X2 again if you don’t know what I mean).

Overall, I liked the movie, but I don’t think I’d rate it above X2. The syndrome of “too many characters, not enough development”, the killing off of Cyclops, and the lame villain choices put it just below its predecessor.

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