X-Men 3 review by The Grim Ringler

So, I know a lot of people take absolute delight in flaming big movies. Especially summer movies. What is more fun if you’re an elitist movie reviewer than singing to the world that this ‘blockbuster’ or that sucks? For a lot of people, it’s what they live for. But not me. I liked the first X-Men film and loved the second and had been excited to see where the franchise would go from there. I was disappointed that there was a change of directors, from Brian Singer to Brett Ratner, but, really, if the story is good, so what? Right? Ah, and herein lies the rub.

X-3 begins in the past. The past being the day Professor X and Magneto, then still allies and friends, had paid a visit to a young Jean Grey to see if she might be interested in attending Xavier’s school for the gifted. Her mutant powers are such that she could be a very talented, or dangerous girl some day, and they come to offer her a way to control her powers. Cut to a few years later and a young boy with angel’s wings trying to cut the feathers off of the so his father won’t see he is a mutant. And then we come to the present. And that sort of sums up the movie – all over the damned place! Emotionally, and narratively.

Jean Grey’s death has hit everyone hard but hardest hit is her husband Cyclops, who is a shell of his former self. After hearing what he believes to be his voice in his head he goes to the lake she had died in to face his grief. After a frustrated blast from his eyes, something stirs in the lake, knocking Cyclops down, only to find Jean standing before him when he comes back to his senses. She has returned but is changed. We later learn that Professor Xavier split Jean’s personality into two halves, one that would control the power and, the untamed part of her would be caged, in a way, so it wouldn’t harm anyone. Now, mysteriously alive after her apparently fatal accident at Alkali Lake, she has returned. Changed. But then, so has everything. Magneto is gathering an army to wage a war on the humans, and he has only been spurred on by the development of a vaccine that is said to be able to ‘cure’ mutations. In essence, mankind can wipe out mutants if it so wishes to. But not without a fight. Just as the pieces are lining up on the chessboard though, the wildcard of Jean/Phoenix (her alter-ego) awakens fully and sides with Magneto, against Professor X.

And it would seem that the war between man and mutant that Magneto has been predicting has come at last, and nothing will be the same ever again.

Does this sound confusing? Good, it should, because it is. There is a lot to like here – it’s big, it’s loud, it gives you perilous situations that will mean the deaths of a lot of big characters, and it has an all out war. Alas, there isn’t much sense to be found here. The biggest problems I have too are the weird directions they take with the X-Men mythology. It’s weird. And needless. And honestly, they do things to shake up the franchise that make no sense. They kill characters that are HUGE. They change character story arcs that are HUGE. And they almost ignore plot lines and storylines from the comics that could keep this franchise pumping for years. Instead they’ve taken X-3 and changed a lot of what was really good in the first two even. And the hell of it is that I can accept that, a lot of it at least. Me, I never read the comics, I watched the ‘90’s cartoon, so I am not as invested in these characters as many people are, BUT, I do like the mythos here and what has been done with this idea since it began as a comic. I dig creating your own take on an established franchise, that’s what you have to do sometimes. I mean, no movie can ever encapsulate an entire comic book run of one year let alone decades. But at least have respect for the material and the fans. So, why didn’t I like this? Honestly? Because it’s unfair to the fans and really the source material, and unfair in ways that serve no other purpose than to create false excitement and danger.

What’s funny is that the casting works. I actually liked Halle Berry as Storm in this one. She finally bought into the role. And the rest of the casting worked very well, even Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut and Kelsey Grammer as Beast. It worked. And the direction isn’t bad. It’s action direction, and some of the shot selection was mediocre – seriously, we can’t show that people are in a wooded, mountain area without fly-over shots EVERY time? – but Ratner wasn’t the problem. The problem is the story, and the writing. As I said before, the story betrays the heart of the fanbase and the original comics. And hell, if you’re a fan of the damn movies it betrays you as well.

A lot of people will dig this film. It will make loads of cash. And I am sure we’ll get at least one more X-movie just as we’ll get a Wolverine movie, but that doesn’t make this a fair film. Oh, it’s not bad, and it’s certainly exciting. But it’s not a fair film, and not one that does justice to the two films that came before it. It’s a thrill ride but you may not like where you end up. And as everyone has probably told you already, stay after the credits for a surprise. Or a cop out, you tell me.


6 out of 10 Jackasses
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