Meh. The fighting was kinda cool.
One of the aspects that made the first two X-Men movies work so well derived from Bryan Singer’s meticulous attention toward character driven storylines. As neat as the CGI segments and fighting looked the characters were what actually mattered in the first two movies. Even with a large ensemble cast Singer found ways to explore the relationships and complexities of his characters. He did the same thing with his film “The Usual Suspects,” and I’m certain the critical and artistic success of that film had a lot to do with Singer landing the first two films.
If that’s what you liked about the first films then you’re gonna be mighty disappointed with the third one. Brett Ratner either cares very little for character driven stories or he lacks the directorial chops to pull one off. Of course, I’ve only seen four of his films aside from this one (Rush Hour I & II, Money Talks, Red Dragon), so perhaps this is just an aberration.
Regardless, the sections of the film in-between the massive fight scenes drag unbearably, and I found myself cringing at more than quite a few lines of dialogue. As the film opens Scott Summers and Logan are still mourning the death of Jean Grey, but Ratner’s trying so hard to cram so much stuff into the first act that we never get the opportunity to feel any sympathy for either of them.
Predictably, the most impassioned exchanges of dialogue occur between Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, but sadly we only get two short scenes where these two thespians interact. The rest of the time we spend bouncing from character to character, never spending enough time with any one of them to care an ounce about what they’ve got going on. And that’s a major problem, because since we haven’t formed any real attachments the “emotional” moments of the film fall completely flat.
And I may get flamed for this, but Halle Berry is a dreadful actress in this franchise. For the past two movies she complained that she didn’t have enough to do in the films. She claimed she had terrible dialogue (she did) and that her character didn’t fight very well or quite enough (ditto for that one). After seeing more of her in this movie I understand why Singer limited her screen-time.
The fight scenes are quite good, though. We finally see large groups of mutants slugging it out, which is a real treat. Hugh Jackman continues to impress the hell out of me as Wolverine. We even get a glimpse of the militaristic side of the old canucklehead when Jackman calls for the good mutants to “Hold This Line!” Vinne Jones, who plays Juggernaut, also does an outstanding job, as does Eric Dane who portrays Jamie “Multiple Man” Madrox. And to answer your question, yes, Kelsey Grammar does an outstanding job as Hank McCoy, and yes, he does utter the line “Oh my stars and garters” and even manages to make it sound cool.
But again, we don’t get enough time with these characters, and that’s a real shame, because just their small moments onscreen delighted this fanboy.
So, go see it if you want, but just know that you’re getting a lesser quality X-film than you did with the previous two. Oh, and stay until after the credits.
Now I’m gonna talk about some nit-picky, extremely nerdy, aspects of the film that really pissed me off, but I’m going to write them in white lettering because they contain massive spoilers. And I’m not kidding about that: MASSIVE SPOILERS AHEAD! So if you want to read them, highlight the “blank” portion below.
In no particular order:
1. When Logan argues with Charles he should call him “Chuck.” Enough with the “professor” already.
2. Cyclops dies twenty minutes into the film? Wha? Are they punishing Mardsen for appearing in Singer’s “Superman?”
3. When Colossus fights he should always transform into his steel amour and remain transformed for the duration of the fight. Why the hell is he running around in the midst of battle in his human form? That makes no damn sense.
3 While we’re on Colossus, he’s Russian, dammit. He speaks English with a heavy accent, not with some non-regional slightly slackerish accent. He sounded like Ted Theodore Logan, for God’s sake.
4. Warren Worthington’s more boring on film than in the comics? How’s that possible? And he saves his dad at the end by swooping down and catching him? Awww. Ain’t that cute. Where’s Apocalypse when you need him?
5. Charles is a powerful psychic, but even he couldn’t reconstitute himself after someone atomizes him. Com’on!
6. Why does Wolvie not look for Scott at Alkaline Lake? He found his Ruby Quartz glasses floating in the air but he never thought to look for him? And why the hell doesn’t Wolvie use his nose to track for people in the film? He’s an amazing tracker who can sense people for miles around, yet the fog gives him a problem. And Storm hadda be told to disperse that fog with her silly weather powers? And now she’s the leader of the X-Men? Great”¦that’s just great.
7 Speaking of little Miss Ororo, we know what her powers are. Every time she uses them we don’t need the dramatic music to start playing, or her eyes to cloud over slower than Charles maneuvers up stairs, or the goofy camera-pull-back. We get it. She controls weather. Get on with the movie.
8. I’m fine with Wolvie losing to Juggernaut, but he should have at least cut him up a little. Juggy’s powerful and nearly unstoppable once he gets moving, but he’s not that all that quick.
I’ll probably think of more later but unless you ask I’ll keep’em to myself.