Wednesday, May 24, 2006

The Day I Watched X3

X-Men: The Last Stand was really quite disappointing, despite the hype that surrounds it. The action scenes were wonderful, no doubt, having it's fair share of excellent CGI cinematography as well as acting by Oscar winner Halle Berry and Australia's-hottest-export-since-Nicole Kidman-and-Heath Ledger, Hugh Jackman, and the two "fastball specials" (Wolverine getting thrown towards the enemy by Collosus). However, these weren't enough to salvage this movie, partly because of it's incredibly short duration (90 minutes), and also because there were too many characters in this one.

The Bad
Angel was practically useless. He appears for two scenes, has about 6 lines, and doesn't really do much at all; The Kitty-Bobby-Rogue love triangle wasn't even developed at all; Collosus didn't have more than 3 lines and just acted like a pretty jock-stud throughout the scenes he appeared in; Psylocke only teleports in the show (she only had those powers for like 3 months in the comics); Callisto has superspeed and mutant-detection powers?!?! (What the hell? She might as well be Cerebro)

Let's take a stripped-down-to-the-core look at the movie. (Note: Spoilers ahead)

The Plot
Taken from two major X-Men storylines, namely "The Dark Phoenix Saga" in X-Men #129-#138 (1983) and "Hope" in Astonishing X-Men #1-#6 (2004), the former is adapted as the main subplot of the movie, while the latter is adapted into the main plot.

The mutant "cure" has been found, thanks to the DNA of a young mutant child, Leech, whose mutant powers is to nullify other mutants' mutations/powers. The movie begins with a flashback scene to 20 years before, when Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Eric Lensherr (Magneto) pays their first visit to the young Jean Grey, who had already possessed immense potential as a class 5 mutant (also known as an "Omega" level mutant in the comics). In that scene, we witness Jean using her telekinetic power to lift up every vehicle (and her neighbour's lawn-mower) within the vicinity of her home without batting an eyelid.

The next scene, we are fast-forwarded to 10 years ago, where Warren Worthington III (Angel) is seen cutting off his own wings during the initial stage of mutation. Note all the blood and feathers on the floor. One of the rather memorable scenes of the movie.

Following that, we return to present day where the X-Men, consisting of Wolverine, Storm, Collosus, Rogue, Iceman and Shadowcat are fighting a Sentinel simulation in the Danger Room. In this scene, Collosus displays a unique form of his power that has never been seen in the comics, which is to cover a person he touches (in the movie, Rogue) with the same organic-metallic shield.

The scenes after that sees Cyclops (who was possibly the only actor who appeared for less than 5 minutes in the entire movie, not including the extras) hearing Jean's telepathic cries and visits Alkali Lake, only to watch Jean's resurrection from the dead. Well, and after that, he dies. Let's just say that he received a kiss of death. Subesequently, the Professor feels Jean's cries and informs his two main X-Men (Storm and Wolverine) to check out Alkali Lake. And sure enough, they find an unconscious Jean (with pebbles, rocks and boulders floating all around her due to her uncontrollable telekinetic power).

At this point, it's Brotherhood: 0 and X-Men: 1, in terms of casualties.

Jean is then transported back to the Mansion, where she is put under observation by Xavier. There, he explains to Logan about Jean's dual personality as a result of a mental block he placed in Jean's mind to control her dangerous power. One of them, the usually dormant personalit, was the normal ean.The other was known as the Phoenix.

So Phoenix wakes up after feeling Logan touch her, goes on a passionate rampage, and flees from theMansion, only to be found in her old home by Xavier and Magneto. There, her usually-dormant Phoenix personality takes over, and all hell breaks loose. She uproots the whole house with her telekinasis (even water starts floating upwards), and starts "undoing" the Professor on a molecular level (meaning he's stripped away atom by atom). Eventually, the Professor disintegrates to dust, right in front of Magneto and Wolverine (and the perpetrator of the incredulous act, Jean).

At this point, it's Brotherhood: 0 and X-Men: 2.

So Jean leaves with Mags and his gang (which includes new additions Arclight [earthshaking thunder-clap], Juggernaut [brawns and no brains], Callisto [speedster, mutant sensor], Multiple Man [the name implies], Quill [sharp, needle-like quill protrusions from his body], aside from his ever-loyal Pyro [fire manipulation]), while Logan and Ororo mourn their mentor's death back at the school. The cure is unintentionally used on Mystique (she was shot with a syringe of it while attempting to escape from the authorities, with the help of Magneto) and is kicked out of the Brotherhood for becoming "one of them". Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned, and she sells out Mags' camp's location to the government.

So now, Brotherhood: 1, X-Men: 2.

Angel is almost administered with the cure before he finally chooses to keep his wings and escapes from his father's lab facility (as well as the grasp of Dr Kavita Rao). The Brotherhood then attacks the lab that holds Leech, aiming to kill him, and the longest fight scene that saw mutants vs mutants (X-Men vs Brotherhood), mutants vs humans (Brotherhood vs Army), mutants becoming depowered, as well as big explosions. There's also a nice battle scene between Pyro and Iceman (fire vs ice, waaay cool). In the end, Jean goes berserk, killing and almost destroys the whole island and is eventually stabbed to death by Logan so as to end the madness.

In the end, Magneto is injected with the cure, thanks to Beast, and Rogue voluntarily went to get jabbed (so that she could finally touch Bobby aka Iceman). Many dead mutants (Callisto was fried by Storm; Quill, Psylocke and Arclight are de-molecularised by Jean etc) and depowered ones (aka Magneto).

In the final scene, we see the tombstones of Jean, Scott and Xavier in the Mansion's Memorial Garden.

- Keep an eye out for the 3 Stepford Cuckoos in the movie. They appear very briefly as background characters.

- Look closely at Jean Grey's hair and you can see very obvious traces of a bad dye-job. Famke's black roots were still extremely visible in the show.

- The scene where Logan stabs Jean with his claws is very similar to that in 2005's "Phoenix Endsong".

- Angel never wears the X-costume that he wears on the X3 poster in the movie.

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