|07-29-2006, 04:53 AM||#1|
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: Bay Area, California
What would have made "X-Men: The Last Stand" the best of the series:
Disclaimer: This is not a complaint post. I enjoyed this movie very much. It took me awhile to be able to take to the new style (I.E.; not Singer's), but I've very much come to love the product we got. So no, this is not a complaint post, but in fact, the opposite, to show just how close this movie was, in my mind, to being the best. The motivation for this post: I understand that everyone has a difference of opinion, and that everyone is entitled to that. However, I feel that there are many people around here who are bashing the movie just for the sake of bashing it, because it's kinda the "thing" to do, after everything that AICN caused last year around this time. So without further ado, the things that would have made X-Men: The Last Stand the best of the trilogy:
01. Cyclops: Not to throw any blame around, but whoever's idea it was to get rid of Cyclops (be it Fox, and "revenge" for Marsden going to work with Singer on Superman Returns, be it Fox for wanting to showcase Wolverine, and the only way to do that was to have him replace Cyclops is what was Cyclops' story, or whether it was the writer's for emotional impact for Jean's condition), it was a bad idea, and cheapened the movie a bit. For us fans, it was also the biggest diversion from the source material in the entire franchise. And for casual viewers, well, one experience doesn't speak for the masses, but my friend who I saw the film with, who doesn't even care about the X-Men, stated "I didn't think I'd care (regarding Cyclops' death), but after seeing it played out, I felt it cheapened the story to kill him off and with him gone Wolverine could conveniently display his love for Jean and be her hero"... this is from someone who doesn't give a damn about the X-Men and doesn't know jack **** about the comic storylines, and even he understood that Cyclops should have been around. I've had a few other experiences from regular movie goers who thought getting rid of Cyclops made no sense. I think even with the other errors in the film, that will be further down on this list, if this was the only change to the movie, it would have helped to catapult it above even X2. I feel that drastic change from the source material is the major factor that holds this movie back from being the best of the franchise, because when I think about what was wrong with the film, the first thing I think of is how the Phoenix Saga was handled, and how the major problem with that was no Cyclops.
02. Pacing: The 2nd biggest problem I see with this movie is the pacing. I am a supporter of the line of thinking that says "this is a 3rd movie... you can't go in and expect everything to be explained for you, you have to understand that there are 2 movies beforehand that tell you who these characters are, and what events led up to the events of this movie", however, I think this film took that a bit too much for granted. I still do want to see SOME character development. And I do want to see events breathe a bit, and settle in. There were some good character moments; both opening flashbacks, the whole scene involving Iceman & Kitty Pryde after Xavier's funeral, the scene with Beast on Alcatraz when he first meets Leech, those are all some really good moments. But what I don't like is how one scene shows Beast, on Alcatraz in San Francisco meeting with Dr. Rao, and the VERY NEXT SCENE is back in New York, where Xavier is teaching a class, and then Storm wheels him into a room where... BEAST IS AT! There needed to be something in between there to show his journey. I don't care, something! It's just way too fast for Beast to be in New York in the very next scene AFTER he was in San Francisco.
Pacing would have also helped to establish a bit better that Beast was a former team member. Except for a "Henry, you're always welcome here", and a throw away "I can't believe this used to fit me" line, there was no reference really towards him being an old X-Men member. And if it weren't for the fact that I am an X-Men fan, know that Beast was part of the original 5, and knew from interviews and talking to the writers that they were establishing him as an older student / team member, I dunno if I really would have caught onto that.
Pacing would have also been able to develop a relationship between Storm and Jean Grey, a sense of trust that Magneto would build up with the rest of his Brotherhood / Morlocks, and show how Angel got to Alcatraz (a minute long scene of him down in the subbasement during Wolverine's speech to Iceman, saying his father was on Alcatraz, and he was coming along one way or another, and Storm giving him a uniform, would have been awesome).
Pacing would have developed the political aspect of the movie, giving it a bit more drama, making the situation seem that much more dire, and making the movie feel that much more epic.
Those are the top 2 areas that would have made this the best movie of the series. If those 2 were addressed, there would be no question this would be the best movie. But below, are a couple of the other minor gripes that I have with this movie.
03. Continuity: I don't mean with keeping from established story arcs and such... I feel that storyline wise, this movie did feel like a direct continuation of the storyline that was presented in X-Men and X2. No, it might not have been what Bryan Singer was setting up, but I don't feel that there is anything, storyline wise, that contradicts with X-Men or X2. What I mean by continuity is the details;
Nightcrawler, Cerebro, Wolverine flashbacks, Senator Kelly... all of those things were things that helped drive the series, and give it a bit of depth. I can deal with Cerebro, because that was all but destroyed in X2. But what about Senator Kelly? Instead of saying that Mystique has been impersonation Secretary Trask, why not talk about how she'd been imitating Senator Kelly, and how she was responsible for his death? I understand that Wolverine's past story arc was essentially concluded in X2, but he didn't get answers. He just stops looking? He said he'd "take my chances with them"... we see none of that. Although I do supposed this could go with Cerebro in the "doesn't apply to this movie" category. The biggest of all though, where's Nightcrawler? The first reaction I heard to this movie, the first time I saw it, and the credits rolled, the person next to me said "Where was Nightcrawler?!" Yea... Nightcrawler needed to be around.
04. Rogue: Her story arc in this film was absolutley PERFECT for her character....... until she actually TOOK the cure. The Rogue I know would totally contemplate the cure. She'd want to take it. She'd go to the facility to take it. But in the end, she'd back out. She'd go back to the mansion, and she'd stick with her family. True, I can understand her peril, and WHY she'd take the cure... but this is Rogue, X-Men, not a real life girl named Marie who kills people she touches... Rogue wouldn't take the cure. Rogue is part of the X-Men, not some girl who happens to go to a school for mutants.
05. Character Selection: I wanna see Gambit, God damnit, not Quill, Multiple Man, and Arclight.
Those are the factors that were lacking, that held this film from being the best of the franchise. All of the elements were in place for this to be the best. It had an amazing concept behind in, in the cure plotline, and I feel that portion of the storyline was executed very well. Then there was the Phoenix storyline, which all in all, wasn't handled badly at all, I just think it needed some tweaking, I.E. having Cyclops take Wolverine's role in regards to Jean. But the way the story actually played out was good. The action was friggin' off the wall. The "money shot" was always the Golden Gate Bridge sequence, but I think that there were some other sequences that were just as worthy, mainly the sequence in Jean's house, and Jean going "biblical", as one reviewer put it, on Alcatraz, and Wolverine marching up to stop her, revealed adamantium skeleton and all (as much as that should have been Cyclops, seeing the Skeleton made it almost worth it). The characters we did get were executed well. Beast was amazing, and is my favorite character in the trilogy behind Magneto. Angel was good, for what he had, but he needed more. Wolverine, Xavier, Cyclops (for what he had) were great as always. Pyro really stepped up his game. I liked what was done with Juggernaut very much (except how he got taken out), and god damnit, I even liked Kitty Pryde. I would have liked more Colossus, as he's a personal favorite of mine, but damnit, at least he was a part of the team, in the final battle. Storm still wasn't Storm, but she was better, and had some kick ass sequences this time around. We got the Danger Room and a Sentinel for crying out loud. And damnit, seeing Wolverine go all berserker rage out in the woods was pretty freaking sweet.
So yes, there were some things in this film that held it back from being my favorite. And my complaints with it are a bit lengthy and detailed above. However, this isn't a complaints post. That's what's wrong with it, yes, but my point is to show that this film was close to being the best. As it is, it does some things better than X-Men and X2, and that's everything in the above paragraph. I admit it took me awhile to realize it, but I don't think we got cheated at all with this film. I don't buy into this "hate" for Rothman and Fox. Whatever politics were involved, I don't care. You know why? Because I got a freaking awesome TRILOGY of my favorite fictional universe ever. And when I say "trilogy", I don't mean X-Men and X2, I mean the whole thing, including X-Men: The Last Stand.
Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, and some people legitamatley dislike this movie. That's cool. But I feel that many of the people voicing their displeasure with this film are just people who were out to hate it from the beginning, because of studio politics, AICN, Cyclops' fate, or what have you.
But this film was by no means a Batman Forever or Batman & Robin scale catastrophe. It wasn't Catwoman, Elektra or Hulk status either.
I love Bryan Singer as a filmmaker, and his take on the X-Men... but I must say, part of what stands out about X-Men: The Last Stand is that it doesn't hold back quite as much. I like the realistic setting set by Singer... that was the right move to turn this into a world that could be taken seriously. But I think Ratner, Kinberg, Penn, and co. also took it in the right direction by giving us a bit more high stakes action. I think combined, with Singer's realistic setting, and Ratner's actiony flair, we've been delivered a great series of movies on this fictional universe, where each movie has something to offer that the other 2 don't. And that is what will allow these movies to live on, to be watched by me over and over again, all 3 straight through. Each has something different to offer, while remaining consistant with each other.
Sorry for the length of this post, but this is something I've been wanting to say for a really long time, and well, those on here who know me know what happens when I let something build up in regards to the X-Men
Here's looking forward to October 3rd!