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Saturday, May 27, 2006

Things Wrong with X-Men: The Last Stand
Watch out: there are subtle and not-so-subtle spoilers below.

It should be said to start that X-Men: The Last Stand is not nearly the trainwreck the Internet has been predicting since Bryan Singer left the project to do Superman Returns. It's almost certainly not as good as the movie we would have gotten had he been allowed to do his planned X-Men 3, but it isn't a disaster on the order of The Incredible Hulk or Batman: I Will Make You Cold either.

Nevertheless, the movie has a number of crucial flaws.

(1) It is not respectful of the source material. When you take on something like the X-Men, you should leave the mythology relatively intact. This movie does not. It devastates it, and decimates the cast -- including, in the case of one major character, purely out of spite for the actor doing some minor work on Superman Returns.

(2) If you're going to make a show of overturning the status quo, don't build in reset buttons. The close of this movie builds in two major outs, not counting the obvious Phoenix-can-do-anything-she-wants reset. Although it appears X-Men 4 would be a very different movie than X-Men 3, five minutes of exposition at the start of the film could restore the status quo of this movie entirely. That's not a good thing.

I have a lot more to say about this, but it would spoil (among other things) the best shot of the movie (the very last instant before the credits) -- so I'll just leave it at that. Though some might say that telling you which shot is the best is spoiling the shot, and those people are probably right.

(3) The climactic battle stinks. The X-Men bring six people to their final battle with Magneto, two of whom are made out of metal and a third whose only power is to walk through walls. Meanwhile, in this movie Magneto demonstrates the ability to lift a bridge filled with cars through the air without breaking a sweat, and he has the effectively omnipotent Phoenix in his corner, as well as a mutant army. The idea of this fight lasting more than thirty seconds is completely insulting to the viewer; I amused myself during the scene by counting just how many metallic objects surround the X-Men as they successfully defeat Magento.

(4) Every characters is a one-dimensional cipher. Call me old-fashioned, but screenwriters should have at least a passing interest in why their characters make the completely arbitrary decisions they do. The Last Stand's characters are inconsistent from scene to scene, and occasionally within the same scene.

(5) Hell is other people. This isn't Brett Ratner's fault, exactly, but it bears mentioning. We saw this movie in a theater packed full of the absolute stupidest people on the planet. Their favorite line in the movie, the one that got the hugest whoop and cry and OH-SNAPs, not to mention actual applause?

"I'm the Juggernaut, bitch."

For real.

We even heard people quoting it in the lobby after the movie.

Yes, I've seen this now. It's still stupid. In fact it's stupider than ever.

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