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All New, All Different X-Men

By Chris Brown     May 26, 2006

Sitting in the theatre watching X3, it feels like a Wednesday; it's sort of like new comic day as we sit in anticipation of our latest installment of the X-Men, with its brand new creative team. And as the movie gets rolling, it feels more like a comic book than the previous two films. There is no more reason to introduce the principle characters, as we already know them. Now is the time for action.

The premise of this film is that Worthington Labs has developed a "cure" for the mutant gene, which starts up all kinds of debate between the mutants, as well as between mutants and humans. A real question of ethics is raised about whether or not you can "cure" something that is not a disease. The very use of the word "cure" is to discriminate against the mutant populace, yet there are some mutants who feel that they can't live as anonymously with their particular gifts. And so there is a nice backdrop of politics and ethics as the X-Men prepare for war against Magneto's Brotherhood, an army of mutants who have had enough of Homo Sapiens' superiority.

However, let's not forget all of those hints in X2 about Jean Grey's transformation into the Phoenix, and specifically Dark Phoenix. So, while a war is raging amongst mutants, the X-Men are desperately trying to save Jean from herself, however, Magneto is much more accepting of Jean's newfound rage and power.

X-Men: The Last Stand is a nice "end" to the trilogy. Brett Ratner's vision is far less cerebral than Bryan Singer's vision, but, much like comics, new creative teams often bring their own rules to the table. For Ratner, it's all-out action. Fans finally get to see some characters that they've been clamoring for, but it feels like there are too many mutants with nothing to do.

In a comic book, I can look forward to further adventures in a month, but in a movie, this movie, it just left me wanting to see Angel do more than serve as the plot's catalyst; wanting to see Multiple Man do more than appear in two scenes, he does have his own monthly book after all, but here he's merely a henchman who doesn't even get the luxury of appearing in the third act.

Boy, howdy, is that third act ever a doozy. It's a thrilling battle in which all of those characters that didn't get to "do" anything within the film, get to shine. All of the glorious full-color action that Marvel presents in its monthly comics is here in this third act. Iceman gets to be Iceman, Kitty Pryde gets to show why a 15-year-old girl is a key member of the team, Wolverine gets to be a little feral, as well as a man.

While the plot is set up nicely, and fairly tight, it's so tight that there is no room for anything other than the four plot threads at hand. It needs 20 minutes to let us breathe and digest the story. There won't be another film four Wednesdays from now. I needed more Juggernaut. Psylocke was in there?!? How come Colossus only has 3 lines and doesn't have a Russian accent?

Bryan Singer paid attention to the minor details, going as far as having Colossus drawing in a sketch pad in X2, but here we never get any of those quiet moments. Every moment is a plot point. And in a sweeping Hollywood move, it is suggested that you stay through the credits, although this reviewer thinks the extra 5 seconds soften one of the most shocking moments of the film. Brett Ratner was proud that the studio didn't know he shot it. I wouldn't have told them either. I give X3 a 7 out of 10. Admittedly, the film takes risks, but it just doesn't take its time.

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