Whispers from a Cinema

Actual Whispers Between the Snook and I During X-Men: The Last Stand:

  • “They CGIed all their wrinkles out!”
  • “HEY, IT’S STAN LEE!”
  • “That’s called a ‘Fastball Special.'” *fangirl smugness*
  • “How did Anna Paquin gain ten pounds ALL ON HER NOSE?? She’s not pretty here.”
  • “This is the only time Cyclops has ever looked hot to me.”
  • “How did she kill him? Dude, vagina dentata!”
  • “Evil has pretty, pretty hair.”
  • “Does he have an ADAMANTIUM PEEPEE?!”
  • “Why are all the bad mutants goths?”
  • “This movie is really all about the gayness.”
  • “Why move the frickin’ bridge? Why not a plane or a boat? And how could that crappy plastic prison have ever contained somebody who can move a goddamn bridge?”
  • “What does Beast do besides be furry? Ohhhh….”
  • “I thought he could manipulate the temperature of water. I didn’t think he could SHOOT SNOW.”
  • “Oh, he saved his Dad. How special.”
  • “Riiight. His whole outfit gets ripped to shreds EXCEPT FOR HIS PANTS. Whatever.”

And that was pretty much it. In our defense, we were way in the front at a mostly empty theater with sound turned up to deafening levels. I’d give it a 6.5 out of 10. Parts of it were entertaining, but other bits – most notably Dark Phoenix – were earth-shatteringly boring. Literally. I liked Beast, especially when he was fighting, and I liked that they made Xavier more morally ambiguous. I found Magneto really sad at the end. And hey, where was Jubilee? I saw her listed in the credits but I must have missed that cameo.

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  1. I think the botching of the Dark Phoenix story is the single biggest disappointment about X3. I accept that they couldn’t follow the original storyline, which included all sorts of “cosmic” story elements that wouldn’t fit the world they’ve developed for the films, but making Jean little more than a psycho sidekick for Magneto was a terrible waste. They could easily have concentrated on the cure storyline and produced a decent film; if it hadn’t been reported from shortly after X2 that Famke would be returning in X3, I might have assumed that they had planned to have her sit out X3 so her return to life could be the main storyline in X4, only to have to shoehorn her in when they realised that there wasn’t going to be a fourth film.

    As to Magneto and the bridge, I have a simpler question: if he could move the thing that far, why not move it another ten or twenty metres and just drop it squarely on Alcatraz? That’d certainly have done the job, especially when you have a mutant sidekick who can sense the presence/powers of other mutants and could therefore confirm whether the source of the cure was still alive afterwards so you could hang around and finish the job if necessary.

  2. I too think they screwed up Jean’s story. The inclusion of aliens and everything may have been a bit hard to swallow, but if they had given more weight to the way it was portrayed in this series over two films rather than one it might have been better. I mean, Joss Whedon achieved more with Dark Willow in three episodes of television!

  3. In fairness to the filmmakers, one of the problems all Marvel and DC adaptations have is that they’re focused on the particular superhero/team they’re dealing with and – not least because of rights issues – can’t so much as allude to the massive shared universe these characters usually play in. (There’s also the issue that Bryan Singer chose to emphasise the mutants-as-misunderstood-minority aspect of the X-Men, as opposed to the gaudier super-SF elements like Sentinels and what have you. I doubt Singer would even have included a hint of a Sentinel if he’d done the third film.)

    I never seriously expected the ‘cosmic’ explanation for Jean’s phoenix powers to show up on film in this series. I can buy the idea that Charles Xavier might have tinkered with Jean’s mind ‘for her own good’ – after all, one of the recurring themes of the comics (right up to the just-finished Dark Genesis miniseries) is that Xavier is quite capable of being a sneaky bastard if it’s for the greater good. The trouble is, in the film we got that story was compressed into one brief argument between Xavier and Wolverine, followed by Jean alternating between kicking ass and standing around looking sulky. Not what the character (or the actress) deserved.

  4. I second all of those statements (especially the pants thing, oh God, the pants thing) and also add: The R. Lee Ermey voice over, barking orders at the soldiers as they switch out to plastic? Supah cheesetastic!

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