Hey folks, Harry here... Moriarty and I had read this review and felt that there was better than even odds that this was an earnest review from a fan, but it wasn't jiving, sadly, with what we had heard of the quality. SO - in our own excitement over the chance that we MAY be wrong about X3... we printed it. TURNS out that the review was created by some misguided whiney fanboy that just wanted us to shut up with the negativity in regards to the film. Frankly - right now I'm really depressed - because what this review did was give false hope. And it flushed out someone that had seen the film that thought it was a waste and mediocre. What this means is - AICN will have to not run any positive reviews of X3 unless they come from established sources. This is sad. I really want X3 to be good. Now we'll just have to wait and see. It wasn't written by a studio plant - which at least is a sign that the studio doesn't feel the need to plant reviews online yet. But discount the following. Sadly.
Hey folks, Harry here... Here's the moment we've been waiting for... the first word on X3. And the word is that it is mostly badass. Now - let's pray that this isn't a plant, something that would actually be a great disservice to the film. However, I have to say - this is what I hoped would happen. If you remember your X-MEN history online, you'll remember that the word on the first X-MEN was dismal until its release. Then once it hit with that early press screening here in Austin - I went ecstatic. Not that it was the X-MEN movie of my dreams, just that it wasn't the nightmare that had been rumored. That's the hardest part about this gig. You hear from so many people on a project. Folks that disagree with the direction of the film, folks that could only see the film from their narrow place in the larger picture, and finally folks that just read the script and assume that it couldn't get better. Now, because of this review - from someone we've never heard from before - I'm not saying we should all be relieved, that Ratner has pulled off a miracle... but what it means is that someone we all don't know seems to think so - let's hope this guy is right. Cuz if not... we'll all be sad as hell coming out of a theater in two weeks. Here ya go... beware of SPOILERS...
Hey guys. Guess who got his ass into a screening of X3 (they can call it The Last Stand but we all know what the real title is). This friend of mine snuck me in at the last minute. All I can say they got it right. If the last one was subtitled “X:Men: United,” the subtitle of this one should be: “X-Men Kick the Holy Crap Out of Each Other for 2 Hours.” This isn’t your mama’s X-men. This is full on WAR. The body count is f*ing amazing. Even Xavier finally gets into the action after being unconscious on a slab for most of the previous two movies. I don’t want to ruin the ending, but let me put it this way; you get to see Wolverine’s entire adamantium skeleton. Up close and personal.
The picture picks up right where x2 left off and immediately grabs you with two really surprising prologues; including a glimpse of young angel (this kid has some issues). Everyone knows the basics of the plot – Joss’ cure plot (complete with the freaky little kid at the center) combined with the Dark Phoenix resurrection thing – so I’m not going to waste your time or give away every spoiler here. What the Rat does really well is take the intensity to the next level. I liked x1 some & x2 a lot, but Singer’s characters were always so reserved and there was a slow boil to both his films. That made for some great one liners (“how do i know it’s you?” “Cause you’re a dick”) but both films left me wanting more. In x3, you get more from moment one. From the very first shot where we see a young Xavier and Magneto (yes, a young X & M. I still don’t know how they did this one) on a little school recruiting trip, to Cyke going a little nutty, to Logan and Jean finally getting down to business, the emotion and drama is finally let loose. One example: in x2, Wolverine goes Berserker for a nano-second (one rush down a hallway???). In x3, there are entire sequences of him in full rage mode, slicing and dicing Brotherhood geeks like a one-man Ginsu infomercial. I’ve generally liked Jackman as Wolverine, but in 1 & 2 he always felt like Xavier’s tame dog. In x3, even they go at it and Xavier puts him in his place! Xavier is not screwing around in this one. In almost every scene, you finally feel like the shackles have been taken off and they are playing for keeps.
Ok. What didn’t I like? I’ve never been a fan of the whole Harry Potter/superkids in boarding school thing. Hell, if I’m Rogue and some little beyotch is making a play for Bobby, I just go give the girl a big hug for about 30 seconds. Problem solved. There is some more of that kiddie drama here. What’s nice about how they did it, though, is that we don’t have to suffer through another on-the-nose “coming out” scene like x2. They actually tie the kids into the cure plot seamlessly and give that story a HUGE twist in the end. And, as much as I haven’t loved the kids in 1 & 2, they seem much more grown-up this time and Bobby and Pyro finally go at once and for all, which is really well done. Bobby doesn’t go all Frozone on us with ice slides, but he does something BADASS at the end and I literally cheered. They finally gave us some shit we have been begging for for 3 films.
One of the things that totally works – Beast. I had real doubts about the casting of this one. Kelsey is the gay shrink from Seattle for Chrissakes! Personally, I always saw Fishburne as Beast. I was wrong. The second you see Kelsey (awesome intro of him in his office), he IS Beast. – perfect voice, attitude and intelligence. One of the best moments in the movie is between Beast and Leech where Beast gets to experience firsthand what a life without his power/curse might be like.
One that doesn’t work as well – the Danger Room. It’s just ok, not spectacular. I guess its one of those things that looks good only paper – like a date with Paris Hilton. You get all excited beforehand but then wake up the next day with a strange itch and your naked ass being streamed on YouTube. Yes, there is a glimpse of a Sentinel and the fastball special, but the DR didn’t “wow” me like the rest of the film. Maybe I’m jaded, but the whole “this is a real battle!?! Nope, it was all really just a test!” thing feels old to me. I’ve seen it done great (Kobayashi Maru in Wrath of Khan), and done lame (Tomb Raider). But, needless to say, it’s been done.
That said, another thing that works GREAT: when Jean goes Dark Phoenix. Holy God. This girl doesn’t go Medium Phoenix, or Sorta Phoenix, she goes DARK Phoenix. As Dennis Miller used to say, her time of the month IS the month. Forget that Davinci crap (spoiler: Jesus got laid), Jean is the one character this summer that actually goes Biblical and leaves a trail of bodies in her wake. When the X-Men have to step up and confront her, it tears your heart out. That’s what’s cool about x3 – there are no black-or-white choices, it’s all shades of grey (pun acknowledged). Is the cure a good or bad thing? What would you do if someone close to you was spiraling out of control? X3 shows both sides of these issues. Singer did a good job at this. Ratner continues this tradition. That’s what makes the X-Men the X-Men and not some little boy in his tight, Super costume on some narcissistic jaunt to resolve his issues with Daddy or Uncle Ben. It’s real. It’s our world.
Some other cool things – Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut made me laugh and wanting more. Minor spoiler: they found a way to include “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” I was the only one who got it but it was pretty cool. Storm finally gets to kick some non-Toad ass and fly like Storm is supposed to. Pyro goes full Firestarter in this one at least 5 times. Mystique’s scenes were great. Rebecca Romjin-Stamos-O’Connell embodies this character. There is a moment where she is naked and non-blue that I will be CSI-analyzing, frame-by-frame on the DVD. That said, like Xavier and Logan going at it, I was shocked to see her and Magneto diverge in this film. On a scene-by-scene basis, I was always wondering where the story was going to twist next. Good stuff.
Last thing - if this is anyone’s movie, its McKellen’s. Like Pacino’s evolution from loveable villain in Godfather 1 to ice-cold, tactician in GF2, McKellen plays Magneto as the driven, ruthless man with a cause that Magneto has always been in the comics but hadn’t really been in x1 & x2. In x3, Magneto finally has his lightening rod with this cure and is willing to take it ALL the way, even as people close to him fall by the wayside. The best part of it, like every great villain, he actually has a real point about the cure. I stayed afterwards with several of the other people from the screening and we argued for a while about whether or not we agreed with him or not. How often does that happen?
Well, that’s it. Overall, damn impressed. I gotta hand it to the Rat. He made a film that really delivers. Hell, I might even give Rush Hour 3 a chance. Nah. Just kidding. Besides, I hear Singer is taking over on that one (spoiler: Jackie and Chris finally admit their true feelings in: Rushback Mountain).