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Thursday, May 25, 2006

Damned, Evil Mutant Hater

I’ve been looking forward to X-Men: The Last Stand since right about the time that X2 ended. I looked forward to it even more when I saw that Angel was going to be in the movie--my favorite character from my favorite comic book in a series of movies that captured the magic of my adolescent obsession. After reading the review of X3 on MSNBC, though, I’m now about as happy as if I had heard that Peter Jackson had directed the movie.

Working with a $165 million budget (“X2” cost $110 million), Ratner uses more money to make a lesser film. The overkill of the final scenes, which include Magneto’s transformation of the Golden Gate Bridge into a bridge to Alcatraz, is typical of his spectacle-over-people approach.

“Sometimes you forget when you’re juggling so many characters,” says Singer on the DVD commentary track for “X2.” “They’re all crossing each other’s paths and you’re trying to establish them and make them interesting, humorous, but most importantly believable.’’

He could be offering a critique of “The Last Stand,” which leaves you with little interest in following the franchise further. Aside from killing off several key characters (presumably for good, though Jean’s resurrection makes you wonder) and introducing new mutants who make little impression, Ratner fails at maintaining our interest in the characters who do survive.

The think I always loved about the comic book was that regardless of their immense powers, the X-Men were some interestingly screwed up people. Take the emphasis off of the characters, though, and all you have left is a bunch of people running around in funny costumes and getting into brawls. No depth=no fun. That isn’t to say that the comics or the earlier movies are monumental artistic creations, just that they managed to be just a touch smarter and more interesting than typical summer blockbusters. Smart enough, at least, to rise a step above the special effects.

Disappointing isn’t a strong enough word.

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