Tuesday, August 31, 2010

X-Men: The Last Straw

Of any post here, I'm sure that this'll be the one with the least possibility of an audience, and I might be lucky if you read it at all, because I know what you're thinking: lol, X-Men.  Anyways.

I've always been a huge fan of superheroes; I love the mythology, I love the science fiction, or even oppositely at times, I love the realism.  There's just always been something about the idea of having superpowers that I've been infatuated with.  Of any, I love X-Men the most.  I used to watch that god awful cartoon every Saturday morning as a kid.  I remember pretending picnic tables were the X-Jet, and whoever I pretended to be depended on who I was with.  (I was usually Cyclops. Represent) So, naturally, I kept the interest as I grew up, getting more into it with different video games (I guess by normal standards I'm a "gamer"; but come on, arcade X-Men fighting video games are AWESOME), and yes, I even read X-Men comics.  (Not anymore - I swear to you - considering the timeline I kept up with religiously was discontinued a few years ago)

Yes, I even loved the movies.  The first one, I was always proud that my uncle was a part of the crew (it's true, he worked on the lighting), and I absolutely LOVE the fact that they filmed it at SPENCER SMITH PARK, meaning that yeah, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and James Marsden DID in fact hop over those big rusty chains, "approaching" the Statue of Liberty.  Even if you're no fan, how cool is that?  The second one was miles better, and for a while X2 was my favourite movie; that is, until 2006.

X-Men: The Last Stand came out, and I think I saw that four times in theaters.  Even then, I was aware of how sloppy and lazy the movie was, and how it paled in comparison to its predecessors; but at the time, I was tired of having kept up with the production for over a year that I was in awe with finally witnessing everything on screen, seeing a new group of characters jump from the page (or out of the 90's flashy cartoon costumes) in front of my eyes in motion.

Then I watched it again this past Sunday.

To be honest, it's probably one of the worst movies I've ever seen in my life.  Anyone who's seen it, I'm sure you can attest to that.  The complete shift from the greatness of the first two is too jarring to ignore; the characters who had grown and become complex are now completely wasted, either dying after five minutes of screentime or becoming background characters, completely irrelevant and useless.  It's truly one of the most sloppy movie I've seen.  It's blatant that they went for ACTIONACTIONACTION with nothing past that.  The dialogue is cringe-worthy and embarrassing.  It's full of mistakes, too, including perhaps the most inexcusable mistake I've ever witnessed - even my dad, who is completely oblivious to anything in movies except for explosions, said "Come on!" when the goof in question occurred.  I can't even explain it without shaking my head, but to keep it concise, it's basically that in one shot it's complete daylight and in the very next shot with the same positions and no time lapse, it's pitch black.  Really?

To be honest, though, when it hit the right notes, it really hit them.  My favourite scene of the trilogy happens about mid-movie, the fight between Jean and the Professor at her house.  Pretty amazing, but not enough to excuse the poor excuse for an X-Men movie.  Phoenix sucked; instead of a fiery god we get a zombie with black eyes who has bad PMS.  They eliminate the main character of the comics, Cyclops, after five minutes of screen time; I felt a bit of relief that this wimp version of the character was put out of its misery, but it's still inexcusable that they shifted team leader and Jean-lover to Wolverine.  Characters who used to be badasses in other versions are now background filler, taking a backseat so that Halle Berry can prance around, gloating of her role and pay increase.  But I digress.

The movie pretty much destroyed any credibility the franchise had, and was strictly and blatantly a cash cow.  It succeeded in that aspect.

I don't even want to talk about X-Men Origins: Wolverine, because that movie is a travesty, and I hate Wolverine.  It's sad when people refer to the X-Men movies as "Wolverine 1-4", I've seen it happen.

I do have a bit of faith, though.  X-Men: First Class officially starts filming today; a prequel to the events of the first movie WITHOUT Wolverine (thank god) set in the 60's with a sleek, retro and global feel.  Awesome.  It's also got a pretty heavy hitting cast, starring James McAvoy (Atonement, Wanted) as Professor X, Michael Fassbender (Inglorious Basterds) as Magneto, January Jones (Mad Men) as Emma Frost (WOOO), and freaking Kevin Bacon as the villain Sebastien Shaw.  I'm overjoyed to be seeing some new characters on screen (the Hellfire Club, Banshee, Havok), and I pray it's a quality film.  We'll see in June.

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