Pop Culture Princess

Pop Culture Princess
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Monday, May 29, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand...or is it?

Little Sister and I hit the multiplex this weekend to catch the newest Marvel movie adaptation,X-Men:The Last Stand(formerly known as X-Men 3). The theater we went to had to finish up an earlier showing of the She-Ra movie before the commericals and the army of trailers. I found it to be a fun bonus feature while Little Sis was stunned at the cheesy animation(she did find He-Man's single tear as he said goodbye to "She-Ra,Princess of Power!" funny as did quite a few members of the audience). I'll get to the trailers later,now let's discuss the main feature.

First,the tone of this film is much more rock'em-sock'em than the Bryan Singer versions but not without it's charms. One of the strengths of XM:TLS is the keeping together of the original cast members,particularly Hugh Jackman. He never seems to be taking the easy way out in his performance or at all bored with the character. On the contary,he keeps the heart and soul of the storyline going,making you truly care about the fate of the world now that Jean Grey has returned from a watery grave as the Phoenix,an alternate personality with fierce psychic powers that also holds a grudge against Professor Xavier,since he unwittingly helped to create Phoenix in the first place. Dum Dum Dum!(needed a dramatic music beat there).

Yes,we get a taste of the well known and beloved Dark Phoenix storyline that all comic book fans will no doubt be debating as to how well it was done here on many forums thru out the land. While it would've been better explored as the main plot focus,we do get some chilling scenes as Phoenix/Jean Grey wrecks a nasty path of destruction with some unexpected casualities. At one point,both Little Sister and I were reminded of the season six finale of Buffy-very much"I love crayon breaky Jean and I love scary, veiny Jean".

The other storyline of the mutant"cure" adds a few more mutants to the playing field and while many were undeveloped(the Morlock characters seemed to have gotten a Hot Topic fashion makeover),others were able to stand out such as Kelsey Grammer's Beast and Kitty Pryde played by Ellen Page(the third actress to play Kitty and the only one to actually have some dialogue). A love triangle between Kitty,Iceman and Rogue is hinted at but not fully tapped into,leaving me with even more conviction that,despite the subtitle,this is not the "last" of the X-Men movies by a long shot.

The real question is,do we want another X-Men film? Judging by the box office so far,the answer is hell,yes! with about $107 million to date. Jackman has said he'd like to do a Wolverine movie and Halle Berry seems to want out of this series(fine with me,she's been adequate at best). Plenty of hints were dropped with the subtlety of bricks as to a follow-up and if a decent script and director were lined up,it might be worth it. Bret Ratner is not as savvy as Sam Raimi or Singer but he didn't totally fumble the ball on this one. Regardless,I would like to see someone else step up to the plate for the next go-round. We got lucky this time but if the X-Men series wants to go into extra innnings,I wouldn't want the guy that made Red Dragon calling the shots here again.

As to the trailers,the ones that stood out were Superman Returns(which looks better and better every time I see it),Nacho Libre and My Super Ex-Girlfriend. I really want to like Super Ex-Girlfriend but it does look a tad forced. Uma's character comes off more like a supervillian than a hero and what's with throwing a shark into Luke Wilson's bedroom? I can buy tossing his car across town but a shark? There's a real obvious joke to be made there but I'll let you fill the blanks on your own. It's a smart move to showcase Rainn Wilson's part in the movie but I have my doubts about Super Ex-Girlfriend. Might be best to wait for DVD rental on that one.

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