I have loved “X-Men” since I was kid. In the pre-Tivo days, I tried my hardest to always catch the show when it came on Saturday mornings. When I got my first job, my license and my first access to disposable income, I discovered my town’s lone comic book store and went nuts buying as many of the issues as I could afford (and let’s face it, some I couldn’t).
So, way back in 2000, when the first movie came out, I was excited…and then when I watched the first one I was largely disappointed in a cool and cerebral outing when I wanted the action and emotion that I’ve come to expect from the series.
I nearly wrote the movies off at that point, but after catching “X2″ on a plane, I was back and in love with the franchise all over again. I even went back and gave the first movie another shot and was surprised how much it had to offer, even if it still wasn’t exactly what I wanted.
Then came “X-Men: The Last Stand.” And it sucked. There were too many characters, dumb action sequences and two stories smashed together that both deserved better play.
But because of a podcast, I decided to give the movie another shot. And I can say the movie is only half bad.
That’s not exactly a good thing either. A lot of the flaws are still there, and there is just no getting around the cheesy dialogue and weakly developed characters that flutter past us on the screen.
What really doomed the picture is the choice to pursue the cure storyline AND the dark phoenix storylines together. Really, these are both compelling and morally ambiguous stories that deserve better play than they got here.
On one side, a wealthy scientist looking for a cure for his son’s “mutancy” finds one, and offers it to the world of mutants as an escape from their very natures. Magneto and his army see this as a threat to their lives, and he’s right to be afraid; first sign of trouble and the humans start shooting the ‘cure’ at any mutant who starts acting up. But again, the humans are only firing because of the mutants are trying to kill people. No clear cut right and wrong here.
On the other side, Jean Grey is alive again, but this time a dark power has resurfaced after years of being kept hidden by Professor X’s mind manipulation. She’s mighty pissed off, and just as the professor always feared, she’s come out and no one can control her…not even the part of her that is still the Jean Grey we know. Again, such storytelling potential.
Separately, either one would make a great movie, but together both sides of the movie come off as a half-ass showcase for some ho-hum visual effects.