Untimely Reviews – X-men 3

Oh, the damage that video games have done to cinema. Every since I satiated my bloodlust with cultural tour de force "Halo 3", I have forsaken all other media. But too much of a good thing is somehow bad, in theory, so I took a break from saving the galaxy to watching the X-men save the world in "X-men 3: Last Stand"

"X-men 3" seemed exciting almost a year and a half ago, when it was released in theaters. For some reason, I never made it out to see it, and my excitement has since waned. There are no crowds, no long lines, and no fanboy talk before watching an untimely movie. Maybe this is how movie critics feel at their special screenings: "ho-hum, there's work to be done, wait, which movie is this again?"

I recommend Roger Ebert's review of the first "X-men" movie (watchable on-line). He wondered why the movie wasn't all about a character named "Storm". She can control the weather, and is in Ebert's view, the most powerful and interesting of the "X-men". The movies instead centers on a character named "Wolverine", who has metal forks in his hands and looks like he smells bad. Not that Wolverine isn't interesting, but when other characters can fly, levitate objects, and shoot lasers out of their eyes, he seems a bit boring. Regardless, Wolverine is one of the most popular comic book characters of all time. He just isn't very exciting in movies.

The rest of the movie is about the really powerful mutants. The movie sets forth a scale of mutant powers, with class 1 being the weakest and class 5 the strongest. It is like the Fujita scale for mutations. Most of the mutants in the movie are only class 1 and 2 and dress accordingly: boring blacks, browns, and greys. Near the end the movie, there is a delightful scene where one of the younger and presumably weaker X-men tricks a powerful villain into defeating himself. This type of scene is gold for me. I love it when superheros dig deep and defeat the forces of evil with their cunning and courage. This movie could have used more moments like that.

I will give props to "X-men 3" for its complicated theme of tolerance and understanding. The fictional President makes a powerful argument that mutants cannot go unchecked, for  one powerful mutant could subvert democracy. Hence the conflict between mutant rights and the right to vote. "X-men 3' thus breaks through the simple premise of using mutants as a metaphor for discrimination and gives us a more cerebral experience than "X-men" and "X2: X-men United".

So I actually recommend "X-men 3". Wolverine may not be as interesting as to play Master Chief, but he beats the pants off of "Greatest American Hero". As an extra bonus, "X-men 3" turns Frazier into a blue man-ape. If anything, you can discuss with your friends what you would want your mutant power to be or whether it is worth losing your power to fornicate.

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