Friday, May 26, 2006

X-Men 3 - Reviewed by the Five Paragraph Bitter Film Critic

For me, the surest sign of summer isn't just the kids running around the mall instead of the schools, or the gentle spring being pushed aside by the bullies of Rising Temperatures and oppressive Humidity. Nay, it's when movies come out with more special effects credits than actors.

Or, more to the point, more script writers than actors, extra, SFX and craft services combined. As we all learned in elementary school, too many chefs spoil the soup, and, as I learned in the restaurant business, the head chef can spoil all the sous chefs. And director Brett Ratner ain't showin' up on Iron Chef America anytime soon.

That's one of the numerous problems with X-Men 3 - The Last Stand. The direction is obviously a step-down from the masterful tales of Bryan Singer in the first two X-Men installments. The music is *way* too loud and *way* too dramatic *way* too early - by the time of the epic battle scene at the end, the audience is spent because we were bludgeoned early with pathos and bombast. The pacing is suspect, and a true dramatic scene involving the beloved Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), was truncated to be as moving as a coffee commercial.

For the most part, the actors rise above their lot. Ian McKellan as Magneto is brilliant, the casting of Kelsey Grammer as Beast is genius, and Hugh Jackman once again carries the movie as Wolverine, but all of the cast is hamstrung by dialogue straight from a Choose-Your-Own-Adventure book. When even the most diehard X-Fans laugh at Wolvie's "we stand together....we're X-Men!" line, you know this film won't sit well with the comic geek boys and the girls who tolerate them. I heard better dialogue (well, not by much) in Robot Jox.

Still, it is an entertaining movie. The special effects are fantastic, and there is a lot more hot mutant-on-mutant action - Iceman versus Pyro, Shadowcat versus Juggernaut and a whole bunch of pierced and tatted dudes and dudettes who looked like they were in that rave scene in the third Matrix movie versus a bunch of good guys dressed in black leather. However, with the exception of a jaw-dropping final scene after the credits have rolled (stick to the end, fanboys), the overall direction is flawed enough to make you forget that occasionally, summer movies can be good, like the first X-Men movies.

16 out of 24 Whammies! This movie would have earned 10 Whammies! for the chance to see Halle Berry (that saved Swordfish, if you ask me) in black leather and Famke Janssen in a cami. However, a Whammy! was added for casting Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, Dr. McSteamy Eric Dane as Multiple Man, Kelsey Grammer as Beast, and another Whammy! for the line destined to replace "I wish I knew how to quit you" in "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" 2 Whammies! were added for the killer ending scene. However, the movie missed Whammies! for each time I heard a young kid laugh at supposedly serious dialogue and the incredibly sloppy credits - watch them roll, and say aloud "Hey, that person wasn't in the movie!" Might they appear in the DVD?

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