Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Tamburlaine goes to the movies

I went to see X-Men: Final Stand on Sunday, along with a large number of other people (I haven’t had to queue to get into a cinema for ages). I have seen the two previous X-Men films, and this third instalment carried on the story arc of Jean Grey’s transformation into the Dark Phoenix hinted at in the end of X2. I’ve tried to avoid spoilers, but there may be some lurking below.

The main basis of the story was that a commercial laboratory had created a “cure” for the mutant X-gene, and the plot was driven by the mutant and non-mutant communities’ reactions to the news. Some mutants wanted the cure, others did not, and non-mutants were beginning to think about using the “cure” as a weapon to prevent mutants from using their powers. Magneto (Ian McKellen in full pantomime villain mode) predictably felt that mutants should have nothing to feel ashamed of, and to be out and proud (as it were). Others, like the more pacific Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) recognised that many mutants would seize this opportunity. Added to this was the resurrection of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), her powers now far greater than any other mutant, and quite beyond her ability to control.

Several new characters were introduced, though some had so little screen-time I felt as though a larger story had been edited out. This was the case with several of the characters’ stories, both new and old. Cyclops (James Marsden) disappeared early on in proceedings, without much loss, and unfortunately Storm (Halle Berry) was given more of a leading role in the story: I couldn’t believe in her as a teacher, frankly.

The film could have benefited from a tighter story, and there were several plot holes which weren’t sufficiently explained (mainly those due to Jean’s powers). There were some touching or poignant moments, though the one which really stuck with me was Magneto’s rejection of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) after she had been inadvertently “cured” of her mutant powers whilst saving his. Also, there were plenty of action sequences (the bit where Jean destroys her house is fantastic) to enjoy, and just enough Wolverine to keep us Hugh Jackman fans pleased, whilst the ending dropped more hints that could be picked up by a fourth film (stay until the end credits have finished, by the way, for full revelations).

The film did throw up a number of points afterwards, like:

  • Why are most mutants (with a few honourable exceptions) not very bright?
  • Why do mutants who experience skin colour changes go blue, rather than red or green?
  • What prompted Jean to emerge from Alkali Lake seemingly months after her “death”?
  • Why is Storm useless at fighting?
  • Given that it’s a mutation in the X-gene that causes the phenomenon, why do mutants’ powers vary so much from person to person?
  • Has it ever been stated what percentage of the population suffer random mutations which are completely incompatible with life? And if so, how lucky are the mutants in the film that they survived?
  • Why do most mutants’ powers completely contravene all existing physical laws?
  • And do we ever find out about mutants with more likely but somewhat dorky powers like being able to see infra-red wavelength light?

I'm sure there are many more, though.



Post a Comment

<< Home