Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical (hermionesviolin) wrote,
Elizabeth Scripturient (the delinquent, ecumenical
hermionesviolin

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) [26 May 2006]

I'm not hardcore about X-Men (I've never read any of the comics, though I much enjoyed the Saturday morning cartoon) and couldn't tell Brett Ratner from Bryan Singer to save my life, so I didn't have any especial expectations going in to the movie.

I saw the 7-minute trailer and was impressed that they seemed to be actually dealing with the complexities of the issues a "cure" would raise, though Phoenix seemed extraneous and deserving of its own movie.

I saw Opening Night after work -- largely because I knew everybody would and wanted to be able to join in the conversations. Going in, I knew that Sharon really liked it and Erica really didn't.

[I told Eric on Friday, "My friend Sharon really liked it, and my acquaintance Erica didn't," and he responded, " 'Acquaintance'? Do you actually make that distinction in your head?" I totally do. Oh me and my intentionality issues.]

(Oh, and Eric had told me that you're supposed to watch after the credits, which I completely forgot about when I was actually in the theater. Is it up on YouTube or anything yet? [So far, the answer seems to be No.] Though in writing up this entry I Wiki-ed looking for other stuff and read what happens.)

I was disappointed. I loved the first two films, but this one just didn't do it for me. I'm still working on articulating why, but I think it's that I felt like it was being driven by plot more than by character.

I was engaged throughout the movie, and certainly there's stuff to discuss (I haven't read behind any cut-tags yet), but I just wouldn't say it was a Good movie.

I have thoughts connecting to Serenity [the movie] and Buffy Season 6, both of which I talk about in separate posts (the links earlier in this sentence) so as not to spoil them for people.

I do have plenty of thoughts, though -- of course. And most of the notes I took are even legible.

[However, neither thematic nor chronologic organization of commentary quite works, which is frustrating.]

-----

[ten years ago]

"I need you."

Erik: "When are you going to stop lecturing?"
Charles: "When you start listening."

Oh, Charles and Erik. And we open with this. I know that the purpose of it is to establish how phenomenally powerful Jean is (which caused me to be confused for some time, as in the previous films we never saw her as any more powerful than, say, Xavier) but still.

Sidenote: Ten years ago? She looks pre-pubescent, but movietime I would put her in her early thirties. Or was the "ten years ago" young!Warren, and young!Jean was earlier?

[Also: young!IanMcKellan weirded me out. Digitally altered Patrick Stewart doesn't look much different, but I was thrown by Ian McKellan.]

"Will you control it or let it control you?"
-Charles to Jean

[in the not too distant future]

"That was my last cigar."
-Wolverine

"That was me favorite shirt! That was me only shirt!"
Sorry, I couldn't help it.

And that Danger Room simulation totally looks like the final showdown, so viewers who've seen the trailer are suitably disoriented (esp. given the "in the not too distant future" tag). I approve.

I did not approve of Logan's unshaven look, though. He can actually pull off the muttonchops (usually I dislike facial hair) but they have to be well-groomed.

"Not everybody heals as fast as you, Logan."
One of the moments in the trailer, and just as awesome in its full context.

Logan: Hey, Scott, we were looking for you downstairs and you didn't show.
Scott: What do you care?
Logan: Well for starters, I had to cover your ass.
Scott: I didn't ask you to.
Logan: No, you didn't. But the Professor did. I was just passing through.
Scott: So pass through, Logan.

In the trailer, a lot of us got the impression that Charles was asking Logan to go talk to Scott, which would have been ridiculous, so I was pleased to be mistaken.

I really liked Logan trying to comfort Scott. Logan's very gruff, and he doesn't even like Scott that much, but they've both lost the woman they loved, and I just love caring!Logan (and he doesn't even come off as woobiefied).

Mystique: "I don't answer to my slave name."
I honestly wondered initially if she actually meant she was of African descent. (Oh me and my literal-minded-ness.) It's a powerful choice of words, though, which prompts curiousity as to what exactly she was getting at. One of Erik's recurrent statements in this film is that the X-Men want to control Phoenix (which he views as bad) and of course he sees any government involvement in mutant affairs as a road leading to Holocaust Redux, so control would be a really interesting theme to examine in this film.

Alcatraz.... "for all who choose it"

Charles tells Storm he has her in mind to take his place, which is total moviespeak for, "I'm going to die."
Charles: "You of all people know how fast the weather can change, Storm."
"Scott is a changed man" is such a great line. So well-delivered.

Looking at pretty promotional pictures, I was all enamoured of the prettiness of Famke Janssen's character (this is currently my computer desktop at work) but actually in the movie?, I'm inclined to agree with Sara. Her skin looks deadish, her hair is overly red -- like cheap dye -- and while I validate that since she is the walking dead in some ways (plus the whole "She came back wrong" idea), it's obviously not v. attractive.

"Open them. You can't hurt me." And her eyes go dark when they kiss, like she's not really her, and I wondered if she was sucking the lifeforce out of him (Inca Mummy Girl!).

Sidenote: I love that it seems Scott's blasting the ocean floor is what released her. And yes, I was totally reminded of "Prophecy Girl" :)

"What happened?"
"No idea."
-Storm and Logan

"Her powers wrapped her in a telekinetic cocoon."
I have no idea what the comics canon for Phoenix is, but I love this explanation.

created psychic barriers... multiple personalities
This is very morally ambiguous Charles, which -- like most everything in this film -- I don't think gets sufficiently explored.

"Phoenix is all desire and joy and rage."
What an interesting list.

"She has to be controlled."

After watching the 7-minute trailer, there was much discussion about Warren's change of heart, and while when the trailer I thought he was initially willing, when watching the film I see that Warren does look hesitant all through -- like he wanted to make his dad happy. (And oh, the painfulness of that early scene with the knife and the tears . . . blood and feathers . . . . )

Jimmy watching him fly... do we have thoughts on the significance of that shot?

"You saved me."
The use of Cure syringes is particularly potent after "I have been marked once, my dear and let me assure you, no needle shall ever touch my skin again," and Mystique totally blocks the shot, like one would block a bullet, and there was no question or hesitation, and it's just so powerful.
"I'm sorry, my dear, but you're no longer one of us."
I was yelling in silent disbelief because that's so cruel, and Mystique is the very closest person to Erik, and I do admire the consistency (and it reminded me of the dangers of self-ghettoizing of many minority communities) but ohhhh, he doesn't even hesitate to think about whether he should compromise his stance, just leaves her -- and not just leaving a dead casualty in war, but leaving a defenseless (no more mutant power, plus nude, so there's an additional psychological vulnerability) v. alive person amongst the people who hate her.
"It's a pity. She was so beautiful."
This line is interesting in many ways, but what I found most interesting was that he truly did find blue-scaly-skinned, yellow-eyed Mystique beautiful.

"You and I both know it's going to get worse."
Beast: "All the more reason why I need to be where I belong."

"Kill me before I kill someone else."
I disliked Logan getting set up as the Twu Wub who would save Jean (by killing her if nothing else), in part because it seemed to do a disservice to her relationship with Scott (though I can understand her calling on him as the only one willing to do this for her, and I certainly grant that he loves her, but making it all about the Logan/Jean love just didn't seem right to me; and yes there are interesting parallels between Wolverine and Phoenix!Jean, but again they got their thirty seconds of screentalk but didn't feel like it was woven into the fabric of the story, it was just "Logan loves Jean 4-eva, like whoa") -- and btw, why do we hear no speculation about what happened to Scott until Logan says he thinks Jean killed him?

Charles: "Jean is not well."
Erik: "Funny, you sound just like her parents."

Leaving, Rogue looks v. adult.

Logan: "I hope you're not doing this for some boy."

Pyro: "I woulda killed the Professor if you'd given me the chance."
Erik: "Charles did more for mutants than you'll ever know."
Pyro is totally Erik's puppydog sidekick -- from the very first scene in the church -- and he still doesn't get Erik and Charles' relationship at all, and I actually find this comforting, this continuity.

Warren: "I know this is a bad time ... but I heard this was a safe place for mutants."
Logan: "It was, son."
[I dry-sobed, "No!" at that.]
Storm: "It still is."

Bobby: "Hey, Pete, ya seen Rogue?"
Colossus: "Yeah, she took off."

Love that.

"We don't need a cure!"
Rogue looks like she's in line to get an abortion -- which I think is really powerful (and in some ways appropriate) imagery to invoke.

I was just as frustrated with Storm in that scene in the context of the movie as I was when I saw it in the trailer -- "There's nothing wrong with you"? She can't touch anyone skin-to-skin without nearly killing them; she has every right to be upset about that. (Sidenote: I really like Hank's reaction to the defurring of his hand...that look at how tempting normalcy is.)

Bobby: You don't seem fine, You seem like you're avoiding me, I mean something's wrong.
Rogue: What's wrong is I can't touch my boyfriend without killing him. Other than that I'm wonderful.
Bobby: Hey, I don't think that's fair. Have I ever put any pressure on you?
Rogue: You're a guy Bobby. Your mind's only on one thing.

While I certainly understand Rogue's concern, she's being unfair to Bobby and it frustrates me. (And who thinks she's projecting onto Bobby? Oh yeah.) And the Bobby/Kitty thing is totally pastede on. They're friends, and I don't think either of them intend it as more than that. Bobby is admittedly an oblivious teenage boy who doesn't realize that what he's doing with Kitty is a bad idea -- and I don't know what Kitty's deal is, so maybe the writers really did intend something between them, but there is no chemistry...and I honestly like it better that way.

Edit: I forgot to mention that I was glad Kitty wasn't played by Summer Glau because I really liked that she looked v. plain and if she had been Summer Glau she would have been stunning, and that just wouldn't hav been appropriate for this. /edit

Logan: "I'm not leaving without her."
Erik: "Yes you are."

Oh, Logan.

"Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."
This could be written off as an easy plot device, and part of me thinks Mystique would be stubbornly loyal -- both because it's who she is and also to say to Erik (even if he would never know), "I won't betray you even though you betrayed me" -- but part of me also thinks she would be right pissed. And given the government's lack of success later, maybe she knows (trusts) that they won't be able to defeat Erik anyway and is just playing the system to keep herself safe.

Jean basically does nothing for the majority of the film, just stands around watching, looking curious. I found myself reminded of Illyria (Season 5 Angel).

Erik: "Charles always wanted to build bridges."

Erik: "In chess, pawns go first."

Erik: "Humans and their guns. [fails to move guns] Plastic. They've learned."
I love Erik's contempt and then his respect.

Erik: "That's why the pawns go first."
Callisto's look of horror -- I love that even to members of the Brotherhood Magneto seems exceptionally callous.

Beast: "Oh my stars and garters."

"Where are our ground troops?"
"Thirty minutes away."
"Then God help us."

"Don't ever do that again."
-Bobby, after Kitty phases with him

"Everybody get together, and hold this line."
I totally choked up at that line. Rationally I should be rolling my eyes -- we pan back and see these few people, with the large gaps between them, against this army . . . completely hopeless odds -- but that line just gets me. (A phrase which always makes me think of this song; I'm not gonna lie.)

Erik: "Traitors to their own cause."

"Get inside, get the boy, and kill him."

Bobby: "He's going for the boy."
Kitty: "Not if I get there first."

I love Kitty/Leech. (It was also occuring to me, when Kitty was unable to phase through walls with Jimmy, that hey, with Jimmy Rogue could have a physical relationship. I stand by Kitty/Jimmy, though.)

Logan slicing and slicing and then finally just going for a groing shot -- "grow those back!"

"Doncha know who I am? I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" (to Kitty)

Callisto's posse all look Hispanic. Plus they're all punked out. An interesting contrast to the Brotherhood of the previous film.

Beast: "When all men must - ugh - ugh - you get the point."
I like the nod to the fact that in actual hand-to-hand combat, talking is difficult.

Storm electrocutes Callisto, which is kinda creepy. The labret glow is eerie and beautiful.

Erik: "It's time to end this war."

Only Magneto and Pyro still standing.

Wolverine: "We work as a team."
Storm: "The best defense is a good offense."

I love the reversal of their conversation earlier.

Wolverine: "Bobby, think you can take care of your old friend?"
Magneto (to Pyro): "Go ahead."

The Pyro/Bobby battle...totally reminded me of the light saber battle in Star Wars.

Pyro: You should have stayed in the school.
Bobby Drake: You never should have left.

I actually wondered if Bobby was gonna die from those flames (I should have known better since he's a Good Guy, but I will grant that the blase killings off earlier in the film made me wonder).

Erik: "You never learn, do you?"
Wolverine: "Actually, I do."
Given Logan's unsuccessful "rescue" of Jean (it is interesting that Logan so rebels against Charles' taken away Jean's choice but is blinded by Magneto=evol and can't seem to acknowledge that Jean might actually be staying with Erik of her own volition) I was totally like, "Come on, you can't possibly be so stupid," so I was pleasantly surprised that it was actually part of a plan -- and I totally validate their defeating Magneto like that, though it still hurt.

Erik: "I'm ..."
"One of them?"
I did the quiet hyperventilating "You didn't just..." that I did when Mystique got left. Erik is so broken.

Wolverine: "It's over Jean, it's over. -- No. don't shoot!"

Erik: "What have I done?"
One would think after she nearly shot him up with the Cure that he would have realized she was unstable and not exactly an asset.

Wolverine (to Storm): "I'm the only that can stop her. Get everyone to safety."
Storm's earlier: "Can you do what you have to when the time comes?" I suspected referred to Wolverine killing Jean, but I honestly didn't believe he could do it. When he kills her I totally thought, "Oh, it's the S2 BtVS finale," but thinking about his unwillingness to kill her earlier recalls the S5 finale.

Phoenix: "You would die for them?"
Logan: "No, not them, you, for you."
Jean: "Save me."
Logan: "I love you."

What is that scream-while-holding-broken-body scene from? Frankenstein?

Rogue: "I'm sorry. I had to."
Bobby: "This is not what I wanted."
Rogue: "I know. It's what I wanted."

ambassador to UN
"Way to go, furball."
Aww, heart Logan.

As soon as we pan to see that it's people playing chess I knew it was Erik, and oh god I wanted Raven to show up. Oh, hatesex.

Wiki describes the end scene thus: "In a park, Erik Lehnsherr, now simply an ordinary man, sits alone at a chessboard, looking tired and despondent. Then he reaches out, tentatively, holding his hand over a metal chess piece. It trembles slightly, revealing that the cure is either imperfect or impermanent, or that perhaps mutants of certain levels of power still retain their own."

I had been trying to figure out the arrangement of pieces on the board, so I didn't even notice that.

-----

Having seen the movie, I'm revisiting the fandango column I complained about before I saw the movie.

+ on Callisto: "Ohhh! Serious tension with Storm. Catfight? Please?"
I definitely noticed that Callisto seemed to gravitate to Storm, in that second fight in particular. There isn't any especial textual reason for it, though Wiki says: "Storm & Callisto engage in two battles during the film. In the comics, Storm defeated Callisto to become leader of The Morlocks," which gives a sort of interesting metatextual inspiration for the writer.

+ on Rogue: "Also, Paquin's father-daughter chemistry with Jackman's Wolverine is quite touching."
Okay, given the whole "I hope you're not doing this for some boy," I'll actually grant them a father-daughter relationship in this movie.

+ X-Factor: "Pretty Kitty the young teen can 'phase' through solid objects. She also posesses a genius IQ."
We see her homesick, but the genius IQ? Not at all. (It's not negated; it just doesn't show up anywhere.) Which makes me sad.

+ on Colossus: "X-cited For: His 'fastball special' with Wolverine (as earlier described), we really want to see him just hurl Wolverine out there. And also his face-off with that other heavy metal dude—Magneto."
This author at times seems well-versed in comics canon, but then sometimes she's so obtuse. It's practically a running gag that Wolverine fighting Magneto is ridiculuous, so why wish for a Colossus showdown?

+ "X-cited For: The clash over the reported mutant 'cure.' Xavier is against changing the special ones."
*rolls eyes* Xavier, oddly, endorses choice in this matter.

+ on Storm: "X-cited For: Is she gonna seduce Wolverine? With Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) around? That makes two ex-Bond girls pining for ol' Wolfy (a.k.a. the luckiest mutant alive). Also, we get to see her fly this time."
Sometimes people are very On with their spoiler spec info, but other times -- like this -- I wonder where in the heck this came from. This adds to my whole "Please don't spoiler, even with spec" -- because you're gonna end up anticipating stuff that doesn't happen, or knowing in advance stuff you wanted to be surprised by (I don't actually wanna know who's expected to die, thanks very much.), plus writers are (understandably) inclined to wanna rewrite stuff if too much leaks out (which doesn't always improve the story).

-----

Dashing off to a meeting on Monday Tuesday, Eric asked me, "What'd you think of X3, by the way?"
"I was definitely disappointed."
He looked disappointed and said, "We'll have to talk later. At great length."

He came back: "Lunch tomorrow. X3 discussion. Long one."

-----

I've also become interested by what trailers get shown before a given movie -- who they think the target audience is and all.

My 6:45pm Opening Night Loews Boston Common trailers were:

Fearless
Nacho Libre
Snakes on a Plane
My Super Ex-Girlfriend
The Omen
The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift
Tags: movies, movies: watched, movies: x3, x-men
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