Friday, May 26, 2006


Friday Comic Book Blogging: X(3) Marks The Spot

Through happy chance last night, I caught X-Men: The Last Stand, the third installment in the saga of Marvel Comics' not-so-merry mutants.

Hadn't even planned to, I just happened to run into fellow New York tabloid serf and blogger
Derek Rose at New York's best dive bar, Rudy's.

I've known Derek off-and-on for a couple of years, however, I never realized that he was a comic book fan too. Anyway, he was there with his lady friend; they mentioned they were going to the midnight showing and asked me if I wanted to join them.

Not having been a third wheel in a while, I readily accepted!

Anyway, it was a fun time!

Director Bryan Singer who brought the first two excellent episodes has departed. His magic touch will be seen in next month's Superman Returns. Instead, Brett Ratner of the Rush Hour franchise is at the helm.

Net result? More action, definitely and some great special effects. Less nuanced character development than in previous films. Much higher body count -- including some favorites. In short, more of a pop-corny summer flick than the others.

One nice thing the X3 does similar to its predecessors is the knowing wink of scenes taken almost-wholesale from the three decades of X-Men stories. Most obvious are an early fight scene that pays homage to the alternative-history classic "Days of Future Past" and a scene featuring Scott (Cyclops) Summers and Jean (Phoenix?) Grey exchanging long passionate gazes packed with meaning (old-timers will get it).

It would have been nice if Kitty Pryde and Peter (Colossus) Rasputing had been fleshed out more. Traditionalists will be disappointed that there wasn't at least a tip of the hat to their history -- as opposed to having Kitty and Iceman flirting with one another. Conversely, it was nice to Halle Berry's Ororo (Storm) Munroe have a fair bit of screen time, even though this is as much Hugh Jackman's Wolverine film as anyone's.

But, hey, though this isn't up there with either the first two, the Spider-Man films or Batman Begins, but as comic book movies go, it definitely gets a solid B.

Two things to keep an eye out for: 1) A cameo by Marvel Comics co-creator Stan Lee during the first five minutes; 2) Despite the fact the closing credits go on forever -- STICK AROUND UNTIL they are over. You'll be glad you did.

That's all I'll say for now.

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