|X-Men Trilogy (X-Men, X2: X-Men United, X-Men: The Last Stand)|
|Written by Noah Fleming|
|Wednesday, 29 April 2009|
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("X-Men" - Film: 4/5)
In the summer of 2000, Fox released one of the most anticipated comic book films into theaters. The film was well received, though it wasn't as good as it was hyped. Nonetheless, the success of the first film spawned two follow-ups. This weekend will mark an unofficial fourth X-Men film, "Wolverine."
"X-Men" introduces us to the primary X-Men characters. All three films are essentially centered on the story of Logan, Wolverine. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart, who is absolutely perfect for the role. I always envisioned him as Professor X.) has opened the School For Gifted Youngsters in upstate New York. Some of his first students were Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), Scott Sommers, Cyclops (James Mardsen) and Aurora Monroe, Storm (Halle Berry). The mansion is filled with all our familiar mutants as youngsters. Most of them are left unnamed, but are recognizable by the powers that they exhibit.
In this first installment, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Rogue )Anna Paquin) come to be saved by Cyclops and Storm. Rogue takes well to the school, but Logan is the stubborn type that doesn't buy into any goodness. He wants nothing but to escape from the school. However, Professor X makes a deal with him. He wants time to figure out what Magneto wants with him and in return he will shed some light on Logan's troubled past.
Logan agrees, however, mostly out of infatuation for Jean Grey. Logan and Cyclops never really get along, as they both view for Grey's heart. Of course Scott already has her heart. Meanwhile, the politicians are trying to decide what to do with this "mutant problem." Proponents want nothing more than to lock them all away. Professor X believes in the goodness of mankind, while Magneto is the rival, believing that mutants should rule the world.
In an effort to speed up the evolutionary process, Magneto kidnaps Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison). Magneto plans to infect the world's leading politicians with a radiation that will transform them into mutants. Naturally, the X-Men are going to get in the way.
The first film, develops the relationships between the X-Men, especially Wolverine and Rogue. The film has some good moments and bad moments. I never understood why Jean Grey just keeps saying, "wait. Wait" during the final sequence. There is no reason to prolong Cyclops blasting. Anyway, overall, "X-Men is a great theatrical screen presentation of a complex comic book.
("X2: X-Men United" - Film: 4.5/5)
The second film, "X2: X-Men United" is my favorite of the series. The story is much more complex. The only issue I have is that so many doors were opened in this film that were never answered in the film nor in the third installment. That is ultimately where all the X-Men films fail. There are several subplots that get introduced, on purpose and unintentionally that never get touched again. That is the drawback of transforming any complex saga into films.
In X2, Wolverine is still searching for his past. William Stryker (Brian Cox) is introduced to open up how Wolverine was created. With Magneto in a plastic prison, Stryker becomes the villain of the film. He plans to carry on with Magneto's plan, but in reverse. Stryker wants to wipe out all mutants. Stryker has developed a neural inhibiting liquid that he uses to find out about the School for Gifted Youngsters and Cerebro. Stryker plans on using Cerebro to have Professor Xavier mentally kill all mutants.
X2 also pays more attention to Jean Grey and the powers that she has developed since the radiation storm at the end of the first film. She is becoming more powerful with her mind as her psyche begins to split. This will be the central element of the third film.
Magneto escapes from his prison with the help of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn). He rescues the X-Men from a plan crash so that they may help him get to Xavier and reverse the machine to kill all humans.
This second film is non-stop excitement. There isn't as much action as in the third film, but every scene is engaging and has something to offer.
("X-Men: The Last Stand" - Film: 4/5)
The final X-Men installment is "X-Men: The Last Stand." This is the most action packed film of the three, and has a lot to offer in terms of mutant evolution. I actually thoroughly enjoyed this film and find it equal to the first film, if not better. It gets a bad rap as far as I am concerned.
Using the Phoenix saga of the X-Men story, Jean Grey is reborn after her needless martyr act at the end of the second film. X-Men 3 is very dark, as Jean Grey psyche has splintered, releasing the dark within her, an area of her brain that Xavier had blocked off. Once again, everything that happens in the third installment opens up unanswered doors. Of course the ending leaves room for more X-Men films, but sadly there are none in development. Instead the saga has been moved to focus on Wolverine's past. Form the trailers it appears that the new film will have some mutants in it as well, such as Gambit, who was sorely lacking from all three original films.
Rogue begins to truly long to be normal so that she is capable of human contact. It just so happens that a laboratory has announced the cure for mutants. Rogue takes off in search of this cure, especially when she sees her boyfriend Bobby hanging around with Kitty (Ellen Page). Sadly, this is one of the drawbacks of the film. Rogue is absent for pretty much the entire film and only shows up at the end. She doesn't take place in any of the central plot elements.
Jean Grey has teamed up with Magneto, who has recruited an army of mutants, and plans an onslaught of the laboratory with the cure. Dr. Hank McCoy, Beast (Kelsey Grammer) joins the X-Men squad, with which he apparently had a past. With Xavier gone, the X-Men must regroup in order to stop Magneto.
Bryan Singer departed from the direction of this film so that he could take on "Superman Returns." Instead Brett Ratner directs the third X-Men film. However, I don't think it was his directing that disappointed fans, it was more of what happens to Xavier, Jean and Scott. It just makes this a depressing blockbuster action film.