Since 4:38AM this morning – when I went to bed – I have had 34
“Sold-Ship now” e-mails from Amazon. That’s about 7 book orders per hour. Between that and squandering my time staring at the inside of my eyelids or tracking down misplaced titles amongst 22,000 books or printing things with my Dymo labeller I haven’t had as much time to think about the subtle nuances of the latest X-Men film as I would have if I were, oh, say, 14 years old.

THEREFORE you will not be receiving a detailed “Ebert-esque”
examination of the 3 X-Men films as a gestalt or even the long review of X-MEN: THE LAST STAND that I had hoped to write. Much of what needed to be said has already been said and the rest I’m just going to take random swings at.

Part of my problem working up the energy to do this at all is that
over the last five years I have written capsule reviews of damned near
every “comic-to-film” that has come down the pike and re-creating some
of my basic premises fills me with boredom. Suffice to say that AS A
RULE comics should not be made into movies.


It’s really NOT needed.

The short form of this theory is that you probably could adapt a Scott
Joplin tune to Hip-hop but really, why effing bother. Neither is
improved by the process and the potential to go wrong in a big way is
always present.

Another way of thinking about these films to consider the umbrage
once taken by Joanna Russ and Ursula K. Le Guin over the term “Female
Author”. It is an artistic process as a “stunt” instead of a sincere
endeavor. It’s a bear riding a bicycle.

Doesn’t matter if it’s good or bad, you are just supposed to be thrilled that a fucking bear is riding a bicycle. I’m pretty sure it’s that sort of contempt [and
greed of course] that fuels these comic-to-film Hollywood projects.

To¬† my friend Mark’s point about the humor not much being there in the third
film – I have always found humor to be the wrong note for X-Men except
from Wolverine, and then only when used very sparingly. That’s really
Spider-Man’s turf and only thrown in here to please a certain audience
demographic. The “form” of X-MEN is pure opera and we all know what a
laugh riot opera is.

[Insert 75 page doctoral thesis comparing and contrasting all of the
tropes of opera strip-mined by Chris Claremont to make X-Men the
unique comics franchise that it has been for 25 years.]

To anybody complaining about who dies and who comes back and THAT
they come back… shut up. This may or may not be great storytelling
but it is perhaps the thing that Hollywood gets correct in the
adaptive process. It is MOST LIKE what we have been reading all of our
lives if we are talking about Marvel/D.C. style superheroics. Thus has
it EVER been.

I actually thought the set-up for Xavier’s potential return was
nicely done and damned near subtle by Hollywood standards. Of course I
don’t really see them doing the whole Moira McTaggert / Banshee /
Polaris / Muir Isle, etc. stuff but that’s not for me to say. I would
of course, much sooner see them go with the DAYS OF FUTURE PAST story arc “sweet spot” but that’s just me.

We did at least get the head of a Sentinal in the Danger Room
sequence. We may have to console ourselves with that and fill in the
blanks.

Quick notes.

Beast’s fur was the wrong color blue. It’sa tough thing to get right
but that was way too bright.

In this shot here it’s almost correct but they really used chroma-key or something to punch that blue up in the finished film. Otherwise in the Alcatraz night shots he would have completely disappeared.

Unlike all of the rest of you I have NO PROBLEM with Ms. Barry
striking poses and rolling her eyes up in her head. Walk toward the
camera some more, I say. Now walk away. Now saunter back. Oh yeah,
baby… where was I?

What’s his name playing the Juggernaut was wasted and stupid. It was
exactly as badly done as BANE in that BATMAN filmed version. Pathetic.

CGI’ing old actors young again is a bad idea and a VERY slippery
slope. Also, was that vein on Wolverine’s arm achieved in a gym or
CGI’d in place? Maybe we could have a Young non-alcoholic Harrison
Ford as Indiana Jones? This stuff creeps me out.

The ENTIRE SF bridge sequence made NO SENSE whatsover. Bad physics, no plot reason for doing it with Magneto’s powers – and the instant
night time transition ALL served to take me out of the moment. Nothing
“gosh wow” about this sequence at all.

All in all, another mess made of an otherwise wonderful cultural
artifact that needed no help from Hollywood to do what it was already
doing just fine.

– Barney

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