And now, Scary-Crayon reviews...
X-Men 3: The Last Stand -- the horrible trailer
by: Wes

Okay. I've said it before and I'll say it again: while I'm actually quite fond of Marvel's mutant heroes, I've got no love for the live action films. Whereas I found the first to be pretty weak, the second aspired to insulting levels of stupidity with its excessive and pointless mutant cameos and the infuriating self-importance with which the film's asinine developments were presented. A mind-blowingly shallow discussion of faith here, a meaningless death scene there (complete with extended grieving from the heroes and cheesy music swells), and, oh yes, let's not forget the complex kill-all-mutants-no-let's-kill-all-humans schemes -- the film made me so angry that I wanted to build my own murderous Cerebro that would enable me to remotely fry the brain of everyone on the planet who liked X2 or had anything to do with its production. It totally was that bad, and if you disagree with me on these points you are wrong and should be crushed beneath the oversized ass of the Blob. (No "butts" about it. Ha!)

I don't like these movies.

Despite the unforgivable faults of the first two movies, however, I held out some hope -- admittedly, some hope so small it was barely worth mentioning -- that the third X-Men film would actually be sorta good. The hype that followed the release of the trailer (to say nothing of my recent discovery that JUGGERNAUT would be present) nurtured that tiny flame even more, and although my opinion of the first films had prevented me from seeking out the trailer for fear of disappointment, I finally relented and downloaded the 2:30 Quicktime preview. And having seen it, I am now quite confident that X3 is going to fucking SUCK.


Apparently, the third film deals with two major developments -- the genesis of a drug that suppresses the mutant X-gene, thereby stripping mutants of their powers, and the imminent war between mutants and normal people. Now, a better X-Men movie might've been able to deal with the first issue in an interesting manner. And yes, I haven't seen X3 yet, but from the trailer it's all too obvious that these films are intent upon utilizing this portion of the film to hammer home the parallels between the discrimination that mutants face and those that minorities and homosexuals experience in contemporary society -- particularly the latter, as evidenced by Beast's obviously angry remark to the effect of "they're calling it a cure" and Halle Berry's pitiful exclamations that "there's nothing to cure" and "there's nothing wrong with us". (This woman has a fucking Oscar, folks.) And while admittedly even the comics made these comparisons, there's something about seeing these scenarios acted out by real people spewing poorly-written dialogue that just takes it to a new and insulting level. Being a mutant is not like being a minority or a homosexual. MUTANTS HAVE FUCKING POWERS, and I do not want to see insanely wealthy Hollywood stars pretending to be superheroes boo-hoo about how society fears them.

"Sleep with one eye open, humans..."

Because you know what? In the context of the films, people should be afraid of mutants. The real parallel is not between mutants and the plight of disenfranchised groups; on the contrary, the regulation of mutant activity is comparable to gun rights legislation. There are a number of issues surrounding the latter topic, but very few people argue that people should be able to own and carry firearms without any sort of license whatsoever. So why should things be different for people who can control the weather or fire laser blasts from their eyes? Moreover, while all mutants should not be stereotyped as a result of the actions of a few wicked ones, mutants in the film's universe have time and time again shown themselves to be pretty damned hostile to normal humans. Hell, at the close of the second film, the X-Men fucking froze everyone in the Oval Office during a televised broadcast and proceeded to make threatening gestures and remarks to the President of the United States while Storm made spooky lightning flash in the background. There goes the argument that some mutants use their powers for good, because apparently even the "good" ones are not above resorting to terrorist activities.


And then there's the big war with humanity. Another of the things that I've found irritating about the films is the clear line that they draw between "mutants" and "humans", almost treating mutants as an entirely separate species altogether. To be sure, the confusion regarding this distinction has been with the X-Men from the very beginning, but in the comics and TV shows it was always apparent that mutants are humans. For example, many of the X-Men maintained romantic relationships with individuals who lacked mutant powers, Moira MacTaggert was a frequent collaborator with the team (and yes, I'm aware that she's apparently in the third movie), and who can forget the disastrous consequences that resulted in the cartoon when Bolivar Trask failed to remember that fact? (Here, have a broken video clip.) Even in "X-Men: Evolution", the teenage mutants befriend and attend high school with normal kids. See, the X-Men were fundamentally about peacefully coexisting with regular folks -- so it's incredibly disappointing that the movies don't deal with this aspect of the team at all.

Beast seems kinda upset.

Instead, the films depict Xavier's school as a separatist camp and portray the X-Men as being just as angry with normal humans as Magneto -- because, my God, why shouldn't they feel free to freeze people and set them on fire in public without being viewed as freaks? Seriously, watch the trailer. Beast and Storm are pretty pissed, and note that Storm's depressingly trite dialogue with Nightcrawler in X2 was also prompted by her anger at the power-free folks. Instead of being distinguished by a fundamental disagreement regarding the possibility of peaceful mutant-normal human relations, what separates the X-Men and the Brotherhood in the films is that whereas the kids at the Xavier Institute are simply content to segregate themselves, Magneto wants to kill every non-mutant on Earth and take over shit. True, the X-Men's aims are decidedly less violent, but neither side espouses a particularly uplifting ideology. What are these X-Men really fighting for? Beats the hell out of me.

Make the hurting stop.

And jeez, let me not even get started on the mess of new characters that will apparently be introduced in X3 -- but for a series that has proven spectacularly unable to provide even its core characters with any semblance of development or depth over the course of two films, introducing an entire army's worth of new mutants is the last thing it needs. Woo, now we have Beast and Angel and Psylocke and a whole mess of other underdeveloped characters to parade across the screen for the sole purpose of inducing jizzing in moronic fanboys who were going to give the movie thumbs up no matter what they threw across the screen. Oh, and apparently Jean Grey survived her meaningless death and now, as the Dark Phoenix, is some furious mutant messiah who's going to help Magneto kill all the humans and succeed where Pinky and the Brain failed. Fuck that shit.

"You must don leather fetish costumes and star in shitty movies!"

So given the numerous and glaring faults of the X-movies, one of the things that I never really harped upon was the costumes of the X-Men. Granted, I certainly would have preferred outfits closer to the look of the comics -- and whereas I'm sure execs decided against the original costumes because they wanted to make the films more appealing to mainstream viewers, the success of the Spider-Man films shows that a superhero can still stick closely to his (or her) visual roots and attract an audience beyond comic nerds -- but the leather fetish costumes don't bother me quite as much as the films' more substantial problems. Besides, given that the X-Men spend a lot of time fighting vicious mutants and even government troops, I guess it makes more sense for them to wear dark combat gear than multicolored spandex outfits. It may not be ideal, but it's an understandable change.

Even wearing a purple cape, Magneto is one menacing dude.Sir Ian McKellen, however, is not.

The modifications to the villains' costumes, however, are somewhat less forgivable. While the same rules more or less apply, Magneto and his brood are essentially hands-on terrorists -- and provided that they displayed the necessary ruthlessness, flashy costumes could significantly enhance the Brotherhood's ability to inspire fear among the non-mutant population. And how the fuck is it that the original Magneto in red and purple would scare the shit out of me if I encountered him in public, whereas I'd probably laugh at Ian McKellen even as he impaled me with a metal spike? The X-Men still look marginally badass in their new digs, but this redesigned Magneto looks fucking laughable. Granted, that's in part because Sir Ian is a 66-year-old man who is nowhere near as ripped as the version of Magneto that we all know and love, but that ridiculous helmet is certainly a factor.

It's the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, y'all!

What I mean to say is that while I can somewhat understand the modifications to the heroes' costumes, there was no pressing need to similarly alter the villains' outfits -- or, if they absolutely felt that the bad guys' costumes needed to be redesigned to support much less developed physiques, they could've at least went for something a little more menacing. I mean, look at these guys and gal! Poor Blob notwithstanding, I wouldn't want to meet with any of these jokers in a dark alley. Costume design is one of the primary things that attracts us to a comic character, and it's telling that Magneto, Pyro, and Juggernaut (left-to-right, starting from the center) rank among my favorite villains of all time. For similar reasons, I've always kinda had a thang for Emma Frost -- but I digress.


Now, would you believe that Pyro, Magneto, and Juggernaut are actually depicted in the image above? We've seen Pyro and Magneto in the previous films, and in addition to my dismay at the former character being reduced to a delinquent kid, it's especially irritating that his turn to evil didn't even earn him a costume. Yep, that's Pyro, on Magneto's right, wearing street clothes -- and I don't care if he'd burn me to death; I'd call him a pitiful incarnation of the original Pyro and make certain he heard me even above the roar and crackle of the flames. But even street clothes are better than what they did to Juggernaut. Oh ho, Juggernaut. WHAT THE BLOODY FUCK DID THEY DO TO JUGGERNAUT?!?!?!?!? Let's take a look.

No.Yes.Hell no.

If there was ever a character whose design did not need to be mucked up, it was the Juggernaut. Transformed by a mystical gem into a virtually unstoppable armored powerhouse, the tank look not only totally worked for him, but theoretically would've been fairly simple to duplicate in a live action counterpart. I mean, Vinnie Jones looks like a pretty big guy, but given that Juggernaut is actually wearing armor most of the time, they could easily have cast anyone and bulked him up via artificial means. And if they were thrown by the rust-colored costume? Juggernaut has also worn a black and gold costume that could easily have been modified for the film. Why, then, did someone feel the need to make the mighty Juggernaut look like bad Ram Man concept art? I honestly don't have a good answer for that question, and I doubt whoever redesigned his costume does either. Yeah, ol' Juggy kinda looked like a giant fire hydrant before, but now he just looks fruity and fucked up. I want to cry. :(

The Last Stand? We can only hope.

So no, I'm not looking forward to seeing X3: The Last Stand. In just two minutes and thirty seconds, the powers that cut trailers have managed to convince me that this film not only exhibits every single one of the flaws that I've found in the previous films, but also fucks up the costumes of certain characters to the point that I cannot help but mention it alongside the more substantial issues. It looks like the third X-Men film will indeed have more of everything: more idiotic plot developments, more pitiful, trite, and self-important dialogues, more unnecessary and inexplicable character modifications, more and more and more and more underdeveloped mutants -- and more irredeemable suck with which to bombard moviegoers. And as a longtime fan of Marvel's mutant heroes, I've gotta say that I sincerely hope that this is the last stand for the live action X-Men -- that is, the final stand after which no other stands follow. Because I honestly don't think I can stand much more of this shit.

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