When I went to Australia this past week, I had the oppurtunity to watch the film for free. Which I did. Fully expecting a Matrix: Revolutions or Reloaded experience. I was pleasantly surprised. In fact, I found the film quite entertaining. So entertaining that I decided to watch the movie at home on my big screen TV to see if it was a case of the film surpassing a low hurdle or whether it was actually as fun as I thought it was.
X3 is a fun movie. There are those who bemoan the lack of gravitas and thoughtfulness. That somehow the comic book made a deep and profound statement on the human condition that the movie trivialized with it’s special effects.
Give me a break.
Did they ever read the comic book? C’mon. This was a comic book with cheesy dialogue, silly fights, men in tight suits, aliens, transport devices, fights, and that sometimes, just sometimes was a little bit more. The reason we remember it as seminal was because it was unique in trying to discuss serious topics in a comic book, a venue that seemed the wrong place to be exploring serious topics. But the X-Men were no Sandman.
The final film deals with the most controversial character of the comic book series, The Phoenix. And like in the comics Phoenix will not have a pleasant end. For those who read the comic book, the end of the Phoenix is not the end of Jean Grey. The film seems to suggest that the end here is a little bit more final. Given the nature of acting contracts etc, I wonder about Jean’s death.
Ian McKellan steals the show. His performance as Magneto was as riveting in this film as the performance was in the first two. His speach about the danger of silence when confronted by those who would cure you is powerful on multiple levels. On one level because the character of Magneto speaks from the personal experience of the holocaust. On another level because the actor speaks from his personal experience as a gay man whose seen people try to cure him.
The film almost ends with the threat that Magneto’s powers are lost forever, but the revenues of X3 and the final 3 seconds suggest we can await an X4. That part they got right. Because as we all now, villians and heroes in comic books never really die…