Wednesday, April 14, 2010

X-Men Trilogy (Review)

Citizen's Grade: O.K.

This trilogy gives me mixed feelings. I've never read an issue of X-Men in my life; and although I did buy a X-Factor #1 in the 80's, I never really felt any desire to want to start. So although I'd heard much criticism from X-Men fans from local comic book shops, I wasn't at all concerned since I didn't know their history, etc. That said, the franchise has done very well at the box office, and several spin-off movies are in the works.

The movies focus mainly on following the character of Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman), from fighting in a bar in Alaska to saving humanity against the Brotherhood of Mutants in the 3rd movie. He meets and helps a runaway mutant named Rogue (Anna Paquin) , as they find their way to Professor Xavier's school for the gifted. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart)convinces Wolverine to join his cause of protecting and uniting humanity and mutants against the Brotherhood of Mutants led by Xavier's friend and former colleague Magneto (Ian McKellen).

Magneto is probably my favorite character of the series. He is dark and somewhat evil, but not in the normal "comic book" way. He believes that he is protecting mutants from the inevitable war that their evolution will cause with the rest of mankind. A survivor of the Holocaust, he sees the same thing happening again against mutants. A registration act proposed by Congress adds to his mistrust of humanity, and he attempts to make all humans mutated through a ingenious machine he creates and starts at the Statue of Liberty.

The X-Men defeat him, but he is not finished. In the second film, Wolverine (with Professor Xavier's help) heads to Canada to find his origins and figure out how he became Wolverine. He returns as Xavier's school is attacked by the US Government. William Stryker (Brian Cox) has a plan to win the war against the mutants. He uses his mutant son to force Professor Xavier to kill all mutants worldwide; but with the help of Magneto and new mutant Nightwing (Alan Cumming), they thwart Stryker's plan and save Xavier and all mutants and humans.

As they escape from Canada, the wall of the dam above Stryker's underground complex breaks (damaged during fighting between Dr. Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) & Cyclops (James Marsden). Grey uses her immense latent powers to save the rest of the X-Men, though it seemingly costs her life. Wolverine & Cyclops; both in love with Grey, must face the reality that she is lost.

Cyclops returns to the Lake a few months later after hearing her voice, and discovers that she has not died, only changed. Her dual personality; Phoenix, has come to the surface and she kills Cyclops. Despite Professor Xavier's efforts to re-bury it, the Phoenix is free and angry. Meanwhile, Magneto adds hundreds to the Brotherhood after the US Government announces they have a "cure" for mutants. His right-hand "man"; Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), is shot with the "cure" and her powers leave her.

A showdown between Phoenix, Professor Xavier, & Magneto occurs, and Professor Xavier dies. Magneto convinces her to join his cause to save mutants, and the war between humans and mutants begins as the X-Men deal with the loss of Cyclops & Xavier. The Brotherhood of Mutants attacks the building housing the mutant "cure", and the X-Men arrive to try and stop them. After Magneto is injected with the "cure", Phoenix goes berserk and begins killing everything and everyone in her path. Wolverine; putting his life on the line for the woman he loves, does the only thing that can stop Phoenix and save Jean Grey......

The special effects and fight scenes in this trilogy are great! The stories/plots are also very good.....great actors/actresses appear throughout......but even having never read a single X-Men comic, I know that Professor Xavier and Cyclops are not dead and that Colossus plays a major part in the X-Men mythos. The way the 3rd movie ended ruined this trilogy for me. How will they make a fourth movie, when two of the X-Men's primary (and most loved by X-Men fans) heroes are dead? The first two movies were directed by Bryan Singer....while the third was directed by Brett Ratner....maybe that had something to do with it. That said, one thing is for certain in the world of comic book characters.....No One is really dead, or cannot be brought back to life by some "miraculous" event.

This trilogy also prominently stars Halle Berry (as Storm), Shawn Ashmore (as Ice Man), Aaron Stanford (as Pyro), & Tyler Mane (as Sabretooth).

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