Well, I got into an advanced screening of the new X-Men movie last night, in 3D no less. Here’s my thoughts.
Well first, let me say that I hope Hollywood gets over the 3D thing soon. It’s pointless. All it does is look like they inserted some cheesy special effects. Most of the 3D in X-Men reminded me of the old viewmasters. It had the same layered look, as opposed to a smooth transition from near to far. I would rather watch a hi-definition 2D than another 3D. Add to that the fact the opening 2 minutes of the film were a blurry, jumbled mess of 3D, and I’ll pass on it in the future.
But, it was free. So….
Let’s talk about the movie.
For longtime fans, the storyline is familiar. X-Men in the future send messenger back to stop the rise of the Sentinels, thus averting the catastrophic Human-Mutant war.
So the film takes that premise….and changes all the details.
Instead of Kitty Pryde going back to inhabit her younger self, she uses her powers (what power is this?) to send everyone’s favorite grumpy cuisinart back to 1973 to bring Professor X and Magneto together to stop Mystique from killing a man (Bolivar Trask, played by Peter Dinklage, a bright spot in the movie) and launching the Sentinel program.
So, we are re-introduced in this far-flung future to Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen. Make no mistake, though, this is an X-Men: First Class movie, not an X-Men/X2/X3 movie. By the end of this movie, the entirety of the first 3 films may or may not have happened at all. There’s no way of knowing.
What the movie achieves in adrenaline pumping action scenes (starring the always-watchable Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique) it more than surrenders with a choppy storyline. It is almost as if Bryan Singer filmed a bunch of really neat, fan-pleasing scenes, and then tried to cobble a movie together out of it in the editing room. It just never quite gels into a cohesive plot, time-travel excuses notwithstanding, This is the worst of the X-movies I’ve watched.
Yes, that includes X3. At least it tried.
By the time we get done with the movie, we’ve watched the young Charles and Eric rekindle their bromance (until, you know, Magneto betrays Charles again), Hank McCoy pine over Mystique, and Logan chew the scenery until it cries for mercy. Throw in the appearance of Peter Maximoff (yes, that Peter Maximoff) and his groan-inducing, juvenile comic-relief-esque assistance before being relegated back to the shadows from whence all bit players emanate, and you’ve got yourself a middling, unspectacular, superhero movie on par with Daredevil.
Granted, X-Men: DoFP does treat us to a continuing treatise on mutant-rights, and all of the metaphorical equivalents that fall under it, and the “talky-talk” aspect (versus the “slam-bang!” of other superhero movies) of the X-Men has always been one of the reason I’ve like it. It provides a nice jumping-off point for those larger, philosophical discussions, leading the reader (or viewer) to think hard about things other than “Beat the bad guy.”
Not that there’s anything wrong with those kind of movies. I love the other Marvel movies, but X-Men always seemed like it aspired to be more than that. And, in print, it usually did.
But not this movie. Over the course of two-and-a-half hours, we don’t really feel like we’re getting anywhere, and the fact that Singer chose to end the movie with the ultra-feel-good “reunion” when Logan awakens from his trip doesn’t help. We are left with more questions than answers.
The biggest question in my mind, of course, is, why wasn’t this movie better?
I give it a 3/5, mostly because it was fun seeing the generations of X-Men interacting to some degree and I really wanted to like it, but that might even be (okay, it is) a bit on the generous side. See it if you must. And you know you must. Bryan Singer and Fox know that, too. It doesn’t excuse what you’re going to see, though.
[Speaking of generations, that’s what this movie reminded me of: Star Trek: Generations.]