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X-3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and the fanfic potential) - Mo's Journal
May 29th, 2006
10:41 am

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X-3: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly (and the fanfic potential)
We saw X3 last night. I can't say I liked the movie, but there were things I liked about it, some of them quite a lot.

I'll cut for spoilers.



The Good

Ian McKellen was, as always, a joy to watch. I loved the transformations Magneto went through, from the flashback to his early days with Charles through leading the war against the "Cure" to his semi-collapse when he loses his powers. He was always in character, always Erik, no matter how he changed. And the scene at the end with him sitting at the chess board by himself, missing Charles was enough to break my heart.

I thought Kelsey Grammer was just perfect as Hank. He looks very good in blue. And I just squee'ed over him saying "Oh my stars and garters!" It sounded like a real person saying a real expression with wonder, not some weird comic book-y catch phrase to let you know it's Beast. If only he'd had more of a role (should probably save that for "the bad").

Ditto for the guy who played Angel. Beautifully done and he just looked perfect for the part. I wish they'd done more with him.

Magneto's tent city army scenes were great - very atmospheric.

Halle Berry did much better as Storm in this one. I had more of a feel for her character than I had in either of the other two.

The "Cure" plotline is a great one. One of the best things to come out of the comics in recent years, I think.

It was mostly really visually stunning. I think there was too much fighting and not enough character development (oops, that should go in "the Bad", too) but the fight scenes themselves were beautifully choreographed.

I was glad to see Chris Claremont as the Lawnmower Guy. I did embarrass my son by saying, "Look - it's Chris! Do you see?"

The Bad

Too many characters and not doing enough with any of them. There wasn't really a focus to the film. Beast and Angel were great in their small roles, as noted, but wasted. Scott was totally wasted in this film by killing him off in the first few minutes (and after the last one where they had him kidnapped for most of it, too). A chance to really do something with Jean as Phoenix squandered.

Too much plot and not enough focus. It felt like a movie that had been through a number of directors and no one was really sure what to do with it. Much too busy.

A consequence of the above, I think, is that there was so much out-of-character behavior, or just incomprehensible behavior, because they didn't slow down long enough to think about how people would react. Charles may have his callous moments, but I just can't believe he'd write off Scott so easily. Not the Charles of X1 who clearly had such a strong and loving bond with him. But in this movie it's "Well, you know he took it hard when Jean died so you're the heir apparent now, Storm." I couldn't believe it.

A consequence of so much plot in too little time is they don't deal with the aftermath of all those deaths in a realistic way. Nobody but Logan even seems to notice much that Scott's dead. The kids are mourning Xavier, but no one seems to even mention that fact that one of their teachers killed their headmaster, which would be really something for a school to assimilate. They thought Jean was dead for how long? A year? But they never did any kind of memorial to her until after Logan kills her the second time? The lack of realism in people dealing with loss and grief went beyond my ability for willing suspension of disbelief.

Hugh Jackman didn't have the spark that he'd had in the other two films. What I loved about X-Men in the first place was that the characters felt like real people, Logan especially. There were moments in this film when I felt like he was Wolverine personified, but not the whole time. He, too, was too out of character too often, just to keep the plot moving. He won't have sex with Jean because she's being sexually aggressive and "that's not you"? Not the Logan of the first two movies. I didn't find the "I love you" before he killed her credible, either. We hadn't seen him loving her or really even confronting his own feelings at all. The strongest emotion he shows is when Xavier dies at her hands. And why didn't he "cure" Jean instead of kill her at the end? I felt he was doing his best with really bad material, but it wasn't good enough to rise above the really bad material (only Ian McKellen did, imo).

In general, I found a lot of it really cheesy and comic book-y. What I've liked about the movies is that they take this kind of outlandish, comic book concept of mutant superheroes and make it feel real, make me believe for a couple of hours that this could be the not so distant future. They made me believe enough to want to continue that feeling through fanfic. This one didn't. That's not to say that it doesn't have fanfic possibilities (see below) but I don't feel compelled by it like I did by the first two.

The Ugly

Living in a telekinetic cocoon for a year or more did nothing for Jean's looks. That cherry red hair is not very becoming. And the veiny Phoenix look is not Jean at her most alluring. As my youngest daughter said, "Jean was a lot prettier before she was evil." My elder daughter said, "If she's the most powerful telepath in the world, she ought to know what people will think when she wears an outfit that clashes with her hair."

Fanfic possibilities

I do think there's a lot of room for fanfic. The after-the-movie fic is primed, of course, for Charles Comes Back, but I can see lots of room for Scott Comes Back and even Jean Comes Back.

I think the whole Rogue/Bobby dynamic has great potential. Will he lose interest in her now that she's not a mutant and they don't have that big thing to share? Will she worry about that even if he doesn't? Will they just get into having sex and then find out the "Cure" is only temporary (which I'm quite sure it is)?

Because there's too much plot and not enough character development, there's lots of room to fill that stuff in. Hank and/or Warren can be central to fanfic. Or someone can write stories that give a more realistic portrayal of Logan's emotional state as all this goes on. There's plenty of room for Charles/Erik slash and some for Scott/Logan. There's what happened to Magneto's Brotherhood without their leader. There's what happens to Mystique after the movie. As she starts getting blue again (which I'm sure she will, because the "Cure" is going to wear off) and realizes that Magneto will be getting his powers back, how will she react?

I think bad movies can often make for really good fanfic. Fan writers feel the need to fix what they didn't like in the movie, and some great fiction can result. So, I'm happy for the movie for that. And I did enjoy watching it, all the above complaints notwithstanding. I was never bored during it.



So, now I've got to finish up the last of my X2 story series. Eight stories of what will be nine or ten (not sure if I can do the denouement in one) are done, so I think I'll be finished in the next few days. I'm hoping someone is still willing to read X2 fic, and not totally focussed on X3.

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Comments
 
[User Picture]
From:kelly_girl
Date:May 29th, 2006 08:55 pm (UTC)
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I'm interested in reading your X2 stories. I turned a friend onto your Logan/Scott story a few nights ago and she loved it.

The hubby and I went and saw X3 and he hated it. I thought there were good parts and they left it open in the end to do another one. And yes, too many people dying and not enough people grieving. Loved Logan after the professor died. His grief was devastating. I liked Colossus and Kitty too.
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From:mofic
Date:May 29th, 2006 10:25 pm (UTC)
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I'm interested in reading your X2 stories. I turned a friend onto your Logan/Scott story a few nights ago and she loved it.

Thanks for the rec! As to the X2 stuff, I always meant for my Phoenix saga to be a trilogy, but it's pretty pathetic I didn't finish the third part before X3!

I liked Colossus and Kitty too

I liked Kitty. I want Colossus to be Russian, dammit!
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From:blue_braces
Date:May 29th, 2006 09:45 pm (UTC)
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I'm definitely interested in reading your X2 stories.

One thing I like about all the movies, and comics-turned-movies in general, is seeing the live action realization of various characters. I agree that Hank and Warren looked great. I wasn't crazy about Warren's personality, though (what little I could discern of it). I thought he should be less meek and more haughty.

I agree with most of your other points, too. So much out-of-characterness! Ridiculous handling of death and grief. Lots of slash potential for Charles/Erik and Scott/Logan (Bobby/John, too, IMO). Fabulous Sir Ian! I did cry a little when I saw the chess board. It seems clear to me that the cure is temporary, and comics are known for bringing people back from the dead.

On the ugly: evil goddesses have to be ugly. It's in the Evil Goddess Handbook.

Oh, and what happened to Nightcrawler? Are they only allowed two blue characters per movie?
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 29th, 2006 10:26 pm (UTC)
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Oh, and what happened to Nightcrawler?

I know! I should add that under "the Bad." I really missed him. Alan Cumming was wonderful.
[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:May 29th, 2006 11:39 pm (UTC)
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Yeah, Janssen's hair color wasn't all that great, but when you're crazy and capable of disintegrating things into their component atoms at will, fashion becomes secondary. :P

But yes, I agree that Logan was seriously mishandled, which is why I rambled on forever about it in my journal. I can't believe Jackman disappointed in an X-movie. At least he has some promising projects coming out in the fall.

-blue
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From:mofic
Date:May 30th, 2006 01:29 am (UTC)
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I enjoyed your ramblings! Thanks for pointing me to them. What projects does Jackman have coming up? I do think he's a wonderful actor (although he has been in some real turkeys).
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From:eveningblue
Date:May 30th, 2006 02:44 am (UTC)
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I agree with pretty much everything you said. I was never bored, and that was good. Other than that, though... I kept thinking, "I can't believe they killed Scott!" And, "Why is no one upset about it?" It's almost like Logan is the only one who's even noticed!

Too many deaths. Too many new characters thrown in for no apparent reason. I hated the way Kitty Pryde sort of took Rogue's place halfway through the movie. It felt very much to me like they were clearing out the old characters to make way for the young ones, who will attract a younger demographic and carry on the franchise. Lots of actiony action sequences that seemed to be thrown in there for the boyz.

But it did break box office records, so I guess I'm not the intended audience.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 30th, 2006 11:02 am (UTC)
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But it did break box office records, so I guess I'm not the intended audience.

Did it? I wondered how it was doing, but IMDB just had last week's movies listed under "Tops at the Box Office"

I think it's probably a good thing if it sells well. More chance for an X4, which might be better... Or am I just being Pollyanna? It's unusual enough for a good movie to have a good sequel. When the third one goes downhill, probably time to ditch it...
[User Picture]
From:rachel_martin64
Date:May 30th, 2006 03:53 am (UTC)
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Go right on ahead and write your X2 fic, plenty of us will be willing to read it. I predict much fic that totally ignores X3.
[User Picture]
From:sabra_n
Date:May 30th, 2006 05:34 am (UTC)
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penknife is three steps ahead. :) Presenting: x3denialfic, a community whose purpose is all in the name.

-blue
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From:devildoll
Date:May 31st, 2006 06:27 pm (UTC)
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Finally got a chance to stop by and read this, and yes, I agree on so much, especially the OOC stuff, particularly for Logan.

And I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't buy his love confession to Jean. But of course I can't ever say that in public, because my status as the owner of wolverineandrogue.com completely invalidates (in many eyes) any opinion I have about Logan/Jean. *g* But geez, he hardly knew her.

Last night on the phone with girlinthetrilby I threatened to sit down with the first two movies and a stopwatch, and see exactly how much time they've spent together total. *g*
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 31st, 2006 07:27 pm (UTC)
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And I'm glad I'm not the only one who doesn't buy his love confession to Jean. But of course I can't ever say that in public, because my status as the owner of wolverineandrogue.com completely invalidates (in many eyes) any opinion I have about Logan/Jean. *g* But geez, he hardly knew her.

As a Scott/Logan slasher, my opinion might be similarly suspect. But I'll see you your Jeez and raise you a Jeez Louise (an expression I do not throw around lightly). He's not exactly a guy who forms strong bonds based on brief acquaintance, yk?

Who are the guys in your icon?
From:(Anonymous)
Date:May 31st, 2006 09:50 pm (UTC)

From CC

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Hey Mo! Long time no speak. Of course you know I'll continue to read your fiction 'cuz I love it. Haven't seen the movie yet and now I'm not sure if I;m going to after reading your column. The spoilers weren't the prob at all, as a matter of fsct I've been known to read the novelization before going to see a movie. And I have quite happily not gone to see the last SW movie because of the child killing. So, I'm still debating. We'll see. But, you did answer some questions that the trailers left me with, so Yay on you. Looking forward to the stories.
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:May 31st, 2006 10:44 pm (UTC)

Re: From CC

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Hey, CC. What were you wondering about with the trailers? I quite liked the last Star Wars movie, but yeah that was a hard scene to take! My son, who liked X3 the best of all of us, just saw it again last night.
[User Picture]
From:the_darkglow
Date:June 4th, 2006 12:25 am (UTC)
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I'm certainly interested in X2 and X1 fic. I've read some of your older fics and I've been bookmarking the more recent ones in the hopes of reading them when I get a good chunk of time. I'm thinking that now might be good, might make me forget about X3. *g* (Hope you don't mind if I friend you. No need to friend back.)

I saw X3 last Tuesday and I can't say I liked it either. In fact, I intensely disliked it. When I saw your story post in xmff I decided to hop on over and see what other fans thought of it. I'm glad I wasn't alone in my impressions. (Although you were much more coherent and made a lot more sense than I ever could. *g*)
[User Picture]
From:mofic
Date:June 4th, 2006 01:49 am (UTC)
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Hey, I love your icon. Thanks for writing. I friended you - your journal looks interesting. I used to live in Montreal - great city.
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From:nadjalee
Date:September 14th, 2006 09:01 pm (UTC)
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'nods' Very insightful. I agree with what you said. Yes, even Logan (and Ororo) who got so much screen time seemed out of character. Amazing such a big project can go so wrong.
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