I just finished seeing the latest X-Men men movie, X3: United. My take: the super mutants didn’t make a super movie but on the flip side, a pretty lame director didn’t make a lame movie. X3 is alright and i give it a 7.5 out of 10.
My main complaint of the movie is its failure to do more with the plot. After the movie is finished you notice while almost all the scenes are cool, they never really deliver. It took me a while to figure out why this is. I believe this is largely due to the fact that the plot isn’t pushed or really developed. Any good comic or writer knows there are 3 parts to every good joke or story: 1) the premise, 2) examples, 3) the punchline or finale. The punchline is usually key to wrap up a joke or story and make it all work – and this is what separates merely clever people and uber-funny folks. A punchline can deliver by taking the premise to the next level or a totally different and unthinkable directions or by simply exploring/deconstructing the premise with some new facts or new perspective. Some examples:
- Premise: odd goofball golfers have fun on the course and local caddy Danny mingles with upperclass and worries about his uncertain future
- Examples: golfing events, pool party.
- Punchline: A hysterical battle between goofballs and straight golfers where the entire course is blown up and destroyed, which also determines the future for young Danny boy.
- Premise: big-ass shark is discovered and terrorizes a small east coast sea town
- Examples: woman gets eaten, families on the beach are scared over Memorial Day, big shark teeth are found
- Punchline: Two guys track and actually find the shark, battle it, have their entire boat demolished in the struggle while managing to kill it in dramatic mano a mano final moment.
Compared to other films, X3 has a great premise and the examples of it are pretty frickin’ awesome, but you’ll see it all falls apart on the punchline…
- Premise: There’s a mutant cure developed by humans who are weaponizing it to wipe out the mutant race. The mutants can react diplomatically or violently. Parallels between curing mutants and modern-day homosexuality are lightly drawn. Also, there’s a schizo mutant who’s also the most powerful who threatens to do bad things – either destroy the world or kill everyone (nobody really knows)
- Examples: Some mutants are “cured” by humans. Schizo mutant kills some of the main characters.
- Punchline: battle between mutants and humans is interrupted by good mutants who stop it by “curing” some bad mutants. Schizo mutant starts mis-behaving is killed.
As you can see, this punchline does nothing to address the actual premise. The concept of what to do with the “cure” isn’t addressed in the finish. The battle doesn’t solve anything or isn’t even between two ideologies. One could argue that the final battle was whether there should be a cure offered to people. Of which you could say that the movie answers “yes, there should” but nowhere in the movie was it revealed that the good X-Men (Wolverine and company) actually cared about that fact. And to make it even more shallow, Jean Grey’s power is never fully explained or realized or solved in an interesting way.
So, all in all, a good flick but no way is it a classic.
Some other thoughts… Why is every mutant American (or even Canadian)? What about other countries, do they have mutants?
Also, imagine an Iranian or Iraqi or some middle eastern mutant who was both extremely powerful (on par with Magneto and Xavier) and a political terrorist for his nation – and he/she started committing acts of violence on the US citizens. Would the good X-Men protect the US? I have to imagine they would. Would then the X-Men be the sort of mutant army wing of the US government? If that was the case, would each nation have a stable of mutants protecting their country in case other nations used mutants in their army? Now, here’s a premise for a movie. Exploring the loyalties of a mutant is interesting. Are these people first American, and then mutants – protecting first the country and then their mutant race? Or, do they identify themselves as mutants who happen to be American? What if mutant terrorists were being hunted down – would good mutants have sympathy for them? Thoughts?