Thursday, October 05, 2006
X-Men: The Last Stand
In which V is the last person to see this year's hot summer blockbuster.

Before we get started, there are a couple of things I should point out. One, I generally don't like Marvel comics. And I really don't like Stan Lee. Why? Because Marvel are a bunch of Comics Code pussies. And Stan Lee is a hack. A hack with an inflated ego.

Two, I don't usually like superhero comics. I prefer antiheroes. Superhero comics are usually too black-and-white for me. Too moralistic. The goodies always beat the baddies (and if you're a Comics Code pussy like those freaks at Marvel, they beat the baddies without using graphic violence or swear words). The goodies are always 100% good, the baddies 100% pure evil, and there's no grey area, and this is something I just can't relate to.

The big exception to the No Superheroes Rule is Batman. But Batman isn't really a superhero is he. I mean, hello? No superpowers. He's more of an antihero anyway, fighting crime out of a compulsion to keep avenging his parents' death, more than out of a civic-minded desire to help society. Also he's probably a sociopath. But we aren't talking about Batman here. No. We're talking about the X-Men.

I remember when I was around 10 years old, sitting on my grandparents' sofa surrounded by a big pile of Archie comics. I was a real dork. I had Archie, and Wendy the Witch, and Richie Rich (that poor little rich boy!). And then my uncle Mark came in, and said "No! Don't read that crap! Read THIS," and he gave me a copy of X-Men and my life was changed. Now here I am, 20 years later, a hopeless nerd in the inking business. So I think it's fair to say that The X-Men have a bit of sentimental value to me.

I really enjoyed the first two X-Men films. And I appreciate that a lot of the characters DO have that grey area in their morality. The third installment in the series, X-Men: The Last Stand really explores the gray area. It's definitely the darkest film in the series so far.

I'm going to try to review this without giving away any spoilers. That's going to be difficult because there were so many jaw-dropping moments. Major, major things happen. It's probably pointless to try and keep this all unspoiled, seeing as how I'm the last person to see this anyway. But you never know, there could be someone else out there who hasn't seen it yet and I really don't want to ruin it for them.

I'll say this though: don't assume your favorite characters are safe in this film. Jaws dropped here at Casa M & V, yo. Jaws frigging DROPPED. V very nearly shouted "NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" out loud, but caught herself in the nick of time and was spared the embarassment of being a dork. But perhaps I have already said too much!

Basic plot, people: Someone has discovered a "cure" for the mutant-x gene. Naturally there are some mutants who are just tickled pink about this. Because really, it's not easy being a mutant. Wouldn't it be nice to just live a normal life? But then again, there are mutants who see this as a threat. Sure, the vaccine is being introduced as a voluntary measure, but isn't it only a matter of time before "normal" people start trying to eradicate the mutant scourge?

Leading the anti-vaccine fight is Magneto. Who says mutants need to be cured, anyway? Who says it's a disease? Magneto reckons that normalcy is the disease, and mutants ought to take over the world. I'll point out here that Magneto is one of those grey-area characters. I personally don't think he's all bad. But you can sort out your own opinions.

Meanwhile, Jean Grey is back from the dead. But if you were paying attention at the end of X-Men 2 you already knew that. And if you know ANYTHING AT ALL about The X-Men, you probably already knew that she isn't really Jean Grey any more. No sir. She's Phoenix. And that's bad news, because Phoenix is crazy evil.

So the X-Men are having to deal with the vaccine controversy, Magneto's war, and Crazy Evil Jean Grey all at the same time. Chaos ensues. Loads of stuff happens, people. Jaw-dropping stuff, which I can't really tell you about. But it's all action-packed and compelling and ultra-awesome and you have to see this movie.

Some new characters in this one. Kelsey Grammer does a pretty good job as Beast, although I would have liked to see his character expanded a bit more. Vinnie Jones is Juggernaut, that rocked pretty hard. Some really bland pretty boy played Angel, who was in the film for all of maybe two minutes. Oh, and that horrible little girl from Hard Candy played Kitty Pryde, but mercifully she didn't say much.

Notably missing: Nightcrawler. WTF? He was one of the best ones. And as a comics nerd, I really just have to ask: where is Gambit already?

End result: the best comics film I've seen since Batman Begins. Well written, well acted, entertaining, I give it an enthusiastic thumbs up. Watch it. You won't be sorry. Oh, and by the way, watch past the end of the closing credits.