X-Men: The Last Stand (X-Men 3), the final installment of the famous Marvel trilogy will keep you on the edge of your seat, but did some of the heart of the original two X-Men movies leave with former director Brian Singer?
There’s no question that action lovers will enjoy the final episode in the X-Men saga, but there seems to be something missing in this trilogy climax. The pacing on the film is fast and furious, but along the way you don’t feel as though you know the characters as well as you did in the original two installments.
Brett Radner focused on the action, while Brian Singer focused more on the lives of the characters. Although I enjoyed the final adventure, I found myself feeling as though something were missing when I left the theater. The missing ingredient was the intimacy that Singer so adeptly wove into the first two X-Men films.
In X-Men 2 I felt an empathetic connection to the odd blue character of Night Crawler, who carved angelic symbols into his skin whenever he sinned. Perhaps it is my Catholic upbringing that reacted to the character. Whatever the connection, Singer deftly triggered it along with simple connections to even fleeting characters. This was sadly missing in X-Men 3.
Although we’ve agonized over Gene Grey’s feelings for Cyclops and Wolverine for the past two movies, when she reappears as Phoenix the connection seemed to slip away. Even worse, we never even get to grieve over the death of Cyclops, because we’re not really sure if Phoenix has actually killed him.
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Destruction in X-Men 3 is done on a massive scale, and characters are turned to ash in the blink of an eye. Old characters are vaporized and new characters disappear as fast as they appear, but the body count left me numb after awhile. With the loss of some major characters it appears that we’re set for a 4th installment. According to Fox Studios, however, X-Men 3 is the last X-Men movie they plan to do. Instead, it appears that they may be planning spin-offs that follow individual characters instead of the X-Men team. This may be a successful strategy, although I can’t help but wish that the X-Men would continue to join together on the screen of my local theater.
The strength of the X-Men comics was the endless combinations of mutants that would appear in any particular edition. The strength of this franchise could have been the endless variations of mutants who could have appeared in the sequels. Obviously Fox and Marvel have additional plans for the franchise. However they bring it to the screen, I only hope that they will involve Brian Singer in their future films.
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