Although the Summer isn’t quite over yet at the local multi-plex I think its time for an overview (brief though it may be) of the movies. I caught a good number of films this blistering season and while there were some good things out there on the whole it wasn’t a great year. I’ve already posted about POSIDON and MISSION IMPOSSIBLE 3 both of which were OK without being at all memorable. Maybe that start should have warned me….
X-MEN 3- I refuse to call it X3- It’s the third X-MEN movie not the third movie entitled X. Easily the weakest of this ‘trilogy’ of movies. It should have been the crowning achievement but the loss of Bryan Singer made sure that just wasn’t gonna happen. The resultant film is good, a solid effort but it lacks the human touch of the first two and the feeling of competence behind the camera that Singer is capable of. Even with a hack director the story is still pretty damned good but I can’t help but feel that a better movie was possible- one that would have wrapped up things in a more satisfying and smart way. As it stands, X-MEN 3 felt like there were some things left out that might have improved the characterizations which are unfortunately paper thin. Perhaps a longer cut will be offered at some point on DVD. The actors did their best, I think, but were ill served by the weaknesses that might have been fixed with a more hands-on creator. More thought needs to be expended next time on character motivation and relationships. It’s easy to blow things up—it’s harder to make us care who might be blown up.
SUPERMAN RETURNS- This is what Bryan Singer jumped ship to make. Is it good? Yes. Is it great? Sadly, no. Superman returns from a five year absence to find Lois with a son, Lex loose and the world maybe not needing a Super Dude. There are a lot of great things in the film and overall I like it a good deal but there are problems. First, it is a bit TOO much of a re-hash of the first two Superman film from the 70’s. I know that this was done as a direct sequel to those to movies but there are a few too many copycat scenes here. The script even provides some good reasons for the scenes but they are still unnecessary. Don’t get me wrong- I liked the film but once again I felt like some vital pieces of the story had been left out of the picture. While sitting in the theater I thought there seemed to be gaps in the natural flow of the movie and afterwards a little online checking confirmed this. More than 25 minutes were trimmed to get it to a more marketable length. I’m sure we’ll get to se this missing material eventually but I’m beginning to dislike the fact that what I’m seeing theatrically often ISN’T the finished film as the creators want. Must we always wait for the Special Edition DVD to watch the full movie? Dammit! I would have loved the Krypton stuff, the new romantic relationship Ma Kent has, the scenes between Clark and his mother and anything else they had on tap. This stuff makes these movies richer for me and I don’t really care about the length. Oh- and for future reference—its time to retire Lex Luthor as the Superman villain of choice. Might I suggest Brainiac, The Parasite, Metallo, Toyman, Myzplytyk, Darksied or even Doomsday. There are a host of good Superman stories to tell. Luthor’s bizarre infatuation with real estate was good once but reusing it for this film was really pushing it.