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Thursday, June 01, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
I got back a little while ago from seeing X3 with Hube, his wife and daughter and a coworker of his.

My brief review: I got a fever, and the only prescription is more Rogue. I know guys love Halle Berry and Famke Janssen, but give me Anna Paquin.

A little more detail: I think the setup of the conflict seemed to drag. Getting us there took longer than I think it should have the whole Jean Grey/Phoenix subplot seemed tagged on to little purpose. The climactic battle was incredible though, even finding time to throw some great comic lines. (Best line of the movie: "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" Juggernaut did get the best lines: "I don't swim.")

I also thought the subplot of Rogue dealing with the implications of the cure and whether or not to get it was handled well, but could perhaps have been better developed. (Honest, I'm not just saying that because it would give Anna Paquin more screen time. That's just an additional benefit.) You could see her turmoil and understand how hard it must be for her not to be able to hold hands with her boyfriend since just that little touch from her could kill him. Spoiler about her final decision is hidden, highlight text to reveal:
(Personally, I thought she made the wrong choice to take the cure, but I can't imagine how hard it must be for Rogue to live like that.)
(end spoiler)

I also enjoyed the obvious respect and friendship Magneto felt for Dr Xavier, despite their strong differences. Spoiler about another Magneto moment is hidden, highlight text to reveal:
He felt genuine loss and sadness at the death of Xavier, calling him a great man later in the movie..)
(end spoiler)

Definitely worth seeing.

One of the recurrent and obvious themes of the X-Men is prejudice against those who different in some way. But this movie, I thought, more than the others really played up the difference in approaches taken by the opposite sides of the mutants: Dr Xavier and his supporters urging patience and conciliation with society at large versus Magneto and his supporters essentially saying "I gotta be me." This was really played up in the Jean Grey/Phoenix subplot about whether or not she should restrain her powers or let them run free.

Essentially, what the Magneto line is that they need to be free to act on their impulses without restraint, that their will alone should determine how they act and that their power must be allowed to run free. Meanwhile Xavier teaches mutants how to restrain and control their powers while using them in limited situations for good. Wolverine, as is his tendency, runs between these two poles, but he comes accept the wisdom of Xavier's position before the final battle. (Magneto ultimately does as well: "What have I done?" he's heard to utter.)

The movie ultimately shows that self-restraint and concern for the norms of society are important is society is to remain stable. Magneto's allies are so concerned for their right to act as they wish that they think little of killing by the hundreds to get their way. That's the inevitable result of those who are insistent on doing whatever they wish whenever they wish regardless of the consequences. As Ronald Reagan once said, and I paraphrase, "If it feels good, do it is a great motto until someone wants to feel good by hitting you over the head." Magneto and his supporters were well past the hit them over the head stage.

Restraint of our natural, hurtful urges is the only thing that keeps society going and this movie showed that well.

UDPATED (6/2 9:04 AM): Added spoiler tags. Sorry, RickJ. I knew both of those spoilers going in, so I thought everyone who really cared would as well, even if they hadn't seen it. Apologies.


Spoiler Tags!

I enjoy reading your blog.

it is thought provoking and uplifting.


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