The Spoony One | Aug 11 2009 | more notation(s) | 

A Review by Noah Antwiler

I've always thought it amusing how perfectly the X-Men comic connects to the geeky adolescent subset in relation to their perceived alienation frοm a society that just doesn't understand the pressures of being a teen, just beginning to wrestle with the angst of responsibility and their own sexual confusion. Pressure frοm an unfeeling, discriminatory society forces these misfits together into a commune of like-minded individuals so they can rage against the religiously conservative machine as a team, vicariously through that primal slab of man-muscle known as Wolverine. Likewise, the X-Men series of movies is a thin but smart allegory for homosexual discrimination in regards to the issue of nature vs. choice ("Have you tried not being a mutant?" or "There's nothing to cure."), handled quite well by Bryan Singer. He managed to walk the tightrope and make a good pair of movies full of tight leather, super-brawlin', with just enough clever message whipped in to make me feel like he got the X-Men right. They weren't great, but when matched against The Punisher, Daredevil or (just shoot me) Elektra, you can really see how good the comic-book movie genre can be when given a smart script and an inspired director.

Unfortunately they got the guy who directed the Rush Hour movies. What do you say about Brett Ratner? He knows what he's doing. He's qualified. I can't say that he did a bad job. What I can say is that he did the exact same thing he did with Red Dragon: nothing. He did nothing remarkable, nothing that stands out, nothing that was particularly good or bad, nothing that most other directors wouldn't have done. It's all so standard, so mundane that he didn't even screw it up spectacularly. It's just nominal, which makes it the dud of the series. And the shame of it is, everyone knew it going into the movie frοm the time Ratner's name was announced as the director. Fans bought their tickets anyway-- we had to, didn't we?-- and pray that at least the series would go out with a bang. It did, but that bang came frοm Ratner shooting the series in the foot. Because really the only goal the movie accomplishes is to clear out the dead wood. Kill or retire the core characters so that any future sequels will feature fresher faces.

Note the 13" waistline, the uneven sword hilt and blade, the notion that somehow the woman in the background is larger than the one in the foreground. Oh, and the planetoid-sized boobs.
Fucking Liefeld.

But why? Why the loyalty to the X-Men? The comics were never that good. I doubt anyone picked up the comic because they really identified with the social issues; that was just the bullshit we spouted off to our moms to justify our weekly trip to the comic book store: it's not a waste of time, we're just getting cultured. We certainly didn't buy it for the gallery of teeth-grindingly bad artwork in the comics by such tossers as Rob Liefeld, a guy so untalented his idea of what a foot should look like is very similar to a gardening spade. No, I chalk it up to a bizarre demographic-wide man-crush on everyone's favorite angsty anti-hero, Wolverine. Hey, I'm guilty of it, too. I contributed to one of the fads that made Marvel Comics nearly unreadable for the better part of a decade, when you literally couldn't find a comic without Wolverine or The Punisher somewhere in it. It was a relatively brainless time for Marvel when all people wanted was truly vapid comics. Never mind the plot, we just want to see Logan get some killin' done.

It was perfectly acceptable to feel that way. For too long, the funny book industry was handcuffed by that awful comic-book code. I think at that time authors were just beginning to stretch their legs and see what they could get away with in terms of sex and violence, manifested in a pair of don't-give-a-shit badasses who'd kill you just as soon as talk to you. They drink, they smoke, they kill. And people liked it. A lot. Once it became popular to exploit murder machines like Weapon-X, you're bound to get a lot of mindless mayhem dominating the business for a long time, authors hammering on the overblown violence and injecting the characters anywhere they could like a 9-year-old who just learned a new swear word. Good times, really. Insipid stories and horrible artwork aside, there's still something about Logan, that proverbial unstoppable force and his too-sweet adamantium blades with their trademark "SNIKT" sound effect, a sound that anyone who ever made a street samurai character in Shadowrun imitated when he deployed his wrist blades. And if you made such a character, you did that all the fucking time.

If you ask me, I think the really real reason we all bought the X-Men comics wasn't just for Wolverine, it was in the vain hopes we'd finally see Logan cut Cyclops' balls off and wear his large intestine as a necktie.

I would have thought the X-Men stories to be almost unfilmable. To a certain extent they still are. You still haven't seen the trademark X-Villain Sentinel robots (probably never will), nor have we seen Galactus or properly-done enormous villains like The Blob or Juggernaut or Apocalypse for the simple reason that there aren't really any 16-foot-tall pro-wrestlers or sixty-storey robots around, nor are they particularly easy to animate as key antagonists in your movie. Yet Bryan Singer did an admirable job with the first two movies by scaling the characters' power levels down and focusing on a small (some would say not small enough) core group of X-Men and their most normal-looking of villains, Magneto. Most of the action focus is on Wolverine which honestly is the only character most fans really wanted to see fight anyway. It wasn't great, naturally; I didn't like how they relegated Wolverine's nemesis Sabretooth to mere lackey status and the action climax at the Statue of Liberty brought back such violent, terrible flashbacks of Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins that I had to be institutionalized for a week until my body started responding to my new upped-dosage.

X3 (so-called because X-Men 3 isn't punchy enough) is, to borrow one of my pro-wrestling terms, a clusterfuck of too many ideas and not enough focus. I can see why Bryan Singer ran frοm this script to go direct Superman Returns (aside frοm the obvious explanation that it's the chance to direct a fucking Superman movie), and I can certainly sympathize with Ratner who I think rather unfairly takes a lot of the blame for this movie, even if he is a hack. Let's face it: this script is a shit-nugget. Nobody could have saved this one without a complete re-write. You have to appreciate the magic act being performed in this story, trying to justify the departure of most of your principal characters while introducing a new group and not making it all look like you're desperately cleaning house to make for a smooth transition for X-Men 4. And you have to do all this in a 2-hour movie while orchestrating the epic blowoff to a feud with Magneto that's three movies in the making. Not an enviable scripting task and it would have taken a miracle to pull it off. Can you imagine trying to write a script to replace the entire bridge crew of the Enterprise without pissing off the entire fanbase? The closest anyone's ever come to pulling it off was Blade Trinity and most fans disavow all knowledge of that movie's existence.

The DVD I rented presents me with a choice: "Join the Brotherhood" or "Take a Stand," with a Nike Swoosh logo under it for the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and a big X-in-a-circle for the X-Men. Really it's just asking me "do you want your overblown, over-animated menu to be orange or blue?" I pick blue and am taken through a giant chrome machine's inner workings. I have no idea what it is or what it's supposed to do, but apparently it's a series of tubes with mysterious spiked metallic atoms swirling suspended in space doing...nothing. Well, glowing, I suppose. And making "whoooooooosh" noises as they spin around. Just what am I looking at here? I think this must be the Internet I've been hearing so much about. So that's how it works!

Dear GOD, what is wrong with his arm?!

After obsessing over this obscure DVD menu, I finally just jam the play button, unable to believe I haven't even passed the main menu and I'm already pissed-off. We begin in a cheery suburban (oxymoronic, I know) neighborhood and watch a sleek black Mercedes pull up. Out steps Professor Picard-- I mean, Professor Xavier along with a friendly subtitle that tells us that this is "twenty years ago." Aside frοm the walking part, Xavier looks pretty much the same as he did before, only loaded with Botox. Didn't this guy ever have hair? It's like when Marty went back to 1955 and saw Principal Strickland had always been bald. I bet he was one of those guys who refused to negotiate with male-pattern baldness. Soon as that hairline started to retreat, Professor X just figured "fuck it" and shaved the dome completely rather than screw around with hair transplants, Rogaine, and toupees. Only if I were Professor X, I would subtly implant a suggestion in everyone's mind that I did have hair, a full, lustrous mane of hockey hair that all the other X-Men would envy. And I'd cheat at Battleship.

Magneto gets out behind him, whining that he doesn't know why he has to come on these stupid meet-and-greets. Xavier gives him a playful "aw c'mon, you know you love getting out of the house" response and suddenly I'm picking up raging waves on my Gaydar between these two. I always new Magneto swung that way, but suddenly the complicated antagonistic relationship between him and Xavier is becoming shockingly clear. They had one of those "opposites attract" relationships that are destined to end messily. Xavier tells Magneto that he needs him here because the kid they're visiting today is special. Magneto asks why he doesn't just use his mental powers to force the child's parents to their way of thinking. It's hard enough for a gay couple to adopt a child as it is. Xavier says that's not how he rolls, because he doesn't want to abuse his power. Gandalf of all people should understand the consequences of wielding absolute power.

They go inside to meet Jean Grey, and the parents are very accommodating to let two strange men visit with their child alone, but frοm their attitude it's clear they think Jean is infected and probably wouldn't mind if they abducted her. Jean doesn't say anything, but Xavier catches her trying to take a peek inside Magneto's mind and tells her it's awfully rude to mind-scan people without permission. It can get you drummed right out of the Psi-Corps (boom, fired a Babylon 5 reference right across the bow!). "We're mutants, like you!" Xavier says.

Child Jean gives a smirk that, no joke, in two seconds flat becomes the best acting performance of the movie and tells me this girl is destined for greatness. "Yeah, I kinda doubt that," she patronizes, leaving the words "but it's kind of cute you'd put yourself on my level" unsaid. Outside she starts to levitate every car on the street eight feet above the ground and screws around with Stan Lee watering his lawn. Jean gives them a "choke on deez nuts" look while Magneto stares outside thinking 'That'd be a really cool trick to pull if I'm ever surrounded by cops while exiting a train station.'

Ten years ago now. We look up at a group of skyscrapers, part of the ConHugeCo Corporation. I would have marked out huge if they'd shown us Stark Enterprises. Inside we see a blond kid scrubbing furiously at something in the bathroom (relax...), obviously in great pain (I said relax!). His dad comes down the hallway and calls out for the kid to come out; he's been in there for an hour. What's he up to in there anyway? An hour? I don't know, dad. If he's spending an hour in the bathroom either he's really really bad at whatever he's up to, or really really good. Dad screams for him to open the door, so the kid starts hurriedly cleaning up the bloody patches of gauze and throwing some hand tools in a toolbox. Kinky...Dad finally boots in the door and finds his son in tears, apologizing for whatever he's been up to. He gets a gander at the open wounds on his back and moans "Oh no. Not you too!" I have to think that was the response he had prepared in case he really did find his son jerking off in the bathroom, because I can't imagine he's burst in on too many people sawing their own wings off in his office loo. Maybe he wasn't being that specific.

~/o Pu-ma-man: he flies like a moron! ~/o

The Subtitle of Fate takes us to an apocalyptic wasteland (insert Detroit joke here) in "the not too distant future" when Mike Nelson and his robot pals are, coincidentally, caught up in an endless chase. The place is a war zone, being hammered with laser fire and what few structures remain standing are being blasted into rubble. It sort of looks like the future as written by SKYNET. I'm also reminded of MST3K in the way that Storm is flying around the battlefield with her ass hanging back, legs and torso leaning way forward and very clearly bouncing around on wires instead of flying around on air currents or however she's really supposed to fly. It looks a lot like how Pumaman flies, which resembles a man being carried through the air by an unseen godlike hand gripping him firmly by the elastic of his underwear and carrying him in the most painful deific wedgie possible. I don't know what impact a wedgie has on a woman, but I'm guessing Halle Berry is getting her cootchie pinched something fierce. Depends on the undies, I guess...

The whole segment is your two-minute crash course on the X-Men's powers-- very transparently so. The movie takes a couple seconds to define each character by their major power and makes little effort beyond Storm and Wolverine to establish any kind of personality for them. The reason for this is that nobody else is in this movie. Oh, you'll see people walking around. And some of them might even have names and even do a few things, but they're not in the movie. The movie could not possibly have gotten character introductions done any faster. Six characters in about twelve seconds. Storm flies around, chucks a lightning bolt, can't act for shit. Check. Colossus turns to metal and is really strong. Check. Kitty Pryde is jailbait who can turn insubstantial. Check. Wolverine heals and claws things up. Iceman is a really good rapper. And Rogue does Jack Shit. No really, she's completely useless. Aside frοm being a parasite and a bigger danger to her own team than anyone else, she can't fly, she has no super-strength or any power to speak of. As such, she is the first character who is clearly Not In This Movie. Nightcrawler isn't here either, but he's not as obviously Not In This Movie. He's just not here. Rogue is there, only not.

Why did they even bring Rogue into the Danger Room? Under the best of circumstances, what could she possibly do to help? The only thing she's good for is a meat shield because the only thing she's going to do is get shot.

Missiles come raining down on Iceman, but he uses his Ice, Ice, Baby skills and destroys them with his slick moves. But one slips past his notice so Kitty clutches onto him and uses her power so that the missile passes harmlessly through them both. Rogue comes over a hill just in time to see her boyfriend in an embrace with an underage waif and gets a look that says "DIE, HARLOT!!" You might think this is headed to a really sexy Rogue/Shadowcat catfight (slashfics ahoy!) but deep down we all know that's never going to happen. Damn it.

Storm whines to Logan (Wolverine's name is Logan. I don't know how he knows that.) that they're getting mauled. Logan says he knows; they're not ready. Ready for Mechagodzilla to attack? No, I guess not. Wolverine gets tired of Storm's bitching and steps out in the open, thinking 'fuck this' and calling for Colossus. Storm crows out that they need to work as a team. What the hell do you think he's doing, Halle? He tells Colossus to bodily throw him towards the horrendously dangerous thing, so Colossus (Not In This Movie and with less dialogue than fucking Chewbacca) shrugs silently and does so. It's called the Fastball Special, Storm. I'm so stunned that one of the authors actually read the comics that I feel something resembling joy. Joy sickens me, for I am a black-hearted man who loathes happiness and so I kill the emotion with a shot of sweet, sweet booze.

The huge metal head of a Sentinel thuds into the frame, though we don't hear any of the rest of the robot hit the ground. Logan steps out frοm behind the head and says "Class dismissed" as the scene fades into a sterile blue steel-walled room much like a holodeck. Well, that was it, fanboys. You were hoping for Sentinels since the trailers leaked online and that's all they gave you. A throwaway sequence of a giant head in the Danger Room. Fucking Ratner.

I never understood how the Holodeck works. Why does nobody walk headlong into a wall? I guess you could argue with Trek that most Holodeck sessions take place in fairly enclosed spaces with clearly-defined boundaries (which is untrue, but you could argue it), but people were bouncing all over the place in the Danger Room. Ugh.

Doesn't this look like a formidable group of heroes to you?

Storm...storms out of the Danger Room, looking pissed. She asks Logan what the hell that was all about, and slow-pitches him a line for a dry smartassed retort. She bitches that he can't just change the rules! She's trying to teach them something! Pfft, Wolverine doesn't play by the rules! He's Wolverine! You think Maverick played by the rules in Top Gun? Hell no! And he was only the best pilot ever! Wolverine says he taught the kids something: don't listen to Storm. No! He says he taught them that the best defense is a good offense, and he's only a substitute so get off his back. Wolverine is substitute-teaching for Cyclops, who (himself still struggling with his obvious latent homosexuality and his disturbing collection of Backstreet Boys mp3s preset on his car stereo) has still never gotten over Jean Grey's death in the last movie and just isn't ready to talk to Logan about how he feels. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

And don't write me any prissy e-mails about how I'm bringing up the specter of homosexuality when this movie clearly makes issue of both race and sexuality through allegory. I'm just having some fun with it because if anyone in the X-Men is a closet homo, it's Scott Summers. You know he wants Logan's hairy man-meat in his ass so bad he can taste it.

I'm not sure what I meant when I wrote that last sentence. I think I had a colloquial collision. Sounds really filthy and anatomically impossible though.

Iceman chases Rogue through the halls because she's giving him the silent treatment and that deliberate fast-walk that says "I fucking dare you to follow me and ask me what's wrong so I can tear you a new asshole." Bobby, being a guy, is too dense to know exactly why she's mad and recognizes that he's about to open a can of PMS all over himself, but has to ask why she's upset or he'll never resolve anything. Rogue's mad about Kitty moving in on her turf, but she won't admit to that and says instead it's because she can't be intimate with him and not leech his life forces and turn him into a shriveled husk. This seems like a minor setback to me; Rogue can't boink Bobby without killing him because she doesn't know about the sort of dirty stores I like to shop at. I think with the creative application of some galoshes, a pack of Trojans and some body latex we can fix that for her, no problem! C'mon, you're telling me she can't even work out how to give a decent handjob? You have to get creative, people! I'm thinking bukkake! Oh I'd make Rogue into a dirty slut. Where did I put those slashfics, god damn it??

Iceman says "whoa whoa, pull the crazy train over," because he's never put any pressure on Rogue for manual release or anything, so what is she bitching about? Rogue sneers and says he's a guy, his mind's only on one thing. Well, true, but still not a good way to keep your boyfriend frοm pounding it up Kitty Pryde's ass like he's drilling for oil in her sigmoid colon. Bobby gets a priceless "the fuck just happened" look on his face as Rogue walks away.

Logan runs into Cyclops in the hallway and thanks him profusely for getting him stuck teaching Scott's class because he's off crying like a little bitch in his room. Cyclops isn't interested in their usual "lick my pucker, dick-rash" insult game and just leaves the mansion.

We go to the Department of Mutant Affairs building, presumably in Washington, D.C. where we find Beast (played by an oddly-cast Kelsey Grammar) reading a magazine while hanging upside-down frοm the ceiling. His secretary announces that they're ready for him in the meeting room, so he puts on a suit and heads into one of those classic government situation rooms you always see with maps, clocks and televisions on every wall where people sit around a really nice table and discuss how they're going to get rid of the giant Texas-sized asteroid headed to Earth, or how they're going to get rid of the giant Texas-sized alien spacecraft headed to Earth. Secretary Trask (played by the guy who was Mac in Predator-- you know, "I'm gonna have me some fun! I'm gonna have me some fun!") tells Beast that Magneto's been up to no good. They were tracking him for a while but lost him somewhere in Australia. But there is good news: they caught Mystique. Um, how?

For those of you who don't know who Mystique is, watch the first two fucking movies. Morons.

Oh all right. Mystique's real name-- real fakey name, that is-- is Raven Darkholme. She's basically a big blue hottie who has the power to change her shape into any person she wants, so long as she never, under any circumstances wears any pants. Actually I think in the comics she does wear clothes, but Bryan Singer in his infinite wisdom decided to paint Rebecca Romijn entirely in blue body latex and cover up her naughty bits with more makeup applications. This means she's effectively nude in almost every scene and probably freezing her tits off, but boy does it ever get me there. Rebecca Romijn was probably under a three-picture deal like most of the principal actors, so it's safe to say that Mystique is Not In This Movie.

"Must...cop feel...frοm hot...chick...before I die..."

An Anonymous White Politician tells Beast that they caught her impersonating none other than Secretary Trask himself while breaking into the FDA.

"Yes sir," Beast says. "She can do that."

Um, we know. He just said that's what she did, jackhole. I frigging know she can do that. Beast has doubts that any prison can hold her, but Trask says "O RLY?" He tells Beast that they have new prisons that are mobile, because that's how you keep mutants frοm escaping: you load them into an armored car that's easily tracked and hijacked, staffed with two guards. Yeah, those prisons are obsolete. We should just truck them around in big RVs and feed them at McDonald's. Did you guys really think about this? How are they going to go to the bathroom, you gonna pull over and let them pee in the bushes at gunpoint?

The feds interrogate Mystique ("Raven") as to Magneto's location, but she refuses to answer to her "slave name" and proceeds to beat the crud out of everyone in the room until she's pulled down by sheer numbers. I forgot to mention that aside frοm being a changeling, Mystique is also a ninja. Oh I feel good about this mobile prison idea. Can't go wrong.

They show Beast what Mystique was after in the FDA: a mutant named Leech, but we don't see anything more specific. Beast looks spooked. I would be, too; Leech is a rough nickname to be saddled with as a kid.

Meanwhile at the X-Mansion-- you'll notice almost everything in this movie used by the X-Men is prefaced with an X: X-Mansion, X-Jet, X-Bathroom, X-Television-- X-Xavier is giving an X-Lecture about the nature of power and the responsibilities borne by those who wield it. This couldn't possibly be relevant to a conflict that will crop up later in the film, could it? Naaaah! We find an X-Mutant waving her hand over her X-Notebook, instantly transcribing whatever Xavier says onto the X-Paper. Xavier asks for another one's assistance in switching on the television to illustrate an example. The kid blinks his eyes and the TV comes on. Wow, there's a set of useless powers: Dictation Girl and Remote Control Boy. Dictation Girl has the transcription skills of a hundred court recorders and the strength of a dozen administrative assistants! Remote Control Boy can access satellite porn and set Tivo timers with his very mind!!!

Wouldn't that just blow? You're a mutant, you got an activated X-gene-- the frigging bolt frοm Olympus that unlocks untold power. You've got the potential to wield the power of metal, to be able to lift a bus, to be immune to disease and injury, to shoot lasers frοm your eyes, and you got Super-Note-Taking? Thanks a pantload, Mom and Dad, not only did you curse me with mutant powers, you gave me powers that even the other mutants make fun of. I'm never going to fly on the X-Jet or get a cool uniform, not unless Galactus attacks Earth with huge murdering crossword puzzles and nobody can find a pen. All Remote Control Boy can do is annoy his neighbors and save on universal remotes. He's okay to have around during the football season, but not for fighting crime.

The TV shows Dr. Moira McTaggart giving a case study of a man born without any higher brain functions (President Bush?). His organs and nervous system work, but he has no consciousness to speak of (Kevin Federline?). Xavier asks them if it's ethical to transfer the mind of a father of four with terminal cancer into that man's body. This couldn't possibly be relevant to a conflict that will crop up later in the film, could it? Naaaah! Before anyone can answer, Xavier is interrupted by his psychic call-waiting, looking like Obi-Wan when the Empire blew up Alderaan. The skies become cloudy outside, so Xavier calls a halt to the class and wheels outside to ask Storm what the hell she's doing.

They've never been able to get Storm's hair quite right over the course of the movies because the character's appearance in the comics is among the hardest to translate to real life. In the first movie they tried the extremely-long shock-white hair and it ended up looking completely ridiculous. For the second it changed to a sickly yellowish peroxide-soaked look and they styled it to an off-the-shoulder Rachel-frοm-Friends look. The third attempt is a short Tina Turner look that looks the best, but if they'd put nearly as much effort into giving her something substantive to say that didn't make me want to pound her skull in with a tack hammer as they did on her wigs, maybe these movies would have turned out a lot better. Even Halle was demanding more screen time, partly because she feels her character is utterly extraneous and contributes nothing to the plot whatsoever, and mostly because she somehow stole an Oscar for Monster's Ball and has begun to believe her hype that she's some groundbreaking African American prophet who's finally broken the glass ceiling and allowed black women to be taken seriously as actresses at last. It doesn't help that she also happens to be one of the worst actresses working today and that when they did trust her with one of the two lines written by Joss Whedon that somehow made it into the first X-Men movie ("Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else.") she mauled it so badly that people in theaters nearly drowned frοm the tidal wave of vomit that issued forth simultaneously frοm the mouths of everyone who heard it. It was almost as bad as her performance in Swordfish. The only reason there weren't any fatalities there was because I was the only stupid son of a bitch in the world who paid to see it.

The many hairstyles of Storm.

Storm apologizes for whatever she's done and sets about clearing up the weather. This involves her looking vacant (easily done) and staring off in the distance while they CG some white mist around her eyes that looks like the fastest onset of glaucoma I've ever seen. She says she's bothered by the notion that the President understands mutant concerns and PR is generally up, yet they're still hiding out posing as students in the X-Villa. Meanwhile we can see another mutant child directing the flight path of a paper airplane with his mind. That's Origamo, the notorious X-Man who can turn any folded paper object into a deadly psychic weapon. Xavier calms her down and says he hasn't thought of her as a student in quite some time (yowza, even more sexual subtext!), and in fact he was hoping she might take his place as headmaster of the Academy some day. The trap doors for Halle Berry's and Patrick Stewart's characters are now established so if they don't sign on for another movie their absences are explained. They're easy for me to spot because I watched a lot of Babylon 5 and Spooks on BBC, both shows notorious for the artistry with which they dispose of core characters at the drop of a hat.

She asks why he's not asking Cyclops about this. Xavier chooses a more diplomatic answer than "Oh come on Storm, he's always been a douchebag," and says that he hasn't been the same since Jean died in the last movie. Remember that scene?

Okay, here's the setup: the X-Men park the X-Jet behind a dam in the dry lake bed of Alkali Lake in Alaska. They infiltrate an old military base to battle the nefarious Colonel Striker and rescue the Professor, but the battle between a brainwashed Cyclops and Jean Grey damages the sensitive equipment and puts a breach in the dam. They make their escape to the X-Jet, only to find that the damn thing won't start for no adequately explained reason. The dam bursts, threatening to flood the dry lake and crush the jet beneath tons of water. Jean sneaks out of the jet and uses her telekinesis to hold the water at bay while simultaneously lifting the plane into the air and out of danger. Why she couldn't have done this frοm inside the jet, or why she felt the need to levitate the jet like Yoda when it probably would have been much easier to bring everyone outside and float them over to shore is not made clear. Heck, Nightcrawler could have bamfed most of them to safety in a hurry. Anyway, Jean takes a swim and is presumed dead.

Storm figures out pretty fast that there's something Xavier's not telling them. He's being rather foreboding and speaking in riddles like Gandalf used to. Xavier doesn't have the heart to tell her that mentor characters almost never survive beyond the second act and he's way past his life expectancy already.

They find Beast waiting for them in the study. He greets them with a hearty "Charles! Ororo!" Storm's real name is Ororo, the kind of name her parents should have re-thought. Nobody can say "Ororo" and not look like a complete dork. "Ororo" sounds like my car in the winter when it the engine won't roll over. They ask Beast what Magneto is up to this time, and I'm guessing it has something to do with lifting lots of big metal things. Beast says he's not here about Magneto, but tells them how they managed to capture Mystique (she can change shape, you know). Wolverine comes in to snark at the only guy on the planet hairier than him. Xavier starts to introduce them, but Beast is quick on the uptake and figures out who the Canadian dipshit with the shish kabob hands is. "I hear you're quite an animal," he says.

I had an adverse reaction to tanning lotion like this.

"Look who's talkin'" Logan fires back. Walked right into that one, Hank. Talk about opening the door.

Beast goes on to explain that Magneto isn't the problem. Well he is, but not Problem Numero Uno. That would be the fact that a major pharmaceutical company has made a drug that suppresses the mutant X-gene permanently and they're going to market it as a cure. This sounds like the kind of dick thing Tony Stark would do, the way the shitty Marvel Comics authors are writing the Civil War storyline right now. Anyway, Storm predictably rails against the very idea of a cure, saying they were born mutants and there's nothing to cure. Enter the homosexual subtext. Now close your notebooks and write 1,000 words on nature vs. nurture in the context of human sexuality.

Cut to Alcatraz Island, where a company called Worthington Labs has taken over the prison and turned it into a medial research facility. This would never happen because the whole island is a National Historic Landmark. Even if you could build a medical lab on Alcatraz, would you really want to? Think of the extreme inconvenience to remodel the facility and to transit supplies and personnel there. You can't just order pizza and have them deliver it to Alcatraz. Anyway, the stodgy white guy in charge of the lab, Warren Worthington II blabs on about "this former prison becoming the birthplace of mutant freedom" and all that jazz.

Storm thinks it's cowardly for anyone to actually want this so-called "cure." Beast tells her to shut the hell up because nobody knows about mutant persecution better than a 400-lbs. ape who sheds blue fur on the couch. Must be real hard having Halle Berry's body and the ability to smite her enemies with lightning. I weep for her misfortune, believe me. As further proof that Storm needs to shut her yap, Rogue comes in tittering like a moron about the cure and asking if they'd like her to bring back a syringe or two for themselves. Rogue's powers suck and she needs cock. Hell, I'd drive her to the clinic myself.

Elsewhere, some John Carradine-looking guy with a shrunken apple head is holding a mutant rally at a church, giving them a speech very similar to the kind Arnold Rimmer on Red Dwarf gave when a voracious polymorph was loose on the ship and sucked out his bitterness, making him a complete puss. "We need to form a committee and fill out petitions and bring them to our duly-elected representatives! We need to trust in our established system of civic government. The real question is what we're going to call ourselves. I suggest the League Against Bias & Injustice Arresting Mutants' & Abberants' Journey to Order, Reason, and Amity. One slight drawback: the abbreviation is LABIA MAJORA."

The guy continues about how everything will work out; they just need to educate the public about how mutants aren't dangerous and how they're people just like everyone else. Nobody's buying it, though. They can see the handwriting on the bathroom wall and they know they're about to get fucked by the government. John Carradine-head says the cure is completely voluntary and nobody's going to force it on anybody. Magneto finally stands up and is all, "Uh huh, tell that to the NAZIS!" Nobody knows what the hell he's talking about, but nobody wants to side with the Nazis so most people immediately agree to join Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. Actually in the comics it's the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants, but it's hard to make your cause sound noble when you have the word "evil" in your name.

Anyway, a couple of mutants whose names we never discover follow Magneto in an attempt to see what he's made of. The Asian guy makes fun of Magneto's cape (and you never make fun of a guy with the balls to wear a cape in public) until Pyro tells him to back off, flashing his custom wrist-mounted grill-lighter in the guy's face. The woman says if Magneto's so tough, where's his tattoo? She indicates a pathetic snakelike tattoo on her chest. Maggie rolls up his sleeve to show him the tattoo he got at a concentration camp and says "I got a tattoo frοm the NAZIS!" Everyone backs down because that's fucking hardcore. Pyro steps in and hammers the point home, "Do you know who you're talkin' to? Betta reccanize!"

The Asian guy answers by deploying zillions of little porcupine spikes all over his face, and doesn't that make Mr. Flamethrower just quake in his boots. No, it really doesn't. Magneto doesn't look very impressed with Pinhead either, so he asks the woman what she can do. She answers by zooming around the room faster than the eye can see and saying that's just a part of what she can do. She says that none of the other mutants in here are above a Class 3-- whatever the hell that means. Magneto realizes she can sense mutants and tell what their powers are and thinks that's veeeeerrrrry interesting.

Cut to some highway. We got a great big convoy truckin' through the night, including an armored big rig being accompanied by a mighty motorcade of police cars. A guard strolls the back of the truck, which has been converted to a prisoner container. The prisoner at the end of the "hall" demands to be released, claiming he's the President of the United States. The guard tells Mystique to shut her piehole or he'll fill it with pepper spray. If I was Mystique I'd go on really bizarre crime sprees masquerading as Ben Affleck, just to get him in trouble for animal sodomy and hijacking trucks full of tampons. Weird stuff, y'know?

Back at AlcaLabz, Beast steps off a helicopter to meet this mysterious mutant who is the source for the cure. The doctor explains that they put the labs on Alcatraz Island because it's the safest location they could find. Nuh uh! The North Pole is way safer! Or the Moon! Beast finds the mutant, a kid named Leech playing videogames in his cell. He greets Leech and finds that when he gets close to the kid his hand reverts frοm being hairy and blue to fleshy and pink. When he steps away, his hand sprouts blue fur again. That's so stupid I had to take a moment to pound myself in the face with the DVD case until the world started making sense again. Beast tells Leech he has an amazing gift, sort of like a walking anti-mutant shield or one of those ysalamiri animals that can repel the Force! Let's strap him to a pole and use him to fight Magneto!

Cyclops motors over to Alkali Lake in Canada after stopping a Tim Horton's for a quick sammich. He follows some weird psychic impulse he's getting frοm Jean Grey which gets louder as he reaches the shore of the lake. As the voice gets louder he clutches at his head and starts to whine to the point where I think little wussy boy is about to cry. Finally it gets so painful that he whips off his Ray-Bans and optic blasts the Jesus out of the lake, like that'll solve anything. A huge vortex appears in the water and suddenly a shockwave issues out of it, knocking Scott on his ass. Jean emerges frοm an aura of light with a completely different hairstyle that's been dyed a hilarious shade of Bozo clown wig red.

"How??" Cyclops stammers, meaning "How did your hair become so stupid-looking when all you did was sit at the bottom of that lake all year?"

"I'm the Phoenix, LOL!" she replies, and they share a loving embrace. She tells Scott she wants to see his eyes (before she kills him), but he resists, thinking if he did that he'll melt her face off for sure. Jean says it's all right, she can control it. He opens his eyes and obliterates her into a pile of ash and red mist. Kidding! Jean manages to suppress the death rays and they kiss, only once they do, Jean's skin blotches up and her eyes darken to black. Scott's high-pitched girly scream of anguish can be heard all the way at the X-Mansion, and Xavier tells them they'd better haul it to Alkali Lake to scoop up what's left of Cyclops in a Ziploc baggie.

Storm and Logan land the X-Jet near the lake and find the place enshrouded in fog. Small stones and droplets of water are floating aimlessly through the air, and all Logan manages to find of Cyclops is his sunglasses. That's right, not only did Cyclops have maybe 2 minutes of screen time in this movie, he got killed off-camera. I don't really have a problem with it. I frigging hate Cyclops. I guess my only complaint is that I would have rather seen him suffer. Storm finds Jean knocked out on the shore so they take her back to the mansion for a thorough probing.

I actually hate this cartoon.
You have no idea.

Xavier speculates that since the sheer amount of water that crashed down on Jean should have obliterated her, she must have somehow wrapped herself in a cocoon of telekinetic energy for safety. And then she wrapped herself in a telekinetic hair salon and got a really bad telekinetic dye-job. Logan is dubious but Xavier says Jean is the only "Class 5" mutant he's ever seen (again, whatever) with nearly limitless power. He reveals to Logan that her mutation lies in her subconscious mind, so to control it he constructed a series of psychic barriers to blunt her powers, but this suppression created a dormant dual personality, a creature of primal instinct and desire known as...QUAGMIRE!

Actually it calls itself the Phoenix. Miss Jackson if you're nasty. Xavier says he's working furiously to restore the mental blocks and "cage the beast" which prompts Logan to spout off a classic quote, "You know sometimes when you cage the beast, the beast gets angry." And sometimes the beasts refuse to mate in captivity, what's your point? Logan tells Xavier that hobbling her psychic powers without her permission was a real dick thing to do, but Xavier says that he had to choose the lesser of two evils and the last person he needs to justify his actions to is Edward Scissorhands.

There's a protest in front of the corporate headquarters of Worthington Labs where mutants are split down the middle. There's a reporter positioned in front of a police cordon with protesters behind her bearing signs that read "NO CURE" and "NO TO THE CURE." Some want the cure, others are offended by the very idea of it. Still others are normal people simply protesting the band known as The Cure. I'm not a big fan myself. Stodgy White Guy is up in his office looking down at the crowds when they bring his son in, the guy who has angel wings. He decides it's best for public relations if they start the curing process with him, so they strap him to a table and begin to administer the dosage. Do you really need the arm and leg restraints for a willing subject? Angel catches a glimpse of the big scary needle and wrestles internally with the issue for a little bit. He decides that being able to fly is way cooler than not being able to fly and demonstrates this by jumping out the window. Keep reachin' for those stars!

Oh, by the way? Angel? Not In This Movie. I know we just saw him, and I know they tried to involve him in a subplot but I don't think they were serious.

Back at the Great Big Convoy, we get the moment you knew was inevitable: the moment the supposedly impregnable, undetectable elite mutant mobile prison gets utterly crushed. Magneto simply stands in the middle of the highway and crumples the escort vehicles like Dixie cups. What I find funny is that Magneto disposes of the police by giving them a jaunty Nazi salute in a gesture too ironic for his character to be intentional. I'm probably just inferring meaning where there is none. Pyro and Maggie spring Mystique and draft the other prisoners into the Brotherhood too. One of them is an unnamed fellow who has the power to divide himself into clones and merge them back together. I'm told this is Multiple Man, but I don't care because he's really Not In This Movie. All Magneto says is "I could use a man of your talents," and Multy gives a chipper "I'm in!"

Heil Hitler!

The other cell contains Juggernaut, a character so badly-designed and costumed in this movie that Vinnie Jones' career may never recover. He's one of those "unfilmable" characters I mentioned, because in the comics he's built like a sixteen-foot brick shithouse. And I don't care what this movie says, Juggernaut is not a mutant. He's Charles Xavier's half-brother and he gets his powers frοm his soulbound Crimson Gem of Cyttorak which makes him super-strong, nearly invulnerable, and gives him irresistible momentum. He only wears the helmet because of his weakness to telepathic powers. The guy could go toe-to-toe with the Incredible Hulk! Ugh. Okay, I'm finished geeking out. His helmet still looks frigging stupid.

Magneto pulls Juggie out of his restraints, but while he's doing that one of the guards awakens and takes a shot at Magneto with a pistol. Mystique dives in front of the weapon to shield him and gets stuck with some kind of weaponized syringe full of the mutant cure. She collapses and turns into a hawt nude human chick. Magneto looks down at her and says that they really should see other people. "You're not one of us anymore." Way to kill off a fan favorite character and wipe out all potential interest in a sequel, guys. This seems to me like an awfully cheap way to generate hate for Magneto, doesn't it?. Never mind that Mystique still has plenty of uses as a human agent (she can go places where mutants can't), let's just take it down to the most shallow level, shall we? You're leaving behind a nude Rebecca Romijn!! I mean come on! I bet even gay dudes get half a stock thinking of her nekkid. I know Magneto is a driven fanatical individual, but that's all the more reason he should have helped her out. She's a martyr for the mutant cause, hit with a weaponized cure against her will. That's something that would rally the entire mutant community behind his banner and he's ignoring it? At any rate, Mystique has now officially been trap-doored out of the movie franchise. Told you she Wasn't In This Movie.

Beast hears about the attack and goes to the White House to resign his post as Secretary of Mutant Affairs because of his anger over the weaponized cure. Was Beast part of the order of succession for the presidency, or does that require an act of Congress?

Wolverine stays with Jean in the X-Sick Bay. These movies never can seem to get out of this room, can they? Jean has some kind of Star Trekky face mask on with little flickering lights that indicate it's doing some kind of high-tech stuff to really stabilize the crap out of her neurons. He reaches out to stroke her cheek and she lashes out to grab his wrist in a bone-crunching grip. She realizes where she is and starts disengaging herself frοm the medical monitors. She catches Logan checking her out (like you wouldn't) but actually seems into being objectified for a change. She sits up and proceeds to jump Logan's bones, hardcore! They throw down right on the gurney, dry-humping, groping, clawing, and I'm really hating Hugh Jackman right now. Oh you lucky son of a bitch! He gets paid to grope Famke Janssen, can you believe that?

Jean rakes some deep lacerations into Logan's back and arms, but Wolvie's all "YEAAAAAAH BABY time to unleash my Weapon-Sex!!" They're about to do some serious feral shagging when Logan catches a glimpse of Jean's face warping and distorting into the Phoenix (as if I'd care at this point) and pulls back. Jean whips off his belt with her mind. That really freaks him out. Logan, I'm telling you now for the sake of all of us at home: TAP THAT ASS!! But noooooo, Logan has to ruin the mood and backs away frοm her. Damn it. Back to my slashfics...

Logan somehow pulls a very intelligent and pertinent question out of his mind. THE question, really, and I'm amazed he was able to do it; at this point I'd have a boner so huge there wouldn't be enough blood left for my brain to remember my own name. "Where's Scott?" Damn good question, that.

Jean's expression slips, as if she can't remember. The Phoenix persona drops away and Jean starts to freak out at the sight of Scott's sunglasses. She has a psychic spazz fit. Logan tries to get her to focus, but all she manages to do is beg him to kill her before she hurts anyone else. Kill me too, while you're at it. This movie sucks balls. Logan refuses, saying the Professor can help. Too late, though, Phoenix regains control and telekinetically bitch-slaps Logan halfway through a steel wall.

Elsewhere, Magneto is taking my advice and using the "cure pistol" as a rallying symbol for the mutant liberation cause. I think the movie wants us to believe that they're holed up in some kind of cave, yet the set design is horrendous. The walls and ceiling look like a wireframe structure covered in gray butcher's paper meant to simulate a cave wall but it looks too cheap to be on a junior high stage production of The Tempest. And who installed the metal stairs? This is just inexcusable for a movie with this kind of budget.

Storm and Xavier find Logan knocked out in the X-Sick Bay. Oh good, another scene in the lab. The movies were needing another talky scene in a stainless steel room. Xavier wheels in and snarls out "What have you done??" Um, nothing? She started it! She came on to him first! It was totally consensual! "I warned you!!" he continues. Look, Captain Baldo, he didn't fucking do anything. They go off to Jean's childhood home, oddly choosing the X-Infiniti frοm the garage. How did they fit Xavier's motorized wheelchair in the backseat? Maybe they folded him up and stuffed him in the trunk. They run into Magneto & Gang just arriving at the same time. Maggie raises the flag of truce and they go inside without their respective lackeys to talk to Jean. Only Jean's not much in the mood to listen to any more of Xavier's "for your own good" B.S. especially with Magneto standing around making snarky comments the whole time. He begs her to accept his help because she's a danger to herself and others. After all, she killed Scott!

Play-Doh Face! Open your mouth real wide! It looks funny!

Eesh, bad move mentioning Scott. That sends her into a frenzy and causes her to unleash a psychic shitstorm all over the neighborhood. Xavier and Phoenix are locked in psychic combat-- and Brett Ratner's idea of psychic combat is extreme close-ups of Patrick Stewart's face being plastered back by vacuum exhaust. Like this:

Logan decides he's done enough waiting around jerking off outside once all hell breaks loose and charges the house. Juggernaut is more than eager to accept the challenge and proceeds to kick Wolverine's fuzzy ass all over the neighborhood. You'll notice that Wolverine gets completely dominated by almost every villain in all three movies. You'd think for being an ageless murder machine with infinite regenerative powers he'd be a better fighter. Watch the first movie again; Logan gets crushed for the better part of a half an hour by Sabretooth and Mystique.

That leaves Storm to deal with the other three Morlocks (I looked it up, that's what they're called). One of them is the Speedy Chick, the other is Porcupine Head, and there's another guy (girl?) who looks like Prince. Storm flies into the air and tornadoes her way into the mob. Porcupine Head makes his head all spiky, for all the good it does him. Storm windmill punches the lot of them, knocking all but Speedy Chick out instantly. They rumble around someone's living room for a while as Xavier is clearly losing his mental war with the Phoenix. Gravity goes wonky and everything starts to fall upwards. The house detaches frοm its foundations and floats high in the air. Logan's fight is broken up as they're both pinned helplessly to the ceiling and can only watch as Xavier says "don't let it control you" before he explodes. Eeeeew. Someone get a squeegee.

The house crashes back to the ground, ejecting Storm and Wolverine onto the front lawn. Magneto picks himself up, looking like he needs a change of underwear and escorts Jean off to Brotherhood HQ. Logan and Storm run into the room too late, finding only Xavier's wheelchair (which held up amazingly well considering the damage the rest of the house suffered). Xavier really got blasted there. There isn't even any X-Residue on the walls. I mean he's gone. He's an X-Man. This would have been a good scene for Halle Berry to show us why she's an Oscar-winning actress, but she left her talent in her other pants. So I hear.

Maybe she brings it in the funeral scene.

Nope! Instead we have to suffer through a badly-read eulogy for two minutes while Halle tries to work up some legit tears and comes up with zilch. The Storm character (whose powers include controlling the weather and winning Oscars on absolutely zero talent) has always been the albatross around this series' neck. Kitty seems to be taking it especially hard, so Iceman comes to her room for a visit. She mentions missing home and skating back at home, so Bobby takes her out, freezes the fountain, and ice skates with her for a while. Oh, this guy is good. This guy is really good. A gesture this unbelievably smooth and romantic guarantees that he'll get into her panties anytime he feels like it.

Rogue is watching all of this frοm an upstairs window. She doesn't even look angry anymore. She knows she's screwed this up. This is one relationship that really could have been salvaged with immense amounts of hardcore, barely-legal porno and those weird sex aids you can't send in the mail. I'm just saying. I'm no Dr. Phil or anything, but Dr. Phil is a stupid fat fuck anyway, so who are you gonna trust?

His name is Prince, and he is funky.

Rogue seems to come up with a way to make Bobby like her, and that's to go to the city and take the mutant cure. That solves the pressing nookie problem, sure, but it doesn't really seem like she's thought this one through all the way. If she loses her powers (useless though they may be) it doesn't give her much excuse to hang around the X-Men anymore. Logan catches her sneaking out and tells her as much, but Rogue says that she wants to be able to touch people. "A hug, a handshake, a kiss," she drones on and on. Yeah yeah, a rimjob, a Cleveland Steamer, a rowdy titty-fuck, I know what you want, you dirty slut. Just admit to Wolverine that you're getting the cure because you crave cock. It's basically written on your forehead next to that stupid shock of white hair you got: "NEEDS DICK BADLY." Wolverine is unable or unwilling to toss Rogue a pity-jump because he's still hung up on Jean, so she leaves the mansion to officially drop out of the movie. He just tells her she should really be sure about what she's about to do. You're giving up the leather outfits, the stealth jet rides, the chance to rassle supervillains because you want to ride Bobby cowgirl-style? Grow up.

Magneto has set up a hippie enclave somewhere in Canada. He goes up to Jean and starts working his Rasputin routine on her, saying Xavier was always holding her back, calling her a goddess, the next stage in evolution, all that stuff to butter her ass-crack up real good so she'll blow stuff up for him. He shows her the cure gun and floats it around saying he can do things to metal, but she can do anything to, well, anything. Phoenix agrees and disassembles the gun, floating the cure syringes menacingly towards him. Maggie's really regretting that he let her have a loaded gun and nearly pees all over himself begging her to stop it. She relents and drops the needles away frοm him, giving him a "let's just remember who the alpha bitch is around here" look. Magneto says he's not trying to tell her what to do, so here's what she needs to do: the government is going to force the cure on all mutants, so basically she needs to kill all his enemies so she can be free. It's all for her benefit, y'see? Amazingly, Jean seems okay with this. She went to all this effort to make it clear she's nobody's lapdog, then she backs down almost instantly.

Magneto goes to check on the rest of the camp while Speedy Girl, Prince and Pyro fall into step behind him. None of them are happy that Jean has become such a big part of this plan, partly because her powers are unstable and mostly because nobody can trust her as far as they could throw the Blob. After all, she was an X-Woman. Magneto looks at Pyro and says "yeah well, so were you, asshat." Pyro looks wounded and says he'd have lit Xavier up like a Roman candle if he'd given the word. Magneto turns Pyro around, no longer amused and now wearing his "get this straight, sunshine" expression. He tells Pyro he's a stupid cunt and that Xavier did more for mutant rights than anyone will ever know. And they fought against the NAZIS!! Except without the stupid cunt part. And the Nazi part. I just made that up.

Back at the X-Mansion, the people who Are In This Movie are clustered around the X-Library having some X-Coffee and watching the X-TV. Iceman wonders what will become of the school. Beast thinks that maybe since Xavier's dead, the Academy should die with him. Maybe they could turn this place into a barber college or something. Angel comes in the room and asks if it's still okay for people who Aren't In This Movie to hang out here. They look at each other uncertainly until Storm stands up, Halle's face desperately trying to look determined and inspired but getting zilch. You can almost hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic in the background as she gives a valiant hoo-rah speech about how the Academy will endure as a place of safety for all mutants who Aren't In This Movie.

Bobby goes to check on Rogue, but of course her room is empty. He asks Colossus (walking down the hall with a big-screen TV under his arm) if he's seen her. Colossus politely explains "Sorry, I'm Not In This Movie," and goes off to look beefy somewhere. Logan visits Xavier's grave and gets bombarded with a sudden telepathic impulse frοm Jean that knocks him stupid. It doesn't take long. Logan packs his stuff (that doesn't take long either) and heads out to find her until Storm gets in his way and tells him to stop being so pussy-whipped; Jean made her choice to be an evil demigod. But Logan's nuts are firmly in Jean's grip and he doesn't have much of a choice anymore. Storm reminds him they're a team, "so if you're with us, be with us." Wolverine decides not to be with them.

Bobby goes off to Washington to stop Rogue frοm going under the needle, but he can't find her amidst the protesting mutants and the muties in line for the injection. Wouldn't it be funny if Rogue just decided she didn't really want the cure and decided to get a boob-job instead? "Rogue! You don't need to do th-- holy shit, are those D-cups?" He runs into Pyro who proceeds to bust his balls about how his girlfriend is lame (she is). Bobby ices his fist up in rage. Pyro asks him where he plans to stick it, but Vanilla Ice decides he's not going to get into a flamewar with Pyro with so many innocent people around. Pyro shrugs and torches the clinic instead.

I guess Rogue's mutant power is the ability to bore large audiences to death.

Magneto sends a tape to the news immediately following the attack claiming responsibility for it and many more to come. He says as long as the cure exists, mutants will not be safe, so if you don't want to get nuked don't hang out near any free clinics. He invites all mutants to join his team, and for those who don't, stay out of his way. Oh, and all your base are belong to us. Ha ha ha.

The President is all "oh no he di'int!" He orders the military to seize the labs, fully outfitted with cure weaponry. We cut to a scene of troops deploying in a warehouse while R. Lee Ermey commands them in his usual "HOLY DOGSHIT" command voice to turn in everything metal they've got and collect their plastic weapons. Then Ermey goes down the line asking each man if he sucks dicks and demanding to see their "war face." AAAAAGGGGH! This whole plastic-weapon thing is such a good idea I wonder why nobody thought of it a lot sooner. Magneto has been public enemy #1 for a long time.

We see Rogue joining the line for the cure. Yeah. Very sad. Piss off. If she had ever been useful to the group, ever, I might have cared.

Wolverine is busy stalking the forests looking for Jean. He smells something on the wind, clenches his fists to deploy his scissorhands, and boom! His jacket vanishes between edits! There one second, gone the next! Good one, Brett!

Logan moves forward a bit but gets nailed in the shoulder by some kind of thrown spike. A mutant emerges frοm the woods, and I'll be darned, it's Boner! The guy who can throw spikey bones out of his arms. Boner is some stiff competition and keeps the pressure high and tight, thrusting hard at Wolverine. Other mutants join the fight, including a guy with a shotgun named 12-Gaugeo and a guy with an aluminum baseball bat named Big League Chew-- his mutant power is the ability to swallow bubblegum without getting sick. But Logan, being invulnerable, easily dispatches the other lesser mutants and goes head to head with Boner. They come together hard, plunging their rigid shafts into each other until Boner falls limp, completely spent frοm the ordeal.

Logan continues on to the hippie enclave. Magneto is up on stage whipping his army into a frenzy with his Khrushchev speechifying-- the usual "we will bury them" type stuff. Jean looks utterly bored with the proceedings and wanders off, so Logan follows her into the woods to speak with her alone. He doesn't really get any quality time with her, though; Magneto throws him up against a tree. "I know the smell of your adamantium frοm a mile away," he grins, hardly believing that Logan would be stupid enough to come all this way alone. If you're getting the feeling of deja vu, it's not just you; Magneto and Wolvie have had this same conversation at least once in every movie so far. It's getting a little redundant.

Wolverine is completely helpless with his metal-laced bones held rigid by a magnetic field. "I didn't come here to fight," he grunts. No shit. He obviously came here to be dribbled like a basketball until his brains leak out his ears. Magneto doesn't really know why Logan's so upset. Jean's here because she wants to be. Logan growls that he's not leaving here without her. Magneto chucks his silly ass halfway across the country. Um, yeah. Guy who can manipulate all metal says no. Did you get that memo? It's called compromise, Logan. Look into it.

Later, the President goes to his high-tech war room where Trask tells him they have satellite imagine ready for Magneto's secret base. Apparently Mystique turned States' evidence and gave up the coordinates. The giant TV on the wall shows a cool thermographic image of the base with all the people in the camp glowing brightly. This couldn't possibly be Multiple Man used as a decoy. People stand around perfectly motionless in the middle of the freezing cold Canadian forests at 3 AM all the time. The President orders the attack to continue, so a group of special forces dudes moves into position. "Set for 360-degree incursion!" says the pointman. Great idea! Move in frοm all angles so we'll kill each other!

Ray Liotta IS Multiple Man!

"We are green to go!" says the pointman. Green to go? The fuck does that mean? Just say you're ready. Or "we have a green light" or "condition green" or "good to go." Green to go-- kiss my ass. You just made that up to sound cool.

Anyway, the troops move in. All of the people in the camp evaporate immediately until only Multiple Man remains, who surrenders on the spot. Brilliant, guys. The one highly-dangerous mutant that you managed to capture and put in your mobile prisons, one of the three guys you know Magneto freed, the guy you have a complete dossier on, and you're completely unprepared for this eventuality? And here I was complimenting the government on coming up with an effective plan to fight him. Then they pull something like this. I really hope Magneto wins. I hate the frigging X-Men.

Logan goes back to the X-Mansion to get some backup and finds most of them are quite willing to go and kick some ass. It's about time something happened in this movie. The X-Men assemble beneath the mansion and it's Wolverine, Storm, Iceman, Colossus, and... Kitty Pryde? The X-Roster reads like a list of the X-Men Irregulars. The first time we see them all assembled, they seem like benchwarmers. Wolverine and Storm are the only veterans left. Iceman still doesn't look like he belongs on the front line. Then there's Colossus, who's managed to utter a net total of maybe 2 lines in both movies he's been in. Beast has little reason to stay with the group. Isn't it sad when the best replacement brought up to the majors is Kitty Pryde? I've never had much respect for Shadowcat. The power to become insubstantial is cool, but it alone does not a kickass hero make. All it does is allow her to heckle people with impunity and spy on people in the bathroom (how I envy that). They've never demonstrated her super-smarts or the magic dragon familiar she has in the comic, so all we're looking at is a 70 lbs. girl who looks about thirteen years old, max. You can't tell me that she's been put in the regular batting order. These guys are gonna get creamed.

Logan gives them a brooding hero inspiration speech. Iceman looks like he's about to cry and Kitty looks like she's regretting signing on for this whole "war" thing. Logan proclaims the team ready, but Storm tells him not to be a pussy when it's time to shiv Phoenix. Colossus Isn't In This Movie, but takes a seat anyway. Maybe Ratner will write a line for him later.

Magneto leads his army onto the Golden Gate Bridge and dramatically rips it frοm its moorings, floating the whole damn thing to bridge California and Alcatraz Island. Never mind that the actual Golden Gate Bridge isn't really long enough to reach Alcatraz; I suppose I have to grant a little leeway for comic book physics. But what I do find funny is that once Magneto moves the bridge to float menacingly about thirty yards over the island he utters a badass one-liner about how "Charles always wanted to build bridges" and then drops the bridge straight down! It crashes into the island at a free-fall! Wouldn't that have injured just about all of his fellow mutants standing on the bridge? And what about the dramatic entrance, eh? Oh, he could have loaded everyone into a few Volkswagens and just floated them over to Alcatraz, but Magneto demands the grand operatic visual!

Dark Bozo is NOT amused!

Oh, and the scene goes frοm mid-afternoon to full nightfall in a split-second. Good continuity there, Brett.

I also wonder why, if Magneto is intent on destroying the prison, why he feels it necessary to move a bridge and attack it with raw manpower. If he has the power to manipulate metal, couldn't he just crush the prison with his mind? Or maybe steal a bomb and drop it on the prison? It would be insultingly simple for him to sneak onto the island with his powers. And he's got Dark Phoenix standing right next to him, a mutant we're told who has unlimited powers. Couldn't she destroy Alcatraz a hundred ways without even leaving the comfort of her own home? Could it be because this movie is over-plotted and forgot about Phoenix entirely? Or could it be because Phoenix, like so many other mutants got lost in the shuffle and Is Not In This Movie?

Anyway, Magneto and his crew perch up on a ridge and send their army of anonymous lackeys over to attack. The Brotherhood attacks with vigor, but Magneto stops Juggernaut and his elites frοm going. "In chess, the pawns go first," he says. The army troopers deploy their plastic weapons to Magneto's shock and start mowing down the Brotherhood with cure weapons by the dozens. They even deploy these cool missile launchers that detonate in mid-air deploying anti-personnel syringes in a spray effect. Magneto shrugs as his first wave is decimated. "That's why the pawns go first," he sighs. This explanation never really flew with me. I know he's supposed to be the bad guy, but the idea is that he's really not supposed to be. He's the only one whose motivation, frοm beginning to end, is loyalty to the mutant cause. While I might believe that he would consider expending a few as acceptable losses, his blasé attitude towards their mass-destruction is a crass Seinfeldian "that's a shame." He considers every mutant precious, a "god among insects," and he's perfectly happy to send them into a meat grinder when he could probably tear the whole prison apart himself?

Magneto tells Prince to use his shockwaves to destroy their syringe launchers, so he gets funky on the Army and destroys the initial defending force with his hip moves. Now they know what it sounds like when doves cry, eh? The X-Men land on the roof of the lab. Magneto and Phoenix do jack to stop it. Oh they could both crush it like a soda can, but I guess that would be too easy. The X-Men assemble in the front courtyard and rally the army troopers, who respond by peppering them mercilessly with about a million cure syringes. Just kidding. The army guys listen to everything Wolverine says.

I'm surprised at how well they do, considering their relative inexperience and how under-powered they all are. Wolverine usually gets annihilated in stand-up fights, and it looks like this isn't Frasier's first rodeo either. Even Kitty manages to represent, thug-style. Imagine the shame at being dominated physically by a pre-teen girl. It doesn't seem like the Brotherhood has any mutants even close to being useful other than Prince and Speedy Chick. Porcupine Head doesn't do much other than snarl at people and suck lightning. Magneto sends Juggernaut into the lab to kill Leech, and there's nobody that can really stop him. Beast brings this to everyone's attention, and the person who volunteers to kick his ass is...Shadowcat? Really? Hell I'd break off frοm whatever I was doing just to watch that one.

Vinnie Jones IS Bullet-Head Tony. C'mon, that's a Snatch reference. Anyone?

Kitty jumps Jugs frοm behind and uses her power to bury him waist-deep in the ground. Cute trick.

"Don't you know who I am?" Jugs gawks at her. "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" An Internet meme is born. It's even more corny when you realize it's a meme imitating a meme frοm the "Rick James, bitch" era, a meme so annoying that it is actually legal in the continental United States to kill any man who utters that Dave Chappelle line in public.

Anyway, Juggernaut breaks out of the ground and chases Kitty through the lab, walls be damned. She manages to give him the slip with a trademark Bugs Bunny trick, but he's not fooled for long. Elsewhere, Porcupine Head Man, Prince and some purple-haired chick I'm told is supposed to be Psylocke corner Stodgy Old White Guy and take him away. Porcupine Head kills the other doctor with a spiky hug. Your powers suck, bro. You can only kill someone if you hug them. And you're hell on your wardrobe, filling all your clothes with millions of little holes.

Kitty phases through the wall and finds Leech hiding in his room. I'd laugh my ass off if Kitty's powers stopped working halfway through the wall and she died immediately. Juggernaut plows through the wall and charges her, knocking himself out cold against the wall. Dumbass. You got beat by Kitty Pryde. You will never live this down.

Beast and Wolverine are cleaning house, while Storm is still embroiled in her neverending catfight with Speedy Chick. Storm, the boys have gone through about sixty other mutants in the time it's taken you to dispose of one. Pick up the slack, you silly bitch. Finally she manages to throw her into chain link fence and electrocutes the crap out of her with a lightning bolt. Could have saved yourself a lot of trouble if you'd just done that to begin with, lady.

Magneto realizes gee, maybe I ought to be helping my invasion. He's only the second most-powerful mutant in the fight. Oh, and I nearly forgot, the most powerful mutant in the world is standing right next to you, and she's not doing a goddamn thing!! The fuck are you waiting for, Jean, a signed invitation? Magneto starts chucking cars into the fray, set alight by Pyro for added effect. Wolverine gets a little sick of flaming Buicks raining down on him and tells Iceman to jam his boot up Pyro's ass. He asks Storm for some cover, so she conjures up some fog to shroud the action. Maybe he should have told Storm to pummel the fuck out of Magneto and Jean with bolts of lightning until all that's left of their carcasses is a scorched hemisphere of broken glass. But fog is good too.

"You never could beat me, Egg Shen."

Pyro and Iceman are stuck in the middle of a classic DragonballZ Kamehameha Blast fight, where they're both throwing their strongest beams of energy and making little ground. Sort of like Lo Pan and Egg Shen in Big Trouble in Little China. Pyro starts to win the contest, pinning Iceman down beneath a torrent of flames. Bobby turns his body to ice (fucking finally) and jacks Pyro in the head. KTFO. Now when are we going to see him surfing around on those cool walkways made of ice?

The Morlocks drop Stodgy Old White Guy off the roof, but he's saved frοm a certain hip replacement by Angel. Way to revolve that subplot, guys. Almost made me believe these characters were actually in the movie. And if you listen real close, you can hear the audience not giving a shit.

Colossus loads Wolverine up for another Fastball Special aimed right at Magneto's head, but once again Magneto is hardly intimidated by a beefy Canadian with a metal skeleton. He drops Logan right on his face and taunts him about how he just never learns. Beast jumps Magneto frοm behind while he's gloating and jacks him in the chest with four cure syringes. Oof. That's hardcore, guys. You could have just brained him or something. Seems an awfully drastic measure for the X-Men to take. Still, it's good to see Wolverine finally work out a decent plan. (Continuity note: look for the syringes in his chest to change position between shots.) Magneto collapses onto the ground, rolling over to look at Phoenix as if to say "Are you ever gonna help out here?"

The Army arrives just in time to fill the air with needles and that's exactly the sort of thing necessary to piss Phoenix off. She starts doing her Carrie impression, killing everything in sight with lots of the fire and the burning and the death. Big CG drum-solo time, you know what I'm saying? Lots of bombastic God Choir music, lots of particle effects, people blowing up, whole armies being obliterated. The X-Men manage to evacuate while Logan tries one last desperate attempt to talk her down. Logan fights through the waves of the fire and the burning and the death and gets close enough to feed her a line about being willing to die for her, loving her, all that. It's a good thing none of the other guys were around to her Logan say that. You know his reputation would never recover. But the ploy works and he manages to melt her heart long enough to ram six foot-long spikes into it.

Shadowcat sez:
"Go ahead, make my day."

And everything works out happily ever-after. Rogue goes back to the X-Mansion after receiving the cure, where Bobby more than likely tells her she's managed to get rid of the only thing that made her at all remarkable, so now she's banging Kitty sloppy every night until they can barely walk. The put a tombstone up for Cyclops, something that must make people smile every time they pass by. Beast is named ambassador to the United Nations, and Wolverine doesn't seem at all troubled that he just shanked his girlfriend in the chest. Everything's hunky-dory, right?


The X-Men's only real motivation was to save Jean, but this put them directly opposite Magneto and on the side of the intolerant, fascist government. It sort of seems like the X-Men have become sell-outs by the end, unwilling to fight for their right to party as Magneto. Further, the movie expects us to believe that mutant-human relations have somehow improved after the Alcatraz massacre. Hundreds of soldiers were killed! Civilians were disintegrated or burned to death in the telekinetically-hurled flaming husks of their cars. Suddenly the government adopts mutant-friendly policies and appoints Beast as a foreign ambassador. I guess now that the X-Men have shown that they're willing to side with their oppressors, they've promoted their position slightly to favored house negroes. Despite all the lame twist endings, the characters coming and going, all the fanboy in me really cared about was that this will hopefully be the last X-Men movie, and that whoever gets Wolverine won't screw it up. I got a thing for Wolverine.

Not that there's anything wrong with that.

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