First of all, if you go see the movie, make sure you stay through the end credits. After they all roll, there's a little easter egg at the end for people with patience.
Next up is the
IF YOU DON'T WANT TO READ ANY SPOILERS,
STOP READING NOW.
THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING.
I have avoided reading any of the press about this movie for fear of being spoiled. Also, I've avoided reading reviews of the movies, although the headlines one EW and CNN.com are mostly mixed.
As an X-Men comic fan (although I stopped collecting them after The Age of Apocalypse), I thought they did a good job. The story wasn't as good as it could have been, but they left lots of loose ends while wrapping up some of the major story arcs from the first two films.
This movie picks up pretty much where the last movie ended. Magneto and the Brotherhood of (Evil) Mutants are on the loose. Jean Grey is dead. Scott is in mourning.
We get to meet a couple of new characters including Calisto, Angel, Kitty Pryde, Juggernaut, Jamie Madrox (Multiple Man) and the only one to get any real screen time: Beast, played perfectly by Kelsey Grammer.
The jist of the story is that Warren Worthington II (Angel's father) has found a "cure" for the mutant gene. He is offering this to any mutants who don't want their powers any more. The key to the is is the character of Leech who is being held (against his will?) on Alcatraz in a lab.
With the news that the X-gene can be "cured" sets the mutant community on its ear. People like Magneto (and Storm) don't see themselves as being afflicted, so they recoil at the very mention of having their powers taken away.
Others, like Rogue and Beast, just want to be normal. Rogue (without the powers for super strength, invulnerability and flight that she has in the comic books), of course, can't touch another person without killing them. Hank McCoy would like to be rid of his beastial appearance. But is it worth it?
Without getting into the details of the movie, the story wraps up with some shockers for the X-Men fan community.
Let's start with the body count: Calisto. Marrow. Jean Grey. Scott Summers, Xavier. Yes, you heard that right.
Rogue, Mystique and Magneto have been stripped of their powers. Pyro is MIA. Leech was last seen with Kitty Pryde, but where is he now? Is the "cure" permanent?
We'll never know until X4 comes out (probably in another three years or so). I think that some of the people who ended up as part of the body count were left that way because they were under contract for only three movies. And even though they're dead, in the X-Universe, unless you see a body, that means nothing. And even then, characters can be brought back to life.
Plus, there are lots of other fan-favourite characters who could appear. The only character who is central to the X-Universe is Xavier, and given the way the movie ended, he could be played by someone other than Patrick Stewart (I'm telling you; stay until the end of the credits).
The general story was okay. This movie certainly won't win any Oscars, and would have been a lot better if Bryan Singer hadn't left the project to direct Superman. Marvel/20th Century Fox should seriously consider getting Kevin Smith, Chris Claremont or Peter David to write the next movie.
Visually, the movie is stunning. They went with the Weta Workshop for the effects (the same people who did Lord of the Rings) and it looks fantastic.
My biggest gripe in the film is that Angel, Kitty Pryde and Colossus don't really have a lot to do. They're there as window dressing and not much else. Also, where was Nightcrawler?
I think the movie made some bold character decisions (none of them irreversable) and they've left open lots of chances for sequels. Personally, I would have preferred a Dark Phoenix storyline with the Hellfire Club, but given that they had to wrap up the Magneto story arc, the way they did it was acceptable.
The next movie needs to feature a villain other than Magneto; Apocalypse would be my pick. Halle Berry has said she didn't want to do another sequel and that's okay. Wolverine is the overwhelming fan favourite character and Hugh Jackman could spend the next dozen years doing nothing more than playing Wolverine on screen and working on Broadway in his off-time (perhaps with Katharine McPhee).
Then take your pick of other characters to introduce: Gambit, Cannonball, Emma Frost, Cable, Bishop or [insert your favourite here].
I would like to see Kelsey Grammer come back as Beast and Colossus has a lot of potential. And bring back Nightcrawler!
Other than that, I hope you'll check this movie out. It's a lot of fun and not nearly as serious as The Da Vinci Code.
My score: 7 out of 10