Retro Review: X-Men Trilogy

Posted: May 27, 2014 by Micah in Movie Reviews
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Well hey internet and welcome to another day here on the high seas! Today we set a course here on the good ship Thoughts We—yeah I’m abandoning the ship thing. It was weird. And a terrible idea. Anyway with the recent release of X-men: Days of Future Past (no I haven’t seen it, shut up please.) It has been called to my attention that I have never actually reviewed the original trilogy (X-men, X2, and X-men: We Should Have Stopped at X2.) I have reviewed the other more recent entries as follows: Wolverine: Origins, The Wolverine, X-men: First Class.


"Trust a few, fear the rest." It's really a wonderful summary of the whole X-men franchise.

“Trust a few, fear the rest.” It’s really a wonderful summary of the whole X-men franchise.

The original X-men is one of the great early super-hero movies.  It and the original Spider-man started out this whole monstrous monstrosity of semi-sweet chocolate chips that is the Super-hero genre. X-men had a solid cast led by wonderful newcomer Hugh Jackmen as Wolverine and two distinctly awesome leaders of two distinctly interesting groups in Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart. It wasn’t just a great super-hero movie, it was a great ensemble super-hero movie and really X-men (and X2 which we will get to) were the only great ensemble super-hero movies until Avengers came along and everybody forgot about them. Granted, these days it’s a little dated and some of the supporting cast was less stellar then others (Cyclops who in this particular movie comes off as the smarmiest smarms ever to smarm, and Famke Jenson’s Jean Grey is almost criminally over-acted) on the whole X-men is still a great movie and it’s well worth the watching!!

I’m giving it a 3 out of 5  bearing in mind the time of its making and giving it some bonus points for originality.

X2: X-men United

Another great entry into the X-men Franchise (some would say the best) X2 built very nicely on the world created by the first movie giving it’s interesting characters (Wolverin, Magneto, and Professor  X) some great things to do on screen while also interesting Nightcrawlers awesome fighting abilities (and then never having him use them again.)X2’s story builds super well and that’s what really sets it apart from the first movie (which had a fairly straightforward one.) It does still have some of the same problems as the first one though: Cyclops and Jean continue to prance around and be heinously annoying, and the weird “high school friends gone bad” sub-plot between Iceman and Pyro is super annoying. On the whole though I suppose I would agree with the folks who say that this is probably the best of the X-men movies (though First Class gives it a great run.)

An accurate summation of X2's greatness could also just be "Wolverine goes nuts and murders a lot of people with claws" but that's somewhat less theatrical.

An accurate summation of X2’s greatness could also just be “Wolverine goes nuts and murders a lot of people with claws” but that’s somewhat less movie criticy.

I’m giving this one a 4 out of 5 cause if nothing else Cyclops spends a good portion of the movie mind-controlled and NOT TALKING so that’s nice.

(It’s also worth mentioning that this movie is where Halle Berry’s “Storm” character took a strong down turn. For some reason the movies never really seem to know what to do with Storm, to the point where her African accent from the movie gets inexplicably dropped in the second.)

And finally… and unfortunately…

X-men 3: The Last Stand

X2 was better than X one because the plot was intricate and it carefully and artfully introduced us to new characters while giving our familiar and well liked characters new places to go. So when they set out to make X3 they decided to introduce a ton of new characters for no reason and come up with a plot that was equal parts convoluted, confusing, and completely unbelievable (even for a movie about super-powered humans.) Characters we’d known since the first movie started doing super out of character things, new characters had all the depth and complexity of a dried pickled, and the final fight was so boring and strange that even Wolverine seemed bland and un-interested. The only positive to come out of this whole movie was that Cyclops and Jean died but Cyclops died off-screen and Jean spent the whole movie looking equal parts confused, bored, and blatantly, horribly, and incredibly over-the-top evil. If X-men and X2 were early examples of how to make a great ensemble movie then X3 was a prime early example of how not to do it. X3 (with a little help from Wolverin Origins) literally almost killed the franchise and it wasn’t till First Class and (to a lesser extent) The Wolverine that  we all started to believe that maybe the X-men could actually work.

X-men 3: definitive proof that there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing. Or in this case too much of a super mediocre thing.

X-men 3: definitive proof that there is such a thing as having too much of a good thing; or, in this case, to much of a super mediocre thing.

And all that brings us to X-Men: Days of Future Past a movie that once again tries to remind us why we care about all these super powered people fighting other vaguely super powered people/robots/stupid storylines. A movie that (I sincerely hope) Cyclops stays well away from.

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