Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Follow-up on X-Men 3

So Robo-Pirate's comments on my mention of X-Men 3 pointed to the fact that I didn't full explain why I was displeased with the movie. There are a number of people who wrote insightful reviews so here are a few views on the topic...

"Ticked off times 3" from Feminist SF-The Blog!

X-Men 3, Post 1 from Written World

X-men 3 thoughts from Free Candy for Everyone

Immediate Reaction to X3, sans spoilers from Pretty, Fizzy Paradise

My main problem with the movie was the fact that Jean and Rogue both question their powers and their ability to control their powers while the most powerful male mutants seem to have no confidence problems. Then when Jean uses her powers she kills the people she loves. Rogue is so convinced that she has to have a man that she's willing to give up her powers to get that chance. Underlying message? Women and girls, if you are too powerful you will hurt people and be out of control. Neither Magneto nor Professor Xavier seem to have any fear or doubt about exercising their powers, even when people get hurt. When Jean is supposedly out of control and power mad she is actually following Magneto's orders. So if a woman gets too powerful she will become the pawn of evil? What kind of message is that? I want to see a woman get pissed off and just kill her enemies without going insane or getting so out of control that her friends die as well.

Having never read the Dark Phoenix Saga in the original comics I have no idea what I would think of it. I'm hoping that it's a much more interesting storyline.

8 comments:

Reel Fanatic said...

There were many crimes committed in Ratboy's atrocious movie, but I agree with you that the abuse of the Dark Phoenix, which he obviously didn't understand at all, was unforgivable .. it's just too bad that so many people who adored the first two movies wasted their money on this crap on toast

Amanda said...

I noticed the same thing and was utterly shocked. In addition to their powerlessness, Storm was made to look like a floofy airhead. Kitty Pryde got to use her powers, but in the comics she uses them offensively while in the movie it was basically defensively. (But maybe you've touched on these points somewhere else?) And this from a comic that has a history of actually casting powerful and confident female characters.

Romanticide said...

I thought at last Rogue was going to act kickass... and what do I get? A Rogue complaining all the movie and leaving in the important moment. Geez they have TWO oscar winners and they didn't tried to use their acting skills... pity, pity.
Also dark phoenix didn't do much than just get out of control in some moments. Phoenix was supposed to act conciusly and enjoying it not just "they are represing me" over and over again...

ingvild said...

The Dark Phoenix Saga really is much better in the comics. For one thing, Jean is actually in control until she looses it DUE to the meddling of a man. Pretty much the opposite of the movie.

Robo-Pirate said...

Yeah, I forgot to point out the big difference about Jean's loss of control between the movie and the comic. While I do agree that Rogue's abandonment of her powers for a boy is a dangerous message to send, her and Jean's powers are markedly different than say, Cyclops or Wolverine's in that the dangers of their powers can be switched on and off. As seen in the first film, Rogue's mutation forces her to avoid any intimacy, not to mention that it almost killed her. Within that context, I think that her decision to take the cure was defensible. Unfortunately, Ratner and the screenwriter couldn't be bothered to weave this subtlety into the third installment.

Ghost said...

I have to disagree. If these characters were portrayed poorly it's because of the seeds clearly sown in the first two films.

Jean is established as being unable to control her powers, and I think it's established in X3 that this is a *direct* result of Professor X tinkering with the mental circuits in her brain because he believed she couldn't handle the power (although, when he and Magneto find Jean, she seems more than adept at exhibiting control of her powers *without* Charles or Erik's intervention). If anything *that's* the reason Jean is out of control - because she wasn't allowed to handle her powers 'naturally'.

As for Rogue, again her progression is a result of what was established in the former films. And I don't find the desire to be physically touched something to do primarily with erotic love. That's a basic human drive. My objection to Rogue is that her spunky characterisation in the comics was watered-down from the outset - and that's entirely due to Singer's interpretation. As is/was his interpretation of Scott and Jean.

None of the groundwork has been made in the first two films to establish Scott and Jean's relationship - so it's no wonder Cyclops becomes ultimately redundant. He wasn't even developed in passing - and, it might be pointed out: he can't control his powers either! They have to be controlled for him (notably by Jean in their last scene together).

Many of the male characters' ethics are questioned in this entry of the series - which I found interesting. And I actually felt there was some relationship between the characters in this one, whereas in the first two the focus on Wolverine and Rogue (and to a lesser extent Magneto and Mystique) pretty much undermined everyone else.

Storm took on the helm as both team leader *and* headmistress. I found that pretty feminist. Storm also doesn't have any problems using her powers, or using them lethally. If I recall correctly, she was still struggling with them in the first film.

Mainly, my point is that it's a little harsh to blame the new director for the perceived 'faults' of the entry seeing as he can only take the train down the tracks mainly established by the first two films. And I hold Singer responsible for most of the weakening of the female characters.

Plus, it's clear that the nullification of Rogue, Magneto, and Mystique's powers is temporary - and a suppression of a natural expression at best. If anything X3 is more about what happens when a natural process is manipulated in an 'unnatural' way because of fear.

I liked X3 more than 1 and 2 mainly because there was more emotional interaction between the characters and everyone had something to do. If Rogue disappeared, I didn't miss her much primarily because the emphasis had been so heavily on her in the first two films.

Breena Ronan said...

I'm not disagreeing that the first two movies set up the problems, but it seemed to all come out in a very negative way in the third film. If ingvild is right that in the comics Jean looses control because a man is meddling, that's a very different message. I see Rogue's dilemma, and yet it's only a dilemma because of the way the story is set up. Other characters can turn their powers on and off, yet for some reason it is implied that Rogue can't learn to control her power.

Ghost said...

Some characters can't control their powers and that and the potential danger of that are what the mutant identity is about and what the last stand of the title was kind of for.

Angel, Beast, Rogue and Cyclops have uncontrollable powers. Cyclops' blasts are merely restrained by his goggles, Beast, Angel - and to a degree Mystique - have physical aspects to their powers that once manifested are permanent and in that respect they're uncontrollable (the scene where Beast sees his human hand while standing near Leech points this out).

So it's not just Rogue that can't control her powers, and she's still young - although she never does in the comics the film can be different. In the short term obvious, she loses her powers to be physically with Bobby, but I'm sure there's more to it than that. When her powers manifested she put someone in a coma - the risk of doing that to someone and having to be careful not to do something everyone else takes for granted, must be a heavy weight.

In the comics Jean is manipulated by a man, yes. But in the movie she is manipulated by a man too - (and by this I mean Charles - who rewires her mentally not to access all her power, not Magneto) so I don't see that there's that big a difference.

The reason she kills Charles is because of what he did to her. As for Cyclops we don't actually see what happens to him so that's open to debate.

Also I think the Kitty portrayed in the film is the younger Kitty of the comics so she hasn't been trained by the Hand yet and hence *will* use her powers defensively.