Wednesday, April 30, 2003

MiXed Feelings (Spoilers Ahead)

Caught X2's premiere last night with the gang, with tix courtesy of Dreamscapes gal Cams. When I arrived at the theater, the DJ hosts were still in the middle of their sponsor-friendly Trivia and Bring Me segments, so I settled beside Noel at the far end of the row. I was pleasantly surprised to see James of Culture Crash with the group.

To make the long story short, I would have appreciated the movie more if it devoted an extra 30 minutes for character exploration and interaction. There just wasn't enough of it. I'm not surprised why Halle Berry mentioned being iffy about reprising her role as Storm. The screenwriters could have taken the cue from all those great ensemble films (I heard Gosford Park was good) where everyone had the chance to shine and be remembered. As far as I'm concerned, people found appeal in the X-Men because of the characters, their personalities and principles and the way they interacted with each other.

Action wise, I expected a bit more in terms of length and intricacy. Everybody seemed to be running around all the time, either chasing or being chased. The Wolverine-Deathstrike duel was the obvious high point of the film. And the lengthy denouement was a bit too TV-movie for me.

I've seen two Bryan Singer films (Apt Pupil and The Usual Suspects) and I loved them both. In this Xmen sequel, you could see that he's been given a freer rein on things, even adding bits of sensuality here and there. Singer's films have this dark, foreboding atmosphere bordering on horror, and he sprinkles these mood spices in fair amounts. But again, because of too many things going on with too many characters, he should've demanded for more time to pace the film better. I really wouldn't mind seeing a two-and-a-half to three-hour X2.

But as an X-Men fan, I was satisfied and would actually see this film again. Pyro's move to the Brotherhood, the deep friendship between Storm and Nightcrawler, the tense Cyclops-Jean Grey-Wolverine triangle... it's a delightful fan-feast. Magneto's escape from his plastic prison was well-staged, too, and Mystique is so red-hot under all that blue skin.

But the best line in the movie would have to be, in my book, that of Bobby "Iceman" Drake's mom, "Have you tried not to be a mutant?"

Rating: 7 of 10

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