Sunday, July 02, 2006

Axed Men Three: Superman's Screwed Us Over

For those of you who haven't grasped the meaning of the heading, its that Bryan Singer's exodus has deflated the franchise entirely. What was first comic-afficianado-caviar, and then a decently enjoyable action flick, has degenerated into a cheesy, schmaltzy, hormone-overloaded embarrassment - to Marvel comics, 20th Century Fox and most importantly Stewart and McKellen. It was quite a shame to see two artistes of such legendary stature thrown together in this soppy saga, with only special effects to go for it. Brett Ratner, get adamantium claws shoved up your black hole. And screenplay writers, lets disintegrate you guys telekinetically while we're at it too.

So lets get the story in. At the end of X2, a psycho general had tried to destroy all mutants with an evil telepathic thingie from the lab. To provide a three-quarter twist, Magneto rewired it to kill all humans. Our heroes saved the day, at the cost of Jean Grey who was left at the business end of a super sized water wave from the evil adda's cave in. Having taken the hint, the government has appointed a Secretary of Mutant Affairs. Enter Kelsey Grammar as Dr. Henry McCoy aka Beast. Suit-boot main aa gaya Kelsey with a penchant for hanging upside down. He's called in to look up a major breakthrough - a company has come up with a serum, derived from an angelic bald uber-innocent Chosen-One-type kid's DNA, that suppresses mutation. For ever. They call it a cure.

Predictably, our heroes get all worked up. Mutation isn't a disease. It is preposterous to call it "a cure". We don't want to be cured. There's superhero careers at stake. I mean, Star Trek: TNG and Frasier are over, and Van Helsing was a flop. And what of our Indian compadres? They've just finished getting an additional 50% reservation for themselves at IIT and IIM. [Hysterical thought: What if one were SC/ST?OBC and a girl, and a Mutant at that? I mean, career possibilities are awe-inspiring. Imagine Mandal-X, with all these dudes fighting it over for reservations...]

Back to the story. So everyone's in a tizzy. This mutant girl Rogue who sucks people's energies out upon physical contact is thinking abt it cuz she sees her boyfriend Bobby aka Iceman up for grabs - she can't give him what other girls can (She's specifically jealous of this other mutant, Kitty aka Shadowcat who passes through solid objects unconsciously. (I dont see why. I mean, imagine the sex. "Was that good for you? Was what good for me?")) Meanwhile, the lead lover-boy Cyclops is still heartbroken over his girlfriend's (Jean Grey) death, and spends all his time crying. Then, funnily, he hears her voice in his head.

This is where X3 decides to emulate Scream 3, with it's rules for a trilogy concluding chapter. The rules laid down were roughly as follows:
  1. "You've got a villain who’s gonna be super human. Stabbing and shooting him won’t work, basically in the third one, you gotta cryogenically freeze, decapitate, or blow up."
  2. "Anyone, including the main character, can die."
  3. "The past will come back to bite you...Whatever you think you know about the past, forget it. The past is not at rest, any sins you think were committed in the past are about to break out and destroy you."
  4. "Never, ever under any circumstances go running off by yourself
  5. The body count for a trilogy is always massive, even more than the sequel
Cyclops breaks rule no.4, and rushes off to where she died, to meet her alive, see her levitate stuff, look into her eyes, kiss one of those long vampire-soul-sucker kisses and meet the fate reserved for the sceenwriter. Our undead Jean Grey sends psychic waves that summon the others. They pick her up as she says "Kill me quick, or I'll hurt more people" (Yeah right!!) and Professor X does the once-over on her psyche.

Rule 3 kicks in. Turns out Jean wasn't as in control as we thought. She was awesomely powerful, and her psychic abilities were emotion-linked (If she only knewwww the Pphaoower of the Dark Side). So, to control her, the Prof psy-locked the bulk of her energy, and that apparently split her personality into this intense Carrie-type character (I'm not sure that wasn't the inspiration for this whole piss-up of a story). Anyways, the near-death has awakened the Dark Side, so as he tells Wolverine, Handle with Care. But our hero being the now solo male adult, and so hairy to boot, he awakens her, kisses her, lasts a little longer than his predecessor, and gets Yoda-slammed into the wall.

In the meantime, Magneto's back, and re-organized his gang. Mystique has been forcibly cured, so in her place he's now got a tattoed super-fast girl who senses mutant powers, a dude who replicates in a Naruto-meets-Agent Smith-fashion, a dude who shoots fire (very ala Sasuke's "Katon: Gokakyu no Jutsu")and Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, a mutant with super strength, invulnerability and a reservoir of soccer-hooligan-chutzpah - the things mutants turn into these days!!. He hears of our Evil Gray, and tracks her down, simultaneous to the X-Men. A fight follows, while Professor X tries to mentally control Evil Gray. Rule 2 kicks in, and the Professor gets disintegrated. NNOOOOOO!!! Magneto, now with Jean Grey (or Phoenix, as she calls herself) raises a second mutant army, and plans to destroy the cure Labs (on Alcatraz) with the kid to boot. He lands in SF, bends the bridge around, and crash lands there. A guerilla war ensues, and the body count rises, in accordance with rule no. 5

The X Men then save the day, with Kelsey Grammar doing this whole animal combat thing (A counselling speech would have been more lethal), Storm hitting out with Sidious-esque finger-lightning bolts, Iceman iceing his way about, and the Shadowcat using nimble brains and colourful language to beat Vinnie Jones. The climax is when Phoenix wakes up again, and now starts disintegrating everything. I mean everything - buildings, guns, ocean, people, mutants, hell even the screen doesn't seem safe. Our hero the Wolverine, lands in near her, counters mutant disintegration as he struggles, and nearing her, delivers a mortal wound by saying "I'd die... for YOU!!!!". This, delivered from a rapidly disintegrating Hugh Jackman, is predictably killing. Phoenix is stunned. Our hero kisses her and stabs her at the same time, obeying rule no. 1, and bringing a dramatic, if pretentious end to the whole thing.

The President is overjoyed, Beast is now UN Ambassador, the X Men Academy is formally recognized and given Harvard accreditation, Storm is Principal, Professor X, Jean and Cyclops are buried side-by-side, and I imagine Arjun Singh gets his Mutant Reservation bill passed by an even more overwhelming majority than his OBC quota bill. The Rogue girl is cured, and can now kiss safely, some dude who's son's a winged mutant is now proud of him, and the only unhappy person is Magneto, who's struggling to levitate metal chess pieces. In a desperate attempt to salvage the franchise by leaving the possibility for a quadro-thingie, a piece vibrates a bit. Credits roll......

All in all: Watch it if you've ten year old's to entertain on a day when Ponnuswamy's is closed. No othr reason whatsoever exists to put 80 bucks per head into Rupert Murdoch's pocket for this. And as mentioned before, shove metal claws up Ratner if you meet him.