We went out to see X-Men III today. Overall not bad, but not nearly as good as the first two were. I really think that the switch of directors from Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects, Apt Pupil, X-Men, X2) to Brett Ratner (Rush Hour, Rush Hour 2) was a big factor in this. A pity, because of how good the first two were, and the possibilities presented by the “cure” for the mutant gene (which ended up feeling more like a Macguffin only of use to set up the big battle scenes at the end, rather than the issue at the core of the film).
Had Singer been given the same script to work with, I think he’d have come up with a much more watchable movie — Ratner just tried to pack far too much into 90 minutes. Too many new characters to keep track of, and too much reliance on action over plot. While the big set pieces were quite well done and fun to watch, they also were too big, hard to track, and went on so long that “nifty!” soon gave way to “okay, can we go to something else now?” Occasional editing goofs went a long way to pulling you out of the film, too — apparently the sun goes down in seconds in San Francisco (or Magneto and his bunch stood on the end of the bridge admiring Alcatraz for a couple hours), as the bridge moving took place at sunset, and immediately afterwards it was dark night.
Still, it was fun, not bad for a summer action flick, and probably wouldn’t seem nearly as shoddy if the first two hadn’t set such a high bar for the series.
One last thing, though: while apparently I’m greatly in the minority here, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” wasn’t funny when it first appeared on the ‘net (I’ve never been able to get through more than about ten or fifteen seconds of the video before getting bored and turning it off), and it wasn’t funny in the movie. Rather, it was out of place, didn’t seem to fit, pulled me out of the movie (since I knew of the source), and suffers from the same problem that the Shrek movies suffer from (as good as they are): most pop-culture humor is only funny at a particular moment in time, and only if you ‘get’ or are a fan of the reference. A few years down the road, that line will just be another forgettable one-liner.