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Home Blog Features X-Menathon - Live Blog
X-Menathon - Live Blog Print E-mail
Written by Ivan Radford   
Sunday, 29 May 2011 18:03

With X-Men: First Class fast approaching, fanboys across the internet are drooling like crazy. Mostly over January Jones' breasts.

It's no surprise compared to the quality of breasts on show in X-Men 3: The Last Stand. But before people start saying Matthew Vaughn's prequel is as good as Bryan Singer's first two X-Men movies, it's probably worth taking eight hours of your life to re-watch them all to get a sense of perspective.

But what if you don't have the highly-evolved stamina to make it through Brett Ratner's ballsed-up sequel? Well, this X-Men marathon live blog should sort you out.

Four X-Men movies, one evening, no special powers. This is the X-Menathon. Mag-neato!



X-Men (2000)


00:01 This DVD menu is terrible. It looks more like Futurama than X-Men.


00:30 "Evolution. It is the key to our existence..." Patrick Stewart has one sexy voice hole.


02:39 There's nowt like a Nazi concentration camp to get those blockbuster audiences in the mood. Poor ickle Erik losing his parents. That's the kind of parental separation anxiety that makes a kid grow up to become a crazy metal-bending psycho. Mark my words.


04:47 And now we're straight across to Rogue's Mississippi bedroom. Ah, Anna Paquin. Her accent is ridiculous, honking stuff. But she's awesome, so it's fine. No wonder that boy wants to kiss her.


05:39 No! Don't kiss her!


05:49 He kissed her.


05:52 Idiot.


05:54 He's like totally dead now. Probably shouldn't have touched her.


06:11 Absorbing a teenager's life force through an innocent little kiss? That's the kind of traumatising physical contact that makes a girl run away and meet a psychotic loner with knives in his hands. Mark my words.


07:05 "What is it that the mutant community has to hide?" So says Senator Kelly, king of political subtext.


07:30 "There are even mutants who can read our minds..." he says, as the camera pans up to reveal a shiny bald head, standing out in the shadows. Of course! It's Patrick Stewart







08:30 If Professor X and Magneto get on so well, it's a wonder they didn't just arrange to attend this meeting together. Would've saved on the petrol. Do mutants use petrol?


09:00 By the way, it really shouldn't be forgotten that this was the first comic book movie to be made and started off the whole craze. Yes, it was even before Spider-Man. Two years before. And it's better. I love X-Men. And X-Men 2 as well. More on that later.


09:35 And now Rogue's climbing out of a truck in the middle of nowhere (otherwise known as Canada). Why would anyone go there? Because of reasons, obviously.


10:32 He's only been on screen 10 seconds and Hugh Jackman has already taken his top off.



10:43 PHWOAR. Just thought I'd get that out there from the start. If I'm still saying it after X-Men: Origins - Wolverine, then fine, you've got me: I'm obsessed with Hugh Jackman.


13:28 One man on either side, his arms stretched out, claws extended. It's at this point that I wish Wolverine would do a little song and dance. Hugh Jackman would love that.


16:38 "When they come out, does it... hurt?" "Every time." 


16:56 "What kind of a name is Rogue?" "What kind of a name is Wolverine?" David Hayter's dialogue is excellent. There's a reason why this man exists. And that definitely wasn't to write The Scorpion King. Or Watchmen.


18:29 And now we meet Sabretooth, here played by former professional wrestler Tyler Mane. And his eyebrows.



20:21 First hints of Michael Kamen's score. It really bugs me that he doesn't use the cartoon's theme. But it's Michael Kamen, so I forgive him.


20:50 IT'S DARTH MAUL. But you know, not the whole of Darth Maul. Just the weird face-painted body part. With bonus froggy tongue. Sexy.


Ray Park: King of Make-Up (after Ron Perlman)


21:46 Jean Grey has Hugh Jackman strapped to a table and is examining his body. I am instantly jealous. She makes a syringe float through the air towards her. What is this, lazy hour?


22:34 Logan (sorry, Wolverine - sorry, Hugh Jackman) gets out of bed and runs around the brilliant set design that is Professor X's school/castle/posh person's playboy mansion. Note: he runs. None of that lazy mutant crap for him.


24:40 And now we finally get on to the plot stuff. Not that I'm complaining mind - the pacing on this film is near perfect. "I'd like you to meet Aurora Munroe. Also called Storm. Because Aurora sounds like a ho."


24:54 "I don't need medical assistance," growls Wolverine. "Of course..." whispers Professor X. When he said that line, he sounded exactly like James McAvoy. Maybe.


25:02 "What's a Magneto?" "A very powerful mutant, who believes a war is brewing between humans and mutants..." Isn't that the same basic set-up as in X-Men: First Class? Set 40 years ago?


26:00 "What do they call you? Wheels?" Again, nicely self-aware dialogue.


27:48 It's hard to believe that Keanu Reeves, Russell Crowe and Dougray Scott were all possible contenders for/interested in playing Wolverine at one point. Dougray could probably have pulled it off, but he's no Hugh Jackman.




28:10 It falls to Professor X to bring us the Star Wars Line of the Day: "Believing humans would never accept him, he became angry and vengeful. He became... Magneto." *cough* DARTH VADER *cough*


28:15 Again, that's pretty much the main set-up established by X-Men: First Class. It's hard to understand what exactly Professor X and Magneto have been doing for 40 years if they're still in the same stalemate. Other than making out, obviously.


32:00 Blah blah blah, back story. Blah blah blah, turning people into mutants.


33:23 Aww, Rogue has made a new friend at school. He's a boy. He's called Bobby. He can do stuff with ice (hence his rubbish mutant name "Iceman"). But unbeknown to Rogue and the other X-Men, Bobby has another special power. He used to be in a TV series called Animorphs, based on these books about kids who could transform into animals. I didn't used to read Animorphs when I was a kid. Honest.


35:02 So you remember how Fanke Janssen was Xenia in GoldenEye? Yeah, she's hot.


36:06 James Marsden is a dick. Or at least, he's really good at playing a dick. Same difference.


38:02 While other films have bad dream sequences as a form of plot exposition, followed by a character waking up looking grumpy, X-Men uses a bad dream for plot exposition, but then follows it up with Wolverine waking up and stabbing Rogue through the heart. Now THAT'S how you write a screenplay.


39:52 You know that as soon as they started work on X-Men, someone said "We have to get Magneto to build a bridge in mid-air while he's walking along it." That person was good at their job.


40:02 Senator Kelly has been turned into a mutant. He has been transmutated, or mutantified. Or Mutant-morphed. Or something.


42:34 Mystique is now pretending to be Bobby. Goodness knows why, when she could just pretend to be Jennifer Lawrence. "The students are freaked!" Mystique lies to Rogue. I love how she totally speaks the teen lingo. Innit, bruv.


45:37 I love how the X-Men logo is subtly placed around the film.

46:13 Now it's time for Hunt The Rogue - everyone's favourite party game. Amazingly, Wolverine walks right up to Rogue on the train, picking the correct carriage and the correct seat. There's no possible way he could know that. Cheater.


47:04 It's wonderful that they have to show Mystique's blue face every time she switches between people. Just in case we're too dumb to understand the idea of shape-shifting. On the plus side, it does leave to some incredibly sexy juxtapositions:



49:02 It's almost as sexy as Bobby back in his Animorph days.



Again, I didn't used to read Animorphs. Honest.


50:22 And in the film's first big set piece, a train gets torn in half, a station has its roof blown off and cars get thrown all over the place. But it feels surprisingly low-key and believable - a massive achievement for a comic book movie. Especially when you put it next to something like Green Lantern.


51:40 To top it all off, a bullet gets frozen by Magneto couple of millimetres away from a man's brain. Exciting.


52:50 Throughout this action sequence, Toad does nothing. Oh no, he used his tongue to steal Cyclops glasses. That's the only useful thing he does for the whole movie. What's his super power? A long tongue? Please. He's like the X-Men equivalent of Jigglypuff.




53:32 The guy who plays the cop with the bullet against his forehead is making a noise that sounds a lot like a constipated giraffe. It's amazing. They must have asked him to make that noise in casting too.



55:26 "His helmet was somehow designed to stop my telepathy..." says Professor X, shocked at an invention that he was almost certainly aware of in X-Men: First Class. Good old exposition. Unless he really did forget about it over the last 40 years. Then again, it's big, shiny and red. It's hard not to miss it.


58:02 For the record, the idea of using Rogue to power Magneto's machine and turn everyone into mutants is a great little twist. Rogue's power really is amazing. Stealing another mutant's abilities? It's like Sylar from Heroes. Except without chopping their heads open.


1:00:03 What happened after Sylar sliced their skulls open, by the way? How did he steal their powers? Did he use a straw? 


1:01:10 Oh no! The bad black gooey stuff that Mystique put in Cerebro made Professor X's head go bad! You can't help but wonder why they didn't just sabotage the machine years ago if they could get into Professor X's underground lair so easily.


1:04:12 It's confusing as heck and is completely pointless, but this is perhaps the greatest coffee table ever invented. Judi Dench's M is crapping herself right now.



1:06:20 "You actually go out in these costumes?" "What would you prefer, yellow spandex?" Somewhere in America, a geek just did a little wee in his pants.


1:06:44 A basketball bounces in the playground, before dropping down underground just as the court opens up to reveal the plane's launch pad underneath. Professor X watched way too much Thunderbirds when he was a kid.


1:07:12 Ok, it still REALLY bugs me that Michael Kamen never uses the full X-Men theme tune, because he is clearly aware of its existence.


X-Men Theme (Cartoon)


X-Men Theme (Movie)


1:08:14 Ok, wait a minute. Stop right there.


1:08:23 If Mystique can transform into an inanimate object - even a model of the Statue of Liberty - why doesn't she spend the whole film doing that? She could disguise herself as a tasty blue sandwich and choke people to death from the inside. Or something. That better be the plot for X-Men: Origins - Mystique


1:08:25 This part still confuses the heck out of me. Why is Toad dancing? I have no idea, but he seems very happy about it.



1:11:12 And then we get the truly awesome fight between Wolverine and, erm, Wolverine. Honestly, this Wolverine-Mystique showdown is one hell of a climax, and there's still that other really cool fight to happen too.


1:12:23 But here comes my favourite part of the whole film. "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's struck by lightning?" asks Halle Berry. I THINK SHE'S TELLING A JOKE.


1:12:30 Dramatic pause for comic effect.


1:12:41 "The same thing that happens to everything else."


1:12:44 *tumbleweed*


1:12:51 Amazing. I think Halle Berry's wig did more acting in that scene than she did.



1:13:30 While I quite enjoy seeing Jigglypuff get electrocuted, I feel a bit sorry for Ray Park. He dies in this, he died as Darth Maul in Phantom Menace (lightsabred in half), and he died as a ninja in GI Joe: The Rise of Cobra. At least, I think he died. One of the ninjas definitely did. Actually, I don't care. I hope they all died in that film.


1:13:40 "It's me." "Prove it." "You're a dick." "Ok."



1:14:20 There's nothing like Ian McKellen floating down from the sky into a hollowed-out metal chamber to get your evening going.


1:15:04 "A bolt of lightning into a huge copper conductor? I thought you lived in a school..." McKellen is having one hell of a ball with this part.


1:15:55 In fact, without X-Men, you wonder if would ever have had McKellen as Gandalf. This was his first big role slumming it in a mainstream blockbuster. Amazingly, he's never lost his credibility. Not even after Coronation Street and The Da Vinci Code. Let's not talk about The Prisoner remake.


1:18:17 Yes, Wolverine and Sabretooth are fighting on top of the Statue of Liberty. I repeat: they're fighting on top of the Statue of Liberty.


1:19:39 Oh no, Halle Berry's got out the white contact lenses again. "Hang on to something..." she says. She hasn't got any better at this acting lark. Even her contact lenses have more charisma.


1:22:21 "Take the shot!" "No, wait..." It's nice to know that Cyclops took 5 minutes to pick a safe shot to fire at Magneto - only to end up shooting at the guy's back, which had clearly been in plain sight the whole time. What a dick.


1:24:10 Magneto's evil turn-all-humans-to-mutants scheme failed, the team re-group and head back to base, but no-one checks on Magneto's body. WHY NOT? Oh yeah, the sequel.


1:24:36 "Welcome back, Professor," says Jean Grey. "I had you to guide me..." whispers Charles, ever the ladies man. Let's not forget what Professor X likes to do with his powers in his spare time...



1:27:18 Time for the sexy will-they-won't-they-but-eeww-she's-like-your-sister farewell moment between Wolverine and Rogue. He notices the white streak in her hair. "I kind of like it," she smiles, stroking it. Oo er.


1:28:21 Oh look, Professor X and Magneto are playing chess. It's almost symbolic or something.


1:29:00 "You know this plastic prison won't hold me forever, Charles..." "And I will always be there, old friend..." I feel a sequel coming on. In my pants.


1:34:08 King falls over. Roll end credits. Check mate, Bryan Singer. He really does hit this right out the park. And he does it again with the second one. Speaking of which...



X-Men 2 (2002)


01:08 "Mutants..." Another opening, another Patrick Stewart voiceover. You'd think he was British or something.


02:05 Now THIS is how you do mutants. Blue smoke, teleportation, classical music and a tail? This is amazing. Top-notch special effects work.


03:50 Can you believe that this is Alan Cumming? When I first watched it, I was so amazed by that I didn't even bother to make a naughty joke about his surname.


03:55 Alan Cumming. IT SOUNDS LIKE CUMMING. Ha. Ok, I'm done now.


04:03 And now, years after Mozart's Requiem Mass in D Minor, it becomes astoundingly obvious to everyone that Dies Irae is only truly complete when accompanied by blue, teleporting mutants.


05:00 I'm really not sure how Bryan Singer's going to top that. He says, knowing full well that he manages to.




07:03 And now we're off to Canada for some deep soul-searching with Hugh Jackman. That would be a great ITV series. Wolverine would crap all over Ray Mears.


07:10 You can tell he's soul searching because an eagle just flew overhead. Deep, man.


08:00 Wolverine stares at wolf. Wolf stares back. OMG, it's like they're the same! It really reminds me of that bit in The Queen, where Helen Mirren stares at that deer. But Helen Mirren's sideburns were rubbish.


09:40 Storm is now giving an educational speech in a museum. As if she knows anything about anything. Meanwhile, Cyclops is watching a TV show about spiders. Awww. He's getting all edumacated. Bless him, the one-eyed idiot.


10:40: "Jean, are you OK? You had to concentrate last night just levitate a book about Cher across the room..." I think that's what he said. It may have been "book and chair". But it sounded a LOT like Cher. Cyclops loves Cher. That and TV shows about spiders.


11:26 Oh look, it's a teenage boy mutant with a lighter. He's clearly evil. Fire bad and all that. And he's hanging out with Rogue and Bobby. I wonder if he's told them about Animorphs yet.


12:21 And now the whole room has frozen. It's probably that guy with no hair again. I bet he starts monologuing and everything.


16:01 Bobby and Rogue are sharing their first kiss. Awwww. No seriously, it's a genuine "awww" moment.


16:40 IT'S BRIAN COX! The evil one. Not the Professor. He's a great choice for Colonel William Stryker. So menacing. I think it's the facial hair.



17:00 Stryker's accompanied by his assistant, who likes cracking her knuckles. A lot. It's almost like she has metal claws or something. Let's call her Wolverette.


17:23 Brian Cox just used the word "mutant terrorist". I'm gonna let that slide.


18:20 IT'S WOLVERINE. He's back. Oh yeah. I missed him. Especially his hair.


Things You Can Do with Wolverine's Hair

1. Pretend to be a bull. 2. Beverage cup holder.
3. Portable banana storage.


20:24 I do like Magneto's plastic prison. Still not entirely convinced by Stryker's chemical serum that makes mutants tell the truth... Although to be fair, in a film about a bloke with knives that come out his hands, I can't really complain.


22:40 A quick bout of exposition later and we're in Cerebro. "The lights represent all the mutants..." says Charles, back in his voiceover mode. It's almost Wonders of the Universe.


23:20 "Can't you concentrate harder?" "If I wanted to kill them, yes..." Gee, I wonder what will happen later in the film.


25:02 And now it's time for some Mystique transforming action. She's pretending to be Wolverette.


26:10 And now the real Wolverette has entered the building! So Mystique does what any woman in her situation would do: pretends to be a Mexican cleaner.


28:01 Time to play Hunt The Nightcrawler - Boston edition. And ooo, what a pretty Cathedral it is. It looks GORGEOUS. The lighting here is lovely.



28:21 Seriously, just look at it. And now keep looking it. It's totally worth it.


29:01 "Did you do these yourself?" Halle Berry's stroking Alan Cumming, admiring his tattoos. And he's got one of them holes in his neck too - that silly chemical stuff again...


30:12 Yay. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are back together again. The last time I saw them they were in Waiting for Godot. Now THAT was a film. If by film you mean play.


31:32 What I really like about Ian McKellen's Magneto is that he's so subtle.


31:43 They've started pumping gas into the prison. Dramatic plays in the background.




33:59 And of course, this drugging of Professor X is just the prelude for Styker's, erm, strike on Professor X's School for Gifted Youngsters.


34:05 Darts, guns, claws - everything's flying round the lush panelled corridors. And Hugh Jackman's wearing a vest. He's like Bruce Willis. But with hair.


36:10 For a sequence about attacking a building full of poor defenseless children, this bit is really awesome.



39:40 And now Brian Cox is back on the scene. And he knows Wolverine's backstory... Spoilers! If this was Dr Who, he'd be played by Alex Kingston. Now there's an image.


40:11 Ok, if this was Dr Who, Ian McKellen would be The Master. And Hugh Jackman would be Dr Who. Amy Pond would be Cyclops. And Rory would be Professor X. Halle Berry wouldn't be in it, because she's rubbish.


41:20 Brian Cox just blew something up like a total mofo. And then walked away from the explosion - without slow motion. THAT'S how cool he is.


41:41 "Go, I'll be fine," grunts Wolverine. "But we won't!" replies Rogue, all anxious and vulnerable. Incredible dialogue.


42:33 Wolverine just used a claw to jump-start a car. It's the little touches that make this so good. The use of the mutant powers for everyday stuff. Like Bobby making Wolverine's drink cold. But I still say that running through walls when there's a perfectly good door there is just lazy.


43:01 And now we get to see Mystique with her make-up off, acting like she's a sexy blonde woman. Unsurprisingly, she's REALLY good at it.


43:40 And now she's hitting on a dirty security guard to help break Magneto out of jail. The best bit? Good old Bryan sticks a camera under the glass table to show the drugs she put in his beer. It's like watching Celebrity Poker.


45:20 "And then my wife took a power drill to her temple..." Blimey, Brian Cox's backstory is bleak. This is a 12, right? If Takashi Miike was directing this, that would be the big emotional climax.


46:20 And Brian Cox has this son, who's a mutant, who also has telepathic powers. And is in a wheelchair. He and Professor X should start some sort of club.


49:01 Where do you run to when hiding from Brian Cox? Obviously, you go to the house of that kid who was in Animorphs.


49:30 Time to join Wolverine in Bobby's fridge. More shots from under glass shelves. Bryan really loves his poker.


51:32 "There's something different about you today... Too much iron in your blood..." says Magneto, sucking the iron out of a security guard's bloodstream. THIS MAKES NO SENSE.



52:40 And now Magneto has taken an iron ball bearing and stretched it to the size of a giant frisbee. For some reason, this bothers me even more than making the flipping ball bearings from someone's blood in the first place. Ridiculous.


52:42 If Brian Cox was here, he wouldn't stand for it. No, not that Brian Cox.


54:20 Bobby's mum on finding out he's a mutant: "Have you tried... NOT being a mutant?" I think Bobby might be gay. (Subtext alert.)


57:29 Remember that Boy Who Played with Fire I mentioned earlier? Yeah, he's back. And he just went evil. "You know these evil mutants you hear about on the TV? I'm the worst one..." Really? Ok, maybe he's a little foul-tempered, but surely a bit of pyromania isn't that dangerous compared to the mind reading freaks. Or the kid we saw earlier on changing the TV channels just by blinking. Now THAT'S really powerful.


58:00 Besides, it's not as if he can use REAL fire. It's just crappy, fake CGI fire. This is the only mis-step in Singer's special effects.



1:00:01 If this were being made now, that teenage kid would totally be played by Shia LaBeouf.


1:04:02 In other news, this bit is totally awesome.



1:05:04 Oh yeah, Storm's doing what she does best - not talking.


1:07:21 Nightcrawler teleports off the plane to catch Rogue in mid-air. Brilliant use of the ensemble's powers. And Nightcrawler has mad teleportation skillz. I bet he kicks arse at playing Portal 2.


1:08:42 Magneto's got his stupid helmet on again.


1:09:10 Time for some group exposition around a campfire. Halle Berry gets a guitar out and starts to sing Kum By Yah. Everyone tells her to shut up.


1:10:02 So apparently Stryker's the only other guy in the world (apart from Magneto) who can manipulate adamantium. Which explains how he made Wolverette.


1:12:23 When it comes to fake metals invented for sci-fi purposes, what's stronger, adamantium or unobtanium?


1:18:17 And now it's time for the awesome action climax in the big old Canadian dam. The Maguffin of choice? Cerebro. It's either a great use of an existing device that underpins most of the franchise's mythology, or they paid an actress so much money to say "Welcome, Professor" in the first film that they wanted to make the most of it.


1:20:02 Aww bless, Stryker's got his own DIY knock-off of Cerebro! It's like watching Blue Peter.


1:21:55 And Cerebro is working! It's exactly like that Source Code poster.



Trust Jake Gyllenhaal's head to come along and ruin everything.


1:25:32 Evil brainwashed Cyclops takes on Jean Grey? Yes please. This is another reason why David Hayter's script is so brilliant - it plays upon and develops all the character relationships, even when it's giving you a nice, simple punch-up. Props to co-writers Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris too.


1:26:08 Trust Cyclops to go and get brainwashed. He's such a dick.


1:28:49 In other awesomeness, Wolverine and Wolverette are fighting. And she is a-MA-zing.


1:29:40 Claw marks are all over the walls in the laboratory set. Epic art direction.


1:30:31 What do you get when you inject a woman with a vat of hot metal? A dead woman. I bet Halle Berry loves telling that joke.


1:33:31 Meanwhile, Cerebro is working and Charles is doing his psychic thang. Remember what he said about him concentrating so hard he kills all the mutants? GUESS WHAT HE'S DOING NOW.


1:34:31 Kill all the mutants... Kill all the mutants... I'm sorry, what were you saying? I got distracted.


1:36:02 "How do you like that, Bub?" says Wolverine, sinking his claws into Brian Cox. Bub? BUB? That's not the manly kind of lingo we expect from Wolverine. Bitch. Ho. Nigger. That's the kind of thing we want. Honestly.


1:38:10 "You were a monster before I came along. People never change. I just gave you claws." says Stryker, all brilliant acting and menacing facial hair. And that's pretty much the whole of X-Men Origins: Wolverine right there. Do we really need a whole spin-off film about it?


1:39:32 And now Professor X is doing Magneto's evil work. Slight change of plan: Kill all humans.



1:41:42 If only Storm was there to save everyone with her Oscar-winning wig. Oh look, there she is. And Halle Berry is acting the only way she knows how: by changing contact lenses.


1:42:10 In other news, Professor X is free from the clutches of Brian Cox's evil telepathic son! Which disabled psychic is more powerful? There's only one way to find out...


Professor X totally Hadoukens him in the brain hole.


1:45:20 With everyone safe out of the dam, they need transport to get away from the oncoming flood. Enter Rogue, trying to fly the X-Men plane. Badly. Women drivers.


1:45:40 Just as she's about to crash, bleeping starts. "Collision detected: Emergency landing initiated." That's just cheating surely. What is this? Fisher Price My First X-Men Plane Thingy?


1:48:18 Wolverine and Brian Cox have one last chat. Hugh Jackman rips his dog tag off and throws it in the snow. Ooo, how symbolic.


1:50:01 And now Jean's outside stopping the flood from killing everyone with her super-psychic powers. She speaks through Charles' bald face. "Good bye," he smiles, like a drunken baby. I bet she isn't really controlling him. He's just pretending she is to get some attention. Typical thesp.


1:58:11 And now Charles is monologuing again. Nowt like a good old Patrick Stewart voiceover to round off events... oh no, wait! It's Jean Grey talking. This could be exciting.


1:59:34 "ZOMG! It's the outline of a phoenix underwater! Wow! I can't wait until they do the Phoenix storyline from the X-Men comics! Bryan Singer will give it loads of depth and won't screw it up!"


2:00:01 That's what everyone said at the time. But things didn't go quite according to plan...


X-Men 3: The Last Stand


00:00 Enter Brett Ratner. Balls.


00:01 New film, new composer. This is the third of the franchise. We started with Michael Kahmen, then John Ottman, now John Powell. Says a lot for a series that can't keep a composer. Although all three are very good composers.


01:29 CGI faces ahoy for a weird period flashback. It's Tron: Legacy all over again.


02:27 Young Jean Grey is lifting period cars off the table. As you do.


03:12 Jump forward ten years and we're still not in the present day. There's a poor little boy with wings coming out his back, bless him. Of course he's going to try and chop them off.



04:28 And we're back with the same old title credits. They all just look like Spider-Man. Before suddenly... The not-too-distant future! It's all apocalypsey and stuff.


04:39 Brett Ratner is clearly trying his arse off to do a Terminator 2. He's failing.




07:02 Surprise! It's a simulation! What a clever narrative twist. We've never seen that one before. Still, you can tell they're really pushing the characters in new directions. Look at Halle Berry. She has a new wig.




08:11 Ooo, Cyclops has a beard. He's clearly very upset. That would be that Jean Grey storyline they're about to ruin in 20 pages time.


09:09 Meet Beast. He's hanging around in his office. Upside down. Nice. Kelsey Grammar is an admittedly inspired piece of casting. Shame he didn't turn up two films earlier.


09:44 "Raven? I don't answer to my slave name any more..." Mystique is getting all political and stuff. What a subtle subtext Brett Ratner has going on here.


09:54 Weirdly, Mystique is getting interrogated by Dr Chilton, the same guy who kept Hannibal Lecter captive for all those years.


11:37 IT'S ELLEN PAGE! What the hell is she doing with these losers? Answer: walking through walls.


12:49 Professor X stops teaching Ellen Page when he notices the sky getting very cloudy. "I don't have to be psychic to see that something's bothering you..." he says to Storm. Yes, the sky is all dark and grey. BECAUSE SHE'S TROUBLED BY HER THOUGHTS. Got to love that acting. She won an Oscar you know.


15:10 Scientists have developed a cure for mutation? It's a good idea - the right direction for the series to take. And it's great to see the different characters react to the announcement (particularly Rogue), but it's just too sloppy, too loud.


18:51 Time for Cyclops to continue exploring the depths of his grief. By howling at a lake.




19:02 Only for Jean Grey to pop up. But she's not Jean Grey any more... She's.... THE PHOENIX.


23:08 You remember The Phoenix, right? That epic character arc that examined the dark side of mutant powers? Here we have exactly the same thing. But, you know, completely bollocksed up.


25:22 "It's cloudy here..." notes Wolverine, as he and Storm walk through the fog. "I can sort that!" chirps Halle Berry, as if she's suddenly remembered her basic function in the X-Men universe. She's not even Jigglypuff. She's Michael Fish.


26:22 Jean Grey gets taken back to Professor X's lab for safe-keeping. "The only explanation of how she survived is that her powers wrapped her in a telekinetic cocoon that protected her." I'm sure if they really tried, they could come up with a better explanation than that...


27:01 "The Phoenix - a pure character. All desire. And rage," continues Charles, turning a complex piece of mythology into some over-simplified split personality drivel.


27:32 "She has to be controlled..." adds the Prof. Wolverine's angry about that one. "You have no idea of what's she capable," adds Xavier, all correct grammar and clunky dialogue. "No, Professor, I had no idea of what you were," retorts Wolverine, all sideburns and no subtlety. It's like a 12 year old scribbled over the script with a crayon.


27:46 Now, to the research laboratory! Who's going to be the first to try the injection to cure mutants? Of course, the boy with the wings from earlier! That totally explains why that flashback was necessary!


30:06 Ooo, he's got his wings out. Sexy.





31:12 Him jumping out the window to freedom just makes me think of Kick-Ass.





31:16 Brett Ratner during the production meetings: "You know what would make this better right now? If Magneto flipped a truck."


32:36 "And you know what would make it even better than that? IF VINNIE JONES TURNED UP!"


32:42 "And what do they call you?" "JUGGERNAUT."




Oh dear. It's begun.


33:41 Every now and then, a flash of brilliance appears. Like Mystique getting shot with the mutant cure. Her turning back into her normal form (to save Magneto's life) is a genuinely brilliant piece of pathos. Which, of course, is pushed quickly to one side so we can spend more time with Vinnie Jones.


34:50 Oh look, it's Jean Grey again. But she's not Jean. Or is she? She isn't. She's The Phoenix. Or is she?


35:05 Brett Ratner: "Enough of that, let's have some sex! That's what the Phoenix is all about!"





35:10 Oh yes, meet The Phoenix: an evil woman who sucks the life out of men. With her vagina. Jean Grey? Jennifer's Body, more like.





40:12 All of this of course warrants a visit to her old home from McKellen and Xavier. It's just like Waiting for Godot all over again.


40:32 Now look back at X-Men 3. Guess what's on screen? That's right:


41:02 Now this confrontation of The Phoenix by Charles and Erik should be handled delicately, with a properly scripted conversation. Instead, we get angry Jean, shouty Charles, evil Ian, and Vinnie Jones throwing Hugh Jackman around in the kitchen.


43:34 And, inevitably, it all builds up to one massive CGI-GASM. In which Professor X explodes.


45:15 Yes, that's right. Professor X just exploded. It's hardly falling off The Bridge of Khazad-Dum into the fiery depths of Moria, is it?



46:11 "We leave in an age of darkness..." waffles Storm, eulogising away to a sunny garden. I can tell you now: Halle Berry speaking at his funeral? That is not what Professor X would have wanted


47:08 Oh well, at least we have some Loud Dramatic Music to go with some shots of an empty wheelchair. Again, subtle.


48:18 While he's at it, Brett Ratner makes another feeble attempt to bring some characterisation into the film. So he shoves in a scene involving Ellen Page and Bobby skating round a frozen fountain. It's like that bit in Central Park from King Kong. But rubbish.


48:38 It's a massive shame, really. Ellen Page is better than this. And Bobby was in Animorphs. Even that was better than this.


53:20 Everyone sits around in an empty office, wondering what to do now Professor X is dead. It's like Harry Potter, but it's got nowhere near the same emotional impact as when Dumbledore died.


53:30 Audience: "Oh noes! Who will run the school now Dumbledore's gone?"


53:35 Storm puts her hand up. Everyone else: "Put it down, love."


53:40 Storm keeps her hand up. That's official then. Halle Berry. The new Dumbledore. May God help us all.


57:09 "Magneto wants a war. We'll give him one," says Hugh Jackman. Brett Ratner's been dying for this to happen ever since Professor X and Magneto had that philosophy-heavy chat at the beginning of X-Men 1. At least we don't have to listen to any more of those conversations, I suppose. They're the staple of the whole series (and it's a great set-up, perhaps the best of all comic book universes) but after 3 films it can get a bit tiring.


58:10 Wait a minute, did I just say that Brett Ratner was right?


59:59 Solid bit of Wolverine action now. Claws out. Claws in. SNIKT.


1:00:24 After that bit of claw-slashing, it's easy to see why they wanted to make a Wolverine spin-off.


1:01:02 Wait a minute, did I just say that making X-Men Origins: Wolverine was right?


1:08:15 And now Magneto's tearing up the Golden Gate Bridge. This is proper special effects brilliance - only Roland Emmerich could dream of such supremely Photoshopped destruction.


1:09:18 Jean Grey stands nearby, looking on at the wanton CGI destruction as Ian McKellen strains all his facial muscles. Surely The Phoenix could have done this with half the effort if she's a Level 5 mutant and he's a Level 4?


1:10:02 Who decides all these Levels anyway? And what can a Level 1 do? Are they just really good at origami or something? And what Level is Jigglypuff?


1:11:57 It's time for the climax! Now, let's be clear on this. X-Men: The Last Stand is an unsubtle load of nonsense, but one thing it does very well is pacing. Of course, if you remove all the subtle bits (like character) from a film, of course it's going to have a fast pace, but by heck it flies past at one hell of a speed. Blockbuster Rule Number One: If you're going to do it dumb, do it fast.


1:15:52 "Hold this line!" yells Wolverine, as he heads up a wall of X-Men to fight against Magneto's army. Beast is great kicking butt, but Ellen Page? It's hard to see how walking through walls is of any use in a fight.


1:16:02 Explosions! Dead bodies! Guns! Brett Ratner is cheering.


1:17:52 ELLEN PAGE UPDATE: she just ran through a wall. And somehow managed to get Juggernaut stuck in the floor. Maybe she is useful after all!


1:20:32 Vinnie Jones gets out of the floor. Ellen Page is useless again. Vinnie opens his mouth to say the worst line of the whole film: "Don't you know who I am?"



Yes, he actually said that.


1:21:56 Fiery cars exploding everywhere. The X-Men lining up hiding for shelter. It's like the beginning all over again!


1:23:26 "The best defence is a good offence..." says Storm, trying to do tactics like a clever person. She's hardly Arsene Wenger. Actually, that might explain a lot about Arsenal's recent form...


1:24:16 Bobby's taking on his old flame-loving friend. Fire vs Ice? Say what you like, but you know what? It's better than The Last Airbender.


1:25:43 Ooo! Magneto just got humanised with the cure! I totally forgot that happened. That's an awesome little idea. Anyway, let's get back to Jennifer's Body.


1:27:58 Jennifer's Body Update: The angry vagina just destroyed most of Alcatraz Island.


1:28:54 She's now stripping Wolverine away, atom by atom. Which seems less like an emotional confrontation and more like an excuse to take his clothes off. Not that I'm complaining.


1:30:31 With his clothes safely off, Wolverine goes on to save the world. Then he has a good little shout about it, with Jean Grey in his arms. First Cyclops, now Wolverine - the blokes in this film really do like shouting, don't they?



1:31:45 Nice load of tombstones lining up at the Professor Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. Hee hee, Charles is bigger than Cyclops.


1:33:08 And now over to the park, where resident hobo Ian MKellen (wearing a hat - naturally) is playing chess with himself.


1:34:40 He stretches out his hand, trying to move the chess piece - an elegantly scripted, painful reminder of the powers lost that he once had...


1:34:45 ... and then the chess piece moves anyway. WTF? Why did that have to happen?


1:34:50 Answer:



Everything makes sense now.


1:39:08 So there you have it. X-Men 3. A total piece of disaster bollocks (although admittedly fast disaster bollocks). I stand by X-Men and X-Men 2 being two of the best comic book movies made so far. Only Batman Begins and The Dark Knight really beat them. Kick-Ass comes close. As does Road to Perdition. And Hellboy 2. Anyway, the point being that they crap all over Spider-Man. And Daredevil.



X-Men Origins: Wolverine


0:01 Confession time: I actually quite enjoyed this when I saw it in the cinema.


0:02 Although I wouldn't go so far as to say: "A brilliant wild super hero rise, an all out action epic that really delivers." Hang your head in shame, Mark Adams of the Sunday Mirror.


01:47 Fast tracking shots through corridors as ickle Logan finds his father dead. "What are you?" says his mum, cowering as claws made of bone grow out of his hand. EEEWWW. As in "ewwwAWEsome".


03:51 "We stick together no matter what," explains Sabretooth to Wolverine as the two brothers run off into the night. Leading into what I think is one of the more impressive opening credits we've had in recent years. It rivals Watchmen in the decade-spanning montage stakes.


05:51 It even has the D-Day landings in it. Overkill, much?


07:30 And then the opening credits end with our main characters getting shot. This is bold stuff. Like, Die Another Day opening credits bold. That's jinxed the whole film now, hasn't it?


07:46 "My name is Major William Stryker." Danny Huston turns up. He doesn't have Brian Cox's facial hair, but he does have some serious bad-ass sunglasses.




08:57 "I love this weapon..." Enter Ryan Reynolds. Holding two katana swords. I'll be honest. I really don't like Ryan Reynolds. He's annoying and talks too fast. Which is why he's a great choice for the annoying, fast-talking Deadpool.


10:39 It's Merry! And he's holding a gun! Naughty Hobbit.


12:03 Wolverine to Deadpool: "Oh my God, do you ever shut up, pal?" I love Hugh Jackman so much right now.


13:25 Deadpool just killed a room full of people with two swords in just under 10 seconds. In other news, he stopped talking. For 10 seconds.


16:11 Hugh Jackman's facial hair > Liev Schreiber's facial hair. Fact.


Sexy. Not so sexy.



16:45 Oh, did I mention Liev Schreiber's in this. He's awesome. Literally awesome. Look up the word awesome in the dictionary and you know what? You'll have wasted five minutes that you could have spent looking at Liev Schreiber being awesome.


16:50 Wolverine throws his dog tags on the floor. For the 50 millionth time. The more he throws them, the less I give I damn about what they represent.


18:01 And where to? Canada, of course! I swear the X-Men franchise is sponsored by the Canadian Tourist Board.




Come to Canadia. We have Hugh Jackman with his top off.


19:08 Meanwhile, Merry the Hobbit has grown up. And developed terrible taste in clothes. An orange chequered suit? Oh dear.


20:21 He sits there, drinking, making a model toy train go back and forth with the power of his mind. He probably does this every single night. Beats watching The Only Way Is Essex, I suppose.




21:53 "I'm not afraid of you, Victor," says Merry. It's hard to believe him. Not because he's a bad actor - because Liev Scheiber is terrifying. No wonder Sydney Prescott thought he murdered her mother.


22:00 My, what wonderful teeth you have dear...



23:32 Teeth in tow, Wolverine goes to work in the timber yards. Phwoar. Hugh Jackman with an axe. I'm a lumberjack and I'm OK...


23:11 And now Danny Huston is back on the scene. He's got Agent Zero with him.


23:28 And yes, Agent Zero is a rubbish name. (His special power: firing a gun very quickly. Which places him one spot above Jigglypuff in the mutant/Pokemon rankings. Mainly because Jigglypuff doesn't have a gun.)


24:49 "Your country needs you, Logan." "I'm Canadian." Come to Canada: where men have massive sideburns.


25:41 "You're not an animal. What you have is a gift." "You can't return a gift," growls Wolverine. You know, this script is actually better than X-Men 3: The Last Stand. The dialogue is a little more subtle. I repeat: a little.


27:19 Guess who's back. That's right. It's Liev Schreiber time, baby.


30:52 Nowt like having your girlfriend killed to give you an emotionally scarred backstory. That's the kind of thing that'll make a man go crazy and get metal molded to his skeleton. I bet you £5 I'm right.




32:30 First claw-on-claw fight between Wolverine and Sabretooth. It's bone-crunching stuff. Literally.


33:37 Sabretooth just threw Wolverine into a moving truck. It was awesome.


34:17 Ok, there's a little too much slow-down speed-up going on, but Gavin Hood's handheld work is pretty solid. Not bad give this is his first major action flick. Although his earlier film Tsotsi was pretty dynamic stuff.


35:28 Wolverine gets rushed to hospital. Multiple knife wounds. The doctors open up his clothes... and he's fine. The staff at Holby City wouldn't know WHAT to do with him.


36:23 "I can give you the tools to defeat him!" declares Stryker, well aware that Wolverine ain't none too happy about Sabretooth pounding his little Wolverine ass. "I come with you, there are no laws or code of conduct. You point me in the right direction and get the hell out of my way." Ooo, Hugh Jackman's gone native. It's pretty sexy.


37:36 I would say that these are impressive shots of the Canadian mountains, but it's kind of hard to screw up gigantic cascading waterfalls. Even James Cameron got those right.


38:01 And now we get the whole adamantium claws thing. TOLD you he would end up sticking metal to his skeleton. He does it for the attention. I blame the parents.


38:27 Ooo, look. He's got new dog tags. This time they say "Wolverine". Whatever. I'm sick of these flipping dog tags.


38:50 Incidentally, they have done an excellent job recreating the set from X-Men 2 here. Almost flawless production design.


39:52 You can totally forgive the black and white flashbacks going on here. I'd rather look at anything than the giant needles going into that man's face right now.


43:01 Hugh Jcakman is running. And he's naked. I approve of this.


43:10 Oh look, he made an X in the doors with his claws!


43:15 Ok, stop looking at that. Look at this instead.




Come to Canada: we have Hugh Jackman's penis.

43:55 I wonder if the adamantium went into his winkie too.


46:11 Trust a lovely old couple to take in Hugh Jackman after they find him naked in their barn. Bless.


46:45 Yes, the storyline's a little corny, as are the audio flashbacks going through Hugh's head, but Hugh's sideburns almost make it convincing. The thing that really lets it down is the really dodgy CGI. I swear those claws never used to look that fake...





49:00 Time for some cliched heart-to-heart advice. "We all have a choice, son." "My got taken." "Bull shit." Yeah, these old people know how to swear. Suck on those Werther Originals, bitches.


50:44 Did somebody say exploding barn?


51:18 Did somebody say MOTORBIKE CHASE?


51:33 Did somebody say HELICOPTER?


52:28 This has got a little out of hand. Which probably explains why the CGI was all over the place. There's nothing wrong with a motorbike chase - in fact, I actively encourage them - but when the explosions, cars and helicopters all look fake, you can only enjoy it so much...


54:38 Did somebody say walk away in slow-motion?



Come to Canadia: we have fire.


55:00 Oh, so William Stryker's a bad guy? Didn't see that coming. But he's got a weapon to kill Wolverine: an adamantium bullet. Which is almost a neat twist on the whole werewolf mythology thing. Almost.


55:49 Meet Scott Summers. He's in high school. He wears red shades. He looks a bit like a dick. Gee, I wonder who he'll grow up to be.


58:52 Time for Wolverine to do some plot hunting. He starts tracking down the old members of the gang to ask questions. "Come on, Bub, for old time's sake..." There's that word "Bub", again. Who decided he would start using this word anyway? Is it in the comic books? I hope not.


1:00:28 In other news, Sabretooth is hunting down high school students. Guess which one.


1:01:48 I think Scott Summers (aka Cyclops) took his glasses off.



1:02:05 OMG, Sabretooth's the bad guy! And he's working with Stryker, the other bad guy! Who knew?


1:02:49 "WHERE IS HE?" shouts Hugh Jackman, doing his best Batman impression.


1:03:31 So Stryker's collecting mutants and doing experiments on them to make the perfect mutant soldier. A bit like Captain America.


1:06:30 I've been waiting for fricking YEARS for them to introduce Gambit. Although he's blatantly nothing more than a plot device with a stick.


1:07:38 There aren't many people who could deliver this line as well as Liev Schreiber.



1:08:02 "Do you even know how to kill me?" "I'm going to cut your goddamn head off." Now this? This is fun. A bit dumber than X-Men 3, perhaps, but a LOT more fun. And it's mainly because of Liev Schreiber. (Mental note: angry sideburns > angry vagina.)


1:09:24 And now we get some Gambit action. And the cards and stick looks quite cool. Let's face it: a Gambit cameo is better than them using Storm and her stupid wig.


1:11:29 Ah, so Stryker's son killed his wife. And now he's a nutjob. Classic character arc, there. (I preferred the bit where we got the power drill explanation, if I'm honest.)


1:13:09 Oh look, it's wotsername back from the dead. Oh no, wait, Wolverine's girlfriend wasn't dead all along. Because SHE'S A MUTANT TOO. *shocking twist*


1:16:15 They really have ballsed this up. It started off so well, but then they tried to come up with a complex plot. It's like Pirates of the Caribbean 2 all over again. Let's all give a big round of applause to screenwriters David Benioff and Skip Woods.


1:16:20  Trust a guy called Skip to come up with something so rubbish.


1:16:41 Rubbish? Skip? Get it?


1:19:31 Thank goodness they soon forget all this "plot" nonsense and get back to what's important: Liev Schreiber and Hugh Jackman slashing the hell out of each other.


1:20:31 And now we're into a free-the-prisoners subplot, with all these little kids trapped in cages. I'm not sure about that, but the main theme they've come up with isn't bad for a prequel:





It's Harry Gregson-Williams, apparently.


1:23:14 Oh look, it's Ryan Reynolds. But without a mouth. Or a face. Or, erm, anything. Still, he does have Massive Swords in his arms. And a ton of other mutant powers thanks to the Weapon X project. I can't work out if I like the idea or not. But it certainly ain't the Deadpool that X-Men fans wanted.


1:24:03 Meanwhile, the little kids are using their collective powers to escape. THEY'RE WORKING AS A TEAM. I really hope X-Men: First Class doesn't turn out like this. (Spoiler: it doesn't. It's way better.)


1:25:37 Cyclops: "We go left." "You can't see!" "Trust me." Yeah. Trust Cyclops to take command when he's got a blindfold on. What a dick.


1:26:27 And now they're fighting on top of a nuclear reactor. I repeat: they're fighting on top of a nuclear reactor.




It's not quite the Statue of Liberty, but that green screen skyline is rather pretty.


1:27:00 Wolverine. Sabretooth. Back to back. Can you imagine if they did get Keanu Reeves to play Wolverine all along? This would have turned out like The Matrix Revolutions, but even worse.






1:29:00 "This is it between us. We're done." "We're brothers, Jimmy. We can never be done." And Sabretooth runs off to join Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants. Next time we see him, his eyebrows will have tripled in size.


1:30:10 Along comes Danny Huston with his adamantium bullets. "His brain may heal, but his memories won't grow back." And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what we call Crap Dialogue.


1:32:20 The kids run into a clearing in the woods. A helicopter lands. They stop, hearing a voice in their heads. A man climbs out and walks towards them. That's right, it's Charles Xavier! And he's been flown in straight from the set of Tron: Legacy.





1:33:30 So does Professor X just fly around the country picking up stray children for his school? Because that's really quite disturbing. Maybe he melts them down and sticks them on his face to keep it looking so young and fresh.


1:35:38 "What's my name?" "WHAT'S MY NAME?" I don't think Wolverine remembers who he is. What a subtle way to bring us back to the beginning of the X-Men circle.




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