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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Shadow of the True X-Men 3

Reading this kind of stuff infuriates me, but at the same time it fascinates me. It’s incredible to see a bad idea come to life and a good idea left in the trash heap. To be fair X-Men: The Last Stand actually had some intriguing ideas, but besides being executed terribly they also paled in comparison to what could have been.

“Huh? What could it have been?” For starters it could have been good, but that’s the obvious answer. During a Slashfilm podcast co-writer of X2, Mike Dougherty, mentioned story ideas for the third movie he had on the drawing board with director Bryan Singer.

For those using the Internet for the first time, Bryan Singer directed the first two X-Men films. When he was asked to direct his dream project, Superman Returns, he left Fox’s X-Men franchise at the mercy of director Brett Ratner-- The man responsible for arguably the worst conclusion to a single franchise: X-Men: The Last Stand.

But before Brett Rat-Fink mutilated the storyline and Dougherty left with Singer for Superman Returns, there was a very solid blueprint for the third movie. Screenrant was nice enough to extract Dougherty’s X-Men 3 story from the podcast.


“The idea – you open up with Alkali Lake [where Jean Grey supposedly died in X2] but it’s completely barren and dried up and there are these odd reports of strange phenomena going on around the world accompanied by bright lights in the sky.”

“The idea would be that both the X-Men and the Brotherhood realize that, essentially, a very god-like force had entered their reality and that it was causing disruptions around the world – mutant prisons being decimated. I had pitched an idea about a fleet of cargo ships getting torn apart in the Atlantic and you found out that they were shuttling mutants as slave labor.”


“So basically you found out that the Phoenix [Jean Grey] was going ‘round the world taking things into her own hands and that she had basically returned as a god, which they did touch upon in X3. She had viewed herself as above the conflict, that she was here to end things on her terms, she was basically sick of the fighting and she was going to take things into her own hands and she didn’t give a shit what the X-Men or the Brotherhood had to say about it.”

I think Dougherty is giving the actual third movie too much credit. When was comparing the Phoenix to a god touched upon in The Last Stand? Sorry. Minor rant. Dougherty continues…

“The one idea that I loved, that I really wanted to do, was that Cyclops would build the Danger Room. Cyclops felt guilty-- He felt that the X-Men were too weak. They weren’t strong enough; they weren’t fast enough, [and] that was the reason Jean died. If they were a little bit better at fighting, then she might still be alive. It was all about this guilt he had about her death and so he built the Danger Room to train them to be better. But in the end it really was about him not being able to let go of her, so that causes all the chaos and disruption in the movie. But in the end it’s about him letting her go.”

Okay, okay, so wait. Not only was Cyclops going to be front and center in the storyline, like he should’ve been, but it was going to develop him as the true leader of the X-Men? This sounds like the best idea for an X-Men movie yet… Alas, it wasn’t to be… Oh wait. It gets better:


“Ultimately she kind of becomes that cosmic force that Phoenix is known to be, she chooses to leave Earth and become a god, or at least a higher level of intelligence, and she goes into the cosmos possibly to kick-start life somewhere else… The final scene for me would have been her telling Cyclops, or her telling the X-Men, ‘I’ll be watching.’ Essentially she becomes a god.”

I love the “I’ll be watching” part echoing the end of the second film. But unlike this story The Last Stand had no regard for what happened in the first two movies. (Like the forgotten allusion that Magneto’s machine on Liberty Island [in the first movie] triggered the Phoenix mutation. Good catch Rat-Punk!) A razor sharp Cyclops sounded so much more interesting than the pitiful, tormented man that served as little more than a cameo in The Last Stand. And actually utilizing the Phoenix as the integral plotline instead of watching her turn to marble as a third tier subplot is *INSERT CLICHÉ GASP AGAIN* far and away more desirable.

So I want to applaud director Brett Rat-Shit for his duties on The Last Stand and taking strides to do the exact opposite of Dougherty’s plan: Deliver a damn good idea. I mean seriously? This is what we could have had? Superman Returns was decent, but not worth this sacrifice. Imagine if you will, the deep fire representing the vengeful Phoenix, scorching the night sky as Cyclops and Wolverine stand battle ready on a crushed Earth below. The stakes are high. Not even Magneto and the Brotherhood are as great of a threat. Why? Because this “god” is the women these two men love. That’s brilliant shit right there!

Now think back to The Last Stand. It’s like self-mutilation isn’t it? If you’re a sadist you’ve gotta’ love this article. With rumors of Bryan Singer possibly returning to the X-Men franchise, these ideas would be beautiful for a strong return to form. I refuse to believe it’s too late to clean up Brett Rat-Fuck’s menstruating curd of bile that is the third X-Men movie. Will someone save this franchise?

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