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MFF Special: Examining X-Men: The Last Stand, Blade: Trinity and Spider-Man 3

February 23, 2016

With the comic book universe expanding and Deadpool exploding in cinemas I wanted to go back and look at the third films of three early Marvel trilogies. The three films are X-Men: the Last Stand, Blade: Trinity and Spider-Man 3. They made over a $1,000,000,000 worldwide yet are perceived as creative failures that forced reboots and prequels in order to right the crazy course they set. While many have disdain for the three films I actually love how carefree and careless they are. It’s like they took everything that everyone loved from the prior films and walked all over them.

Spiderman 3 gif walking

The three films went off the rails for three different reasons. Whether it be last minute director changes, or studio meddling, the quality plummeted to some pretty great depths. If you look at the averaged Rotten Tomatoes critical ratings for the three trilogies the first films started strong (74.6), the sequels got better (78.6), and the third films went totally bonkers (48.6).

Blade Trinity

X-Men: The Last Stand was left in a limbo when both Bryan Singer and Mathew Vaughn departed for other jobs. This left the new director Brett Ratner a month to prep for the juggernaut. Ratner succeeded in making a cohesive movie, but it totally screwed up the X-Men universe and left people very confused and annoyed.  The movie made over $200 million domestically, but is now completely ignored and considered a non-cannon X-Men film.

The Last Stand focuses on Magneto trying to kill a mutant who can rid mutants of their powers. I stopped caring about 10-minutes in when the film unceremoniously killed off Cyclops and turned Mystique human.

I know exactly what Marsden is saying to Famke in this picture.

Via

James: I got a role in Singer’s Superman. Come with me!!!

Famke: I can’t. I have to stand around for three months.

The biggest problem (aside from everything else) with The Last Stand is the massive fight at Alcatraz. The brawl is the conclusion to a blockbuster franchise and is amazingly dumb. The fight proves how little thought went into the film because it makes zero sense. It involves Magneto’s folks attacking Alcatraz while the X-Men defend. While watching I thought “why doesn’t Magneto just throw huge metal objects at the island and call it a day?”

Magneto X-Men the Last Stand

Pick up the bridge and drop it on the island. Problem solved.

The battle features some hilarious scenes of badness that forget to include logic. For instance, A man’s limbs keep growing back after wolverine cuts them off. Thus, Wolverine kicks him in the balls (classic….) and the dumb fight is over.  Did the man think he could defeat a metal bodied Mutant by punching him in the face? Did he not have a scouting report before the battle? Also, there is a scene where Wolverine is being hunted by a man holding a baseball bat. Is he the Sammy Sosa of mutants? The film cost over $100 million to make yet it still featured a mutant holding a baseball bat.

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X-Men: The Last Stand is now looked at as a hindrance to the X-Men world because of all the craziness involved. The movie took zero thought towards the future and didn’t think anything out. Major characters were killed and others were shortchanged. It was the product of a rushed production schedule and too many cooks in the kitchen. X-Men: The Last Stand imploded under too much pressure whereas Spider-Man 3 self-detonated.

Spider-Man 3 is a weird mash-up of singing, dancing and villains who are in no way related to each other. Sam Raimi seemed to have no interest in Venom so he wrote him in as a goo alien that lands on earth then hops a ride on Peter Parker’s moped. The goo waits a couple of days in Peter’s apartment then latches itself to Spidey’s suit. In that time, we have to deal with Mary Jane’s failed Broadway career, James Franco dying twice and enough skyscraper rubble to kill thousands of people.

In an interview with The Nerdist Sam Raimi had this to say about the film:

It’s a movie that just didn’t work very well. I tried to make it work, but I didn’t really believe in all the characters, so that couldn’t be hidden from people who loved Spider-Man. If the director doesn’t love something, it’s wrong of them to make it when so many other people love it.

The disdain for Venom was apparent and the character never had a chance to become anything threatening. It actually became “anti-threatening” because Raimi made it seem like the goo simply made you a jerk.  Spider-Man 3 takes an interesting plot turn when the goo latches onto Spider Man and he devolves into an emo dancing guy. Basically, he becomes an super  jerk who struts around giving everyone finger guns (which is awesome). He buys a super cheap suit then dances the night away while saucily eating cookies. While many were cringing I had a smile on my face because it was all so crazy. Spider-Man 3 is massive film that doesn’t give a shit.

Spiderman 3 Toby dancing gif

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For instance, casting Thomas Haden Church after his wonderful turn in Sideways and giving him nothing to do. He escapes from jail and ends up in a conveniently switched on particle accelerator (something like that). The machine turns him into Sandman (very quickly) and Church then goes to New York and finds convenient sand trucks which triple his size and create subpar CGI. The rest is bad movie history and it made room for some spin-offs that made a lot of money but ultimately failed.

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X-Men: The Last Stand never had a chance but Spider-Man 3 sorta gave up However, they both pale in comparison to the extremely weird Blade: Trinity. 

Blade: Trinity is the rare daywalker of bad movies. It is gloriously terrible yet very watchable. The majority of it makes zero sense but there is something hypnotic about it. The production was troubled from the beginning and everything was changed at the last minute which infuriated Wesley Snipes and made the production a living hell. Despite all the problems I adore the movie because it is really dumb, and loaded with good actors doing what they can to make it work.

The two prior Blade films did a wonderful job of building up Wesley Snipe’s Blade character. They were ultra-violet, somewhat serious and featured some logic. They opened the door for R-rated comic book mayhem, and featured this great line.

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However, all the world building was thrown out the window with the inclusion of the Night Stalkers and a deep v-neck wearing Dracula. Blade: Trinity revolves around yuppie vampires awakening Dracula, and Blade teaming up with a crew to stop them. Director/writer David S. Goyer went through hell on the shoot and his relationship with Wesley Snipes was vitriolic. In an interview with HitFix Goyer had this to say about the shoot:

“That was the most personally and professionally difficult and painful thing I’ve ever been through. Having said that, I have incredibly fond memories of working with Ryan [Reynolds] and Jessica [Biel] and a lot of people on the movie. Ryan and I remain really good friends today. It was a challenged shoot, as has been reported. What can I say?”

Patton Oswalt did a wonderful interview with the A.V. Club where he talked about what the film was originally about.

Oh, Christ. That was the third Blade movie. And there’s a scene where Blade goes in and confronts this guy for harvesting humans. That scene was supposed to be the whole basis of the film. Blade is fighting for the last shred of humanity. But they thought that it was just so fucking grim, so they decided to just have Blade fighting Dracula. It was just one of those; it was a very troubled production.

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The reason I love Blade: Trinity is because of Parker Posey. Posey is transcendent (hair included) in Blade Trinity. She owns the role of a yuppie vampire and is way better than she has any right to be. Roger Ebert summed up her performance perfectly.

“Parker Posey is an actress I have always had affection for, and now it is mixed with increased admiration, for the way she soldiers through an impossible role, sneering like the good sport she is.”

Posey soldiers on through a soul crushing script and copious amounts of slow motion walking. Without her we never would have seen this kick (10 second mark) or heard the insult “c*ck juggling thunder c**t.” While watching, I felt she was on another level of performance. She realized the production had it’s troubles (read this article) and went full vamp. Her committed performance is one of the reasons Blade: Trinity has become a watchable bad movie staple

The three movies I’ve written about are not good. They border on insane film making and I love them for it. It’s not everyday that this weirdness comes about, so, I’ve learned to appreciate the bombs and roll with them. I will leave you with this.

X-Men The Last Stand Juggernaut gif

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5 Comments leave one →
  1. johnleavengood permalink
    July 26, 2012 7:47 am

    Two third installments akin to lost games of Jenga. Well played, sir. I agree with most everything except for your opinion of Neo’s Matrix Revolutions bout with Smith (overcome with hubris and, thus, “needing” to prove that he was better than the breathing, sweating, stinking Neo).

    I will say that I love seeing Famke standing around. But, like you, I’d prefer that it be in an underwear add than given lackluster lines, some black contact lenses and a bad attitude.

    And, yes. What a waste of Church! Taking this job is probably how he landed the supporting role in All About Steve. While Church was quite funny in it, that movie shouldn’t have even happened in the first place.

    Way to trash thirds, Hofsey! I’m surprised you resisted the temptation to swing for the fences with the Pirates fourth.

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