Sep 292018
 

This X-Men: 3-Film Collection is okay and does come with good video upgrade and already solid audio, however the big downside with this set is that the studio failed to port over the second discs for each film which contained some expansive documentaries.

 

 

X-Men: 3-Film Collection
(2000-16)

Genre(s): Science Fiction, Action, Fantasy
Fox | NR – 342 min. – $59.99 | September 25, 2018

Date Published: 09/29/2018 | Author: The Movieman


MOVIE INFO:
Directed by: Bryan Singer, Brett Ratner
Writer(s): X-Men: Tom DeSanto & Bryan Singer (story), David Hayter (screenplay); X2: Zak Penn and David Hayter & Bryan Singer (story), Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris and David Hayter (screenplay); X-Men The Last Stand: Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn (written by)
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellan, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, Kelsey Grammer
DISC INFO:
Features: Audio Commentaries, Featurettes, Deleted Scenes
Digital Copy: Yes
Formats Included: 4K, Blu-ray
Number of Discs: 6
Audio: English (DTS-HD MA 5.1) – X-Men and X2, English (DTS-HD MA 6.1) – X-Men: TLS, Spanish (Dolby Digital 5.1), French (Dolby Digital 5.1)
Video: 2160p/Widescreen 2.40
Dynamic Range: HDR10
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Codecs: HEVC / H.265
Region(s): A, B, C

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment provided me with a free copy of the Blu-ray I reviewed in this Blog Post.
The opinions I share are my own.

Note: Portions were copied over from my original Blu-ray reviews and may, well they do, contain outdated information.
However, my overall opinions generally remain the same.


THE MOVIES — 3.75/5


X-Men (2000) — 3.75/5
It can be argued that the comic book-to-screen craze in Hollywood began in 1998 with Blade, but I say 2000’s X-Men put the genre into the stratosphere, launching the Spider-Man franchise in ’02, Fantastic Four in ’05 and even DC/Warner’s re-launch, Batman Begins the same year. And obviously the domino effect has taken place with Iron Man, Superman Returns, Ghost Rider and Daredevil. The list goes on and on and will continue with sequels to Spider-Man and Iron Man (as well as the third Batman movie).

Synopsis: Two mutants, Wolverine (HUGH JACKMAN) and Rogue (ANNA PAQUIN), are rescued from an attack orchestrated by Magneto (IAN MCKELLAN) by Cyclops (JAMES MARSDEN) and Storm (HALLE BERRY) who takes the pair to Xavier’s School for Gifted Children run by Professor Charles Xavier (PATRICK STEWART). What Magneto’s ultimate plan is, they don’t know, but it involves a Senator and his crusade to expose all the mutants and force them to report their powers.

For the most part, X-Men was a successful film both in terms of box office and quality. As an origin film, Bryan Singer made an entertaining and action-packed film with a solid ensemble cast and some decent writing (I could’ve done without the lame one-liners). The film also made stars out of Halle Berry and, more so, Hugh Jackman.

Hugh Jackman is the star of the film being backed up by a talented supporting cast including Halle Berry (Oscar winner for Monster’s Ball), Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Ian McKellen and James Marsden. Although the story is more about establishing the X-Men versus their arch nemesis Magneto’s plan to destroy humanity, Wolverine is at the forefront and for good reason since he is probably the most interesting of the X-Men character (and X2 would expand his story even more).

Despite the film losing a slight edge of the years (it is a fairly simple story), I still found it to be an enjoyable film and one of the better superhero flicks behind only a select few. What it does pretty well is setting up future sequels, adding a certain excitement to see the next chapter as soon as possible (not unlike Batman Begins).

(Updated Portion): The world of the X-Men only continued to expand with a messy timeline and even messier plots, though I did enjoy First Class and Days of Future Past. And with Fox being acquired by Disney, the upcoming Dark Phoenix movie perhaps is the swan song of the franchise.


X2: X-Men United (2003) — 4.5/5
X2: X-Men United continues the main storyline of the original as a battle is brewing between the humans and mutants. At the center on the mutant side is Professor Xavier (Stewart) who believes in the human species and Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto (IAN MCKELLAN) who would like nothing more than to annihilate the human race. On the other side are the humans, where in this film is led by General William Stryker (BRIAN COX), and a central figure in the creation of another mutant named Wolverine (HUGH JACKMAN).

Anyways, the two mutants who have different visions of humans team up (as it were) to stop Stryker from his evil plan to rid the planet of mutants. To get this plan off the ground, he invades the mutant school and takes some key equipment to aid him in his efforts.

The returning characters include: Storm (HALLE BERRY), Dr. Jean Grey (FAMKE JANSSEN), Cyclops (JAMES MARSDEN), villainous Mystique (REBECCA ROMIJN-STAMOS), Rogue (ANNA PAQUIN), Pyro (AARON STANFORD) and Iceman (SHAWN ASHMORE). This time, though, director Singer brings us a new hero (my new favorite) in Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming), a mutant who can transport himself in an instant to wherever he wants.

The casting is brilliant for not only this film but the original as well. The fact is, each character gets his or her own screen time with the possible exception of Wolverine who is the central figure in this planned trilogy.

The actors themselves each do a great job with their roles and seemed to have grown into them nicely. Halle Berry, as we know, is a versatile actress, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and finally Hugh Jackman, all give great performances. I also cannot leave out youngsters Anna Paquin, Aaron Stanford and Shawn Ashmore all set us up for the future in the franchise, as, I believe, their roles will be even more significant.

You’ve got to hand it to director Bryan Singer who gives a visual palette of what a comic book should look like on the big screen (also succeeded by Sam Raimi for Spider-Man, though). From the first frame, I can imagine these penciled and inked on paper. The characters themselves are so out there and the costumes and set designs come flying from the Marvel comic book pages. Singer is an excellent director who can handle both indie and big budget flicks alike.

One can’t forget to mention the score in these types of movies. John Ottman is really a talented person (he served as editor on this film and also directed a few films as well) who not only gives a brilliant score that is vital because it not only carries a film (frankly every film does that) but also brings the comic feeling much like Danny Elfman’s work on Batman and Spider-Man.

X2: X-Men United is one of the better comic book adaptations ever made, probably 2b to Spider-Man 2’s 2a, with The Dark Knight taking the top spot. Watching it again after a couple of years, I appreciated the film’s emotional center even more and how Bryan Singer was able to effectively distribute each character. It’s a shame he and Fox could not come to an agreement for the third X-Men, it would’ve been an entirely different film.


X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) — 3.5/5

“They will force their cure upon us. There is only one question you must answer: Who will you stand with?”

It was only three years ago that X2: X-Men United stormed movie complexes and wowed even the non-X fans such as myself. The imagination was endless with everything Singer and company set up for the third and (supposedly) final chapter in the X-Men saga. The death of Jean Grey; Magneto taking away one of the “X-Men”; and so many other possibilities.

I had high hopes X-Men: The Last Stand would deliver despite the departure of Bryan Singer… unfortunately it seems Singer took the heart and soul of the previous installments with him to the Superman Returns. And that’s the core problem with X3. This third entry doesn’t feel like the other two and worse yet, is void of the fun, humor and soul of X2 (and even the original).

X-Men: The Last Stand takes place in the “not so distant future” as the mutant heroes try to move on from the loss of Jean after her heroic sacrifice to save the team. However, Cyclops (JAMES MARSDEN) has not given up after hearing her calls for help in his head. At the dam where she “died”, he finds his beloved alive but not so well underneath. At the X-mansion, Professor Xavier (PATRICK STEWART) admits that when he (and, at the time, good guy Magneto) recruited Jean to attend his school for the gifted, she possesses a split personality, one good and able to control her power, the other one that could not.

After Jean’s dormant personality (known as the Phoenix) has taken over, she joins up with Magneto’s ever growing mutant army bent on stopping a pharmaceutical company — run by Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy) in an attempt to help his son, nicknamed Angel (BEN FOSTER) — from distributing a “cure” that suppresses/eliminates the mutant gene, making the former mutant, human again.

Magneto’s core group also include the return of the sexy Mystique (REBECCA ROMIJN), former X’er Pyro (AARON STANFORD) as well as some new mutant blood and powers like powerhouse Juggernaut (VINNIE JONES), “Flash”-like Callisto (DANIA EAMIREZ) and Spike (LANCE GIBSON) who can take down opponents by, well, extracting spikes through his head.

Other “X-Men” also return to help stop Magneto. Outside of Wolverine (HUGH JACKMAN), Storm (HALLE BERRY) and the Professor, minor/mid-major mutants come into the mix to fight including Rogue (ANNA PAQUIN), Iceman (SHAWN ASHMORE), Kitty (ELLEN PAGE) and Colossus (DANIEL SUDMORE) as well as Dr. Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast (KELSEY GRAMMER), head of Mutant Relations in the President’s cabinet (note: this administration is more accepting of the mutant population).

As stated before, the biggest fault with The Last Stand is it lacks a certain heart and instead of such, it’s replaced with a story that comes across more hollow or a shell than anything of substance. Now, I can appreciate it as a popcorn summer blockbuster, but with X2 setting the standards so high, I cannot and will not accept it as anything other than an underwhelming sequel.

Who’s at fault? I don’t want to blame Brett Ratner as his previous films, though nothing great, was still decent. But, I can’t ignore some editing and pacing problems aggregated with a story lacking much needed character development not only for the new mutants, but also the established ones. Where’s the emotional turmoil that eats up at Logan over Jean? Where’s the agony over the events that befall the “X-Men”? Frankly, I didn’t see any and while it’s easy to condemn the writers, the focus goes back to the director whose job is to get the most out of his actors, and unfortunately he failed.

On the plus side of things, despite some cheesy dialogue and below-average character and story development, stars Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Ian McKellen turn in good performances saving the film from mediocrity. If there was any weight lost when Singer left, at least these actors provides some stability to the picture. Also adding to the movie were Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut was easily my favorite character of the bunch this time around), Shawn Ashmore (he gets much more screen time than the first two combined) and Kelsey Grammer (who benefits from being a strong stage actor).

Missing from the picture (making more of a token cameo) was James Marsden as Cyclops. Marsden appears maybe for five minutes and even then, barely has any lines. It could be because he changed sides, working on Singer’s Superman Returns, but the fact Cyclops has never really gotten any good development thus far in this franchise is pretty sad.

I will say up front that since it’s easier to criticize a movie than to praise one (especially one you merely like versus love), it may sound like I disliked the movie, on the contrary, I did enjoy it overall. The special effects are great (though today, one expects no less for a high budgeted flick), the acting is at least passable and the core story is interesting, if not starting to stale. All in all, X-Men: The Last Stand is an entertaining movie, just one that takes a step back from its predecessor.

 

SPECIAL FEATURES – 2.5/5


This 6-disc release (3 UHDs, 3 BDs) come housed in an HD Keep Case which side-slides into a slip cover. Inside is a single redemption code for the Digital HD for all three films. Unfortunately, the second discs for each movie is not included which means this is missing some great documentaries while the UHDs only have the audio commentaries.


X-Men — 3.0/5
The set opens with an informative and friendly audio commentary by Bryan Singer and Brian Peck. I’ve always enjoyed Singer’s commentaries and this one is no different. My only wish even now is that a couple of the main actors would’ve joined…

Enhanced Viewing Mode (63:59) can be watched in conjunction with the film, individually or via a “Play All” option. This features behind-the-scenes footage along with the deleted scenes.

Deleted/Extended Scenes (11:02) – There are six scenes that for the most part weren’t really needed. An optional commentary with Singer and Peck is available if you want an explanation why they were not used.

FOX Special: The Mutant Watch (21:57) contains some interviews with the cast and crew explaining the story of the X-Men movie and it’s intertwined with a Senate session led by Senator Kelly railing against Mutants.

Charlie Rose Interview with Bryan Singer (6:17) has six segments with the director talking about “Why he made X-Men”, “Bringing X-Men from the Comic Book to the Big Screen”, “Directing Actors”, “Learning from Actors” and “The Challenge of Making a Studio Film”.

There are also a couple Animatics (2:03) including an Art Gallery (Character and Production Designs), 3 TV Spots (1:36), a music promo (0:31) some Marvel Universe Trailers.


X2: X-Men United — 1.0/5
Audio Commentaries:

  • Director Bryan Singer and Cinematographer Tom Sigel
  • Producer Laura Schuler-Donner & Ralph Winters and Writers Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris & David Hayter

X-Men: The Last Stand — 1.75/5
Audio Commentaries:

  • Director Brett Ratner and Screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn
  • Producers Avi Arad, Lauren Schuler Donner and Ralph Winter

Next up are all 24 deleted scenes (19:02) with optional commentary with Ratner, Kinberg and Penn Nothing in these stand out too much but there were a couple that I think would be great.

 


VIDEO – 4.25/5


All three X-Men movies are presented with a 2.40 widescreen aspect ratio and given 2160p high-definition transfers. Although I can’t say these were heads and heels better than their Blu-ray counterparts, they did look great with some sharp detail, getting only better with each subsequent movie, while black levels were stark. Now, the first movie probably looked the worse of the three, kind of flat in spots, particularly the darker opening, but otherwise these were fine transfers.

AUDIO – 4.5/5


The original tracks were ported over from the Blu-rays (DTS-HD MA 5.1 for X-Men and X2 and DTS-HD MA 6.1 for X-Men: The Last Stand) so no upgrade here, yet still these were pretty impressive outputting clear dialogue via the center channel and some decent surrounds for ambient noises and background elements.

 


OVERALL – 4.0/5


This X-Men: 3-Film Collection is okay and does come with good video upgrade and already solid audio, however the big downside with this set is that the studio failed to port over the second discs for each film which contained some expansive documentaries so sadly if you already own the Blu-ray collection, you will need to hold on to them, and if not, you are missing out on some great documentaries and even some deleted scenes.

 

 

 

 

The screen captures came from the Blu-ray copy and are here to add visuals to the review and do not represent the 4K video.

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