Cyclops, Shortchanged

Last Tuesday, I finally saw X-Men The Last Stand. But I’m not going to do a full review on the movie itself. The following two paragraph will summarize what I thought about it.

Despite the misgivings of having Brett Ratner directing the third X-Men movie, and reports of behind the scene shenanigans that caused Bryan Singer to leave in the first place, I really enjoyed The Last Stand. Sure there were some plot holes and unbalanced screen time for characters, but they delivered what they promised: super-powered mutants beating the crap out of each other in creative ways onscreen. And I’m sure if the writers and director were given ample time without any studio politics involved, they would have given us something much more glorious than what we got.

In any case, I because of the amount of details in this movie: a totally spot on Beast with amazing acrobatic moves in combat; visually spectacular telekinesis an order of magnitude better than anything we’ve ever seen before; two Fastball Specials; Iceman icing up briefly; a great Juggernaught vs Shadowcat battle; Ian McKellen as Magneto; Multiple Man in action; even a glimpse of the Stepford Cuckoos in the background at the X-Mansion… I’ll say that the movie is at least on par with the previous two movies.

Now the spoilers begin.

[[image:cyke.jpg:Unshaven Angsty Cyclops from The Last Stand:right:0]]In all three movies, James Marsden’s Cyclops is shortchanged by the production team, Singer’s or Ratner’s, though I believe his untimely and off-screen death in this movie is more of a product of studio politics than a conscious creative decision.

Scott Summers is an orphan and knows nothing beyond his life as a student of Xavier’s and later an X-Man. He’s fastidious, loyal and has an awesome tactical mind. Apart from his mutant ability of firing optic force beams, he can swiftly assess a combat situation and use his teammates’ abilities and his opponents’ weaknesses to win a battle, something never shown in any of the movies.

In the first movie, the first time we see Cyclops, he just stood still in Storm’s blizzard and fired his optic beams uselessly at a fleeing Sabretooth. Then he used his beams to free Rogue from the camper. At the train station, he was knocked out of the battle early on thanks to Toad’s snatching his visor away with his tongue. At the Statue of Liberty, he first used his optic beams there to blast open a door and get Toad’s puke off Jean’s face. Finally he was of use (but with Jean and Wolverine’s aid) blasting Sabretooth off the Statue and (only) winging Magneto so Wolverine could destroy Magneto’s device.

The second movie didn’t even give Cyclops a chance to kick ass. After two optic force blasts (one of which only further annoyed Lady Deathstrike), he was out of the picture until the very end where he was forced to fight Jean, causing another manifestation of her Phoenix power. Them, of course Jean died.

In both movies, they didn’t give us even a glimpse of what Scott Summers, leader of the X-Men, can be. The closest to it we were given was the scene in the first movie where he has a scene talking to the incapacitated Professor Xavier. In the meantime, what we were given instead was a Scott Summers who was overprotective of his girlfriend, liked fast cars and big bikes, and descended into absolute self-pity when Jean died.

In other words, a shallow Cyclops.

What we should have gotten was the final battle of The Last Stand where the X-Men acted fast (and finally in combat as working as a team, as it should have been from the beginning) with Cyclops calling the shots, and impressing the audience with his knowledge of his teammates skills and his environment, using both to take out Magneto’s Brotherhood quick and hard. In that movie it was Wolverine, the loner and the anti-hero, who was given the role instead.

Thus we have three movies where poor Cyclops is given practically nothing outstanding to do, never leading the X-Men anywhere (if you analyze the Statue of Liberty battle, he never really leads the team there too) and is totally shortchanged by the moviemakers.

Will we ever see him in that capacity on the big screen? Perhaps. If the movie X-Men is anything like the comics X-Men, a dramatic return from death is nothing new.

Posted in Movie Review, Rants and tagged , , , .

Khairul Hisham J. is a tabletop RPG artist, writer, proofreader, translator, teacher, grad student and learner-in-general.

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