X-Men: The Last Stand

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X-Men: The Last Stand
Review (6/10)
(By Jamie Kelwick)

When a ‘cure’ is found for the mutant X gene, Magneto (McKellen) sees this as the US Government’s attempt to wide out their uniqueness forever. Professor Charles Xavier (Stewart) and mutant government representative Dr. Hank McCoy (Grammer) see this as the first time that mutants actually have a choice to be what they are or become human. As Magneto gathers together an army to fight back, Xavier and Logan (Jackman) have bigger problems when Jean Grey (Janssen) returns from her watery grave.

After losing their director to the Man of Steel, the X-Men return to face their biggest threat and that is not just from the die-hard fans.

Replacing Bryan Singer was always going to be mammoth task for the studio and ‘Rush Hour’ and ‘Red Dragon’ director Brett Ratner was never the fans choice but the good news is that he destroyed the franchise.

We all know that he can direct action and he can handle big name stars but unlike Singer he is a big Hollywood director. Comic book fans prefer their directors to have honed their craft in low, budget character driven pieces that are noticed by award panels and most importantly Oscar. After what Christopher Nolan achieved with ‘Batman Begins’, the style and look of Ang Lee’s ‘Hulk’, indie cult director Sam Raimi’s gargantuan success with ‘Spider-Man’ and most importantly what ‘Usual Suspects’ Oscar winner Bryan Singer did with the first two movies, fans expect great things for the big comic book stars and Brett Ratner certainly doesn’t live with these heady comic book movie helmers but fortunately he comes into the franchise with everything already in place.

With only one backstory to tell, Ratner and this filmmaking team can hit the ground running and continue on from where X2 left us but as with all of the X-Men films, ‘The Last Stand’ suffers from the same problem as the previous two films, too many characters and therefore too many stories. The third movie has two major storylines and one of them is bound to suffer. Unfortunately it is a fans favourite that bears the brunt of suffering.

The story of the mutant X gene cure and the battle to save Mutant rights could have stood on its own without any problems but because of the final scenes in second movie the writers also had to include the Dark Phoenix story. Instead of making this the lead story however it is only used as a way to bring back Jean Grey and set up a final confrontation between the Brotherhood of Mutants and the US armed forces. For fans this will come as comic blasphemy but for everyone else the two parallel stories do give the characters of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) the chance to shine.

The problem is that ‘X-Men’ isn’t only just about those three characters but a collection of mutants that are each fan favourites. The scope of the two main stories drowns out all of the other characters involved and they neither get the screen time or the development to do them justice. The love triangle between Bobby (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and Rouge (Anna Paquin) is just glossed over and feels like filling. Pyro’s (Stanford) anger towards Professor X is never explained or developed. Warren Worthington III (Ben Foster) is only really introduced as Angel and the new and old Brotherhood of Mutants characters such as Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), Callisto (Dania Ramirez), Multiple Man (Eric Dane) and the many others do not get enough screen time make a real impact.

X-Men: The Last Stand’ is far from a disaster and worth watching for the finale alone. Action packed and still managing to raise a social issue like the first two movies, the third film is a decent addition to the franchise but is not up to the same standard as Bryan Singer’s brilliant second film, which is arguably one of the best comic book adaptations. It is also not the last stand as it does leave it open to continue, especially if you watch the extra scene at the very end of the credits. This is still a good comic book movie with characters that are now screen icons and an adventure that everyone can enjoy.

Trailer

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