X-Men: The Last Stand

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X-Men: The Last Stand
Review (8/10)
(By Brendan Cullin)

In X-Men: The Last Stand, we find our friendly neighbourhood mutants in yet another conundrum. Just when it seems they are about to be accepted into society as recognized citizens, we learn that a billionaire named Warren Worthington II has bought Alcatraz where he is holding a mutant named Leech, whose special power is an antibody he produces that "cures" mutations. Basically, when injected with this antibody, a mutant's powers will disappear. Leech is being used to manufacture a drug that will rid the world of all mutants, at least in theory. Ironically, Worthington's son Warren III (also known as Angel) has a beautiful set of white wings growing out of his back, which seems to be the bone of contention with the elder Worthington and his motivation for developing the drug.

Of course, the mutants do not take this threat lightly. Prof. Charles Xavier and his stable of disciples including Wolverine, Storm, Rogue, Iceman and the newly recruited Minister of Mutant Affairs, Dr. Hank McCoy (also known as Beast) plan to deal with the matter in a calm and collected manner but they soon find themselves facing off with an army of angry mutants that has been assembled by the much more violent and much less forgiving Magneto. It seems Magneto and his apprentice Pyro have managed to gather up a gang of mutant rejects that includes Juggernaut, Multiple Man and the newly revived Dark Phoenix and they plan on destroying the Alcatraz laboratory and, I assume, eventually taking over the world. Of course the X-Men (and women) cannot let this happen and what results is a showdown between the good and the bad mutants, with a handful of fairly useless and pretty helpless human beings thrown in the mix.

X3 is a movie that is sure to ruffle the feathers of certain comic book virtuosos. Director Brett Ratner, who is slowly becoming the Colin Farrell of movie directors, has created a movie that is action-packed and special effects-laden but probably not the dramatic, character-driven movie that fans of the X-Men would have preferred to see, especially considering that, in theory, this may be the last X-Men movie and also considering the fact that this movie tackles what I understand is a sensitve issue for the fans - that being the transformation of Jean Grey to Dark Phoenix, which seems to be handled more like her turning into a zombie more than anything else.

With all that being said, I have to say that I really didn't mind The Last Stand. I liked the action, I liked all the new characters, I liked the final battle. There is a lot to enjoy here. But I'm not a comic book guy. Yeah, it might not be the deep and detailed movie that the previous two X-Men movies delivered but it's still entertaining. Perhaps if the movie would have been a little longer, we could have seen more story and more detail but Ratner still manages to pack a whole lot into the rather short 104-minute running time, which is both good and not so good. In that time, he does manage to introduce a heck of a lot of new characters, characters that we do not get to know as well as we would have liked and he has a handful of different stories going on and maybe that does take a bit away from the movie. But I did enjoy pretty much all the new characters and always love seeing their new powers at work and the movie does a good job at showing us all those powers, even if only for a brief moment. I have to say too, that Hugh Jackman as Wolverine might be the most perfect casting in a comic book movie since Christopher Reeve played Superman. He really is great, as are Patrick Stewart as Xavier and Ian McKellen as Magneto. Of all the new characters we see in X3, Beast (Kelsey Grammer) is the one we get to know the most. He's adequate. It would have been nice to see him wear a suit that fits.

In the end, I have to admit, I liked The Last Stand. I liked the action, I liked that the movie had some guts and knocked off a few central characters, I liked the new mutants and I thought the last 20 minutes was thoroughly entertaining. Again, I have to point out, I am not your typical angry comic book fan who despises nearly every super hero movie that hits the big screen every summer, or so it seems. I get the feeling there's a lot of those people out there. Just a warning - when you see X3, make sure you stay in your seat until the last of the credits has rolled. There's a small bit at the very end of the movie. Not really sure what it means though and if this is, in fact, the last stand. I suppose only time and money will tell.


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