X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
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Take a mega-popular franchise like "X-Men" and put it in the hands of director Brett Ratner and it is only natural to expect the worst. This is the same guy who brought "Rush Hour" and "Rush Hour 2" to the screen, not to mention "Money Talks" and "After the Sunset". This guy gave Chris Tucker a career and I don't think we'll ever be able to forgive him for that. Alas, Brett Ratner does seem to be the go-to guy for expensive action flicks and big bangs, even if some of them do star Pierce Brosnan and Jackie Chan. "X-Men: The Last Stand" is said to be the final installment of the franchise, and having finally seen it, I would have to agree. Events take place in this film that would make a fourth film impossible, unless it is a spin-off of one of the characters. The most amazing part of watching this film was this - Brett Ratner didn't screw it up. He's no Bryan Singer, but he certainly did give the fans exactly what they wanted, and in abundance. This does not mean that the film is great - I thought it was better than the original, but far inferior to the sequel. "X-Men: The Last Stand" is just what the doctored ordered, in terms of action sequences, character development, and the comic book coming to life on-screen. Fans everywhere rejoice! It's not "Rush Hour 3"!
This third installment finds the world on the brink of war, between the humans and the mutants. Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) is leading a rebel force that wants to destroy something called 'the cure', which takes away the mutant gene and turns people back into humans. Of course, this does not sit well with Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his group of X-Men. Throw into the mix the resurrected Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), now known as The Phoenix, and you get a whole lot of trouble. Kelsey Grammer makes his debut as Dr. Hank McCoy, aka Beast; Ben Foster comes along as Warren Worthington III, aka Angel; and, Vinnie Jones beats down the doors and walls as the menacing Juggernaut. We also get the same onslaught of mutants from the original two films: Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Pyro (Aaron Stanford), Cyclops (James Marsden), and even Mystique (Rebecca Romijn). The end of the film is, of course, the final showdown between Magneto's group and the X-Men, taking place on Alcatraz Island after Magneto plays Erector-Set with one of the local landmarks. Most of the film deals with the X-Men facing personal battles and heavy blows to their team.
Let's start with the good. I loved the way Brett Ratner's film stands alone from the two Bryan Singer efforts. This film has a different feel and style to it, unlike the previous two. Ratner has really tried harder for that comic book feel and he succeeded. I loved Kelsey Grammer as Beast. I thought they cast the role perfectly and he really helped me get interested in the whole mutant right subplot. I thought Vinnie Jones was great as Juggernaut, and he utters one soon-to-be-classic line that You Tube regulars will recognize all too well. I also enjoyed how they minimized Rogue's involvement and Cyclops' involvement in the story - they were my two least favorite characters. Famke Janssen is phenomenal as Jean Grey, aka The Phoenix, and she has some of the best scenes in the film - from any comic book adaptation, for that matter. The final sequence on the bridge is spectacular to watch, and Ian McKellen has such fun with it, and every other scene in which he appears. Much like "The Da Vinci Code", he steals the show here and is, essentially, the star. The opening sequence between he and a much younger Charles Xavier was a great way to kick this film off.
Okay, and now for the bad. TOO MANY MUTANTS! There are so many inconsequential mutants in this film, I lost track. We have a guy who shoots thorns and a guy who turns into a porcupine, and a guy who shoots lettuce out of his ass. Too many mutants is a bad thing. Multiple Man pops up and is not really needed. Angel has zero relevance to the story. They could have written Rogue out altogether and no one would have cared. And, out of all these worthless, second-rate mutants, we don't even get to see Gambit. Where's the justice in that? I thought the numerous flashes to the President were ridiculous and unnecessary. I thought the way they handled the first death was really bizarre and really terrible. I thought giving Halle Berry such a large role was a mistake, seeing as how she has all the emotional range of a sexually abused turtle. I just got tired of keeping up with all of these damned mutants, only two or three of whom I actually gave a crap. But, the biggest problem I had with the film was this - the film was too short! Both of the other films clocked over a good bit over two hours. This one didn't even make it to two hours. These are the types of films people enjoy sitting through. They could have easily tacked on another half an hour for the fans and maybe given us a little more Angel, a little more Juggernaut, or a little Gambit for good measure.
Despite the problems I had with the film, I recommend it. This flick will entertain the hell out of you, especially the comic book fans out there. Brett Ratner did a pretty decent job of finishing out the saga, though I can only daydream as to how it might have been with Bryan Singer at the helm. This was the type of film that has more emotion than you might expect, and the kind of special effects you know and love. This is the type of film that gives you so much to watch, you eventually just want to slow down for a moment and hear some dialogue. This is the type of film that keeps you on the edge of your seat to hear Dr. Hank McCoy sings, "And I don't know what to do with those tossed salads and scrambled eggs." "X-Men: The Last Stand" is a sad day because we don't have anymore mutant adventure left to see, unless Wolverine and Magneto get their spin-offs, which is very possible. Go check this one out and judge for yourself whether Ratner saved or wrecked the franchise. I don't think he did either. I think he merely did it justice, and that was enough.
Brett Ratner has killed the X-Men. Just kidding. It's easy to blame the director, who's been the target of much online ridicule and speculation, but if there's anything to hate about this movie, it's the script. To be honest it's not really Brett Ratner's fault at all but it's easier to say his name than the two guys who wrote the script for X3. I remember three years ago, almost to the date, I raved about how X2 was such a fucking great movie, how it incorporated great new characters, gave them depth while still having a deep, moving storyline that went far beyond a simple plot that functioned as a conveyor belt for the action. So now I get to say X-Men 3 is the complete opposite of that.
Review by Vash
Added: May 26, 2006
It's not a terrible movie by any means. I think it has a couple of great action pieces and, even though I hate commending films for just being competent, I was sufficiently entertained. It wasn't a complete train wreck, as I wholeheartedly expected it to be, but it had a LOT going for it and the majority of that potential was flushed down the toilet.
For one, it was about a half hour too short. The movie killed off main characters left and right while ignoring subplots it touched on throughout. Nothing was fleshed out, there was no closure. Characters were introduced and left dead in the water. Key events were rendered meaningless later on. The plot was totally hollow and, in the grand scheme of the movie, left relatively unresolved. Not to mention the pedestrian dialogue and over-emphasis on certain things. Example? References, both visually and verbally, to mutant powers. Magneto opens a door by turning the metal knob with his power instead of just pushing it open. Professor X says to Storm, as she's bringing in rain clouds for absolutely no reason, "You of all people know how fast the weather can change." WE GET IT. THEY'RE MUTANTS. THEY'RE THE X-MEN. WE KNOW THIS. MOVE THE FUCK ON.
The shallow characters are what really bugged me. X2 painstakingly built up these character arcs where the lines between the heroes and villains weren't black and white but beyond good and evil. The characters each had a personal stake in what was going on. Magneto in particular is such an interesting villain in that he's not inherently evil, just, some would say, misguided. He has personal motivations for his actions, and even though they may be the wrong way to solve a problem, it's never morally wrong. With the mutant cure plot-line, this movie had so many opportunities to make the audience truly see where he was coming from and opted instead to make him a two-dimensional bad guy who just wants to reap vengeance on the humans who've done him wrong. NO.
He has no real reason to go after the humans who brought about this cure, other than it seeming like the thing for him to do. Early on, and here's a spoiler if you haven't seen it, Mystique gets shot by this "cure," and that evidently pushes Magneto over the edge. Instead of consoling his long-time assistant, he just leaves her there. If that's supposed to push him over the edge, wouldn't he say more to her than "You're not one of us anymore"? It's that inconsistency and simplification of characters that irks me.
This is what I mean when I say it had a lot going for it and wasted it all. Like V For Vendetta or Batman Begins, the movie took a rich world and squeezed all the subtext out of it, going for the most unilateral approach possible to capitalize on the movie being a sure thing at the box office. Where X2 made a fantasy world seem as real as it could be given the premise, X3 reminded you time and again that you were watching a superhero movie. And, believe me, it doesn't stop reminding you.
By comparison, X2 had dialogue and subtext that was rich, with depth and emotion that transcended its fantasy setting. The action sequences, by contrast, were engaging in that they brought something to the table that only the X-Men could, like the magnificent opening scene with Nightcrawler in the White House. X3 on the other hand does the exact opposite. The action sequences are good but at times it feels like any old action movie. The dialogue beats you over the head with mutant innuendo and obvious puns which put up a barrier. Where X2 drew you in and made the world believable, X3 demands that a wall should be put up between the movie and its audience to prevent mistaking its world for their own.
But that's the kind of thing most people won't miss. Most people are going to go to this movie wanting to see a bunch of mutants fight each other with their cool powers. They will get this. What they won't get is a storyline that sparks conversation, with real world parallels and relevant themes. But who cares? You get to see Juggernaut plow through some walls Wolverine stabbing a bunch of people. This is an action movie, through and through, and if that's what you want to see, you can do a lot worse than X3. It's just sad that the supposed finale of the franchise went for such an ordinary approach when the previous two films had set it up to be something truly extraordinary.
- added 06/09/2006, 06:37 PM
Too many mutants? It was a movie about a (oh
shit) ARMY of mutants. And they made the battle
lines very clear, as far as Magneto was concerned,
Mystique was dead. A veritable Casualty of War.
- added 06/12/2006, 03:28 PM
There were still too many characters introduced
that had no relevance to the film whatsoever.
Angel's only purpose was to swoop down at the last
minute and save his father. Rogue's only purpose
was -- well -- she didn't have one. Several of
these mutants could have been written out entirely
and more attention paid to the mutants we actually
gave a damn about in the first place.
- added 06/21/2006, 06:05 PM
Sorry crispy but I have to give this one to
bluemeanie. This movie blew.
- added 07/06/2006, 01:12 PM
With the absense of Brian Singer, you can really
tell this movie is only concerned about how many
action scenes they can pack in, and nothing about
the mutants personal lives.
The Prof. X
thing when he fights Phoenix, that could have been
done so much better.
Oh well. It lasted for
2 good movies.
- added 10/11/2007, 02:35 PM
I'm going to have to go with crispy on this one.
While there were a lot of unnecessary characters,
they were MUTANT characters with SUPERPOWERS, and
any army of mutants (especially of the Marvel
variety) has some intrinsic coolness. A touch
more of intellectualism would have really made
this movie amazing. Alas, it was good but not
- added 08/04/2008, 12:08 PM
Someone on youtube or somewhere else pointed out
that Psylocke was listed in the credits. I haven't
seen the credits since I last watched the movie,
and I couldn't care less.
were a little too many mutants, but it kinda makes
the movie and subplots interesting, like how
Rogue's decision to go for the cure shows how some
people are so desperate to be 'normal' and how it
affects Bobby Drake. Multiple Man was there to
distract the guards during that ambush. Angel's
character was overhyped, but it did serve a
purpose... proving his dad wrong, I suppose. While
these may seem like small non-key events, during a
movie screening, it does kinda make you go... SEE
I think you were just
thinking that these characters didn't get enough
screentime, so you felt that there were too many
mutants. It's supposed to be an all out war, so it
has to feel epic and huge.
worry, you'll get to see Gambit in X-Men Origins:
Wolverine. The writers probably didn't know how
to fit a fighting card tossing cajun in the movie,
so they scrapped him.
By the way,
when Bobby Drake turned into ice, I kinda screamed
- added 05/25/2010, 01:38 AM
This movie was a train wreck compared to the