X-men: The Last Stand
R E V I E W   B Y   R I C H   C L I N E dir Brett Ratner
scr Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn
with Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Kelsey Grammer, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, James Marsden, Ben Foster, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Olivia Williams
release UK 25.May.06,
US 26.May.06
06/US Fox 1h44

Armed and dangerous: Berry and Jackman

mckellen stewart janssen jackman

X-MEN (2000)
X2 (2003)

And from 2003:
X-men: The Last Stand With the departure of Bryan Singer, there was no way this film would live up to the first two. But at least Ratner knows how to handle both action and drama on screen, even if subtlety and substance fall by the wayside.

As American society continues to cope with its emerging mutant population, a scientist develops a serum that reverts mutant DNA. Professor Xavier (Stewart) worries that this implies mutants in need of a cure; Magneto (McKellen) takes this as a declaration of all-out war. Meanwhile, the government's Secretary for Mutant Affairs, a blue beast-like man (Grammer), is looking for a diplomatic solution. But there are secret agendas, and it's going to get messy. Especially when Jean Grey (Janssen) is reborn as Phoenix, with devastating powers even she can't control.

Ratner is very good at pacing, and this film launches like a rocket, with a vicious tone that lets us know anything can happen. It's a big action-effects movie, rather than X2's character-based thriller. This makes it feel rather shallow, with obvious dialog and unsubtle camera work that play up the moral questions: Is it cowardice to want to fit in? Is it unreasonable to fight back? These are great issues, although the film approaches them without much passion; when it tries to get emotional, it feels forced.

Performances are strong throughout the sprawling cast. Only a handful of characters emerge from the fray--Grammer is especially effective, and there's more development for Janssen and McKellen, and also Jackman's Wolverine and Berry's Storm. But there's a sense that the plot is ripping the guts out of the franchise. It's all-out carnage, as beloved characters are obliterated and the bad guys turn out to be far more charismatic and focussed than the heroes.

It also feels like a fanboy fantasy, indulging in big, ludicrous action-effects sequences (surely there are easier ways to get to Alcatraz). But there are moments when it springs brilliantly to life, forcing characters to make some very difficult decisions. Combined with the gripping story, this insight continues to mark this as one of the most grown-up comic book movie series ever made.

cert 12 themes, strong violence, some language 16.May.06

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... berry paquin matt, australia: 34.5/5 "I liked it. I didnt think i would, i didnt think i wanted to, but i did. There were faults, some horrid dialogue but this never once threatened to be the next Batman & Robin that some people said it was going to be. I liked the action and finally a decent display of mutant powers. I liked the way Phoenix was handled (although i wanted to see the firebird. All those flames, not one firebird -- geez Ratner). I am a huge Phoenix fan from the comics (her story started off my geekdom) and some of my friends will disown me for my support of this film, but thats whats good about this franchise. It's hit and miss, and not all of us will like the same things or the way they are presented. At least its been a damn entertaining series." (25.May.06)

X3 proud fan, Neverland: 4.5/5 "the movie is awsome with great explenation of the events. It has a good action and plot. It also have some unexpected and exited turns in the movie. Its a great movie. The only flaws were the connections between X2 and this becayse in X2, Jean Gray ignates in fire and at the end a 'supposed' phoenix flying under or above the water and none of that fits in this movie, besides that, the movie is awsome." (26.May.06) grammer romijn

Michelle, Essex: 3/5 "Disappointing third film. Slow to get going and too many characters to focus on. The special effects are striking and the fight scenes impressive but they aren't enough to totally save the film. Good to see Kelsey Grammar in a different type of role - could have done without Vinnie Jones though! It's still a watchable film but a little long-winded for my liking." (28.May.06)

Sarah Edwards, Oxfordshire, England: 2.5/5 " I was really looking forward to this film after the two brilliant predecessors, however, was a little dissapointed with the Phoenix effects. Where was the fire, the bird outline, the essence of the character? Sure there was power, sure there were great special effects, but that didn't cover the nagging and unanswered questions! (Note to Brett Ratner: Phoenix is a marsden ashmore 'bird' of 'fire' that rises from the ashes; might've wanted to have made a note of that in your pre-production meetings!) And why didn't Professor X acknowledge his brother Juggernaut? However the story was not a complete loss, the idea was conveyed well enough and the special effects were worth watching, but it would have done no harm to have the film lenghtened by at least half an hour to fill out the story a bit better. This would have given us a chance to care about what happened to the new characters. They had better do an X-men 4 to explain everything that was unanswered in this film." (2.Jun.06)

Donna R Carter, Wisconsin: "I rented the first and second X-Men DVDs and watched them last night so I'd have a better clue when I watched the third one today. I'm glad I did. It enhanced the show today. There was definitely plenty of action/adventure in this one! Quite a few more special effects and fascinating mutations (you can almost see the improvements in special effects over the years by watching this series all together like that). It was fun to watch, and I enjoyed it. I think it was also quite definitely the best of the three. It looked and felt more finished and refined than the other two." (21.Aug.06)

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