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X-Men: The Last Stand
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Ratner does for "X-Men" what he did for Hannibal Lecter--precious little"
2 stars

Although the first two “X-Men” films, especially the 2003 sequel, were generally well-regarded by critics and audiences alike, I never quite found myself warming up to them and a recent spin through the DVD’s only reconfirmed my original thoughts. Although ambitious in scope, they spent so much time introducing all of the various characters and their peculiar mutant talents that the films were more than half over by the end of roll call and the actual story then had to be crammed into the second hour alongside all the effects sequences in which actors in goofy rubber outfits deployed those vaguely defined powers while pounding the stuffing out of each other. Yet those films at least tried to give viewers something extraordinary, which is more than can be said for “X-Men: The Last Stand,” an alleged conclusion to the saga (that only leaves approximately 1400 doors open for a fourth installment) that is likely to enrage fans with an actual emotional investment in the story and characters and bore and confuse everyone else.

Picking up soon after the cataclysmic finale of the second film, in which super-powerful heroine Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) gave her life to save her comrades, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Storm (Halle Berry), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Cyclops (James Marsden) are still reeling from the loss. At the same time, it appears that a pharmaceutical company has created a serum that will successfully suppress the mutant gene once and for all and make such people normal. Although mutant diplomat Dr. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) tries to do the right thing for all sides, many mutants, notably the arch-villain Magneto (Ian McKellen), see this “cure” less as a salvation and more as an eradication of their species and they vow to stop it by any means necessary. While all this is going on, Jean reappears from her watery grave seemingly none the worse for wear (there is an explanation of this but it essentially boils down to “Because I said so!”) but it soon transpires that her enormous powers have begun to overcome her and that her heretofore unmentioned dark side, known as Phoenix, is threatening to take her over entirely. (Although essentially reduced to a side story here, the so-called “Dark Phoenix” saga apparently plays an enormous part of the original “X-Men” mythology and probably should have been given its own film to play out in.)

Once again, we are introduced to a group of new or greatly expanded characters with powers that just happen to come in handy during the fight scenes. One (Ben Foster) has wings sprouting out of his back that make him look like an angel. (Ironically, he is the son of the man behind the mutant cure.) Another is Jeremy (Cameron Bright), a kid who looks like one of George Lucas’s “THX-1138 Babies” who has the power to disable the powers of other mutants and whose blood is the source of the cure (oddly enough, this is essentially the same role that Bright played in the recent “Ultraviolet”) while Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) has the power to crash through walls at top speed without suffering any lingering damage–impressive until you realize that virtually everyone here seems to fly through a wall or two without suffering any ill effects. Given a larger role in this instalment after brief cameos in the other films is Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), a young minx who has the twin powers of walking through walls and inflaming fellow superchick Rouge (a virtually forgotten Anna Paquin) by flirting with her boyfriend, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore).

The first two “X-Men” films were directed by Bryan Singer and a great anguish occurred in the fanboy community when he was eventually replaced for “The Last Stand” by Brett Ratner, a man whose crimes against the cinema have included inflicting Chris Tucker upon us (in “Money Talks” and the “Rush Hour” films), desecrating one of the greatest films of the 1980's (Michael Mann’s “Manhunter”) with a wholly unnecessary remake (“Red Dragon”) and figuring out a way to make a film featuring Salma Hayek in a tiny bikini for two hours virtually unwatchable (“After the Sunset). (Don’t cry too hard for Singer as he has “Superman Returns,” a film for which Ratner was once considered, coming in a few weeks.) On the surface, the change in directors doesn’t really make much of an impact because many of the obvious problems here are the same ones that plagued the first two films–the story is forced to juggle more characters than it can handle and most wind up getting the short end of the stick (most of the newcomers and even such recurring favorites as Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique are introduced and largely forgotten), the positioning of Wolverine as the central character reduces the team aspect of the story (the film does try to overcome this by expanding Berry’s character–a nice idea that fails because the actress once again goes through her scenes with an attitude that indicates that she is too good for such material) and the film once again chucks whatever philosophical ideas it might have had out the window for a finale in which, you guessed it, actors in goofy rubber outfits deploy their vaguely defined powers while pounding the stuffing out of each other. This time around, the fight is a last stand at Alcatraz (where the company producing the vaccine is based) in which Storm creates fog in San Francisco (pretty much the meteorological equivalent of bringing coals to Newcastle), Wolverine discovers that he is best used as a projectile to be hurled at bad guys by others and Ian McKellen hurls cars through the air with the strength of ten John Landises.

Where “The Last Stand” really fails is in its utter lack of any real emotional impact. This may sound like a silly complaint for a comic-book movie but this is a film that is clearly reaching for such moments throughout and it misses virtually every one by a mile. We don’t care, for example, about Rogue’s fears of losing her boyfriend to Kitty or the ultimate sacrifice that she makes for him. We don’t care about the whole notion of a mutant “cure” or the fact that such a thing means the complete eradication of a species in the name of conformity. We don’t care about Wolverine’s unresolved feelings towards Jean Grey and how they play into the melodramatic-in-the-worst-way climax. In the most egregious example, however (and while I will try to be vague, please consider this a spoiler warning for the rest of the paragraph), the second act of the film is punctuated with the death of a major character–in terms of dramatic impact, imagine if Spock bought the farm in “The Wrath of Khan” at the hour point instead of during the last ten minutes. This should be sure-fire tear-jerking material to rend the heart of even the coolest fanboy geek but Ratner handles it so badly that he turns what should have been a pivotal scene into another throwaway moment in a film chock-full of them–the bit where Juggernaut loudly proclaims “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” is given more emphasis. (To further reduce the impact of that scene, Ratner tacks on a final bit after the end credits that comes across as a cheap effort to perk up the surely disappointed fans who slogged it out to the very end at the expense of the story he is telling.)

“X-Men: The Last Stand” is hardly the worst of the recent wave of comic book adaptations–it doesn’t quite approximate the sheer awfulness of “Fantastic Four” or “Elektra.” However, when you factor in the esteem that the earlier films are held in the eyes of fans, it will surely go down as one of the more disappointing in recent years, especially when you compare it to a masterful work like last year’s “Batman Begins,” a film that found a solid balance between giddy pop-art thrills and compelling storytelling. That movie was good enough to finally give the phrase “comic-book movie” a good name–“X-Men: The Last Stand,” on the other hand, is enough of a bummer to restore the previous bad name all by itself.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=14574&reviewer=389
originally posted: 05/26/06 00:13:05
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User Comments

3/24/18 morris campbell good imho 4 stars
3/18/16 Charles Tatum Compelling characters make up for wavering film making 4 stars
9/02/14 Dude where x-men went downhill 2 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC I liked it better than the 1st two 4 stars
6/15/11 My apples are rotting Worst of the series? Very probably 2 stars
10/16/10 Deek Windsome Wrong. The reviewer seems to think the film should be based on what he wanted. 5 stars
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7/02/09 the dork knight Wasted potential, too much focus on fucking Juno! (not enough thigh crushing either, Jean) 3 stars
6/24/09 tip massachusetts car insurance quote 3 stars
6/22/09 pennsylvania health insurance health care policy 4 stars
6/14/09 click download free game poker 4 stars
6/03/09 auto insurance ratings buy car insurance online california 1 stars
5/20/09 Aaron Smith Just okay final chapter to X Trilogy. Good to see more Magneto, Colossus, Shadowcat 4 stars
4/29/09 matt criminally underrated 4 stars
3/21/09 visit tips 1 stars
3/08/09 JL Hunt Total disappointment. Destroyed the excellent work from X2 2 stars
1/05/09 living4christ OK, but < than 1st 2. Wish more chars were around for sequals 4 stars
12/01/08 the dork knight Too many goddamn characters. Still, not too terrible. 3 stars
11/23/08 Jason Get over it nerds. All I have to say is $459,256,008. Not bad for a horrible movie. 4 stars
11/23/08 MC And apparently Angel can fly from NY to Frisco just as fast as the X-Jet. 1 stars
11/23/08 Jin This is whaty happens when Jim Lee is not consulted: the story ruins the comic 2 stars
11/22/08 Remy Ramone David and the fanboys can get over that Dark Phoenix Saga took years and X3 2 hours. 4 stars
10/18/08 Pandapeep Awful, awful movie. No excuse. I am still upser I've ever wasted time watching this thing. 1 stars
8/17/08 jonathantstorm terrible film, just awfulll 1 stars
9/24/07 Bitchflaps Worse than the first two, and I didn't even like the first two. Embarrassing. 2 stars
7/25/07 MaDmAN I agree with David Cornelius' review 100%. What a terrible way to end an great seriesli 2 stars
6/01/07 Likk Another pretty bad comic book film, will they ever stop making them? 2 stars
5/15/07 967 Poorly done. Where was Nightcrawler? 2 stars
4/28/07 s the reason that's why i have to watch x3 bec of shawn ashmore and ellen page.that's all... 3 stars
4/04/07 DL Poor 1 stars
3/22/07 David A bit dissapointing, but it is decent. 3 stars
3/20/07 man great movie 4 stars
2/13/07 The chode What a piece of smelly shit. 1 stars
2/12/07 johnnyfog ............What the fuck was that? 1 stars
12/23/06 Benjamin Butchered story, the horror of Hollywood. 2 stars
12/08/06 Indrid Cold As with the previous two, I was left vaguely disappointed. Many plot threads, but no depth. 3 stars
12/07/06 jill b absolutly my favorite movie of all times!!! loved it!!! 5 stars
11/18/06 Quigley just a special-effects showcase. bad sci-fi, bad plot, bad script...I missed Bryan Singer 2 stars
11/06/06 julian this movie was monkey balls no gambit,rogue,real sentinal fighting,bishop crap all the way 1 stars
10/28/06 Riley it was ok but i wish nightcrawler was in it 4 stars
10/21/06 comic book guy worst movie ever 1 stars
10/19/06 Henry X-Men 3 apesta, sin duda, la mejor de todas es X2 2 stars
10/16/06 David Worse than the other 2. 3 stars
10/11/06 Rich Pitoniak x-men 3 was very laughable i laughed the whole film, it sucked. 1 stars
10/10/06 jagnet I was very disappointed... good action but way off the real story behind x-men-1word Rogue 3 stars
10/04/06 Brett_Ratner_can_eat_a_bowl_of_d1cks Brett Ratner: the WORST DIRECTOR EVER! This guy made horse sh1t like Prison Break, Rush Hou 1 stars
10/02/06 Nick S. It got the job done, but the film feels rushed. Don't blame Ratner though. 4 stars
8/17/06 Pn. As with GOFATHER and Wacko Jacko nose jobs, should have stopped at two.. 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist The "Phoenix" thing was a little dumb, but its good how they kept bringin' in mutants. 4 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Blasphemy on every level. All involved should be drawn and quartered. Sad end to series. 1 stars
7/30/06 Scotty It was ok as an action film, but I was very disappointed with how they treated the characte 3 stars
7/07/06 Necie This is a good film. X-Men means action for me!!! 5 stars
7/04/06 matt Some weak plot elements and less involving, otherwise great 4 stars
6/30/06 Gerry Irons Better than I expected- Lacks Brian Singers Polish- but delivers with action story-surprise 4 stars
6/25/06 P3NIS_CLEAVER its a comic book movie, lighten up! 4 stars
6/21/06 Mitch! Hey Doug, AC/DC and Aerosmith suck...and so does this movie. 2 stars
6/19/06 rob nero Phoenix was an entity that copied her, not a disorder! 3 stars
6/19/06 Jason Hyde It'd be better if they dropped the Phoenix stuff and focused on the cure stuff. 3 stars
6/17/06 alice Entertaining,for me the best one. 4 stars
6/17/06 MP Bartley Efficient closing chapter - but it does feel like a collection of deleted scenes from #2 3 stars
6/15/06 donald so sad to see the series turn to crap after such a promising second entry. 1 stars
6/13/06 burton miller good, but not as good as the first two 4 stars
6/13/06 raul valdez Jr good action, went by to fast none the less entertaining 4 stars
6/11/06 Diana it was okay, the action was good... 3 stars
6/10/06 Mase Still one of the best super hero franchises around, if obviously lacking in direction. 5 stars
6/10/06 ALDO if you enjoyed 1&2 its well worth viewing. Unexpected scenes made it enjoyable 4 stars
6/08/06 junaid well i think the biggest mistake is the killing of the main three characters 1 stars
6/08/06 Tyrone since when can you vaporize someone with telekenisis 1 stars
6/07/06 Lisa Jean Gray is definitely more exciting in this one!!! 4 stars
6/05/06 tim Cheap, corny, ridiculous, unemotional, anitclimatic. 1 stars
6/04/06 Illimantia A decent set-up, a superior sequel, and now a pile of dung! Sad... 1 stars
6/04/06 Alejandro Luna Even if you know nothing about this comic, you can identify it as a huge dissapointment 1 stars
6/03/06 ChumpyTheGreat Easily the worst of the three..a total mess. 1 stars
6/02/06 Con O'Brien Really enjoyed it - having seen the previous two. Particularly enjoyed sfx. 4 stars
6/02/06 Rowsdower A lot more flawed than the previous two, but it's still X-Men. Halle Berry, go home! 3 stars
6/02/06 Ricardo The best X-men film 5 stars
6/02/06 George Jung About as choppy as the first two - at least something happened in this one. 4 stars
6/01/06 Rocky Well...it was ALMOST a great trilogy... 1 stars
6/01/06 The Talking Elbow Seemed more concerned about making a buck, what a difference a director can make. 2 stars
6/01/06 Thoughtmachine Couln't have been worse if Van Damme played Wolverine. Sloppy and poorly constructed. 1 stars
6/01/06 MARVEL MADNESS This movie was absolutely without a doubt the worst movie i have ever seen in my life. 1 stars
5/31/06 Michelle & Ethan Absolutely disappointing and crappy! 1 stars
5/31/06 Koitus I actually thought that this was a good movie. Surprised at many of others' comments... 4 stars
5/31/06 panagiotis sucks and has no relation to the comic books, just a disappointment , THE DIRECTOR SUCKS 1 stars
5/31/06 malcolm about time they let Storm kick some ass, 1st X-movie is still the best of the series 3 stars
5/31/06 Obi Wan Jackman shines!! Easily best of 3, where was NightCrawler? 5 stars
5/30/06 sweetgrrl1972 *sigh* Why won't they pay for decent writers? Why?!! I'm so disappointed. 2 stars
5/30/06 Sean Brett Ratner ruined my Memorial Day Weekend. 1 stars
5/30/06 J-rd I’ve heard better dialogue between my three month old daughter and her stuffed bear. 3 stars
5/29/06 too-much-coffee mistress How does Halle Berry keep getting work? Oh yeah. Thanks, Oscar! 4 stars
5/29/06 Jeff The best of the three - most comic book like but still no Spiderman or Batman Begins! 4 stars
5/29/06 San Lamar coulda been better, but also coulda been worse 4 stars
5/29/06 sarrik76 As an action movie-good/As a comic book continuation- awful 3 stars
5/29/06 kandace I was okay 4 stars
5/28/06 Intelligent One Famke Janssen is hot but the rest of the movie sucks. 2 stars
5/28/06 Lord Jiggy Deeply, numbingly average. Worth a matinee, at best. Not worth a DVD. 2 stars
5/28/06 Cindy too many inacurate details for long time fans/readers 3 stars
5/28/06 Troy M. Grzych Not as good as 2 but really entertaining. It seems like they were trying to clean house. 4 stars
5/28/06 Elizabeth It was an absolute disaster. Ratner has no taste and no talent. 1 stars
5/28/06 bullit16 Not as good as the first two, but still a helluva ride 4 stars
5/28/06 Mr Bojangles The X-MEN series gets its RETURN OF THE JEDI... 2 stars
5/28/06 Ole Man Bourbon I just don't get this whole X-Men craze. All 3 sucked IMO. 2 stars
5/28/06 Adam Smith I was extremely let down. Mr. Ratner ruined the experience & a potentially great ending. 2 stars
5/28/06 Jim Why, Bryan, why did you leave us?! 3 stars
5/27/06 Anthony G IM THE JUGGERNAUT BITCH!!!!!!!!!! OWNED 5 stars
5/27/06 KB Oh what a letdown 2 stars
5/27/06 Nichole Great movie! 5 stars
5/27/06 Becky Berry annoying as always, most memorable moments were *not* emotional- meh at best. 3 stars
5/27/06 ad at least the actors are good 2 stars
5/27/06 Agent Sands Entertaining as a comic book adaptation typically gets. 4 stars
5/27/06 Stacy Too many "walking down hall and talking" scenes. It was all right. 3 stars
5/27/06 KingNeutron STAY FOR THE END CREDITS. Great summer movie, deals w/ some heavy issues. 4 stars
5/27/06 Dan Too short, too "punny" at the beginning, but otherwise a good movie. 4 stars
5/26/06 Pokejedservo Not as good as the first two... at first, though the finale more than made up for it. 5 stars
5/26/06 dredphul meh, wait for it on dvd unless you are a fan 3 stars
5/26/06 Eden Flawed, and not as good as the first 2. It all feels a little pointless 3 stars
5/26/06 BrianWilly Has several flaws, but generally awesome 5 stars
5/26/06 Sarah Im so dissapointed, I'm about to cry 2 stars
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  26-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-Oct-2006



Directed by
  Brett Ratner

Written by
  Simon Kinberg
  Zak Penn

  Hugh Jackman
  Halle Berry
  Ian McKellen
  Famke Janssen
  Anna Paquin
  Patrick Stewart

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