X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
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Review Date: May 25, 2006
Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Zak Penn, Simon Kinberg
Producers: Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
Halle Berry as Storm
Ian McKellen as Magneto
Despite the title making it sound like this will be the last X-Men movie, it certainly will not be, but it is the third in the series so far, with this one concentrating on the supposed “cure” for mutancy developed by regular human beings, and the negative reaction of mutants to this “cure”. Needless to say, the bad mutants don’t agree with the good mutants on how to handle this new threat, and what ensues is an apparent “last stand” for survival. The weakest of the three films so far, ensues.
As seen at the 2006 Cannes Film Festival

My least favorite of the three X-MEN movies, but definitely not a disaster by any means, with an interesting enough plotline to make for an okay bookend to the series (somehow, I don’t think this is the “last stand” though) and a pretty cool final 20 minutes of jam-packed action. Unfortunately, the film featured way too many negative points for me to dismiss, including the fact that this is likely the one X-MEN movie that I can’t see myself watching over again, as it doesn’t really have all that much coolness going for it, or anything original that we haven’t seen before, with only Wolverine sticking out as the continuing master of kickass in this one, while the rest of the bunch just sorta go through the motions. The plot, in fact, is one of the film’s lesser qualities as it does establish an interesting premise (there is a “cure” for being a mutant, i.e. being gay, different, etc… -- they’ve removed all of the subtext now, they’re now hammering it into our heads), but they stretch that shit out for about an hour, to the point that you’re just begging them to get it over with already (we know it’s all heading for a showdown, so let’s get on with it already). The film also runs a little over 95 minutes, so it’s easily the least developed of the three flicks, which is ironic since it also contains the most characters. And that was my biggest complaint of all. The film features way too many new “lame-duck” mutants, while it gets rid of too many of the cooler, better known ones.

I know people will always complain about what mutant is their favorite and so forth, but I’m not complaining about that. I’m saying that if you’re gonna be introducing so many new mutants into the equation, you better develop them a little, rather than tossing them a costume and a couple of one-liners. Also, why do all of the new “bad guy” mutants look like goth punks with tattoos and Prince haircuts? Lame-o. And Magneto’s new right-hand man looked a little too much like Jamie Kennedy, and didn’t seem to do much, other than stand around and ooze little charisma. Juggernaut was also extremely disappointing with Vinnie Jones trying his best in muscle prosthetics, but not even coming close to the massive powerhouse that his character is in the comics. Also, his line, “I’m Juggernaut, bitch!” was about as corny as they come. The film also included a couple of hokey sequences, like one in which Wolverine delivers a maudlin “pep talk” to his team before they go out to battle (“We’re the X-Men…”, blah-blah), but the stuff between he and Famke Janssen’s character was dead-on, as was anything between Professor X and Magneto. It also sucked that Halle Berry’s Storm character was given all of these extra lines and coverage in this round, as she’s actually one of the boringest mutants around. On the other end of the scale, slick mutants like Colussus, Iceman, Mystique, Angel and Cyclops are underused and given a couple of throwaway lines here and there (and where’s the awesome Nightcrawler?).

Wow, it seems like I’m complaining a lot about the film, eh? Maybe it wasn’t as “so-so” as I thought when I started to write this review. On the positive end, the special effects were solid across the board, there was one cool fight sequence between Juggernaut and Wolverine, the Phoenix storyline was worked in nicely and I like what ultimately became of Magneto. But all that said, I think my positive feelings about this movie have more to do with my nostalgia from the first two much better films, rather than anything new that was brought forth in this one. In fact, there wasn’t anything of the “new stuff” that particularly caught my fancy this time around, just elements from the older films that I continued to enjoy. Not many real action scenes either. All that to say, the series didn’t get messed up because of this latest entry, but the final installment was definitely the least developed of them all. I don’t really blame Brett Ratner so much, since his directing in the film is actually decent, but rather, the people behind the production who lost the great Bryan Singer for part three, and decided to go ahead and hurry things up anyway, so that they can hit their release date. In my book, that’s no way to make a good movie. That starts from a well-developed screenplay and game plan, which was obviously missing here. Catch this one on video and gimme my WOLVERINE movie already!!
(c) 2018 Berge Garabedian

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