X-Men: The Last Stand

"OK"

X-Men: The Last Stand Review


We've witnessed, this summer, how fresh blood can rejuvenate a franchise entering its third installment. Weeks ago, Paramount handed the Mission: Impossible keys to J.J. Abrams (Alias) and clicked their heels when the inventive television director breathed new life into a financially healthy but creatively stagnant series.

Fox attempts a similar trick with its valuable X-Men venture, though in honesty the studio had little choice. After conceiving two blockbuster films that delighted both critics and fans, director Bryan Singer walked away from the X universe for the chance to direct the next Man of Steel movie (his Superman Returns arrives in theaters next month). Fox wouldn't let Singer's exit kill its golden-egg-laying goose, so the studio plopped oft-maligned hired gun filmmaker Brett Ratner (Rush Hour) behind the camera and prayed that he wouldn't botch The Last Stand, reportedly the final installment.

Ratner's a competent filmmaker more adept at meeting deadlines and delivering on budget than he is at stimulating imaginations, so it's no surprise that his take on the X-Men tows the company line. Singer's X-Men movies professed sincere love for the Marvel Comic characters - mutant superheroes shunned by the society they swore to protect. Instead of catching up on vintage X-Men stories for inspiration, Ratner appears to have downloaded Singer's visions and religiously followed his lead. The Last Stand works as a sufficient conclusion to the series Singer started, but any connection these films had to the original comics has faded away.

Credible story lines can be hard to come by during Hollywood's summer season, yet The Last Stand finds three worth exploring. The film's main plot involves a mutant "cure" devised by scientists at Worthington Labs, headquartered on Alcatraz. With an official blessing from the President of the United States, Dr. Kavita Rao (Shohreh Aghdashloo) promises vaccinations for mutants wishing to shed their powers and lead "normal" lives.

The idea of a cure upsets Magneto (Ian McKellen), a concentration-camp survivor himself who wants no part of humans stripping his might. He rebels by recruiting an army of evil mutants - comic fans might call it a brotherhood - to march on San Francisco.

Meanwhile, back at Xavier's School for Gifted Students, the X-Men confront their feelings in the wake of Jean Grey's death - she sacrificed herself to save the team at the conclusion of X2. Cyclops (James Marsden) leaves Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Storm (Halle Berry) in charge of the new recruits. He bolts before hearing clues that suggest Jean might not be dead after all.

All three stories trace back to popular plot arcs from the X-Men comics. Jean is reborn as the Dark Phoenix, which some consider to be the strongest comic story ever written. That one thread alone could have supported three X-Men films. Here, it shares time with the cure plot pulled from Joss Whedon's recent X-Men books and an indifferent Magneto plot to impart his will over humanity.

It's too much material for one movie. Last Stand has as many characters as a deck has cards. The thrill of seeing Vinnie Jones in the Juggernaut suit or Kelsey Grammer as the blue-haired Beast is squashed once you ultimately realize they contribute nothing to the story. Co-screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn can't address each character in detail - the movie would run an additional three hours. As a result, some are killed off quickly, others are forgotten for long stretches, and all, save for Wolverine and Storm, have their potential wasted.

However, The Last Stand isn't a disaster. It's better than the rabid fans expected from Ratner, but marginally worse than eager studio heads probably desired. What works? There's a eye-popping Danger Room sequence tossed in to appease die-hards that hints at robotic Sentinels. And the third time's the charm for Jackman, who finally owns the Wolverine role. Ratner's decent effects actually serve the story, including a Golden Gate Bridge stunt that's worth the price of admission. Plus, the geek in me has to admit that there's a certain nostalgia to finally seeing the five original X-Men - Beast, Angel, Iceman, Cyclops, and Jean Grey - in the same flick, even if they never share the same scene.

Ooooh, dad is gonna be pised!



X-Men: The Last Stand

Facts and Figures

Run time: 104 mins

In Theaters: Friday 26th May 2006

Box Office USA: $234.2M

Box Office Worldwide: $234.4M

Budget: $210M

Distributed by: 20th Century Fox

Production compaines: Donners' Company, Marvel Enterprises, Twentieth Century Fox, Major Studio Partners, Dune Entertainment, Ingenious Film Partners

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 2.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 58%
Fresh: 133 Rotten: 98

IMDB: 6.8 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer: , , John Palermo

Starring: as Logan / Wolverine, as Ororo Munroe / Storm, as Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto, as Charles Xavier / Professor X, as Jean Grey / Phoenix, as Marie / Rogue, as Dr. Henry 'Hank' McCoy / Beast, as Scott Summers / Cyclops, as Raven Darkholme / Mystique, as Bobby Drake / Iceman, as John Allerdyce / Pyro, as Cain Marko / Juggernaut, as Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat, as Peter Rasputin / Colossus, as Warren Worthington III / Angel, as Warren Worthington II, as Callisto, as Dr. Kavita Rao, as The President, as Trask, as Multiple Man, as Jimmy/Leech, as Kid Omega, Omahyra Mota as Arclight, as Waterhose Man

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

Murder on the Orient Express Movie Review

The latest adaptation of Agatha Christie's 83-year-old classic whodunit, this lavish, star-studded film is old-style...

Paddington 2 Movie Review

Paddington 2 Movie Review

The first Paddington movie in 2014 is already such a beloved classic that it's hard...

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

A Bad Moms Christmas Movie Review

Everyone's back from last year's undemanding adult comedy, plus some starry new cast members, for...

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Brawl in Cell Block 99 Movie Review

Filmmaker S. Craig Zahler brought a blast of offbeat creativity to the Western genre two...

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

The Death of Stalin Movie Review

Fans of the film In the Loop and the TV series Veep will definitely not...

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Call Me By Your Name Movie Review

Set in northern Italy in the summer of 1983, this internationally flavoured drama is a...

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

Thor: Ragnarok Movie Review

The most riotously enjoyable Marvel movie yet, this action epic benefits hugely from the decision...

Advertisement
Breathe Movie Review

Breathe Movie Review

While this biopic has the standard sumptuous production values of a British period drama, it's...

The Snowman Movie Review

The Snowman Movie Review

With a cast and crew packed with A-list talent, this film seems like it should...

The Party Movie Review

The Party Movie Review

Comedies don't get much darker than this pitch-black British movie, written and directed by Sally...

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

The Meyerowitz Stories (New and Selected) Movie Review

Noah Baumbach (Frances Ha) is on his way to becoming the new Woody Allen, which...

6 Below Movie Review

6 Below Movie Review

Based on an astonishing true survival story, this film is subtitled "Miracle on the Mountain",...

Mother Movie Review

Mother Movie Review

Darren Aronofsky doesn't make fluffy movies, and has only had one genuine misfire (2014's Noah)....

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

Blade Runner 2049 Movie Review

It's been 35 years since Ridley Scott's 1982 sci-fi classic, which was set in 2019....

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.