X-Men: The Last Stand
The Ultimate Battle of Mutants have Begun
Quite possibly, one of the most overhyped films I've ever seen. In this final conclusion to the "X-Men" trilogy, the film franchise goes out in the way all other super hero films go out as their franchise comes to an end. The movie is about how the government comes up with a special cure to rid mutants of their powers. Not a bad premise to start the movie as this brings up several philisophical questions about what it means to be a mutant. Plus, throw in the Dark Phoenix for good measure, and you have a pretty good premise to leap from. Unfortunately, here lies the problem, the movie is only about ninety minutes long, yet it's mostly filled with nothing more than fight scenes. Hardly, any story or characters were fully developed as it seems all the promising plot points, in the beggining, seem to fade as Brett tries to put as many mutants and fighting in the movie as humanly possible. While the theme of the film just feels a tad weak. They introduce a goddess like Phoenix, whom could destroy everything in her path, yet they hardly ever use her. Plus, what's really stopping her from destroying everything anyway? I mean she didn't seem to care when her lover, Cyclops (James Marsden), is killed nor when she tries to kill Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), her other love interest. According to the film, the Phoenix is Jean Grey's (Famke Janssen) split personality. Not a bad idea, if Ratner had given her more screen time to explore this aspect. Instead, he just uses her as someone whom just looks pissed off standind next to Magneto (Ian McKellan) throughout most of the movie. None of the characters are ever fully developed except Bobby Drake a.k.a. Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Storm (Halle Berry). However, even those character developments never go anywhere as it gets lost in nothing but senseless appearances by so many unnecessary new characters. "X-Men: The Last Stand" goes out in less than heroic fashion as Superman, with Christopher Reeves, and "Batman & Robin" did before it.
The special effects and fight choreography seemed very well done, as many fans of the comic book will see most of their favorite characters duke it out in all out war. Magneto doesn't hold any punches, in this movie, either as he literally lets his powers rip. The scene where Magneto takes out several armored cars to rescue Mystique (Rebecca Romin-Stamos), will have fans clamouring in their seats as well as the bridge moving scene. Plus, I loved how Juggernaut literally kicked Wolverine *** in the movie (Sorry Wolverine fans). The special effects are just great as you see all the mutants in this film display their full powers in all its' glory. Storm turns into a *** kicking machine as she seems to have developed a new move, where she can twirl around, in a circle, and punch someone while shooting them with lightning. Unfortunately, this is about the only thing that Brett got right in this movie.
It'll be difficult to explain why without giving away most of the story, but I'll try to be brief. As I said earlier, the Phoenix idea was a very potent one as it does explain a bit of a dark side to the X-Men universe, but Brett never explores it. Sure, in the beggining, it starts out very promising as it shows how violent Jean is, at an early age, forshadowing the dark side to come. Even as Xavier explains to Wolverine about the situation, it sounds like a promising sub story to the movie. I would've love for them to do some more flashbacks showing why Xavier had to block the Phoenix persona. Or for that matter, explore the struggle Jean had trying to regain control of herself. That would've been a good idea to add to the story as well, but it never happens. As a result, Jean is just there for show, most of the time, just looking like she's on her period (sorry for the joke ladies).
As for Wolverine, who seems to have been a main character throughout the entire trilogy, you'd think they would have his character develop a lot of closure, seeing on how this is the last movie of the series. Unfortunately, throughout most of the movie, he's either trying to get with Jean Grey or just clawing the hell out of some random mutant. Don't get me wrong, when Wolvie is fighting, you can't help but be in amazement. Sadly, when he's just trying to get with Jean, the story never goes anywhere as he never even does until he faces her at the end. And by that point it is too late, as the audience has no real reason to care about Jean because her character was never developed in the previous films nor this one, especially.
I thought Halle Berry did a good job, as Storm, as Brett tries to establish her as more of a leader. In the scene where Xavier talks to Storm, about taking over the X-Men if something were to happen to him, was rather touching. Another good starting premise, I would've loved to have seen developed as well, but it soon gets lost as in second half of movie. Storm is just mainly used to get into several "cat fights" with a woman, whom posseses super speed.
I thought Kelsey Grammar did a good job portraying the Beast. My only gripe about this character is that if he's supposedly Secretary of Mutant Affairs, working for the President of the United States, then wouldn't it be a bad PR (personal relations) move to fight in a mutant war with the X-Men. I know many people will disagree with me about that by saying it's just a comic book film. However, Marvel has always tried to ground their comic books in realism, so I see no point in expecting less in the movie adaptations.
As for the cure, a fine idea that brings up several philosophical and ethical questions. However, why should it be optional? I think the plot would've worked better if the government would've just force fed it down the mutants throats. The president of the United States (Joseph Sommer) is portrayed as an indecisive wimp as he just tries to run the middle of the road task, to try to establish peace with mutants and humans, then why should the cure be neccesary if you want to establish peace with mutants anyway? (Warning: Spoiler Alert!) Plus, doesn't it seem kind of convenient that all the mutants, that had a problem with the cure, suddenly make peace with the humans after Magneto is defeated? (Sarcastically) If only racism in the real world could be resolved so easily?
It seems like Brett Ratner tries to make all the sides in this movie relatable and sympathetic. Unfortunately, this leads to a rather weak theme of the movie, as there is no clear cut bad guy. Don't get me wrong, I don't usually like stereo type characters but in this film, it would've helped. You just get a very weak middle of the road type of story where nothing gets resolved, or I should say does, but in a very non realistic convenient way.
Quite frankly, this movie was a huge disappointment for me. As "X-Men" had a lot of great ideas that would've been great, had Brett wanted to turn this film into a three hour movie, to explore them instead of some all out war to see how many mutants they could pile onto the movie. It could've taken a "Seinfeld-like" approach by going out on top, but it ends up short on execution. Sadly, "X-Men: The Last Stand" goes out in the way of most super hero films franchises go when their series comes to an end.