Eye For Film >> Movies >> X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) Film Review
When I was a kid, my parents used to give me a Big Carrot to look forward to all week, one that could only be realised on Saturday mornings. Every Saturday, I would troop down to the local cinema with my buddies for the kids matinee and, after the Pathe News and a cartoon, we would be treated to the Big Picture, usually a monster movie, or superheroes spectacular. By standards of grown ups, the Big Picture wasn't that big, or spectacular - usually a B-movie with awful special effects - but we would thrill to every leap of the hero, feel every whack as the monster or bad guy took a beating, and hide our boyish tears (or whoop and laugh manfully) as the heroine died in the arms of her lover.
X-Men: The Last Stand brought back that magic for me. If I could watch a Marvel-Comic-made-celluloid this good every week I'd soon become an addict again. I caught the late night showing, expecting to be mildly entertained. I was awed!
Comicbook adaptations have advanced by leaps and bounds over the past few years, from the intellectual and emotional involvement of Spider-Man 2 to the remarkable mixed media look of Sin City. So much so, comicbook cinema no longer has to apologise for itself, play exclusively to children, or appeal to a minority of fans.
There are some people who will be turned off by the concept of mutant humans with superpowers - you know who you are, and this movie is not for you - but for anyone wavering about going to see it, this represents a quality offering, in what has now become an established and respectable genre. The storylines and moral dilemmas are well thought out, the acting on a par with any good mainstream film and the special effects accurately delivered. I am no longer a pre-adolescent in short trousers and yet felt my spine tingle to the magic of the X-Men's Last Stand the way I did years ago to those tearfully boyish Saturday matinees.
This story revolves around a new "cure," developed by a leading pharmaceutical company, which can suppress the mutant gene of creatures like the X-Men. At first, the serum is offered only to mutants who want it, who long to be simply human, but the political battle over the rights and wrongs of the new discovery soon reach fever pitch. Of the two main groups of mutants, one, led by Xavier (Patrick Stewart), seeks only peaceful coexistence for all - mutants and homo sapiens. The other, led by Magneto (Ian McKellen), sees the battle as one between the two species. The lines are soon blurred as the new serum is misused by the government, and also as one very powerful mutant, known as Jean, or Phoenix (Famke Janssen), awakens with part of her powers lodged with her subconscious and so beyond her control.
For those that like reading meaning into science fiction and fantasy, many questions about evolution are raised, about democracy, freedom of the will and where (and how) individual freedom ends. Halle Berry's role (Storm) has been slightly expanded, but it remains an excellent ensemble performance from all the main characters.
This was not a film where I expected the audience to remain behind for the credits and was somewhat surprised to see so few people leaving their seats. Was I, a non-cult follower, in the dark about something? Quite possibly, because there is an extra scene kept back for dedicated fans.Reviewed on: 30 May 2006