X-Men: The Last Stand

****1/2

Reviewed by: John Gallagher

X-Men: The Last Stand
"The way the story flows from beginning to end is an act of beauty." | Photo: Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved

As I sat down in the movie hall to watch the third instalment of the X-Men franchise, many images flooded my brain. Would it be as good as the other two? What if this was the one to kill the franchise? What if I was the only person to give it a bad rating? And then something strange happened; the movie was over and my heart was racing. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face.

A group of scientists have been using the old Alcatraz prison in San Francisco Bay to create a cure to end the suffering of mutants. It works within minutes and can take away all powers and abnormalities. Some see this as a good thing, while others as a threat.

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Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), along with his school for the gifted, are trying to help those born with powers to deal with what they have and come to terms with the fact that it's not bad to be different, whereas Magneto (Ian McKellen) sees things differently. He and his Brotherhood - Mystique, Juggernaut, Pyro and Callisto - see the cure as the first shot in a war against those who are different. This is the final battle; expect casualties.

Everything about this movie is great. Our old favourites are back - Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Cyclops (James Marsden), Storm (Halle Berry - finally, she has a bigger role, for which we are more than thankful), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Mystique (Rebecca Romjin Stamos) and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen, with a little secret of her own) - and the newcomers are introduced - Beast (Kelsey Grammer), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Angel (Ben Foster), Multiple Man (Eric Dane) and Callisto (Dania Ramirez). I have left out Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), but he is the exception to the "great" part of the last sentence. He is good, but they should have given him a non-speaking role.

The action scenes are awesome to say the least and the way the story flows from beginning to end is an act of beauty. At nearly every turn you are shown something that will shock and amaze you - there are more deaths than you might expect - and keep you asking for more. For this we have the scriptwriters (Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn) and the director (Brett Ratner) to thank.

My only beef is with the opening 10 minutes, in which something is being set up that doesn't happen. It concerns Jean Gray and Angel and we are led to believe that they will be the main focus of the movie. As it is, we see a lot of Jean Gray, but only a few minutes of Angel.

Other than this and a few little things (Juggernaut sounding more like a twat than a monster), X-3 is definitely the best of the trilogy. I guarantee you will be shocked and amazed by this instalment in one of the greatest franchises we have seen on the big screen.

Reviewed on: 25 May 2006
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X-Men: The Last Stand packshot
The mutants battle over a manmade 'cure' for their condition.
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Read more X-Men: The Last Stand reviews:

Chris Brooks ****1/2
Chris ****1/2
Leanne McGrath ***1/2
Jennie Kermode ***
Iain Macleod ***

Director: Brett Ratner

Writer: Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones

Year: 2006

Runtime: 103 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: US

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If you like this, try:

X-Men
X-Men 2
X-Men Origins: Wolverine