X-Men: The Last Stand


Reviewed by: Leanne McGrath

X-Men: The Last Stand
"The special effects, the most impressive of the trilogy, are flawless." | Photo: Twentieth Century Fox. All Rights Reserved

The final instalment in the hit comicbook franchise finally explodes into cinemas and the action has evolved just like our mutant heroes. Rush Hour and Red Dragon director Brett Ratner takes over the helm from Bryan Singer and, while his tale takes a while to gather momentum, with little action in the first half, it builds to a satisfying, effects-laden climax.

X3 kicks off where X2 ended, with our heroes mourning the death of the psychic and telekinetic Dr Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). But the films' mother figure hasn't really drowned. Her tremendous power kept her safe in a cocoon of energy. Rising from her ashes comes the dark Phoenix, the other half of Jean's personality, with power that cannot be controlled.

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Added to this destructive threat is a mutant vs human war, sparked after a cure for mutancy is developed. The cure will make mutants "normal," but many refuse to give up their uniqueness. Yet again, the focus is on big issues, such as alienation and society's fear of, and treatment towards, those we perceive as different, be it due to illness, skin colour or religion.

In the same screaming, schmaltzy tones as the first two instalments, X3 orders us to judge a person on what's inside. Take the blue-furred, fanged Beast (Kelsey Grammer). This monster may look terrifying, but he's definitely more Sesame Street than Elm Street. On the other hand, Magneto's mutant army (aka The Brotherhood) has been lifted straight from the pages of the Big Book of Scary Stereotypes. This bunch of tattooed, black-clad, Goth types wouldn't look out of place in The Crow, or Sin City.

Only Wimbledon F C's ex-bovver boy Vinnie Jones, as Juggernaut, stands out, having more ham than a butcher's window and a few lines that raise a smile. The rest are instantly forgettable, as character construction takes second place to spectacle, which is one of the film's biggest flaws.

New mutants, such as Angel, Callisto and Multiple Man, are there purely for what they can do and how they look. You don't care about them and wouldn't mourn them if they stayed at home, while old friends, such as Mystique and Storm, take a back seat and are sorely missed.

Ratner's decision to focus on spectacle isn't such a bad idea and many of his action scenes are impressive, fast-paced and provide the big budget thrills you expect from a comicbook adaptation. The undoubted highlight is the ending where San Francisco's iconic Golden Gate bridge is ripped up and moved by Magneto, with cars being blown up and thrown all over the place. This is followed by a full-scale war, with everyone and everything being blasted to oblivion. And just when you think there's nothing left to destroy, Jean's powers erupt, raising the waters, tearing down walls and turning men to dust, like cheap vampires in Buffy.

The special effects, the most impressive of the trilogy, are flawless. Viewers will be hooked. The message may be cheesy, but the action makes X3 worth seeing and fans will love it.

And hey! Alan Cumming isn't in this one.

Reviewed on: 26 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
John Gallagher ****1/2
Chris ****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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X-Men 2
X-Men Origins: Wolverine