Monday, June 05, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

I went to see X-Men: The Last Stand on Sunday night and I'm afraid to say I was a little disappointed. As the final part of a trilogy it works, so long as you can remember who each character is, where they come from and how they are connected. As a stand alone movie it sucks.

The existing characters have become one dimensional and uninteresting. The story is dull. The new characters introduced seem more like rejects from a gay musical version of Mad Max than superhero/villain mutants. The only X-Man who seems to be able to achieve anything is, once again, Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, hacking, kicking and cigar smoking his way through hordes of evil mutants. The movie rests entirely on his shoulders with the other characters stories reduced to a minor love triangle and a very minor father/son story. Most of the other X-Men are too young, too distracted or just plain too incompetent to make it to the battlefield.

The whole movie builds up for one disappointing set piece battle with only Vinnie Jones' Juggernaut and Ellen Page's Kitty providing any kind of interest and surprise when their mutant powers face off. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen renew their friendship/rivalry with McKellens Magneto once again proving the most interesting and unpredictable. Everyone else is completely good or bad. Magneto is bad, but he has a cause and you cant help but feel he will do the right thing when given small choices. Some characters such as Angel only appear for a tiny portion of the movie but leave the impression that on a day to day basis the director had no idea where the characters were going and who he would need for the next days filming. With the sole exception of one other surprising outcome of a confrontation the movie is very predictable.

That brings me to the most likely cause of the failure of this movie to achieve the same quality as the previous two, the change of director. With Bryan Singer leaving and moving on to the new Superman movie, something you can only see as a promotion, the mantle of director has fallen to Brett Ratner and he has produced a movie that feels like someone else's work that he just finished, and indeed since this is the final part of a trilogy that is the case.

By the end of the movie you end up with an anti-climatic feeling, not as much has changed as you think. Some characters have passed on but you feel the any X-Men 4 will be well able to carry on without them, or perhaps with them. If you stay until the end of the credits you will learn that comic books stories never really come to an end.

As an end to the trilogy I give this a 2.5 out of 5. As a stand alone movie I give 1.5.

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