From the Archive – X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

x-men-3

“Take a stand.”

Directed by Brett Ratner
Starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and God knows how many other people (see ‘What’s wrong with it?’)

In this third and final installment of the X-Men films, a company produces a ‘cure’ for mutants, to the horror of Professor Xavier and the outrage of Magento. There follows a series of flashy set-pieces and some vileness from Magneto’s Brotherhood of Evil, while Jean Grey reappears apparently alive but psychotic, we discover that the Professor has no scruples and new guy Beast deals with politics. There’s a flying bridge and a big fight, Rogue wonders if she wouldn’t be better off with the cure and Vinnie Jones…is.

What’s wrong with it?

It’s a mess.

I mean, really, there’s just too much going on and the director fails to make us give a toss about any of it. When Professor X gets vaporised halfway through the film I thought: holy crap. Then I realised I’d thought it, not felt it. Professor X just got vaped and I didn’t care. When we find out Scott’s been killed, I could hardly muster a cheer!

The removal of the Phoenix Force from a version of the Dark Phoenix saga also creates serious problems within the film. I understand why it was done; the Phoenix Force introduces a huge amount of backstory, too much for a single movie. Unfortunately, the consequence of removing it is that instead of Jean Grey being a woman fighting – with the assistance of her mentor – against the influence of an external force that wants to manipulate her powers and personality for its own alien purposes, she becomes a woman unable to control her own strength without her (male) mentor performing psychic surgery on her without consent.

This is not good for her character, and it is not good for Professor Xavier’s character; she is made weak, he is made… well, pretty damned evil.

What’s right with it?

Well, it looks pretty, I guess.

How bad is it really?

Not terrible, just really, really disappointing. I liked the first two; I really did. This was just…blah.

Best bit

Meh.

What’s up with…?

  • Professor Xavier carrying out impromptu psychic surgery to make people be the way he wants them to be? Um…why is there a problem with the acceptance of mutants if he can and will do that?
  • Professor Xavier turning out to be a complete monster, rearranging people’s brains and possessing people to extend his own life? That was a bit left-field.
  • All the bloody plots? Were they worried we’d get bored? They were right, but…
  • Rogue’s big dilemma? Would you be better without being an uncontrolled psychic vampire who can’t kiss her boyfriend without killing him? That might have been a big struggle, if she hadn’t been cranked into training with a field team, where her powers were of no use whatsoever.

Ratings

Production Values: No complaints, if a little over-reliant on spectacle. 3

Dialogue and Performances: Decent to good performances can’t hide a pretty cliche ridden script. “I’m the only one who can stop her!” Blah. 11

Plot and Execution: That big scene where Magneto makes all the trucks pile into one another. That’s your plot that is. 17

Randomness: Split personalities? I mean, okay, you’re trying not to talk about the aliens, but still. And the flying bridge? 10

Waste of Potential: Did you see the other films? 18

Overall 59%

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