X-Men: The Last Stand

The X-Men fanchise, from comic books to tv-shows to the films, has always been about the struggles of minorities in not just America, but the world. And that essence, that spirit, has never waivered, regardless of who handles the interpretations.

In X-Men: The Last Stand Brett Ratner takes over where former director Bryan Singer (who left to make Superman Returns) left off. The mutant population is continuing to be divided between Professor Charles Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) notion that humans and mutants can cohabitate peacefully and Magneto’s (Ian McKellen) camp, which strive for mutant domination. The split is further exacerbated by the discovery of a “cure” for the mutant gene by Worthington Labs. The result is an all out civil war between Magneto’s army and the X-Men fighting alongside the humans.

Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Colassus (Daniel Cudmore) and Rogue (Anna Paquin) have all graduated to the ranks of X-Men to join Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Storm (Halle Berry) as part of the team. They are joined by new mutants Beast (Kelsey Grammer) and Angel (Ben Foster) in the fight, while Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) sides with Magneto.

As I said, X-Men has a spirit, an essence. And that is difficult to destroy. Ratner, despite his best efforts, was unable to accomplish that. But, unfortunatly, he took an insightful film series with magnificent allegories of current minority affairs and turned it into a frantic action flick that didn’t have anything to say. The third, and shortest film, was an hour and 45 minutes of missed oppurtunities and unnecessary plotlines.

Many characters were useful for one or two minutes, and were some of the most blatent deus ex machinas I’ve ever seen on film.

But, to the film’s credit, the strength of the cast alone propels this film beyond my expectations. With the notable exception of Halle Berry. Her off screen whining for a larger role in the new film translated poorly to execution. But one can easily look past her (and subsequently Storm’s) inflated ego to appreciate team mentality and comradery that really makes this film work. And it’s a testament to that spirit of the franchise I’ve been talking about, that when working together, good things can happen.

I’d be remiss in giving it a low rating, for the faults of Ratner, who was out of his element. But I’d also be remiss in giving it a high rating because I’m a fan boy.

3 stars.

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