X-Men: The Last Stand has some real problems, which is a crying shame because it’s my second favorite superhero franchise (behind the recent Batman but way ahead of the Superman, Spider-man and Fantastic Four stuff). It’s also a fun summer style movie, light and breezy with plenty of entertainment. I’d guess if you have low expectations you’ll be fine, but if you are looking for a faithful and excellent rendering you’ll be sorely dissapointed.
First off, the plot. If you haven’t seen the first two I’m not even sure where to start but essentially the human genome has been transformed in rare cases to create mutants, mutants who have unique and astounding powers. The mutants are in conflict with the human population because they are such a destabilizing force. Like jerk humans, jerk mutants can do a ton of damage, but with fire and weather instead of layoffs. There are also good and pleasant mutants, called X-Men, led by benevolent dictator Professor Charles Xavier. Oh, what the heck, everyone in the world must at least know the X-Men story so the real deal plot of this one is a mutant eliminating “cure,” which the humans have kindly suggested all the mutants take so they can finally “fit in,” sans their powers. Some of the mutants don’t take too kindly to this and a sort of mutant civil war takes place with the humans somewhere in between and all over. Enough said on that, now on to a critique of Mystique.
I liked Mystique (Rebecca Romijn). I liked most of the mutants actually, even though some of them have much more “lame” powers than others. The entertainment factor in this film comes when the mutant powers such as fire, weather, telekinesis, or general God-like ability are in full effect. Particularly awesome was Famke Janssen as The Phoenix. She’s the most fun mutant of all and she’s also stunning for your viewing pleasure. Also nice is the fast pace of the film, the first hour flies by while setting up the conclusion and the transition from scene to scene is very fluid.
The problems with X3 are occasional cheese fest dialogue, huge logic issues (besides mutants existing in general), and an ending that sort of tails off. The ending has a few really satisfying moments and there is one real show stopper in the middle of the film but there are also moments where you’ll be forced to role your eyes under the “I have a working brain” corollary. Storm (Halle Berry) brings the movie down in my opinion. Take in the fact that they’ve never gotten around to including Gambit and Nightcrawler is nowhere to be found and you’ve got a laundry list of my complaints.
Now, am I one of the hard core X people? No, not really. I’ve read the comic before but I don’t own issue #142 with the alternate covers or anything. I like Wolverine and will be happy to see the prequel but I realize he gets way too much love on screen for what he really is. I like the concepts of the X-Men world even though I’m not a fanatic. I loved the second effort, I just felt this one was a letdown, much in the same vein as The Da Vinci Code. At the end of the day it comes down to how well you execute and this one falters a few times.
That said, in general, this one is worth seeing. Not if you are one of the highbrow types or fundamentally opposed to summer blockbusters but if you are a regular “style” bloke like me. You won’t be pissed after seeing it (maybe the comic guys will – who knows) but you’ll notice a couple of things that could have been better. Overall I hope they get another shot at the franchise because while this one wasn’t a 90’s style Batman crashing into a building of crap it wasn’t enough to send the series out on. X3 stays fully human with its failures but never quite mutates into something powerful and beautiful.
I pray I’ve satisfied my metaphor quote for the month.
On a final note, don’t leave before the credits come to an end… there is a 30-second treat for the hardcore after the credits roll.
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