Thursday, May 12, 2016

Movie Review: "X-Men: The Last Stand" (2006)

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Movie"X-Men: The Last Stand"
Director: Brett Ratner
Year: 2006
Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 1 hour, 44 minutes

By using a mutant known as Leech, a "cure" for mutants has been developed which will turn them into normal humans. Most mutants don't see their power as a disease, however there are some actually interested in the cure. Magneto (Ian McKellen) views this cure as a weapon against mutants and has raised an army, which includes the most powerful mutant alive, Phoenix (Famke Janssen), and plans to begin an all-out assault on mankind unless the cure is destroyed. Now, the X-Men are the only thing standing in the way of Magneto and the destruction of humanity.

So, did Brett Ratner watch "Batman & Robin" before making this movie in order to get notes on how to make a bad film filled with awful dialogue and crappy puns?

"X-Men: The Last Stand" is the third film in the X-Men series. It also marks a notable bump in the road for the X-Men franchise as it was. With the director of the previous 2 installments, Bryan Singer, off working on "Superman Returns," 20th Century Fox was left struggling to find a director to fill his empty chair. A series of directors were considered before the studio initially settled on Matthew Vaughn, but family issues as well as worries over the tight shooting schedule had him leave the project early on before director Brett Ratner was chosen to take his place. Production issues are never a great way to start making a film, especially considering the movie's release date was announced before a script or director was finalized. This put a rush job on the whole project, and boy does it show.

Right away, even within the first few lines uttered in "X-Men: The Last Stand," you will see a sharp shift in tone as Ratner and the writers add an endless series of 'witty' one liners throughout the film, which we think are "Batman & Robin" levels of camp and crap dialogue. This puts a cheesy damper on the film as a whole, though there are some dark and dramatic elements to this sequel that make us a little more forgiving. It also has the same theme of civil rights and acceptance for mutants running throughout its narrative, and at this point, we've sort of gotten tired of this same old song. Nothing really feels new at this point, it simply feels like one too many wasted opportunities. There is a lot wrong with this film, especially the fact that it is over-bloated with underdeveloped characters. For avid X-Men fans, this may not be a problem, but a film goer shouldn't have to read hundreds of comics if they want to learn anything about these new characters. The narrative is mostly a mess. Buried under this mess, however, there is a film that had the potential to be something really good, and we wish this movie had the privilege of being in Vaughn or Singer's hands from the start.

The Jean Grey/Phoenix story line is one with great potential. Though Ratner is able to do a couple of cool things with the character, we can't help but feel like the opportunity was squandered at nearly every turn. There are one or two kick ass action sequences featuring her character, though, so it's not a total loss. A few really impactful moments are sprinkled throughout the film, but mostly, "The Last Stand" serves as an excuse for Brett Ratner to hit us with an underdeveloped pun-fest. Most the original cast is back, like Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Barry (who has at this point dropped her bad, fake accent), Patrick Stewart, Rebecca Romijn, James Marsden, and Anna Paquin. Many of these characters have had their parts slashed to nothing in order to focus on Phoenix and Magneto, and some characters are eliminated almost entirely, like the fabulous Nightcrawler from "X2". There are also a lot of new actors and characters in the film, but really, there are far too many to list them here.

"X-Men: The Last Stand," aka "the bad one," only enjoys middling success compared to its first two installments. It is a painfully obvious huge step down from "X-Men" and "X2." It's the clear, mediocre middle man, and when put into Ratner's incapable and ever-moving hands, a movie with our favorite mutants become a pun-filled, eyebrow-raising sequel with over-bloated effects and far too many moving parts we'd soon rather forget. It's not as atrociously bad as some fans say, but considering its $168 million budget, it's clear Ratner is walking around with millions for making one of the worst films of the X-Men franchise.

My Rating: 5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.8/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 58%
Do we recommend this movie: Meh.
To see our review for "X-Men," click here.

To see our review for "X2: X-Men United," click here.

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