X-Men: The Last Stand
X-Men: The Last Stand falls somewhere between the plodding exposition of the first X-Men and the compelling, character-driven X2. In other words, its action-packed but lacks that certain mutant angst.
Everything appears to be status quo between humans and mutants. There"s a president who is sympathetic towards mutants, Prof. Charles Xavier"s (Patrick Stewart) school is thriving and Magneto (Ian McKellen) is quiet--for the moment. But when a "cure" for mutancy is discovered, which would give those with the mutant gene the choice to give up their powers and become human, Magneto sees red. Cure mutants? Dem"s fightin" words. With a few more allies on his side--including the resurrected Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who now calls herself the Phoenix and has unlimited powers--Magneto prepares to trigger the war to end all wars, while the X-Men--lead by the stalwart Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and milquetoasty Storm (Halle Berry)--try to stop him. I seriously doubt this is really their Last Stand.
All the usual suspects are back. Stewart is once again sufficiently wise as Xavier, while McKellen"s Magneto continues to be one of the cooler comic-book villains. It"s amusing to watch him calmly mangle cars or dislodge the Golden Gate bridge with a gleam in his eye. Janssen also seems to relish playing dual roles--the tormented Grey and her evil alter ego, Phoenix, who is one scary broad. Unfortunately, Jackman doesn"t have as much to chew on in Last Stand as he did in X2, and Berry is once again only good for drumming up fog. But the new mutants are kind of fun: Ellen Page (so deadly in Hard Candy) plays sweet this time as Kitty Pryde, who can "phase" through solid material; Vinnie Jones (Snatch) is boisterous as the aptly named Juggernaut; Kelsey Grammer is diplomatic as the highly intelligent--and very blue--Dr. Hank McCoy, aka Beast; and Dania Ramirez (Fat Albert), as the blink-of-an-eye quick Callisto, gets to kick Storm"s ass. Cool cat fight.
How dare director Bryan Singer leave his X-Men to go direct another superhero movie, even if it is Superman Returns. If Wolverine had anything to say about, he might have ripped Singer a new one. You really do feel Singer"s absence in The Last Stand. All of the director"s tormented pathos towards his mutant comrades and their struggles to live in the human world are not as prevalent in this third installment. Instead, we"ve got happy-go-lucky director Brett Ratner of Rush Hour fame, who turns The Last Stand into one giant id--big, explosive and campy. Of course, to his credit, Ratner is pretty good at delivering a rousing, albeit superficial, action movie. It"s just not as gripping as X2. But listen, the spirit of the comic is already built in from the previous installments, so, in essence, we already know these characters pretty well. Do we really need more angst?
Hollywood.com rated this film 2 1/2 stars.