So, the third (and final?) X-Men movie sees Jean Grey return to the
world, but…oops…Charles Xavier forgot to mention that Grey has a split
personality and a powerful psychotic alter-ego exists inside her head!
Thankfully, when Jean resurfaces she takes a moment to kill her former
boyfriend, the utterly pointless Scott Summers (Cyclops).
All this takes place amid the discovery of a cure for the Mutant X
gene which promises a normal life for mutants. It’s met with a mixed
reaction – some mutants are glad of the prospect of a cure while others
(Magneto’s crowd) see the potential ‘extermination’ of the mutant race
and choose to fight against it.
The movie remains fast-paced throughout, and it’s abundant in shocks
and comic moments throughout: Mystique getting shot with the Mutant
cure and losing her abilities, Phoenix (Jean Grey’s alter-ego)
disintegrating one of the X-Men in a tense battle, and getting frisky
with Wolverine (the bit where she whips his belt off using her psychic
powers was a hoot).
One of the set-pieces was completely over the top though: the bit
where Magneto raises the Golden Gate bridge and floats it across to
Alcatraz Island. In the name of God, why? In X-Men II, Magneto conjures
floating discs from atoms of liquid metal! Plus, he has Phoenix in tow
with her devastating psychic powers. Surely between them they could
have thought up better transportation?
As usual, Wolverine and Magneto get their share of the best lines.
Ian McKellen is at his wicked best as Magneto, especially turning his
back on a newly human Mystique (who’d sacrificed herself to protect him
moments earlier) and cunningly convincing Jean Grey to join his
rebellion. Hugh Jackman makes the transformation from mild-mannered
Aussie to the gruff, blade-fisted Wolverine with ease, and just about
steals the show. Wolverine is always the best thing about an X-Men
Kudos should also go to newcomers Vinnie Jones (as rock-headed
Juggernaut) and Kelsey Grammer (as Dr. Hugh McCoy). Who would have
pictured Frasier as the ol’ blue furball?
On the down side, Halle Berry as Storm is a waste of space. It’s
hard to tell if Storm’s character is at fault, or if the the finger
should be pointed at Halle Berry’s acting, but three movies down and
Storm has yet to play a central role. She’s almost as expendable as
Cyclops was. A new hairdo does not the superhero make!
(Oh, why exactly do all the ‘bad’ mutants dress like junkies? Talk about stereotyping…)
X-Men: The Verdict
It’s hard to put your finger on it, but X-Men: The Last Stand is
slightly different to its predecessors. Perhaps it’s the departure of
director Bryan Singer, perhaps the storyline is too busy, not enough effort on character development.
Whatever your opinion, this is still a comic book translation, so
suspend your disbelief for a couple of hours and enjoy the ride. As one reviewer on Rotten Tomatoes said:
The Last Stand is as good if not better than X2.
If there’s a morality message, it’s lost in the dizzying special
effects and fast pace of the movie. It’s definitely worth a visit to
the cinema, so don’t believe the nay-sayers!