Sunday, October 22, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand Review

Along with watching a bunch of zombie flicks last week, I also checked out X-Men: The Last Stand. Unfortunately, I missed seeing this one in theatres and since people were telling me it was awful I didn't really care. Now that I've seen it, I can say that the film is by no means as bad as many people told me it was, but it is the lesser of the trilogy.

X-Men: The Last Stand focuses on a new "cure" that has been developed for the mutant gene and while some mutants are overjoyed at being offered the chance to become "normal," others are outraged and essentially launch an all out assault on the cure's developers. This assault is lead by Magneto and the Brotherhood of Mutants while the X-Men defend not the cure, but the right for one to choose which path they want.

Tied into this storyline is the Dark Phoenix saga. At the end of X2: X-Men United, Jean Grey was believed to have sacrificed herself to save everyone from a massive flood, however it appears she wasn't killed after all. Jean Grey returns and she's a very, very angry woman.

Without giving more of the plot away, X-Men: The Last Stand is much more an action flick than a character driven piece, and less of a blend of the two that the previous films were. It basically assumes that you know who the characters are (including the new characters introduced, of which there are many) and cuts right to the meat of things. Along with Professor X, Wolverine, Magneto, Mystique, Storm, and the other usual prominante film cast, characters like Beast, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, and Angel are introduced/more featured in the spotlight.

One of the great things about the X-Men films is the characters: Their personalities, dynamics, and relations with one another. The loss of exploiting this strength hurts X-Men: The Last Stand, and contributes to a lack of cohession in the two different plot lines. As I watched the film, while I certainly felt the mutant cure plot to be interesting, I really felt the focus should have been on the Dark Phoenix storyline. This was a huge point in the comics, a series everyone knows about even if they have just a passing interest in classic X-Men and it was overall rather downplayed in the film. While they couldn't have done the Dark Phoenix saga like it was done in the comics, they could have taken the set-up they did use and ran with that.

Such a path would have brought a great deal of stronger emotional ties out of the film, and I believe it would have been more well received. As is though, X-Men: The Last Stand is an enjoyable film with some large scale battles and great fight sequences. Just don't expect a masterful conclusion to the trilogy.

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