Artist: Movie ReviewTitle: X-Men: The Last Stand (Film)Rating: 3 StarsReviewed by: Edwardo Jackson
After some helpful backstory establishing the power of now-deceased mutant Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), X-Men: The Last Stand (20th Century Fox) throws us into the not-so-distant future where mutants – genetically abnormal humans with various superpowers and skills – are tolerated but not quite accepted, as evidenced by the Department of Indian Affairs-ish Cabinet level position of Secretary of the Department of Mutant Affairs, staffed by the blue-coated, puffed chest Beast, a.k.a. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer). When Warren Worthington (Michael Murphy) discovers a cure for mutancy that potentially restores mutants back to normal humans, not only does his own, mutant-winged son Angel (Ben Foster) refuse treatment, but also the government’s promotion and weaponizing of the cure gives credence to the troublemaking Magneto’s (Sir Ian McKellen) grassroots revolutionary mutant movement called the Brotherhood. Trying to head off a Magneto-provoked war to eliminate humans before they can “cure” mutants, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Storm (Halle Berry) lead the young but conflicted X-Men into battle for humanity.
Sounds neat, huh? You know what they say about best laid plans… Despite a slam-bang premise with plenty of overtones of equality, prejudice, tolerance, and ethics, X-Men is a bloated, exposition heavy bore. Overstuffed with more mutant superpowers than screentime, to the point you have no idea who these people are or why we should care, X-Men is so proud of its plot, it takes every opportunity to explain it to death. Too much setup, not enough blow up. C’mon, it’s summertime – if you want verbose, expository filmmaking, go see The Da Vinci Code. The Simon
Kinberg (Mr. & Mrs. Smith) and Zak Penn (Elektra) script is so talky that you’re all but lulled to sleep before the final battle in San Francisco can even go down.
Or it might just be Ratner’s fault. Brett Ratner, the pinch hitter for the X-Men franchise when Bryan Singer got a “Super” calling and all-around Comic Con/Internet nerd whipping boy, enjoys playing with ILM wizardry for all the superpower magic of mutancy, but rarely are these powers harnessed in any meaningful, character developing way as in the first two movies. Everyone’s character seems a shade more muted/diluted, as if they were playing for the assistant coach after the head coach got ejected from the game. For a movie with such big ideas and stars, the John Powell (United 93) musical score is surprisingly timid and unheroic.
Heres a cure for mutancy: pop in X-Men 2: X-Men United on DVD and,
if you must, wait for The Last Stand to hit the video stand.
Edwardo Jackson (ReelReviewz@aol.com) is an author and LA-based screenwriter, visit his website at www.edwardojackson.com