Here’s our review of this summer’s much-hyped, big-budget thrill ride which, however, has brought charges of blasphemy from the faithful.

X-Men 3, of course. Erm… What movie were you thinking of?

Directed by Brett Ratner
Written by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn

Cast
Hugh Jackman…Logan/Wolverine
Halle Berry…Ororo/Storm
Ian McKellen…Lensherr/Magneto

Famke Janssen…Jean Grey/Phoenix
Kelsey Grammer…Hank McCoy/Beast
Patrick Stewart…Prof. Charles Xavier
Rebecca Romijn…Raven/Mystique
Ellen Page…Kitty Pryde

Anna Paquin…Marie/Rogue
James Marsden…Scott/Cyclops
Shawn Ashmore…Bobby/Iceman
Aaron Stanford…Pyro
Vinnie Jones …Juggernaut
Ben Foster…Angel
Aaron Stanford…Pyro
Dania Ramirez…Callisto
Michael Murphy…Worthington
Josef Sommer…the President
Bill Duke…Trask
Daniel Cudmore…Colossus
Kea Wong…Jubilee
Stan Lee…Hose Man

Premise:

An instant, apparently permanent “cure” for mutants creates controversy and conflict, just as the world’s most powerful mutant appears.

High Points:

1. Ya want action sequences? This film features a number of extraordinary fight scenes and pyrotechnical displays. The final battle boasts impressive visuals.

“Does it look like we need your help?”

2. Although the running metaphor of mutant=any deviant, different, or disadvantaged group could have been developed further, this film continues to play with the real-world parallels, and problematize them. What disabilities and differences should be “cured?” Who decides? Charles Xavier wants mutants to embrace their differences, but this film shows that his hand are not clean. The response received by Worthington when he insists that he only wants “to help you people” will resonate with many audience members.

3. One family gives an amusing response as Magneto passes on the Golden Gate Bridge.

Low Points

1. In the final sequence, Jean Grey is forced to stand around for no really good reason and do nothing, until the first battle has ended. Her own finale seems forced and clichéd. If the filmmakers had used only one of these plots (Phoenix or Cure) and developed certain moments, they would have made a better film, with a more lasting effect.

2. Some comic-book costumes don’t translate particularly well to film. Magneto’s helmet is one such costume. McKellan is a strong actor and makes the part work, but he still ends up looking like a 60s action figure whenever he dons the helmet.

3. There’s one facility that guards an important mutant and produces the “cure,” and the government cannot figure out what the Brotherhood’s target will be?

The Scores:

Originality: 2/6 The film adapts a number of storylines and elements that have appeared in the X-Men comic.

Effects: 5/6 This film features spectacular special effects. Certain CGI effects– such as the freezing of the mansion’s fountain– failed to impress me, but I’m willing to overlook it in a film with so many great effects shots. Visually, this is the most impressive of the X-Movies.

Story: 3/6. The writers actually do an admirable job of weaving the Dark Phoenix and Mutant Cure plots together, and a fair one of handling so many characters. However, it’s still too much plot for one movie with too many characters, and it feels cluttered. Character development gets sacrificed, to the detriment of the film.

Acting: 5/6. The acting varies, but Stewart, Jackman, McKellan, and Grammer give particularly strong performances. Series newcomer Ellen Page, the latest Kitty Pryde, also stands out. I’m hoping they give her a role in the planned Wolverine movie, since this film gestures toward that friendship from the comic’s 80s run.

Too often, the actors struggle against silly and clichéd dialogue. Stewart is forced to say, “I don’t have to justify myself… Least of all to you!” to Jackman. Halle Barry has a number of dull lines—- though nothing to match her response to the Toad in the first film. Expository “as you know, Bob” dialogue occurs. Josef Sommer’s President speaks almost entirely in clichés, but I suppose that’s not really a stretch.

Production: 5/6.

Emotional Response: 4/6.

Overall: 4/6. It was kind of nice, after three movies, to see all of the original X-Men on the screen.

In total, X-Men: The Last Stand receives 28/42