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Review: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Directed by: Brett Ratner

Premise: The third film in the X-Men franchise. The conflict between humans and the two factions of humanoid mutants come to a head when a pharmaceutical company develops a cure for the mutant x-gene and the government develops it into a weapon. 

What Works: For the most part, The Last Stand delivers on the promise of the first two films. It brings the conflicts between human beings, the Brotherhood, and the X-Men to a new level and satisfactorily resolves those conflicts. The performances by Ian McKellen as Magneto and Famke Janssen as Jean Grey are very good. Magneto has risen to be among the great villains in this genre and this should be credited to the writing and to McKellen’s empathetic performance. The character of Grey is a very challenging role in this film and Janssen successfully conveys the dual role of hero and villain. The action sequences hold up with anything else in the genre although they don’t break much new ground.

What Doesn’t: The film’s treatment of new characters is shallow and incomplete and some of the established characters are pushed to the sidelines to make way for the tremendous amount of plot that that film has to cover. Most disappointing is the film’s dismissal of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), a character who had been a major part of the first two films but is eliminated from the story too easily and without proper payoff in the plot.

Bottom Line: X-Men: The Last Stand is a successful end to this series, although the final sequences (and a brief post credit scene) hint at another installment. Like many final chapters (Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The Matrix: Revolutions, Star Wars: Episode VI – Return of the Jedi) this film has so much to do that it loses sight of some of its characters and ends up sacrificing story elements to wrap everything up. On a macro level, however, the film does tie up the loose ends and concludes the story on a high note.

Episode: #99 (June 4, 2006)