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Overall Rating
2.88

Awesome: 5.56%
Worth A Look30.09%
Average: 27.78%
Pretty Bad: 19.44%
Total Crap: 17.13%

13 reviews, 138 user ratings



X-Men: The Last Stand
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by brianorndorf

"I miss Singer, but Ratner knows what he's doing"
4 stars

Go into “X-Men: The Last Stand” and expect a pitch-perfect continuation of that last sequel, the glorious “X2,” and the sheer force of disappointment will snap you in half. What director Brett Ratner has here is something decidedly more crude in execution, but wildly entertaining and thrilling. It’s “X-Men” lite, but it’s still tremendously effective.

The Dark Phoenix has risen. After the X-Men retrieve Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) from the ruins at Alkali Lake, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) reveals that the young mutant has given herself over to a mysterious, and infinitely more dangerous, power. Piquing the interest of Magneto (Ian McKellen), the master of metal leads his brotherhood of mutants to find Phoenix and use her as their ultimate weapon, rousing Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Beast (Kelsey Grammer), and the X team to stop them at all costs. Their struggle eventually leads to an epic battle of good vs. evil; however, the challenge is heightened further with the introduction of a Government-sponsored mutant “cure,” opening the door to a life for mutants who’ve always desired human normalcy.

We last left the X-Men in 2003’s “X2,” under the passionate guidance of director Bryan Singer. Singer jumped ship from the franchise to tackle the Man of Steel in June’s “Superman Returns,” and he left behind a series of films that depended on his commitment to humanity and superhero verisimilitude. Enter director Brett Ratner.

A clichéd Internet fanboy villain, I have yet to find a Ratner film I haven’t enjoyed, and the affable, dynamic director brings his pop rocks sensibilities to “Last Stand.” From just the design of the opening titles, it’s apparent that the new X-Men film isn’t going to play in Singer’s highly structured sandbox. Ratner is chasing a colorful comic book tone with his installment, as “Last Stand” attempts to deal more simplistically with Singer’s conundrums. Like most of his productions, Ratner’s directorial enthusiasm can wonderfully infectious, but the truth is this: as first-rate as “Last Stand” is, it doesn’t follow through with what Singer was trying so hard to achieve, and that’s the movie’s greatest sin. “X2” was about as ideal a comic book adaptation as there can be. “Last Stand” is merely a delicious mutant roller coaster ride lacking all gravitas.

Ratner and his screenwriters (Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn) try to shake off the grave tone of Singer’s last two films quickly with an unusual opening set 20 years ago as Magneto and Xavier look to help a young Jean Grey consider her powers. Using CG to pare down the years on Stewart and McKellen’s faces (a subtle and grand effect), Ratner introduces his playful tone early but still draws menace from watching Grey’s limitless potential for havoc tested.

The rest of “Last Stand” looks to move to the same beat as the opening, balancing mutant pyrotechnics and swift, buoyant storytelling with Singer-influenced grabs at blunt tragedy and soul searching. Ratner clearly has a sure hand with the action, since these are the moments he can call his own. This sequel is constructed to show off the might of as many mutants as possible, adding, to the core group of heroes and villains, stampeding Juggernaut (aptly cast Vinnie Jones), the resourceful Callisto (Dania Ramirez), the winged Angel (Ben Foster), and invisible Kitty Pryde (the abrasive Ellen Page, “Hard Candy”).

“Last Stand” can seem at times like a desperate franchise free-for-all, with Ratner tossing in everything he can think of to create an epic feel of mutant struggle. If there wasn’t such a soaring spirit of adventure to the film, the picture would surely crack under the sheer weight of all the characters pining for their chance in the spotlight. Clocking in at a lean 105 minutes, there just isn’t enough time to address everybody’s motivation, leaving the film messy with characterizations and the viewer close to wincing at some of the unmistakably corner-cutting dialog.

However, concerns of overpopulation seem to melt away when “Last Stand” begins to cook. As the mutants start to rumble, the action gets fierce, and contains a higher body count than any fan might expect. A large selling point of this sequel is that it’s anyone’s guess who makes it to the end credits. Because Ratner isn’t taking the same care as Singer with this vast world, he isn’t afraid to kill off beloved characters or tragically alter the fates of the ones we loathe, using the cutting ways of unpredictability to fuel the film’s thrilling action set-pieces. It’s cheap, but it’s undeniably effective.

Unfortunately, while “Last Stand” picks up right where “X2” left off, to achieve full throttle pace, Ratner had to jettison some of Singer’s more interesting dramatic pursuits, including Wolverine’s damning conscience (he’s in full hero mode here) and the friendly game of power played between Magneto and Xavier. Replacing these themes is an on-the-nose political allegory that doesn’t quite capture the heart of the series, but instead leaves ample opportunity for the mutants to engage in slapfights. If the effort isn’t going to be made to match Singer’s vigilant commitment to tone, I can’t think of a better replacement than watching Wolverine stalk and kill more prey (Jackman has always been a film highlight), Beast zip around in a big, blue blur, Juggernaut smash through walls, and Phoenix test the paper-thin limitations of her apocalyptic destructive powers.

More tender fans of the earlier “X-Men” films might be put off by this greatest hits installment (which seems to combine about four sequels into one), and I can sympathize heartily with that feeling.

Brett Ratner certainly doesn’t try to dig as deeply into the franchise’s potential as Bryan Singer; but take “The Last Stand” as all surface, relentless comic book amusement, and it’s a vastly agreeable sit.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=14574&reviewer=404
originally posted: 05/26/06 14:12:22
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User Comments

3/18/16 Charles Tatum Compelling characters make up for wavering film making 4 stars
9/02/14 Dude where x-men went downhill 2 stars
1/18/12 Marc DC I liked it better than the 1st two 4 stars
6/15/11 My apples are rotting Worst of the series? Very probably 2 stars
10/17/10 Deek Windsome Wrong. The reviewer seems to think the film should be based on what he wanted. 5 stars
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7/03/09 the dork knight Wasted potential, too much focus on fucking Juno! (not enough thigh crushing either, Jean) 3 stars
6/25/09 tip massachusetts car insurance quote 3 stars
6/23/09 pennsylvania health insurance health care policy 4 stars
6/15/09 click download free game poker 4 stars
6/04/09 auto insurance ratings buy car insurance online california 1 stars
5/21/09 Aaron Smith Just okay final chapter to X Trilogy. Good to see more Magneto, Colossus, Shadowcat 4 stars
4/30/09 matt criminally underrated 4 stars
3/21/09 visit tips 1 stars
3/09/09 JL Hunt Total disappointment. Destroyed the excellent work from X2 2 stars
1/05/09 living4christ OK, but < than 1st 2. Wish more chars were around for sequals 4 stars
12/01/08 the dork knight Too many goddamn characters. Still, not too terrible. 3 stars
11/24/08 Jason Get over it nerds. All I have to say is $459,256,008. Not bad for a horrible movie. 4 stars
11/23/08 MC And apparently Angel can fly from NY to Frisco just as fast as the X-Jet. 1 stars
11/23/08 Jin This is whaty happens when Jim Lee is not consulted: the story ruins the comic 2 stars
11/23/08 Remy Ramone David and the fanboys can get over that Dark Phoenix Saga took years and X3 2 hours. 4 stars
10/18/08 Pandapeep Awful, awful movie. No excuse. I am still upser I've ever wasted time watching this thing. 1 stars
8/18/08 jonathantstorm terrible film, just awfulll 1 stars
5/29/08 PAUL SHORTT DISPOSABLE ENTERTAINMENT THAT PASSES THE TIME 1 stars
9/25/07 Bitchflaps Worse than the first two, and I didn't even like the first two. Embarrassing. 2 stars
7/26/07 MaDmAN I agree with David Cornelius' review 100%. What a terrible way to end an great seriesli 2 stars
6/01/07 Likk Another pretty bad comic book film, will they ever stop making them? 2 stars
5/15/07 967 Poorly done. Where was Nightcrawler? 2 stars
4/28/07 s the reason that's why i have to watch x3 bec of shawn ashmore and ellen page.that's all... 3 stars
4/05/07 DL Poor 1 stars
3/23/07 David A bit dissapointing, but it is decent. 3 stars
3/21/07 man great movie 4 stars
2/14/07 The chode What a piece of smelly shit. 1 stars
2/13/07 johnnyfog ............What the fuck was that? 1 stars
12/23/06 Benjamin Butchered story, the horror of Hollywood. 2 stars
12/09/06 Indrid Cold As with the previous two, I was left vaguely disappointed. Many plot threads, but no depth. 3 stars
12/08/06 jill b absolutly my favorite movie of all times!!! loved it!!! 5 stars
11/18/06 Quigley just a special-effects showcase. bad sci-fi, bad plot, bad script...I missed Bryan Singer 2 stars
11/07/06 julian this movie was monkey balls no gambit,rogue,real sentinal fighting,bishop crap all the way 1 stars
10/29/06 Riley it was ok but i wish nightcrawler was in it 4 stars
10/21/06 comic book guy worst movie ever 1 stars
10/19/06 Henry X-Men 3 apesta, sin duda, la mejor de todas es X2 2 stars
10/17/06 David Worse than the other 2. 3 stars
10/12/06 Rich Pitoniak x-men 3 was very laughable i laughed the whole film, it sucked. 1 stars
10/11/06 jagnet I was very disappointed... good action but way off the real story behind x-men-1word Rogue 3 stars
10/04/06 Brett_Ratner_can_eat_a_bowl_of_d1cks Brett Ratner: the WORST DIRECTOR EVER! This guy made horse sh1t like Prison Break, Rush Hou 1 stars
10/02/06 Nick S. It got the job done, but the film feels rushed. Don't blame Ratner though. 4 stars
8/17/06 Pn. As with GOFATHER and Wacko Jacko nose jobs, should have stopped at two.. 3 stars
8/10/06 Dragon The Artist The "Phoenix" thing was a little dumb, but its good how they kept bringin' in mutants. 4 stars
8/06/06 Erik Van Sant Blasphemy on every level. All involved should be drawn and quartered. Sad end to series. 1 stars
7/30/06 Scotty It was ok as an action film, but I was very disappointed with how they treated the characte 3 stars
7/08/06 Necie This is a good film. X-Men means action for me!!! 5 stars
7/04/06 matt Some weak plot elements and less involving, otherwise great 4 stars
7/01/06 Gerry Irons Better than I expected- Lacks Brian Singers Polish- but delivers with action story-surprise 4 stars
6/25/06 P3NIS_CLEAVER its a comic book movie, lighten up! 4 stars
6/22/06 Mitch! Hey Doug, AC/DC and Aerosmith suck...and so does this movie. 2 stars
6/20/06 rob nero Phoenix was an entity that copied her, not a disorder! 3 stars
6/20/06 Jason Hyde It'd be better if they dropped the Phoenix stuff and focused on the cure stuff. 3 stars
6/18/06 alice Entertaining,for me the best one. 4 stars
6/18/06 MP Bartley Efficient closing chapter - but it does feel like a collection of deleted scenes from #2 3 stars
6/16/06 donald so sad to see the series turn to crap after such a promising second entry. 1 stars
6/14/06 burton miller good, but not as good as the first two 4 stars
6/13/06 raul valdez Jr good action, went by to fast none the less entertaining 4 stars
6/12/06 Diana it was okay, the action was good... 3 stars
6/11/06 Mase Still one of the best super hero franchises around, if obviously lacking in direction. 5 stars
6/10/06 ALDO if you enjoyed 1&2 its well worth viewing. Unexpected scenes made it enjoyable 4 stars
6/09/06 junaid well i think the biggest mistake is the killing of the main three characters 1 stars
6/08/06 Tyrone since when can you vaporize someone with telekenisis 1 stars
6/08/06 Lisa Jean Gray is definitely more exciting in this one!!! 4 stars
6/05/06 tim Cheap, corny, ridiculous, unemotional, anitclimatic. 1 stars
6/05/06 Illimantia A decent set-up, a superior sequel, and now a pile of dung! Sad... 1 stars
6/05/06 Alejandro Luna Even if you know nothing about this comic, you can identify it as a huge dissapointment 1 stars
6/04/06 ChumpyTheGreat Easily the worst of the three..a total mess. 1 stars
6/03/06 Con O'Brien Really enjoyed it - having seen the previous two. Particularly enjoyed sfx. 4 stars
6/03/06 Rowsdower A lot more flawed than the previous two, but it's still X-Men. Halle Berry, go home! 3 stars
6/03/06 Ricardo The best X-men film 5 stars
6/02/06 George Jung About as choppy as the first two - at least something happened in this one. 4 stars
6/02/06 Rocky Well...it was ALMOST a great trilogy... 1 stars
6/01/06 The Talking Elbow Seemed more concerned about making a buck, what a difference a director can make. 2 stars
6/01/06 Thoughtmachine Couln't have been worse if Van Damme played Wolverine. Sloppy and poorly constructed. 1 stars
6/01/06 MARVEL MADNESS This movie was absolutely without a doubt the worst movie i have ever seen in my life. 1 stars
6/01/06 Michelle & Ethan Absolutely disappointing and crappy! 1 stars
6/01/06 Koitus I actually thought that this was a good movie. Surprised at many of others' comments... 4 stars
6/01/06 panagiotis sucks and has no relation to the comic books, just a disappointment , THE DIRECTOR SUCKS 1 stars
5/31/06 malcolm about time they let Storm kick some ass, 1st X-movie is still the best of the series 3 stars
5/31/06 Obi Wan Jackman shines!! Easily best of 3, where was NightCrawler? 5 stars
5/31/06 sweetgrrl1972 *sigh* Why won't they pay for decent writers? Why?!! I'm so disappointed. 2 stars
5/31/06 Sean Brett Ratner ruined my Memorial Day Weekend. 1 stars
5/31/06 J-rd I’ve heard better dialogue between my three month old daughter and her stuffed bear. 3 stars
5/30/06 too-much-coffee mistress How does Halle Berry keep getting work? Oh yeah. Thanks, Oscar! 4 stars
5/30/06 Jeff The best of the three - most comic book like but still no Spiderman or Batman Begins! 4 stars
5/30/06 San Lamar coulda been better, but also coulda been worse 4 stars
5/30/06 sarrik76 As an action movie-good/As a comic book continuation- awful 3 stars
5/30/06 kandace I was okay 4 stars
5/29/06 Intelligent One Famke Janssen is hot but the rest of the movie sucks. 2 stars
5/29/06 Lord Jiggy Deeply, numbingly average. Worth a matinee, at best. Not worth a DVD. 2 stars
5/29/06 Cindy too many inacurate details for long time fans/readers 3 stars
5/29/06 Troy M. Grzych Not as good as 2 but really entertaining. It seems like they were trying to clean house. 4 stars
5/29/06 Elizabeth It was an absolute disaster. Ratner has no taste and no talent. 1 stars
5/29/06 bullit16 Not as good as the first two, but still a helluva ride 4 stars
5/29/06 Mr Bojangles The X-MEN series gets its RETURN OF THE JEDI... 2 stars
5/29/06 Ole Man Bourbon I just don't get this whole X-Men craze. All 3 sucked IMO. 2 stars
5/29/06 Adam Smith I was extremely let down. Mr. Ratner ruined the experience & a potentially great ending. 2 stars
5/28/06 Jim Why, Bryan, why did you leave us?! 3 stars
5/28/06 Anthony G IM THE JUGGERNAUT BITCH!!!!!!!!!! OWNED 5 stars
5/28/06 KB Oh what a letdown 2 stars
5/28/06 Nichole Great movie! 5 stars
5/28/06 Becky Berry annoying as always, most memorable moments were *not* emotional- meh at best. 3 stars
5/28/06 ad at least the actors are good 2 stars
5/27/06 Agent Sands Entertaining as a comic book adaptation typically gets. 4 stars
5/27/06 Stacy Too many "walking down hall and talking" scenes. It was all right. 3 stars
5/27/06 KingNeutron STAY FOR THE END CREDITS. Great summer movie, deals w/ some heavy issues. 4 stars
5/27/06 Dan Too short, too "punny" at the beginning, but otherwise a good movie. 4 stars
5/27/06 Pokejedservo Not as good as the first two... at first, though the finale more than made up for it. 5 stars
5/27/06 dredphul meh, wait for it on dvd unless you are a fan 3 stars
5/27/06 Eden Flawed, and not as good as the first 2. It all feels a little pointless 3 stars
5/27/06 BrianWilly Has several flaws, but generally awesome 5 stars
5/26/06 Sarah Im so dissapointed, I'm about to cry 2 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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USA
  26-May-2006 (PG-13)
  DVD: 03-Oct-2006

UK
  26-May-2006

Australia
  25-May-2006


Directed by
  Brett Ratner

Written by
  Simon Kinberg
  Zak Penn

Cast
  Hugh Jackman
  Halle Berry
  Ian McKellen
  Famke Janssen
  Anna Paquin
  Patrick Stewart



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