X3: The Lamest Stand

by Alan Rapp on May 26, 2006

in Movie Reviews 

  • Title: X-Men: The Last Stand
  • IMDB: link

x-men-the-lamest-stand-posterI have this vision in my head of Brett Ratner and Bryan Singer.  Singer who directed the first two films was originally attached to this one and Ratner was scheduled to direct Superman Returns.  One left, then the other and then they were suddenly attached to each other’s films.  Here’s my thought – Ratner and Singer both in their new offices laughing hysterically to themselves that they’ve detached themselves from a horrible project and put the noose around the other guy’s neck while they have moved on to brighter pastures.  Then they each sit down in their new offices in their cushy chairs basking in their sense of accomplishment and read the script in front of them only upon finishing to exclaim, “Oh shit!”

The fallout from Alkaline Lake has left Cyclops (James Marsden) a broken man who is drawn back there after months by a voice in his head only to find his love Jean Grey (Famke Jensen) resurrected but not quite the same.  It seems Jean is the most powerful mutant on the planet and also has been schizophrenic since childhood; the repressed personality of the Phoenix is now in control.  Professor X (Patrick Stewart) had been keeping Jean’s mind together by caging the other personality deep within her mind but now it has been unleashed.

That’s not the only problem for the X-Men as billionaire Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy) has spent a ten years searching for a “cure” for his son’s (Ben Foster) mutation.  The discovery of a mutant named Leech (Cameron Bright) has created the opportunity for a cure to be developed and announced to the world.  The news polarizes the mutant community into those desperately wanting a cure, such as Rogue (Anna Paquin), and those who feel the need to stop the government before it decides to use this new weapon against them, such as Magneto (Ian McKellen).

Although those are the main plots of the film several others are also woven in including the final showdown between Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford), the love triangle between Iceman, Rogue, and young Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), the attraction between the Phoenix and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the Beast’s (Kelsey Grammer) role as the President’s (Josef Sommer) aide on mutant affairs, Magneto’s gathering of an army of mutants, Professor X’s attempt to control the Phoenix, the work of Dr. Moira MacTaggart (Olivia Williams), and more.

The film is riddled with problems not the least of which is there are waaaaay too many storylines and characters all taking place at the same time; the best director would have a hard time juggling this act and this film is directed by Brett Ratner, so…  Since the choice was to make everything bigger and louder the film becomes a showcase of big scenes and special effects cut together without a coherent storyline ever emerging.  The end result being less of a film and more clips of effect shots jumbled together endlessly bombarding your senses and leaving you numb to feel anything but shame for continuing to watch.

Nor in a film with so many large battle scenes are they particularly well thought out or planned.  Magneto would be the obvious example as in scenes shows of his dominating power (such as taking care of a motorcade or his relocation of the Golden Gate bridge) and at other times sits on his hands looking like a helpless grandfather.  Has Alzheimer’s set in for all these characters so they forget at times they are the most powerful beings on the planet?

Also annoying are the time-stops and close-ups of major actors doing their big moves.  Halle Berry‘s are the worst (she declined to do the film unless her character was given a meatier role, but seems has settled for a new hairdo and lots of close-ups instead).

I could go on and on about the odd look to the characters such as the Beast or Angel or the horrific redesign of Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) or the laughable S&M design of the Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) that would have been much more at home in the Merovingian’s sex club in the third Matrix film.  Or I could state my disbelief of the special effects work for Phoenix (you’ve seen Dark Willow from the sixth season of Buffy right?  Obviously Ratner has).  Or the need to fill the screen with countless heroes and villains without ever describing their powers, motivations, or personalities in any detail (hell at least the first film did that well) for the sole purpose of having a large enough cast to kill some of them off.  Yep, rumors are true boys and girls, not all the X-Men survive this one (although after viewing it I’m sure they all asked their agents, “Why didn’t you get me killed off!”).

The film plays like a fanboy project given too much money (all poorly spent) done by a fan with only a passing interest in the material.  Ratner and writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn seem to know all the characters names but are unable to deal with them in any emotional way resulting in a video game projected in 35 millimeter that you don’t even get to play.

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