To open our Memorial Day weekend, I decided to join some of the Pixar Morlocks and go see the opening of X-Men: The Last Stand, the third in the lucrative X-Men feature franchise. I’d enjoyed the first two installments, so was looking forward to this with some anticipation.
Caveat: My geekiness does not actually extend to comic books in any great degree. While I have some knowledge of the X-Men as a whole, I’m by no means an expert, and so I can’t comment on the degree to which the movie follows or diverges from the comic books.
The arching plot line is basically this: that a scientist has uncovered a cure for the mutant gene, that will strip mutants of their powers and make them “just like everyone else”. Magneto sees this as a sham, that “immunization” will be mandatory, and that this development means the end of the mutants. Since Magneto has a different view of the future, he engages in a careful strategy of paid political ads, lobbying, and town hall meetings.
Just kidding. He raises an army and starts blowing things up.
In the midst of this, Jean comes back as the Phoenix. She’s really powerful. And subject to violent mood swings. And Charles Xavier thinks the appropriate thing to do is to twist her mind around and lock her powers away in a split personality. The ultimate promoter of “you must choose your own path” tosses all that aside for simple expediency. Sigh.
Oh, and Beast makes an appearance. He doesn’t do anything significant. Similarly with Archangel. Oh, and who can forget Colossus’ memorable “TV carrying scene”.
Overall, I found the movie to be weak. Despite an opening scene which called to mind The Terminator scenes where robots are battling to wipe out the human race, the first half of the movie is really slow. There is literally no humor at all. Rogue (who was actually one of the better characters in the first two installments) literally does nothing of any importance at all in this movie, she’s simply jealous that Kitty Pryde is hanging out with Bobby Drake. Oh, and Kitty Pryde? She’s sad. And she can phase through walls. And… well… that’s about it. Mystique? Yeah, she’s still bad ass, at least for a while, but in the end, she does nothing of any importance either.
It’s not an actually terrible movie, it just lack any of the humor, interest, excitement or soul that the previous incarnations did. I give it a 7/10, but that might be too charitable. Seeing it with lower expectations might help, so if you’ve made it to the bottom of this review, perhaps you’ll enjoy it more than I.
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