Newest Review: ... length and really should have gone beyond the two hour barrier, so it has that rushed feel to it that projects the fact that it wants to ge... more
The Last Straw
X-Men - The Last Stand (DVD)
Member Name: T4imbo3107
X-Men - The Last Stand (DVD)
Advantages: Rounds off the story.
Disadvantages: Plot is muddled.
For Marvel the legendary characters of the X Men is one of their trademark publications, the whole premise that a group of advanced mutants join to become a force for good has quite an interesting take that opens up many facets and opportunities that the story can take as well as asking a number of questions about who we are as humans, with the fact that the evolution is starting to take hold. The third film in any trilogy is usually one that ties off the loose ends and brings calm to the story that has been told over the previous two films. With the third X Men film telling the story of the war culminating between the humans and the mutants, the film has quite daringly gone against any of the source comic books and performed a major tangent in what direction has been followed.
At the end of the second film we saw what appeared to be the loss of Dr Jean Gray in a lake that held a number of secrets, most tantalizing was the fact that there was a strange light emanating from where Gray was last seen. In the film the story carries on and Cyclops is in mourning whilst Wolverine holds himself responsible, meanwhile a "cure" for mutants has been made available to remove the mutant abilities from those who want to be cured. In turn this has caused a split amongst the mutants where Magneto leads the ones who want to stay as they are. While Professor Charles Xavier has to deal with the return of an altered Jean Gray, a person whose alternate personality is slowly taking hold of her to the extent that she kills Cyclops in the early scenes. As the film progresses the pressure is turned up a notch with Xavier becoming the target and Magneto taking the battle to heart of the cure.
With the departure of Bryan Singer as director, as he went off to direct the pitiful Superman Returns, the studio bought in Brett Ratner as the director. Ratner is good but with the momentum created by Singer the last film had a lot to answer in terms of what it had to achieve, and the fact the film doesn't have that epic appeal to it is just one part why the film doesn't work as a whole, its 104 minutes in length and really should have gone beyond the two hour barrier, so it has that rushed feel to it that projects the fact that it wants to get to the end as soon as possible. However there is a lot that happens in the film as a whole and that builds up to the climatic sequence at the finale. Interestingly there are a lot more X-Men references as seen in the training sequence at the beginning with Wolverine and Storm training the new batch in battlefield manoeuvres, from here you see that things aren't working out well since the loss of Jean Gray.
With the likes of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Halle Berry as Storm, Patrick Stewart as Xavier and Ian McKellern as Magneto. There isn't a single actor who stands out in the film and I found this to be surprising given the talented cast that has again been assembled for a third time without any character being recast due to the departure of one actor. Another surprise for me was the acting level in the film; a good example is Storm as Halle Berry doesn't do that much at all in the film other than deliver a few lines and could have faxed her lines in such is the small part she plays in the film. Also the opportunity to bring in some new characters has been taken fully, as there are something in the region of 14 new characters shown on screen that are the newer X Men to join the team so its obvious that with a film of such short length that the main stars are appearing in a reduced role straight away. Vinnie Jones plays Juggernaut and seeing him up on the screen in full Juggernaut costume is strange as he is wearing a muscle suit, yet by the end of his appearance he becomes the comedy relief as he is outwitted by a young Ellen Page who went o to play the lead in the excellent Juno. Also making a first appearance on screen is Kelsey Grammer (Frasier) as Beast. A huge character who is blue with a sizeable amount of fur, it's refreshing to see him on screen as he is the conduit in government between humans and mutants and he like Wolverine is more effective in battle than democracy. The attention that they have given to Beast's appearance is something else as it is true to the comic booking all ways. A lot of the story arcs that were introduced in the first film are addressed in this film, namely the romance between Rogue and Iceman. Rogue having the ability that drains the life force from anyone she touches, they have a scene all to themselves as Rogue is one of the first to get the cure. With Cyclops out the picture its up to Wolverine to attempt to get through to Jean Gray who has joined Magneto, and this culminates in the conclusion of their story as well, so all loose ends bar a few are tied up, but the trouble is that the fans of the X-Men may have a problem in how these are tied up.
As I said earlier the film does deliver on some parts but lets itself down on others, yes the special effects are truly amazing as its not often you see an American landmark such as the Golden Gate Bridge being used as a means of transport for Magneto, yet somehow the passion has been lost and it seems rather flat in terms of why certain things happen. Now I can understand wanting to move away and make the films original, but actually killing off a number of characters is a blasphemy towards the readers of the comic book and the viewing audience and so after watching the film you tend to ask what exactly have I just seen as it can be a bit messy in terms of story telling. Having seen the film a few times on Blu-ray then it does get better after multiple viewings and you do tend to see things that you missed, a good example is the departure of Mystique as the sacrificial limb, an evil character that was loyal to Magneto being used and effectively ejected out of the story in mere seconds to allow Magneto an escape.
I do take my hat off to the special effects team, to explain the changes in Jean Gray a flashback is played out with Stewart and McKellern being digitally altered to appear twenty years younger when visiting the home of the then child Jean whose ability has being highlighted as gifted. Xavier walking and with a noticeably smoother face while Magneto being a good gut has dark hair and again far less wrinkled, this scene really could have been done better, for a good example see Tron Legacy with Jeff Bridges, but you have to give some credit for even attempting this and this is not only a key scene but a key location as it is here in the house that a full on battle takes place with a surprising casualty.
The extras do back the fully back up the film with Commentary tracks, documentaries and a plethora of information spanning the two discs that raise the quality of the entire package immensely. One documentary being an impressive 41 minutes in length where director Brett Ratner showcases his production diary as an extra, which I found interesting and shows the actual effort that he has placed into the film itself. The longest documentary is 68 minutes in length and gives an historic overview of the X-Men from creation to present day with input from Stan Lee as well as the obligatory merchandising that the documentary kind of uses as an advertisement. My favourite from all these are the deleted scenes, although these are quite a mixed bag of alternate and extended scenes that have been cut because they don't work, yet some amongst these give a glimmer of hope that the film could have been better than it actually was. As you would expect from a Blu-ray, the quality of the picture is extremely nice to watch as the granular approach that Ratner has applied looks absolutely brilliant on this format.
Overall the consistency of the film is not what the previous films have adhered to, however looking back its very daring to see what the script writers have gone for in terms of whose in the X-Men and who isn't and after multiple viewing this does tend to grow on you more and you see the film with a different pair of eyes. As the final part of the trilogy, it would be easy to dismiss the film given that it has gone off on a tangent and I can see why the masses of fans in the world don't like the film for what it does, however this film has rapidly grown on me for what it does in the story and the story that unfolds. It does set up a fourth film quite nicely with a new set of X-Men in various forms and quite cunningly has an end scene that delivers a shock involving a main character, however to get a full explanation of this means that you should put the commentary track on.
Yes the film could and it should have been better, but its not really that bad.
Summary: Vinnie Jones - superhero??!!!