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X-Men: The Last Stand - Review

Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in X-Men: The Last Stand

Review by Jack Foley

IndieLondon Rating: 3 out of 5

DVD SPECIAL FEATURES: Disc 1: Audio commentary from director Brett Ratner with Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg Deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary).

Disc 2: ‘X-Men: Evolution Of A Trilogy’ featurette (43 mins) ‘X-Men: The Excitement Continues’ featurette (20 mins) ‘X-Men Up Close’ interactive gallery ‘Anatomy Of A Scene: The Golden Gate Bridge’ featurette (12 mins) Pre-viz animatic gallery (24 mins) Brett Ratner’s production diary (41 mins) Character stills gallery Concept art gallery Models galleries Storyboards Vignettes (25 mins) Blogs (14 mins) Easter Egg (hidden feaure) Trailers.

GIVEN the troubled history surrounding X-Men: The Last Stand, it’s somewhat amazing that there’s a third film at all.

Franchise creator Bryan Singer jumped ship to helm Superman Returns and then British director Matthew Vaughn committed to the project only to bail out at the last minute.

It was left to Brett Ratner, director of the Rush Hour series and Hannibal Lecter prequel Red Dragon, to save a rapidly sinking ship.

The result is a film that lacks the emotional engagement of the first two movies but which provides enough crowd-pleasing moments to succeed in spite of its flaws.

The Last Stand focuses on the discovery of a mutant cure that could render the super-heroes (and villains) X-tinct. Designed by a powerful US corporation, it serves to heighten the battle of wills that exists between Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) as they seek to control its use.

Caught in the crossfire, meanwhile, is the resurrected Dr Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), now Dark Phoenix, whose devastating telekinetic powers could tip the balance in the battle for control of humanity.

With so much at stake, it’s a shame that The Last Stand – the supposedly final entry in the series – fails to provide the emotional engagement that many fans were expecting and promised.

But by opting to increase the humour and make things more glib, Ratner reduces the impact of several key moments and cheapens the fate of certain characters.

He also struggles to cope with the sheer volume of X-Men characters – both new and established – due to a curiously short running time and his obsessive need to keep things moving.

As such, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) feels a little more muted than usual, while newcomers such as Beast (Kelsey Grammar) and Angel (Ben Foster) aren’t given enough time to flesh out their characters.

Storm (Halle Berry) also fails to make any real impact despite being given more to do, while the devastating potential of Jean Grey (Janssen) feels under-exploited. The presence of Vinnie Jones as bad mutant Juggernaut merely lends the film a jarring presence whenever he opens his mouth.

It’s left to McKellen and Stewart to provide the emotional depth and both actors continue to work wonders with limited material, elevating some of the routine to a higher level.

It’s in action terms that The Last Stand really delivers, supplying the required eye candy in the form of several dazzling set pieces, including the rescue of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) early on, a forest raid by Wolverine and the finale involving the Golden Gate Bridge.

It also contains at least three big surprises.

But Ratner’s work is destined to be judged by the quality of its predecessors and struggles to maintain the high standards set by both.

As such, it’s enjoyable enough but lacks that special something to make it truly Xceptional.

b>Read our Hugh Jackman interview
b>Read our Halle Berry interview
Certificate: 12A
Running time: 103mins