Friday, November 28, 2008

X-Men: the Last Stand Reviewed

[Includes spoilers]
After being warned away from it and considering it a low priority for some time, I finally watched X-Men: the Last Stand. I have not been a huge fan of any of the X-Men movies, thinking them to be okay action movies and superhero movies, but not great on either scale. This one starts surprisingly promising, with a prolog featuring Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan together. I have said before that I would have happily watched a whole movie with just these two actors sitting together and talking and was glad to at least get one good scene of this out of the movie.

Hugh Jackman is as delightful as ever as Wolverine and it is mainly to Jackman’s and McKellan’s credit that they are both able to take visually changing characters and play them with such absolute sincerity that you have no choice but to believe Jackman is going to “pop claws” when he twitches his wrists or that McKellan can wear a helmet and cape and gesture a lot and not look silly doing it.

Poor Halle Berry is still given so little to work with that anyone could have played the part of Storm. At least her role isn’t laughably bad anymore like in the first film.

Patrick Stewart is given the difficult task of having to bite it early in the film, but is that really a spoiler? Prof. X is always being killed off in the comics. It’s vital to the X-Men that Prof. X die so the youngsters can all move out from his shadow and come into their own adulthoods. Yet, writers are constantly finding a need for Prof. X in their storylines and bringing him back. But this time, Prof. X has been killed off for another reason. His death at Phoenix’s hands is karmic payback for tampering with her mind all those years ago, which I suppose is why he looks disturbingly okay with being disintegrated when his time comes.

Was Famke Janssen really ever a model? I still marvel over how unattractive this woman is and how unappealing her interpretation of Jean Grey is. Is she supposed to seem menacing when she’s Phoenix? Because she looks like she’s just sleepwalking.

Anna Paquin must have been so disappointed when she read the scripts for X2 and Last Stand, after how large her role was in the first film. Rogue just stands around a lot and…pines after Iceman like a lovesick puppy? Huh?

I like Kelsey Grammer’s rich voice as much as the next guy, but, c’mon, Grammer is over 50 years old. Even heavy make-up can’t conceal that. I just can’t buy him leaping and jumping around like a monkey. He’d slip a disc!

And speaking of actors getting the shaft in this movie, how about poor James Marsden! Sure, he was a lackluster Cyclops, but Cyclops was always a lackluster character anyway. That’s no excuse to kill him! And what does his death accomplish for the story? One more gravestone at the end? No, it simply makes it less awkward for Wolverine to say “I love you” before killing Phoenix. If Cyclops was still alive, Wolverine would have to walk up to him sheepishly and say, “I meant, like a friend.”

Should I go on? There’s really too many characters to mention – too many characters, period. This movie is way too busy and trying to tell too many stories without finishing any of them. I generously give the movie a B- because it is clearly not aiming higher than what it manages to be, an excuse for putting as many X-Men-related characters on the big screen as possible. Hmm…okay, and Magneto and Pyro throwing flaming cars at the X-Men was really cool too…

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