Film Review: X-Men: The Last Stand
X-Men: The Last Stand
Director: Brett Ratner
Cast: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammar
Not having seen the first two movies in this series, or the Marvel comic books from whence the superhero saga originates, and never having appreciated the wisdom in transfering pubescent fascination with all-powerful beings in varying degrees of leotards onto the big screen, I was somewhat ambivalent about where Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen would take this sci-fi superlative. To the max and beyond - as it turns out - and usually in a good way.
The plot: In the future mutants (humans with an x-gene that manifests itself at puberty) with super-powers (each have a different sort involving power, speed, mind reading etc.) are in danger of being "cured" out of existence by the US government as normal mainstream humans feel threatened (with the help of political fearmongering) that the mutants will misuse their powers and take over. The weaponisation of the "cure" that will make them normal humans and destroy their power instantly is by way of injections loaded into guns. McKellen's Holocaust-surviving meglomaniac character doesn't help ease the tension with Republican-type for us or against us speeches to the disgruntled mutant underclass and a formation of the "Brotherhood" to stop the normal humans at any cost. Stewart plays the professor at a university for well-adjusted mutants who organises a resistance to the other resistance in favour of co-operation with the administration using his team of x-men. So there are sort of three sides in this countdown to genocide.
The parallels with discrimination, misuse of state power and contemporary political discourse are very strong and does a great deal to elevate the storyline above the gargantuan fight scenes, full orchestral love matches and - at times - almost laughable scenarios: especially Kelsey Grammar as blue Secretary for Mutant Affairs. It took a while to overcome the absurdity of it all for this reviewer not acquainted with the earlier two movies. But, for all the teeth, claws and special effects this sci-fi action flick was actually quite enjoyable. The later spectacular assault on Alcatraz Island, where the "cure" is being manufactured in the name of "freedom" definitely trumps the earlier scenes beset with someone with a power to make all the objects in a nearby vicinity float around - tedious compared with what is to come.
A colleague who had high expectations was a little disappointed by the lack of new characters. I thought there were plenty. It was the Star Wars type acting and cheesy lines here and there that was a bit wobbly. It's big screen entertainment that threatens to become overwhelming - and that's as it should be.
Official site - requires Macromedia 8 (?)