Ok so last week I went with Adam to go see X-Men: The Last Stand. It wasn’t the press screening, since Fox didn’t actually have one, strangely enough. (They also didn’t invite me to their Omen screening, which was last week as well… bastards!) In any case, I went into this film with an open mind, but left with most of my fears confirmed.
The premise for this third film in the series has two parts: Scientists have discovered a “cure” to mutation, through a little boy whose powers are that he negates all other mutant’s powers. At the same time, Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) isn’t dead after all, but it turns out she has a bit of a dual personality going on… and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) had installed the psychic blocks years ago when he took her under his wing. Now those blocks are deteriorating though, and so the persona of “Dark Phoenix” starts to take hold. Jean can’t control this dark side to her, and ends up killing a few folks in the process. Magneto (Ian McKellan) wants to destroy the “cure”, and recruites a whole bunch of bad mutants – as well as Dark Phoenix – behind him. It all culminates in the “last stand”, with the battle between good and evil. Or something like that.
The film is a visual treat, runs at a nice pace, and overall goes by in an enjoyable way. But it’s got too many new characters that are wasted (Angel, hello?), they totally ruin the whole Dark Phoenix storyline, and everyone is reduced to a one-liner or caricature of their character arcs. John Powell’s score is propulsive and energetic, and works fine in the movie, but doesn’t do as much of an emotional job as Ottman’s score to X-Men 2. I do like the big finale though, and the visual effects were quite striking. (Contrasted with the creepy “age reducing” visual effects seen at the beginning of the film. Yikes!)
In the end, director Brett Ratner has made a competent film that is just as hollow and superficial as I had expected. With everyone involved in X-Men and X-Men 2 having moved on to go do Superman Returns, it’s clear that they left the franchise in lesser hands.