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Feb 18, 2007

One from the Video Vault: X:Men - The Last Stand

What's more surprising - that the third X:Men movie is (arguably) the strongest, or that said movie was directed by Rush Hour helmer and otherwise hack Brett Ratner?

I'm going to go with the latter, and your welcome, Brett, for the backhanded compliment.

All jokes aside, I was truly shocked when I saw X:Men: The Last Stand in the theater. While the first in the series is very good, and the second not far behind, it was hard to expect much from the third, especially considering the aforementioned Ratner attached to direct. Maybe it was lowered expectations, but I walked out of the theater believing that this third installment was superior to the first two. Shocking, indeed.

Out on DVD for some time now and sitting amongst the Fletch Film Library for a few months, it was time to watch it again. I'm glad to say that it didn't disappoint on this repeat viewing, though I'm a bit unsure of its ranking in regards to the first installment (it's close regardless).

The story line follows the path laid out by the first two films (humans are afraid of mutants, everyone is unsure of where to go from there). The twist here is that a mutant (a teenaged boy) turns out to be the golden egg that the normal folk have been looking for all along. His mutation? He "cures" all mutants who come into close proximity with him. Naturally, an anti-mutant activist brings science into the mix and, long story short, proceeds to produce a flu shot-type cure for all mutants. Chaos ensues.

Unfortunately, the story line also becomes muddied by the Jean Grey/Dark Phoenix tangent. Though Jean may be a larger character in the comics (and though most comics or comic-based films would benefit from having more females in the picture), the picture suffers as a result. Sure, it's nice to have a love interest for the de-facto star of the trilogy, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) - but not at the expense of the overall story. The character has almost nothing to do with the rest of the movie and would have been better without her (as would some other characters involved...).

84 out of 100

(By the way, in case I don't review the first two anytime soon - which is likely - I would probably give the first film an 83 and the second a 78. Though never a GREAT series, the X:Men films didn't disappoint many fans, either, and that's worth something.)

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