Picks and Pans Review: X-Men: the Last Stand
BY LEAH ROZEN
How many X-Men can dance on the head of a pin? More to the point, how many X-Men can you cram into a single movie? Too many. This third and final chapter of the comic book series suffers from X-bloat. It's crowded with so many superpower-endowed mutants—heroic and villainous, grown-up and teenage—that none of the characters show up long enough to make an impact.
X-Men: The Last Stand is fun in a wham-bam action kind of way. But director Brett Ratner, new to the franchise, fails to give the movie the emotional grounding that his predecessor, Bryan Singer, brought to the first two. This time, a drug company develops a cure to transform mutants into regular humans. But is being a mutant something that requires fixing? It's a cool starting premise, the subtext being, of course, whether one would seek to medically alter one's skin color or sexuality. Substantive debate quickly falls by the wayside, though, as the X-Men, who believe in coexisting with humans, end up in a giant battle with breakaway mutant leader Magneto (McKellen) and his forces, who desire mutant supremacy.
This X-Men is essentially pitched at 15-year-olds, both in its intellectual concepts and its humor. The teenager in me quite enjoyed it, but my adult self knew better. Jackman, back as growlingly sexy Wolverine, again steals the film. Berry has little to do as Storm besides let her eyes go opaque and mess with the weather, while Janssen, as Jean Grey, seems to be doing a zombie impression. Note: Stick around through the credits for a coda that teasingly implies the X-Men may not be completely ex. (PG-13)