Back in 2000, critically-acclaimed director Bryan Singer took on a rather punishing project. The director was to helm his first giant studio feature and it was unlike anything he had done previously. The Internet was flooded with talk and speculation that a director of Singer's caliber shouldn't be put in charge of such a gargantuan project and comic fanboys shuddered in their boots. That project was X-Men.
After the constant fanboy whining started to reach its pinnacle, Singer released his adaptation of X-Men. The film wasn't a huge success with fans who bickered that a lot of liberties were taken with the characters, but what Singer did was expose the X-Men to a much wider audience and that worked out in spades.
An inevitable sequel followed in 2003 and that sequel not only harnessed the ideas of the fans but electrified audiences as well. X2: X-Men United is still considered one of the best comic book films of all time.
Now without Singer, X-Men return to complete the story that began back in 2000. X-Men: The Last Stand is supposedly the final X-Men film in the series. But I have my doubts.
X-Men: The Last Stand begins like the previous films, with a flashback to the introduction of a mutant as Professor X (Patrick Stewart) meets the parents and assures them their child is not diseased. The child this time is X-Men veteran Jean Grey (Famke Jannssen), who perished in the conclusion of the previous film.
In a sort of contrast to that scene, another opening scene is of a young Warren Worthington III, who is trying to hide his mutation from his father. He fails which spring-boards the plot of this sequel.
Many years later, it is announced that Warren's father's company has discovered a cure for mutants. This sends shockwaves through the mutant community as it seems that every mutant has a different take on the whole idea of being cured.
Meanwhile, Scott (James Marsden) is plagued by Jean's screams, so he returns to the place where she died. Much to his shock, Jean rises from the water. But she is changed somehow.
These are just the events that get the third X-Men film going. There is a lot going on in this film as the film barrels along at a breakneck pace. On top of these plot-driven scenes, we also are introduced to a bunch more mutants and an eventual war over the cure.
This film isn't by far the best in the series, but following X2 is near suicide since that film harnessed not only fanboys but mainstream audiences as well. What this film lacks is a concentration of character development. Because the film moves along at such a quick pace, we don't really get to know any of the newly-introduced mutants before they are plunged into the war.
The biggest disappointment is how little is done with Warren Worthington III (Ben Foster). He is at the centre of this huge cure debate and we hardly even know the guy. He might have like seven lines in the whole film.
On the flipside, there are some nice development moments with the newly introduced Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammar), who is a mutant senator, but we hardly get to know him either.
X3 has a lot of great comic book and effects moments and I think comic book fans will enjoy the film, but some of the events are sure to make X-Men purists irate. With this film, it's almost as if the filmmakers went back and used everything that was wrong with the first film.
The film's plot and continuing of the character's individual stories does echo the previous films and how those films always warned of an upcoming war. But it almost feels like the film should have been expanded by two hours and made into two separate films. There is just too much going on and why rush such a brilliant take on a comic book series?
I liked the film mainly because I really enjoyed the previous films and this is a good conclusion to the series, if that is what is planned. In some respects, if this series is only these three films then the series does echo the Star Wars trilogy layout a lot. The first and last films equal each other while the second film towers above the other two films in the series.
If you're a fan of the previous films, a fan of the comic series, or just love action then X-Men: The Last Stand will be for you. It is just a shame that we couldn't have more. (3.5 out of 5) So Says the Soothsayer. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Side Note: If you see this film, stay until the end of the credits. There is a scene that is sure to make your jaw drop.