by Dan Higgins|
Adaptations of Marvel characters are a hot commodity and a service that Hollywood has become dependant on. In recent years we have seen Daredevil, Spiderman and Blade dominate the box office (to name just a few). Each film, aside from the disastrous Hulk, generated a glut of sequels and spin-offs. Blade became a trilogy, as will Spiderman. Daredevil triggered Elektra. The Fantastic Four and The Punisher, God only knows how, are both getting sequels. Now the time has come once again for the X-men to make a stand, the last stand.
The completion of the trilogy surrounds the invention of a cure that will change all mutants to humans and strip them of their superpowers. Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen) forms a mutant army and vows to kill anyone that stands in their way. It is up to Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his quickly depleting team of X-Men to prevent a war from breaking out between humans and mutants.
This film is visually stunning and the CGI that is implemented throughout is used to its full potential. Prior to the digital revolution of the mid-1990s this film would have been rendered impossible to create, but the evolution of cinema has made the type of superhero action sequences seen in X Men 3 a distinct and terrific reality. Not since The Day After Tomorrow have I seen CGI applied to its highest degree.
Sir Ian McKellen shows time and time again how many different roles he can play and make believable. He is a truly great actor. His on screen chemistry with Patrick Stewart shines through and brings out the best in both of them.
Jackman was solid and puts enough into his role to warrant the next film being entirely about him with the 2008 production of Wolverine (incidentally, yet another Marvel spin-off along with Magneto). Kelsey Grammer is unrecognisable as the Beast but plays the roll well. Vinnie Jones has a great cameo as Juggernaut and Halle Berrys performance doesnt justify a comment.
The supporting cast was well assembled but there seemed to be far too many characters involved in the story. This resulted in characters like Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Angel (Ben Foster) having no meaning or purpose in the movie. The stories they each had seemed to be squeezed in to the film as they both appeared more important than they actually turned out to be. This left people wondering why they were in the film in the first place.
Despite too many intertwining stories, the plot flowed surprisingly coherently and had a great concept behind it. It really opened up the barrier of escapism that is so rarely seen in recent films.
The score created the right amount of tension in the right places and, to be honest, you cannot tell the difference between the direction of Brett Ratner and the director of the first two films, Bryan Singer. That can be seen as both a compliment and a criticism to both men.
The X-Men brand has strengthened with each film. Every film has improved on the one previous and this is no exception. The Last Stand is a fast-paced, fun film with grade-a CGI. In my eyes, the trilogy should end here. A fourth will only be made on the basis to make money and although it would continue the successful comic-based brand, it will certainly not be a marvel to behold.