Where do you stand?|
by Pam & George O. Singleton, published on Tuesday, July 11, 2006 at 08:08:45
"X-Men: The Last Stand," the supposed final episode in the "X-Men" trilogy, leaves the door open for more mutant mayhem to follow. Remain in your seat until the final credits roll and you will be rewarded for your patience.
The battle here is over the medical and moral efficacy of a "cure" that permanently changes mutants into "normal" human beings. Whether this cure should be used is open to debate.
Two key mutant leaders hold opposing viewpoints. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) preaches tolerance, and Magneto (Ian McKellen), believes in the survival of the fittest. As they work their wills and enlist their allies, they trigger a devastating war.
The cure enrages Magneto, forcing him to emerge from hiding, so he can assemble an army, and initiate a mutant revolution. Magneto and his followers want to eliminate the cure and anyone who supports it, whether they are human or mutant.
Xavier heads a school that encourages young mutants to develop their talents while learning to control their awesome powers. He is from the "live and let live" school of thought.
The film also reunites other stars of the first two X-Men films. Hugh Jackman as the irascible Wolverine, Halle Berry as the beautiful, take charge Storm, and Famke Janssen as the incalculably powerful Dr. Jean Grey, whose penchant for annihilation is unleashed by Magneto, lend non-stop action to the fury. Anna Paquin returns as Rogue, a young woman who is deeply conflicted about the cure. Rebecca Romijn is again provocative as the gloriously blue, shape-shifting Mystique.
Dr. Henry McCoy/Beast (Kelsey Grammer) holds a cabinet level post that reports to the President, called "Secretary of the Department of Mutant Affairs." Unlike the other mutants, he looks the part all the time.
This film raises issues that are relevant today: Is conformity a remedy to prejudice? Is it a weakness to give up ones individuality to fit in and avoid subjugation? Is great power a blessing or a curse? Where would you stand? You can feel the slippery slope of decision beneath your feet.
The action and CGI are great in The Last Stand, but weve been so impressed with glossy, high tech stunts in recent years that even when we feel electrified, its low voltage. Though the levitating house and a jaw-dropping stunt regarding the Golden Gate Bridge will make you sit up and take notice. Some of the dialogue slants toward the lame, but after all, the movie is based upon a comic book series. With an estimated budget of $210,000,000, this picture needs to truly bust out to justify risking that type of money on another chapter.
Just in case "MI:3," "Over the Hedge," "Poseidon," and "The Da Vinci Code" did not convince you that summer popcorn movies have arrived, "X-Men: The Last Stand" will seal the deal.
The film has a certain excitement with darkness of tone that we like. Regardless of which leader the mutants followed, Magneto or Xavier, you want them to win. "X-Men: The Last Stand" proves the point that a movie does not have to be great to be in the must see category.