X-Men 3: The Last Stand
Distributed By: 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Justine Manzano
There are very few movies that have you dancing with excitement the night before they come out. The night before the release of X-Men 3, my husband and I whipped out my DVD copies of the first two movies, determined to be fully ready for the movie in the theaters. As a full comic and movie junkie, I couldn’t sleep that night. Really, I couldn’t. (Perhaps I should be ashamed...) The worst thing about being so geared up was that I left the theater being surprisingly disappointed. I am amazed to say that I have a mixed review of X-3. Some things were beautifully done...others were just wrong.
This story takes place some years after the end of the second movie, when the mutants had finally made a good impression in the government, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) had learned enough about his past to temporarily sate him, and Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) died saving the rest of the team. In this story, the team has been left in shambles. Cyclops (James Marsden) is struggling with moving on after his fiancé's death. Storm (Halle Berry) is taking her place as Professor Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) protégé. He is trying to train her to run Xavier’s School For The Gifted, which trains mutants to control their powers. Rogue (Anna Paquin) is still trying to find a way to touch her boyfriend, Bobby (Shawn Ashmore) without sucking out his powers.
As they all try to adapt with their shaken lives, their government liaison, Hank McCoy (played by Kelsey Grammar, who looks absolutely perfect in the blue make-up as the beloved Beast) comes to inform them that the government has discovered a cure for the mutant gene. The X-Men prepare for the backlash while questioning whether this is a cure or if anything is wrong with them TO cure...Rogue struggles with whether or not this is what she needs to be normal. Meanwhile Magneto (Ian McLellan) and his brotherhood (Rebecca Romijn as Mystique and Aaron Standford as Pyro) reach the end of their rope and decide that they need to end this once and for all before they are all extinguished. And then, as though things weren’t questionable enough, Wolverine finds Jean Grey...alive.
First, I will tell you the things I can say...at the end will be the spoilers. There were a lot of things that were great about this movie. In this movie, they brought back the lovely Jean Grey – my absolute favorite character was reborn as the Phoenix. This story was incredible in the comic and it was just as good here. The way the group fights against her is exactly the way I envisioned it. It was absolutely perfect and the final scene in this part of the story was so incredibly beautiful, you are guaranteed to be as overwhelmed with emotion right along with the X-Men that are watching it. They also perfectly executed the cure storyline. It’s not the same as the comics, as none of the movies really were, but it rocked none the less. Halle Berry may have been right to complain, because they finally fixed Storm’s storyline in this one (thank God!) The movie may have been worth it just to see Wolverine light his cigar on the edge of a fire in the middle of a battle. But, maybe not.
This movie brought in one of the original mutants, Angel (Ben Foster) only to so completely under-utilize him that there felt like there was no point. They also seemed to have trouble giving Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) the proper treatment. They introduced Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), Beast and Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) well, but it seemed that their eyes were too big for their stomachs, because they seemed to try to put in far too many mutants to cover well.
Okay...now come the Spoilers...DO NOT READ BELOW THIS POINT IF YOU DON’T WANT TO KNOW SOME INTEGRAL PARTS OF THE MOVIE. THAT’S IT, YOU’VE BEEN WARNED.
They killed Scott Summers (Cyclops) in five minutes, and it didn’t take them much longer to kill Professor Xavier!!!! What?! They are staples. You can’t just kill off staples! You know what else you can’t do to staples? You can’t take away Magneto’s powers! Or Rogue’s (hell, they jipped her on the opportunity to do Super-Powered Rogue...but never mind that). Or Mystique’s! To make that worse, they cheated us on the battle between Iceman and Pyro, which they have been building up to for the last two movies. In the spectacular battle’s place there was a little five minute battle that had a great scene, but didn’t quite do it for me! Never mind the fact that they made Rogue get cured during the final battle, so that she didn’t even fight in the battle that she had earned her place in since part one!
OKAY, THE SPOILERS ARE OVER.
In the end, this movie managed to both suck and rock at the same time, if that is even possible. Visually stunning and emotionally jarring, this movie would have been better if it wasn’t based on characters that most of it’s viewers have had more than two movies to fall in love with. My friend, William Arce, said it best when describing this movie as we comic fans complained endlessly. "It was a tease of potential." It was well done, but short, and an extra thirty minutes alone could have made it that much better. So see it–it deserves to be seen. But don’t expect to leave without wondering–why didn’t they do that?