Having two movies already do well critically and commercially and establish the super hero franchise as big business, X-Men: Last Stand is looking to wrap up the trilogy and d what few third films have done – be a true success. It’s a tough ask, but with the cast returning, will the ingredients be in place to see another successful venture in the X-Men mythology?
Once more the main cast returns to complete the trilogy namely Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Jean Grey (Famke Jassen), Storm (Halle Berry), Ian McKellen (Magneto) and Patrick Stewart (Professor Xavier).
Throughout the trilogy the tension between humans and mutants has been building. Now the straw that breaks the camel’s back is unleashed with a ‘cure’ finally designed to rid a mutant of her abilities. What is presented as a cure, is perceived by Magneto as the first shot in the war against his kind.
Meanwhile the loss of Jean Grey has affected the X-Men deeply even Professor Xavier. Yet Jean’s departure was not all it was cracked up to be, and her re-emergence will have huge repercussions not just for the X-Men but for humanity and mutant-kind as a whole. As Magneto builds his army, and the X-Men suffer critical losses, the war starts at the root cause of the cure – a mutant, obviously. It starts there, but it could also end there with the size of the forces in combat. Only the X-Men stand in the way, but will they be enough?
Trilogies, eh. What fascinating things. It is always tricky putting together three movies, and few trilogies have been able to end satisfactorily. The odds were made worse by the news that Bryan Singer the director behind the first two films couldn’t do complete the lot. There is something about continuity when the director of all people is missing from the project. So to have that added to the challenge of the third film anyway gave some concerns.
This edition is certainly different in feel from the other two. It is more focussed on the action to a large degree and I felt the action set-pieces were better than the other three. There are a number of touching scenes that were dealt with sensitively and movingly when it could have been easy to overdo it. It’s longer than the first but shorter than the second, but sadly unlike the others it lags in the middle. The lull in pace and feel makes you feel slightly out of sync when the action ramps up.
I’m not certain why, but the degree of threat in the film doesn’t feel as large as it should. The issue of the key relationships – like Jean and Logan – makes it more homey. This is not for the effort of the performances of the main cast. I had an issue with Storm in the first film, and she was more tolerable in the second one. In this third one it’s just like at last the balance has been struck as to how to portray her, just as the thing is coming to an end. Not that they get her spot on, not that she still isn’t annoying in some scenes, just that she is more tolerable than in the other two movies.
This film looks to introduce new characters, but unlike the previous genuine ensemble piece, this isn’t so much about the development of those new people, other than Hank McCoy/Beast (Kelsey Grammer) and perhaps Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page). It’s particularly unfortunate for some of the new characters on the ‘bad side’ because there was lots of scope for character development and fun, but they were used kinda cheaply.
As mentioned, the third film is always a tough one to get right. Unsurprisingly, this film wasn’t embraced with open arms by critics. I felt that some of the grief it received was harsh. This was a decent movie in itself tying up a lot of loose ends whilst giving enough for people to see where else they could take it if an X-Men 4 was to be produced. It has been six years since The Last Stand was released and it’s interesting in the light of Marvel’s other movie franchises, if they will put a continuation to this story or rather invest in the development of the origins storyline.