Because I was asked to review X-Men: The Last Stand for the student newspaper I got to attend a preview screening in a posh mini-theatre (no commercials, no previews) at the London Fox headquarters. The seats were very comfortable, and I considered reviewing them instead, just to keep things positive. Click here to read my one star review-attack of X-Men: The Last Stand.
I have to say I was shocked to discover that the film was not panned by The New York Times, The Onion AV Club, or The Village Voice. I suppose it is possible that my usually good radar could be off here, but I doubt it.
[I have reprinted the original article below.]
X-Men: The Last Stand
By Geoff Klock
Unlike the first two admirable
The plot of the third X-Men film revolves around a so-called mutant cure. The stress between super-powered mutants and normal humans explodes into war as the American president threatens to “de-power” mutants with a new vaccine. Ian McKellen’s Magneto gathers mutants who refuse to see themselves as diseased and leads them in battle. The X-Men – the mutants dedicated to harmonious living between mutants and humans – are torn down the middle, many tempted by a “normal” life. To complicate matters, the unbelievably powerful former X-Men Jean Grey is back from the dead, and psychotic. There is nothing essentially bad about the idea for the film; there is everything wrong with its execution.
Ratner veers between ham-fisted control and no control at all. My audience laughed as Patrick Stewart’s Xavier suddenly launched into a big, sudden, absurd explanation of Jean Grey’s survival and her split personality. A mutant who can sense other mutants might as well be code-named “Plot Device Girl.” Shades of Barbarella and Flash Gordon insinuate themselves into serious moments, such as a beautiful topless winged mutant boy in jeans who poses the camera, before jumping out of the window in defiance. The film wants awe; it has a pinup that looks, in the long shot, like a seagull. Characters repent for no reason, and speak cliché after cliché (at one point, two in a row). Famke Jansson’s Jean Grey, the film’s sex symbol, is made to look terrible when she is evil, which is most of the time.
Even the film’s blockbuster effects amount to nothing. Magneto violently relocates the Golden Gate bridge so he can get to, and then attack, a small island off the coast of California; one wonders why he couldn’t have just flown, chartered a ferry, or even just destroyed the island with the bridge and been done with it. Magneto throwing cars is not enough, and so his mutant lackey bizarrely sets them on fire first. A film like Charlie’s Angels 2 can use mess to its advantage, wallowing in gleeful insanity, but X-Men 3 is just a badly told story.
The film’s attack of its own characters is perhaps most disturbing. Though there are small loopholes, the emotional impact of the end of the film involves life-changing violence to no less than six main characters from the first film. That’s bad enough, but no first-year student filmmaker would make Ratner’s appalling mistake of leaving two of these major character moments completely off screen. Words alone cannot express the badness of this film. It has to be seen to be believed, but it shouldn’t be.