I didn’t think any movie could disappoint me and betray a loyal fanbase as much as the “Star Wars” prequels or the "Matrix" sequels, but “X-Men: The Last Stand” now takes its rightful place on this Mount Rushmore of infamy. It’s a shame this abomination is making so much money, because no studio should be encouraged to release something this bad.
I knew it, too, I just didn’t want to believe it. But as soon as I heard Bryan Singer had left the franchise after two excellent installments and was replaced by Brett Ratner (whose claim to fame is directing the two “Rush Hour” movies), there was nowhere to go but down. Why did it have to be Ratner? Anyone would have been better than this popcorn jockey, because he’s delivered arguably the worst mega-blockbuster of all time. I mean, this is “Matrix Reloaded” bad.
Worse, he and screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn trample over the first two films. After watching “The Last Stand,” immediately try to forget it. The “creative” team behind this film can only drum up dramatic moments by killing off three major characters—and not in a good, meaningful way. I got the impression they just couldn’t figure out how to write a better story and went for cheap emotional payoffs that come up bankrupt.
And as for the remaining key characters that somehow avoided the chopping block, gone is every ounce of wit, humor, and genuine emotion found in the first two films. Instead, they’re reduced to spitting out every action-movie cliché in the book, effectively killing their personalities anyway. (Alan Cumming looks like a genius now for not reprising his role as Nightcrawler. These buffoons couldn’t have handled the complexities.) You want to know how awful this movie is? Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is actually BORING. There are several scenes of dialogue so bad, I can’t believe the actors didn’t stop everything and demand a rewrite on the spot. You know, the scary thing is, maybe they did, and this is the best Ratner & Co. could come up with.
Ratner’s only saving grace in “The Last Stand” is his full-on exploitation of all the awesome mutant powers at his disposal. As bad as it is, if you’re planning on seeing this film at all, you should see it on the big screen to get the full effect of the action, because there are some genuinely cool moments (Iceman vs. Pyro comes to mind); if you wait until DVD, though, all the mutant powers in the world probably won’t keep you from hitting the eject button before you’re even halfway through. Of course, let’s remember Ratner is actually just benefiting from the bankroll Singer spent two movies building.
The only other good thing about “The Last Stand” is Kelsey Grammer as Hank McCoy, a.k.a. The Beast. This is an inspired selection, and ol’ Frasier is spectacular in his first foray into big-budget territory.
Still, that only means this film is barely watchable at best; at worst, it destroys the X-Men franchise. Let’s hope this really is the last one—unless they can pry the reins out of Ratner’s ham-fisted hands, that is.
Grade: Special effects/mutant coolness A, everything else F. Overall: D+