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X-Men: The Last Stand






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Release:
2006, 20th Century Fox
Starring:
Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen
Director:
Brett Ratner
MPAA Rating:
[PG-13] violence, language
Genre:
Action/Adventure
Runtime:
104 minutes

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Seven minutes of footage from X-Men: The Last Stand

Trailers for X-Men: The Last Stand



Our Take
Commentary by Michael Lee (May 2006)

In its third feature film installment, the X-Men franchise packs an epic story with blockbuster action sequences, cool special effects, and several surprising twists. When a pharmaceutical company develops a drug that claims to permanently "cure" mutants of their superhuman abilities, the line is drawn between normal people and their uniquely empowered counterparts. The mutants themselves are also divided, with Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his Brotherhood declaring war on mankind, and Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men striving for peaceful co-existence. Further complicating the situation is the resurrection of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who has returned as an all-powerful entity that threatens to consume her former self and destroy everything in its wake. Ultimately, these various factions converge in an apocalyptic battle that drastically changes the landscape of the X-Men universe.

X-Men: The Final Stand truly lives up to its title. While the sheer number of characters and storylines always leaves the door open for spin-offs and sequels, there is a weighty tone of finality to this story. Key characters are shockingly killed off, while others are stripped of their mutant abilities. While some fans may dislike this drastic divergence from the comics, it makes for more of an emotional impact than is normally seen in the superhero genre.

But while the character dramas are all well and good (particularly interesting is the dynamic between Magneto and Xavier), it's the action that clearly steals the show. X-Men screams of big-budget fun, and there are many moments that fit the bill nicely: Magneto tears through a transportation convoy, then later rips apart the Golden Gate Bridge with his powers over metal; Storm (Halle Berry) aggressively rains down lightning on her foes; Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) does his trademark berserker slicing and dicing; Pyro (Aaron Stanford) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) face off in the inevitable fire vs. frost matchup; Kitty (Ellen Page) uses her power to pass through solid objects to tangle one-on-one with the brutish Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones); the shapeshifting Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) slinks her way through fights with lethal grace; and Jean summons up spectacular amounts of destruction, with Famke Janssen looking sharp in the role as she oscillates between the persona of noble hero and a sort of Angel of Death.

With its abundance of movie magic eye candy, a grand scope of story, and a strong ensemble cast, The Last Stand is a satisfying end to the X-Men trilogy, and has all the ingredients of a slick, entertaining summer blockbuster.


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