X-Men: The Last Stand
By Elliott Ryan
By the time a third installment in a trilogy rolls around, people have usually decided in advance whether or not they are going to attend the final installment. Either you saw the first two and wouldn’t miss the final chapter, or you either didn’t see or didn’t care for the first two films and aren’t going to go out of your way to catch the final one. So, more than likely, you already have decided whether or not to see this film. And if last weekend’s record setting opening box office take is any indication, many of you have already seen this film.
X-Men: The Last Stand picks up where the previous two films left off. There are mutants all over the world who somehow evolved into their special powers. The non-mutant humans have been afraid of these mutants for years. After all, how can they be safe when there are mutants running around who can, for example, read their minds or walk through walls. Their concerns are understandable. But the government’s attempts to control mutants have been even scarier. Leaders have debated whether or not mutants should be rounded up and killed just for being mutants.
More sensible government leaders seem to have won out by the time the third installment in the series starts. Mutants and non-mutants are attempting to live with a level of peace and understanding. But then, scientists find a way to produce a “cure” for mutants that can make them normal human beings. Of course, most mutants aren’t interested in a cure at all. In fact, it only increases fear in the mutant community because the cure they have the freedom to choose today could become the cure they are forced into taking in the future.
The main characters from the previous movies are all back, including one that you probably weren’t expecting to return unless you read the comic books on which the movie was based. As usual, some mutants (The X-Men led by Dr. Xavier – Patrick Stewart) want to work out a peaceable solution with humanity. Then there are more sinister mutants led by Magneto (who has the power to bend metal with his mind – played by Ian McKellan) who want to take this opportunity to declare war on humans since they believe it is only a matter of time until humans declare war on them anyway.
A slew of new characters are added in this film that had been left out of the first two. The most significant of these characters is Beast (Kelsey Grammer). He is a large, furry, blue creature who is in the President’s Cabinet as a mutant ambassador to attempt to negotiate continued peace between the two sides. Other new mutants include Juggernaut (who is incredibly strong), Multiple Man (who can be in more than one place at a time), and Angel (who has wings growing out of his back). There isn’t much time for development of these new characters. While the first two movies featured a great deal of character development, this movie, which is shorter than both of the previous two, doesn’t spend time on details. Once the action starts, it is non-stop until the end. Depending on what you look for in a movie, this could either be a good thing or a bad thing.
This third film in the X-Men series is supposed to be the final chapter. However, rumors abound that spin-offs are planned including a Wolverine movie and a Magneto movie. For fans of this series, such future installments are no doubt welcome.
The film is rated PG-13 for action violence, language, and some sexual content. As such, it doesn’t really qualify as a movie for the whole family. However, it is all typical action movie fare. Adults and older teens will find it isn’t any more offensive than much of what is on free TV these days. It is probably too intense for younger viewers though.
All good trilogies must come to an end. But the ending of this film leaves you thinking that maybe this series hasn’t reached its true ending quite yet.
Read an interview with Ralph Winter, the man behind the magic of X-Men.
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