X-Men: The Last Stand at Hoyts, Broadway

While I quite enjoyed X-Men: The Last Stand, it wasn’t up to the standard of the previous two X-Men films. It was definitely action at the expense of character. This doesn’t put it in the same league as Mission: Impossible III, which I really didn’t enjoy that much – I thought the action sequences in X-Men: The Last Stand were better, and while the character development was underdone, it wasn’t the same one-man-show as M:i:III.

X-Men: The Last Stand really did have the potential to be a strong, character-driven film. There were some powerful storylines, and some really good moments, but none of them were developed as far as they could – should – have been. Maybe it’s partly that there were too many characters, but I think it’s also that Brett Ratner was more interested in directing a (good) action film, than in dealing with characters’ doubts and uncertainties and life-changing decisions.

Thus, Rogue, Jean and Wolverine all had really interesting stories going on, that were just criminally under-explored. I was a bit puzzled by Storm – I gather Halle Berry demanded a bigger part before agreeing to do the film, and she certainly seemed to have more screen time than in the previous two, but I thought her character was fundamentally uninteresting. Yes, as leader of the team she was technically more important, but from a character point of view I thought the actor had more to work with in the first two films.

The other character who bothered me – in fact, who absolutely infuriated me – was Professor X. He was so self-rightous in his defence of what he had done to Jean. Even when he said it was the lesser of two evils, he didn’t seem to acknowledge that what he did was terrible. I think he needed to demonstrate a bit more empathy towards her, or at least to have given a sense that it was a difficult decision that he agonised over. But he never seemed to show the slightest regret over his actions, or to wonder whether, if he had tried harder, he might have found a better solution. He was behaving much more like Captain Janeway than Captain Picard – and Janeway was one of the reasons I stopped watching Star Trek: Voyager.

Having been warned beforehand, we stayed right to the end of the closing credits, and it was certainly one of the best after-the-credits sequences I’ve ever seen. It was so obviously prefigured in the content of the film, and yet at the same time I completely didn’t expect it.

Overall, though, the film was a disappointment. It could have been much worse, but it could also have been an awful lot better. Our main reaction on leaving the cinema was to think Bryan Singer had better have done a good job with Superman Returns to justify abandoning the X-Men series. (Actually, I am so late on writing up X-Men: The Last Stand that we have already seen Superman Returns, and he did, indeed, do a good job. I’ll try to get to it later this weekend.)

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