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X-Men: The Last Stand (12A)
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Reviewed by: Paul Fonz

Bryan Singer, the man behind the first two X-Men films, is something of a genius. X-Men and, in particular, X2 raised the comic book genre to a new level, with fantastic action, involving storylines and, vitally, deep, dark undercurrents that offered plenty of food for thought if you were willing to digest it.

He can walk you know, he's just lazy
He can walk you know, he's just lazy

Unfortunately, Mr Singer decided he would rather switch franchises and direct the forthcoming Superman Returns instead of the third X-Men film, leaving Layer Cake's Matthew Vaughn and finally Rush Hour's Brett Ratner to take over.

I think we all know by now that films with a turbulent history often turn out to be a bit rubbish, but Ratner is at least reasonably accomplished in the action genre. So it comes as no surprise that X-Men: The Last Stand is a decent action film, but stops short of attaining the brilliance and the subtlety of Singer's previous efforts.

The story of this, possibly final, instalment in the franchise, is based around some scientists discovering a cure for the Mutant X gene, which can turn a mutant back into a normal human being with just one injection. This discovery sparks off a series of protests and acts of terrorism, which heighten the state of public tension and eventually lead to a four way showdown between the X-Men, the military, the Brotherhood of Mutants and a new character called Phoenix. I don't want to give too much away, but let's say there are plenty of surprises to be found in this film, including deaths and rebirths.

While it's an adequate summer blockbuster though, there is still a laundry list of flaws as long as your arm. There are an awful lot of mutants on screen, meaning a lot of bit parts, even for established or heavily promoted characters. Heaven knows what James Marsden has done to the makers of these films to have had his part of Cyclops reduced so dramatically since the first film, or what the point of including Angel was.

Ratner has also added his trademark one-liners into the script, which at best are vaguely amusing, but at worst break up the flow of the film and lead to some incredibly hammy and unnatural moments. He's even stooped so low as to include references to internet fan art.

However, it is still an X-Men film with all the characters we know and love, and is therefore still very cool. On a purely simplistic and superficial scale, this film isn't bad at all, but it doesn't hold a candle to X2. It'll be interesting to see the difference between the quality of this film and Singer's Superman Returns.

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Length: 104 minutes
Certificate: 12A
Official Site: http://www.x-menthelaststand.com/
IMDB Link: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0376994/
Release Date: 25th May 2006

Top Five Rating: 70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0%70.0% (70.0%)
User Rating: 100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0%100.0% (100.0%)

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