Saturday, June 24, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

2006, US, directed by Brett Ratner

Rating: **

Although it's easy to dismiss most comic book films as popcorn junk, it's not until you see the work of a journeyman like Brett Ratner that you can finally appreciate what director Bryan Singer brought to the first two films: coherence; effects generally at the service of the action rather than for their own sake; even a reasonably well-worked philosophical underpinning and some decent performances. Here most of that disappears, and, worse, characters who had been developed in the first two films are either given short shrift or disappear entirely (only Ian McKellen seems to have more screen time; Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen and Halle Berry look like they're there for the paychecks and nothing more, and who could blame them when the script is so bland). Although are there are undoubted moments of entertainment, the action is so absurdly over the top at times (and the body count exponentially higher) that the core of humanity (or mutantity) from the first two films is lost, plus the frisson generated by the conclusion of the second film is wasted in this sequel (the attempts to generate a similar frisson here, both before and after the credits, are far less successful).

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Boston, Massachusetts, United States