Thursday, May 25, 2006
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND: An X-tremely Magnificent Instant Classic
by Reymundo Salao
This is the final installment to what is now known as the X-MEN Trilogy. Known as the “Children of the Atom” and the children of human evolution, MUTANTS have become widespread throughout the globe. But a "cure" for being a mutant was unveiled and this puts into motion the war between the radical mutants who seek to overthrow mankind which has shown mutant community the extent of human prejudice, and the X-men, a mutant group who would stand to defend humanity from mutants who would use their powers to threaten the rest of the defenseless human society.
When the comics series “X-men” was first conceived back in the 1960’s by Marvel comics’ father, living legend, Stan Lee (which makes an appearance in this film), it was to become one of the most profound comic book sagas, that which is way ahead of its time. Mutants have become a metaphor for the kinds of people who have become victims of prejudice, alienation, and fear. May it be because of race, culture, sex, appearance, religion, or even physical characteristics, whether that characteristic may be a deformity or not. Mutants are feared for what they can do, alienated for what they appear to be, and hated simply for what they are. Not only that; in the U.S., the term “Mutant” has been a slang term used to defame and demean those who are different and those who don’t fit in with the rest of society.
Right now, we live in a world wherein equality must prevail, even though factors like terrorist paranoia and biological threats continues to exist, there must be an undying movement for equality. With the cultural and technological advancements of the new millennium making the world smaller for us all, equality and tolerance must exist, because division and inequality might threaten to destroy us all.
One of this film's subplots involves a "cure" for being a mutant. In one way or another, the storyline subliminally raises the question; "Would you resort to change or alter yourself just to fit in to the rest of society, assuming that your uniqueness is never really a deformity or an abnormality?" Metaphorically, it could be like asking questions such as "If given a chance, would an Asian try to alter his looks just to look Caucasian or maybe less ethnic? If given a chance, would a homosexual alter his/her sexuality just for the sake of fitting in?" More or less, it could even make us think of our opinions on plastic surgery or playing god with the advances of technology? The film subliminally opens your mind up from the metaphors and to relevant social issues.
After the ending of the trilogy's second episode, entitled “X-2: X-Men United”, it is inevitable and understandable to those familiar with the X-men series that what will happen next is what is known as the "Phoenix saga" which is the storyline wherein Jean Grey is resurrected into the twisted character known as The Dark Phoenix. But it is quite obvious, from the trailers and the publicity of the film, that the main villain in the third installment of the trilogy still is Magneto, and that this third will obviously become the grand finale of Magneto's great war that he wishes to rage and has been talking about ever since the first film. And that the Dark Phoenix storyline is smartly blended along with the Magneto storyline, among other subplots yet to be revealed. But understandably, the film is designed to be a blockbuster big-explosion/big-stunts action bonanza, so understandably, the stunts, the actions, and the special effects would take the front seat in making this film a classic.
Looking back months ago, it was hard to imagine a director like Brett Ratner, whose credits include the mediocre "Red Dragon" and the popcorn flicks "Rush Hour" 1 & 2, to take on what was Bryan Singer's job of breathing life into what is the greatest superhero team saga in comics’ history. Thankfully, for all of us, this third X-men movie stays true to the mood, tone, and overall continuity and consistency with the first two films. With the last X-men movie etching itself to be one of the best superhero movies of all time, this sequel never lets down to shine much more and manages to rise into a new level of cinematic high.
Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and all the other X-men characters from the first two movies reprise their roles with an excellent continuity. The new players in the X-world are Vinnie Jones (Snatch, Mean Machine) as the unstoppable Juggernaut, the lovely young Ellen Page as Kitty "Shadowcat" Pryde, Ben Foster in an unexpectedly smaller-than-expected role as Warren "Angel" Worthington III, and Kelsey Grammar in a charming role as Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy, the blue-furred "Beast". The casting of characters may be numerous, but it does not fail to become confusing, and succeeds in being done orderly.
However, in one way or another, the film may tend to rely on the idea that the viewer has either watched the two other X-men films, and/or is also familiar with the entire X-men mythos; From the characters, to their powers, to their capabilities and convictions. Not unless you are familiar with such information, you should open your ears and hear out each and every important detail of the storyline.
The film's superpower action is very inventive, never redundant and is way ahead of falling off the cliché hook. Its script and storyline stretches itself far from being predictable. You may consider yourself familiar with the numerous popular X-men storylines, but even that will still less likely exempt you from the film's jaw-dropping surprises; moments in this film which, I'm sure that you will agree with me when I say, that it happens more than once. In addition, I would advice for you not to leave the theater after the end credits because there is a bonus extra scene. A perfectly satisfying epilogue for this final chapter.
X-MEN: The Last Stand is this summer's juggernaut blockbuster sci-fi-action-adventure megamovie! A never miss! It is a comic nerd's wet-dream come true! A definite superhero saga movie to end all superhero sagas. Up to this date, the Holy Grail of superhero team movies; An X-traordinarily Superior X-perience! X-citingly X-terminating all X-pectations! This is X-MEN: THE LAST STAND