I was as worried about how X-Men: The Last Stand would come out as many others were. After the relatively cerebral action that Bryan Singer had given us in the first two films, we had come to expect and hope for a third film, an end to the trilogy, that would match the first two in depth, substance, and emotional weight. Could Brett Ratner do it? The trailers were amazing eye-candy, but when the names of all the mutants appearing in the film started coming out, and it was announced that it would be the shortest of the three films, the consensus was, "No way." Phoenix and a war with the Brotherhood and a cure? In 1 1/2 hours? It would be a disaster!
There is inarguably much more action and visual effects this time around, and subtlety takes a slight backseat, but the emotional strength is still there, maybe even more so than in the first two films. The death of Professor X, in particular, was intense. It helped that the entire action sequence involving his demise is hands-down the best such sequence in the whole trilogy. I personally do not understand why so many people are complaining about the characterization of the mutants in this film. Granted, not much development was made in some characters, like Colossus and Kitty Pride, but in this film, more than in any other, they were truly X-MEN, with extraordinary powers, and working as a team (something they had not done much of in the first two installments). Storm (finally!), Beast (!), and of course Wolverine kicked ass, there was a Colossus-Wolverine "fastball special," Kitty showed off mastery of her powers, Iceman finally turns into ice, Phoenix is amazingly creepy and destructive with the whole "Dark Willow" vibe (missed the firebird shape, though), and Magneto is, as usual, insanely powerful. It should be every fanboy's dream movie! I guess it's the deaths of so many characters that has them nitpicking. That and the pathetic development of Rogue (such a far cry from how she is in the comics!), which I myself have hated since the first film.
I had to see the film a second time to fully appreciate it, but The Last Stand is definitely my favorite of the three. It's how an X-Men film should be. On with the 4th (they can't fool us, of course there's going to be one)! Grade: B+
And my new FYC, only my second: Famke Janssen for Best Supporting Actress. I'm sure I'm going to see better performances toward the end of the year, but she has to at least be given praise for how well she interpreted the dark, schizoid personality of Phoenix.