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X Men: The Last Stand

What did I expect? After the towering brilliance of X2, revisiting the exact same theme with 2500 characters was bound to be an exercise in special effects, trite dialogue, vast violence and guest stars. And so it has proved.

But the theme of prejudice in terms of ‘doing away with the feared mutants’ takes a new twist; this time they are not simply to be destroyed, but cured of their mutation, as if it were a disease. So this time it’s people who are HIV+ that come in for a kicking, and end up on the winning side. Oh, sorry, should have realised that mutation is good; that being different is the same as being better.

The character that gives the lie to this rubbish is of course the one with the lips – Rogue. She wants to hold and kiss her boyfriend, buy cannot as she hurts anyone who touches physically - he certainly has my sympathy – so she volunteers for the cure, which means she gets to hold his hand at the close of the movie. She understands that her ‘powers’ decrease her freedom.

Morality Confusion
That’s the trouble when good is bad and bad is good and wrong things are held up to be the right things… Mutation can, I suppose be positive, but the way it’s affected the delicious Dr Jean Grey (terrible character name) is to make her megalomaniacal and lose her looks (except her fantastic mouth, which is her best feature). Mutation is excused a ‘being different’, and in X2 it worked well as an analogy for race, religion, sexual preference and disability. But here the point is stretched way too far. Against a destructive human foe, the X-Men are heroes with values to defend. Against each other, they are very slightly less dangerous and wicked than the bad guys.

And the climax with Wolverine killing Dr Jean ‘because I love you’ to save her from the demon Felix within while being fleetingly upset left me wondering if I’m supposed to conclude that mercy killing is good or that basically good people make poor choices, or if mutation (and whatever it stands for) drives you a little bit bonkers or if being sidelined by society is preferable to being ‘normal’ and ordinary… But then it’s further complicated by the Felix character, able to withstand 2000 guns firing at her at once, but who gives way to wobble-lipped Jean, who welcomes the simple stabbing from Beardweird Scissorhands, which despatches her soul to heaven or something. I’m lost! Quite lost!

Good line
Sir Ian McKellen as Magneto is far and away the best thing in this whole piece, acting everyone else off the screen. His apparent friendship with Dr X, his control when faced with comicbook dialogue and Anthony Hopkins/Donald Pleasance-style delivery make him a truly chilling enemy, while his cohorts and minions (pawns, he calls them) are mere stormtroopers, cannon fodder and mostly, dead meat. The best line (out of only about three decent ones, but this is a corker) comes when the cure for mutation is administered to Magneto, and he is clearly about to say ‘I’m done for’ or ‘I’m only human’. He gets as far as ‘I’m…’ and Wolverine says ‘One of them’, which got a big laugh, knowing what we know about Sir Ian McKellen’s militant homosexuality.

One gets the feeling this is the final film in this strand, as by the end the following have been wasted (many of them literally): Prof X (Jean-Luc on wheels), Jean Grey (the pneumatic Famke Jannsen), and Cyclops (who cares?).

Plus the gorgeous Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), who one might describe as a clothes horse if only she ever wore any, and the pouting skunk-haired Rogue are both rendered power-free, as is Magneto (McKellen). Or is he?

Spectacular, but like Matrix 3 and Star Wars Revenue of the Sixth, that’s all.


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