So X-Men: The Last Stand was release last week. I went to go see it. Actually, I went to go see it twice. I really wanted to love this movie as much as I did the first two. Really, I did want to. Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to happen.
The first two movies in the series were directed by Bryan Singer. Not only did the first one prove the X-Men could be as popular on the big screen as they have been in the funnybooks for thirty years, but the sequel was actually better. Singer, however, decided not to do a third movie, instead hopping over to Warner Bros to helm the soon to be released Superman Returns. So, Fox went looking for another director and settled on Brett Ratner.
Ratner has done some okay films. I liked Red Dragon. I was amused by the Rush Hour movies. After The Sunset was okay. But, no offense to Mr. Ratner, he may be a bigger X-Men geek, but he’s no Bryan Singer.
The first two movies seem reined in compared to this latest offering. Where X-Men and X2 could be called science fiction movies, The Last Stand is definitely an action movie. A summer, popcorn, McDonalds tie-in, action figure licensing action movie. It’s louder, it’s flashier, it has more of everything, and it has everything they couldn’t do before.
As far as I can see, someone decided to make a third X-Men movie, then they grabbed every cool idea that, because of budget or story or director decisions, were cut out, and crammed it into the script. Sentinels? Sure, put a cameo! Danger room? Been wanting to see that, yep, stick it in! Beast? Damn straight! Phoenix? Hell yeah! Juggernaut? Why not! Angel? Would look good on screen! Colossus? Wicked!
Course, you quickly realize the problem. With some many things going on and some many characters added, you don’t get to slow down and develop anything.
That’s not to say the movie sucks. It’s enjoyable for sure, as long as you know it’s action fluff you’re going to see. And there are a couple surprises within, story bits where you catch yourself thinking "I can’t believe they did that".
When Tim Burton left the Batman series and Joel Schumacher took over, Batman Forever went on to make the most money at the box office of that series. Yet, no one would ever claim it’s their favourite. Though it was flashy, had big names, and was eye popping action, most of it’s success came from the strength of the original two.
I expect X-Men: The Last Stand to end up exactly the same. Big piles of money, but with fans going back to watch Singer’s movies instead.