DVD Review #15: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

February 13, 2010 at 9:13 AM | Posted in Based on a Comic, DVD Reviews, Franchise Film | Leave a comment

Well? Stand up, dammit!

Movie:
I’m not one of the “fans” who wastes time hating this movie. But I can see why they do. The word I’d use to sum up the film is “rushed.” But then, the same director is responsible for RUSH Hour, so it’s not a shocking revelation. However, it does fuck up the film.

(Cont.)

Let’s go over the problem character-by-character. Xavier – doesn’t have any memorable scenes or dialogue. Nothing brainy to say. No brilliant solutions. Not that authoritative. Gets killed halfway through the movie. Rogue – doesn’t do terribly much, runs away and is left a cliffhanger till the end (of which there are two versions). Cyclops – Oy vey. Has literally two scenes, gets killed OFFSCREEN in the second one. They don’t even show it in flashback. Mystique – has exactly two scenes, and is left naked and powerless in the last one. I’m okay with half of that, but she’s only mentioned again once. And if anything, they should cut back to her at least every two minutes. Then we have some minor characters like Beast and Juggernaut who don’t get much fleshing out. Pyro being Magneto’s sidekick for no reason. Colossus being little more than a background extra. Angel having really fuck-all to do with the plot after the intro. It’s a mess.

Magneto as always is the most interesting character. Wolverine as always is the main character. Wolvie doesn’t do a heck of a lot in this other than stand around watching people die, which is all everybody else does. Storm ain’t exactly expanding her character either. Of course, the main focus is Phoenix in this one, but she’s more of a tool than a character.

The plot’s a bit muddled as well. The evil guys want to stop the humans from curing all the mutants. The good guys want to stop the bad guys, even though they don’t think mutants need to be cured. It’s really just an excuse for a big fight scene between them.

It’s a shame that the scripting and editing are so poor in this, as it’s essentially more exciting and interesting than the first two films. But it’s simply the other end of the badong spectrum. There’s too much focus on action and shock and not enough on story points or any satisfying character progression. Where you have one character with great potential for resolution – Angel (and his dad) – that’s just left up in the air with no callback.

And ultimately, there’s not a real villain in this one. At least the villain in X2 was fleshed out with backstory. Here, Angel’s dad is vaguely anti-mutant, develops a cure, and then spends most of his time offscreen. He’s not the least bit threatening. But instead, everyone is fighting over an idea, instead of fighting any real enemy.

I still like the movie… it’s just not a task made very easy. Extreme points for nude Rebecca Romijn-Not-Stamos and Ellen Page as my favorite X-Lady, Shadowcat, before she was Juno. Points for relentlessly and unapologetically murdering eternal fan-favorite characters. Points for the bridge-moving scene. Points for the convoy attack. But not much else. It would be fantastic if the movie was just stupid. But it’s fundamentally flawed instead. No joy in that.

Commentary:
Listen to the writers on this one, because they’re just hilarious. A lot of jokes fill this track, and they typically talk more than the director.

On the producers track, thankfully, Avi Arad doesn’t say as much as the other two, and when he does talk it’s either about something really obvious, or you can’t understand him. The other two do a good job talking about the movie, with not a lot of repeats from the other track.

Extras:
There’s virtually nothing here. It’s very odd. I know there were featurettes online. And apparently, there’s a two-disc edition everywhere but Canada and America. But only deleted scenes were stuck onto this version, many of which feature material completely inappropriate for a comic book movie, such as an angry black man yelling “SHUT THE FUCK UP!” which is about as funny as having someone threaten your eyeball with a scalpel. It’s mostly bits and pieces. Honestly the fight at Jean’s house is better, and there are a couple of beats that could add something, but there’s only nine minutes of stuff here. The weirdest scene is the last one, where Wolverine returns to the bar from the first movie and… has a beer. Not really sure what the point of it was.

Perhaps the most unnecessary feature of the DVD is the dual menu designs, one for the good mutants, and one for the mutants who are also good, but not as much. The menu animations are tediously slow, and the abstract nature of the designs doesn’t mean a heck of a lot even in the context of the movie. It looks vaguely like the mutant/gene animations from the credits of the three films, except it’s obviously weird shapes made of metal. I don’t get it.

There are two Easter egg scenes. On the Brotherhood version of the deleted scenes, there’s an X logo in the corner that shows some strange visual effects scene of the jet landing in Washington. On the X-Men version of the scene selections, there’s an alternate scene where Beast recites Shakespeare, which is unintentionally ridiculous during a serious moment. I do love Bobby’s reaction, which in this version seems to say, “WTF?”

For a Marvel movie, this lack of a real special edition (the collector’s edition merely contains a booklet) is quite unusual. The lesser successes of Marvel’s catalog – Daredevil, Ghost Rider, Punisher, and even Elektra – all have extended versions. And like those movies, X3 was rushed and perhaps unfinished. Supposedly, it was the most expensive comic book movie ever made. Yet, America only gets a one-disc release. Even the Fantastic Four releases have two discs. Very odd and disappointing.

Film Connections:
DVD Review #9: X-Men 1.5
DVD Review #10: X2: X-Men United

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