DIRECTOR: Brett Ratner
May Contain Spoilers!
The third of the X-Men franchise and the first without Bryan Singer, who had left the project to reboot Superman with Superman Returns (2006), Brett Ratner took his place and delivered something which at first seemed to be less satisfying. But as the years have passed and with the monolithic comic book projects such as The Dark Knight Trilogy and The Avengers (2012), X-Men: The Last Stand, stands up better than it did at the time.
Without Singer, the weight of the project was almost excised with little but the bones of the symbolism and metaphors remaining. And way too much time given to the likes of Halle Berry who was and is still under the misguided notion that just because she won an Oscar for her role in Monsters Ball (2001) and exposed herself in Swordfish (2001), that she is super star and that the ensemble which is the X-Men should hang on her. At least she was prepared to share the limelight with Hugh Jackman but that was about it.
This film begins with an interesting and innovative effect, in which Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) are shown 20 years earlier as they recruited Jean Grey as child. They were both digitally ‘de-aged’ and this effect would probably count as the films lasting legacy, but saying that, even though the movie takes off right were we left off with X2 (2003), the story seems to have skewed off into a very simplistic and contrived direction.
But this was also meant to be the final film to feature the original cast, with many of the superstar cast demanding ever-increasing salaries. This meant that the X-Men are to be disposed of, quickly and effectively. By the end of this film, there’s little left, which is good, but since there’s a disconnect between this as the previous two, though granted, the story isn’t too far off, more in tone, then it doesn’t really feel like the conclusion to Singer’s work that I personally wanted to see.
But saying that with the added context of The Avengers (2012) movies, which are light and comic book as it were, I can look back on X-Men III, maybe not as a heavy metaphor for fascism and equality etc, but as a good old-fashioned action movie. X-men III is light and action packed. It has its faults and many of them but not being Singer’s work is not its worst. Overall not a bad entry into series, certainly when you consider what would come next… X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) anyone?