Thursday, May 25, 2006

Movie review: 'X-Men: The Last Stand' *SPOILERS*

Time for another secular post :)

While 'The Da Vinci Code' was the darling of the media with all its hype, glitz, and promotional tie-ins, there is no doubt that 'X-Men: The Last Stand' was awaited by its loyal fanbase with an event more fervent anticipation. It concludes the trilogy of X-Men movies [ although as of this moment I read that X4 has been confirmed already ], which, in my opinion, brought a new level of dignity to superhero movies. Think of it as what 'The Day The Earth Stood Still' did to the science fiction franchise.

Anyway, I saw this movie today with my family. And the cinemas were packed. Literally PACKED-- from the excited kids to the throng of ex pats who grew up with the comic-- the theater was filled to capacity.

As you may already know by the now, the plot of this third installment focuses on a supposed cure to the mutant problem. This cure, culled from the cells of another mutant, would permanently suppress the X-gene in mutants, thereby making them 'normal'. This naturally causes a huge controversy in the mutant community, with the evil Magneto rallying disenfranchised mutants to his cause. Meanwhile, in the midst of all these happenings, a new, powerful mutant has emerged-- greater thatn even Magneto or Charles Xavier, the leader of the X-Men. The mutant in question is, of course, Phoenix, the twisted and violent personality of the psionic Jean Grey [ who miraculously returns to life after being presumed dead at the end of the second installment ].

X3 is a no-holds barred, extremely fast paced movie. Once it starts, it does not relent. I thought that the tension surrounding 'the cure' was palpable from the beginning. There are some very poignant moments in the film. Especially shocking was a pivotal scene in the middle of the film. This scene was so shocking, that many fans of the comic book reportedly walked out. It literally brought things to a standstill, and many of the people in the theater were teary-eyed.

* * * SPOILERS!!! * * *

This scene which I am referring to is of course the death of Professor X. This happens during a confrontation in Jean Grey's house, where Magneto and company also follow suit. The scene is very powerful. You literally see the Professor being carried into the air by the awesome power of Phoenix. His skin begins to flake away at every contact with her unlimited power. After a brief pause wherein the Professor takes one last look at Wolverine, he shatters into a million pieces. It was a very hard scene for me to watch, since the Professor was one of my favorite characters.

Phoenix also kills Scott/Cyclops after their reunion at Alkali Lake. After sharing a passionate kiss, we see Scott's face flaking away. Then it cuts to a scene in the mansion. When Wolverine and Storm arrive on the scene, all that remains of Scott are his glasses.

* * * END SPOILERS * * *

The confrontation between Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants and the remaining X-Men was one of the best battles I've seen in years. The desperation and the conviction in either team's resolve was chilling. I won't tell you how they beat Magneto, but res assured, it will leave a smile on your face.

Overall, 'X-Men: The Last Stand' is definitely my favorite movie thus far in this year. My only complaint was that the script was a little... scatterbrained. Compared to the atrocious 'The Da Vinci Code', though, X-Men lives up to the hype and leaves the audience literally wanting for more.


PS: Make sure you don't miss the scene at the end of the credits. IMHO it leaves a lot of things open for possible future installments.