X-Men: The Last Stand

Rated NR

While not the best of the X-Men movies, is not the disaster that some feared it would be when the dreaded name “Brett Ratner” was spoken. While the Rush Hour director does do a considerably worse job than Bryan Singer, who directed the first two films, some strong performances and a surprisingly decent script hold things together. The plot is a bit dense and has way too many characters, but it can succinctly be summed up as follows: Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who died in the last movie, reincarnates in this one, but she might be evil, and though she loves Cyclops (James Marsden), she also loves Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who’s trying to convince Rogue (Anna Paquin) that she shouldn’t do anything rash just because her boyfriend, Bobby (Shawn Ashmore), has been flirting with Kitty (Ellen Page), who’s obsessed with Professor X (Patrick Stewart), who’s been mentally manipulating Jean Grey. Also, there’s some cool stuff about a cure for mutantosity (or “mutantalism,” as the fundamentalist geneticists call it) and some timely references to Nazism and hair removal as forms of oppression. Rebecca Romijn, of all people, gives a really good performance as the perpetually naked Mystique. Mostly, though, this is a straight-out action film, and the action sequences include some spectacular special effects that make this worth seeing, in a popcorn movie sort of way.

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