Yeah, I figured I might as well do a double review, one for “The Last Stand,” one for “The Wolverine.” As always, make sure you see both films before reading the review. Now on with it!
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
Yeah, I’m not gonna lie: I kind of think there’s something to this part that rings true. Does that mean I’m in love with it? No. Does that mean I think it feels like “X-Men?” No, and in fact, giving the X-Men a world where they’re kind of accepted kind of shoots in the foot some of the harsh truths that are part of what makes the property what it is. But, with that said, there are genuine questions raised by this area, and not all of them are resolutely answered, which makes me respect the movie to some degree. On top of that, the majority of the story works as a story for a movie you come and stay for the action to. It may not be a worthy follow-up to the other two films in any way (or even feel like an “X-Men” movie that much at all), but I can’t hate this area of the movie as much as some people on the Internet do, even if things that should be very well-justified to the audience, like Wolverine releasing Jean/Phoenix, aren’t. (Yeah, that goes in the other direction towards the end, too, I’ll admit.) I don’t know, it kind of works if you’re in the right mood for it, I guess.
Story Grade: 78% (C+)
Like I said, not every character action feels authentic, but there’s nothing that horribly perverts previously established characterization, either.
Character Grade: 75% (C)
It’s average, not a whole lot to say, positive or negative.
Script Grade: 75% (C)
As an action-movie director, I don’t hate Brett Ratner, but he’s not the right person to direct an “X-Men” movie, for sure. The choices he made with where to take the story and characters are mind-boggling to a lot of degrees, but he’s a very competent stager of action scenes, and I can respect that.
Direction Grade: 80% (B-)
The script may not go all out, but damned if the actors don’t. This is objectively one of the best substantive parts of the movie.
Acting Grade: 90% (A-)
Really exciting and engaging, even with a few dated visual effects here and there.
Action Grade: 90% (A-)
Ham-fisted and kind of sloppy, but, again, I can’t hate it too much when the action is so well-done.
Execution Grade: 78% (C+)
I don’t think that this movie is as bad as some on the Internet think, but there’s nothing really noteworthy about it, either, making it thoroughly disappointing for a fan of the series. Let’s put it this way: I’m glad Brett Ratner won’t direct any more films in the series. Anyway, what’s my grade? (Remember, this based on objectivity, not my own feelings.)
Final Grade: 69% (D+)
HOW IS CHARLES STILL ALIVE? Okay, now that I got that outta my system, I can certainly say that this area is actually well-written, even if it isn’t really that deep or even as complex as it clearly wants to be (the delving into Wolverine’s grief over Jean notwithstanding). As a corporate thriller, it’s no “Spider-Man” (2002), but it’s perfectly acceptable. That’s really the best way I can describe this area: It’s passable and acceptable, easily worth the price of admission. It’s not the timeless storytelling classic that some of the proper “X-Men” movies are, but it’s perfectly acceptable, and it fits for the character of Wolverine.
Story Grade: 85% (B)
Wolverine’s progression as a character is well-handled, and the characters of Yukio and Mariko are… decent, even if they aren’t terribly deep. Aside from Wolverine, the only character who really stuck out to me was Viper, who I’m a little disappointed they killed off, because she’d make a great recurring villain.
Character Grade: 88% (B+)
It’s acceptable and passable, and there’s something to the emotional moments that gives them a lot of heft that the script is partially to thank for.
Script Grade: 85% (B)
I’ve gotta say, James Marigold is a good action director, and he certainly knows how to direct emotional dialogue scenes, too. Color me impressed.
Direction Grade: 90% (A-)
Hugh Jackman is great, as always, and the actresses playing Mariko, Yukio and Viper really sink their teeth into their (sometimes selling them short) dialogue and characters.
Acting Grade: 90% (A-)
Great, and somehow even more brutal than “X2,” probably because the character primarily responsible for that movie’s more brutally violent scenes is now the center of attention.
Action Grade: 95% (A)
Like I said, it’s executed in a way that’s passable and acceptable, and worth the price of admission.
Execution Grade: 85% (B)
It’s passable, acceptable and worth spending money on. What can I say?
Final Grade: 87% (B+)
Well, that’s it for today. See you tomorrow, where I take on two cuts of a single movie at once. (Don’t act like you don’t know what I’m talking about.)