In 2003, the Scheuers in their The Pocket Guide To Collecting Mo-vies On DVD put X-Men as essential along with Casablanca, Citizen Kane and a Clockwork Orange. And that was two X-Men’s ago. This year Premiere Magazine devoted two of its 10 covers to X-Men and Hugh Jackman, who was laun-ched by the X-Men series and is doing three important films as a result — The Foun-tain, Scoop and The Prestige.

X-Men: The Last Stand is about the X-Men mutants battling among themselves and taking on the establishment at the same time. The special effects are pyrotechnical but the film might be seen to lack some of the characterisation that the original director Bryan Singer brought to the gifted mutants in the first two films. X-Men’s new director concentrates on the action side of X-Men, which should make it popular here.

According to Premiere Magazine’s Ethan Alter, “A number of familiar mutants have had their screentime reduced, most notably Rogue and Mystique. At least Jackman’s Wolverine is still front and centre. By the end of The Last Stand, he’s shown proudly donning the leather outfit that he ridiculed back in the first movie. Hopefully the rumoured Wolverine spin-off will get him out of the X-mansion and back in the wild where he belongs. Where Singer played up the real-world parallels inherent in the franchise’s premise, Ratner clearly feels more comfortable when things are going boom. Lip service is paid to the questionable ethics behind a cure for mutation, but these scenes are largely rushed through in favour of the bigger set-pieces, culminating in the climactic battle royale between the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants. It’s here that Ratner shows why he was hired — he may not be a deep thinker, but he does know how to oversee a stunt-filled action sequence. If the first two films tried, sometimes unsuccessfully, to elevate the comic-book movie, this one is satisfied to be a straightforward summer blockbuster.”

Critic Kit Bowen explains it all by saying, “Everything appears to be status quo between humans and mutants. There’s a president who is sympathetic towards mutants, Prof Charles Xavier’s (Patrick Stewart) school is thriving and Magneto (Ian McKellen) is quiet — for the moment. But when a “cure” for mutancy is discovered, which would give those with the mutant gene the choice to give up their powers and become human, Magneto sees red. Cure mutants? Dem’s fightin’ words. With a few more allies on his side — including the resurrected Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who now calls herself the Phoenix and has unlimited powers — Magneto prepares to trigger the war to end all wars, while the X-Men — led by the stalwart Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and milquetoasty Storm (Halle Berry) — try to stop him. I seriously doubt this is really their Last Stand.

“You really do feel director Singer’s absence in The Last Stand. All of the director’s tormented pathos towards his mutant comrades and their struggles to live in the human world are not as prevalent in this third installment. Instead, we’ve got happy-go-lucky director Brett Ratner of Rush Hour fame, who turns The Last Stand into one giant id — big, explosive and campy. Of course, to his credit, Ratner is pretty good at delivering a rousing, albeit superficial, action movie. It’s just not as gripping as X2. But listen, the spirit of the comic is already built in from the previous installments, so, in essence, we already know these characters pretty well. Do we really need more angst?”