One of the best things about being psychic is being able to convince
everybody that it was the big blue hairy guy who farted instead of you.
EDIT: I have to admit that I was really, really trying to like this movie after I saw it, which is why this review is as positive as it is. I have given up; while it certainly has its positive aspects (Kelsey Grammer's Beast and John Powell's outstanding score), upon reflection I find that I can't really support the opinion that I had originally written here. I now find the film messy and disjointed, especially disappointing after the relatively flawless execution of X2. No doubt about it, if Bryan Singer had remained with the X-Men franchise, we would have gotten a much better X-Men movie than we did a Superman movie...
I can confirm that the worst fears about Brett Ratner taking over the franchise were unfounded; yes, he is a little more heavy-handed than Bryan Singer, but the approach works considering the larger scope of this story. The film moves fast, poses some interesting ethical quandries and is pretty damn gripping. Maybe it moves a little too fast; there are areas where it feels a little rushed, and there are some concepts and characters that could have used a bit more fleshing out. But on the whole, this was a satisfying follow-up to X2.
The film depends entirely upon familiarity with the previous two entries. While this may be annoying to somebody being introduced to this series via this film, it means that with no time being spent reminding the audience of whom everybody is the story can hit the ground running.
Viewers be forewarned: the film is pretty violent, both textually and emotionally. Some previously squeaky clean folks are revealed to have some pretty disturbing skeletons in their closets. Some get some poetic justice. And don't get too attached to anybody. On the other hand, they finally figured out what to do with Storm, who was dead weight in the first film and just kind of there in the second; apparently this was an issue for Halle Berry, who insisted that her character be expanded in this film. With the exception of Anna Paquin, who doesn't have much to do, the rest of the returning cast is pretty comfortable in their roles. Ian McKellan, as always, is having a ball playing Magneto. Hugh Jackman's Logan is what it is. And it's still cool. Kelsey Grammer looks and sounds great, and Michael Murphy and Bill Duke have significant cameos in the film as well.
If there is a problem with the film it is that its momentum unfortunately sidelines some of the secondary characters. This might not have been so noticable had X2 not been so masterful at keeping the human element of the story in focus. In particular, Rogue's story could have been fleshed out a bit more. Also, while the plot certainly works, there are thematic elements that could have been emphasized a bit more (some of the moral quandries in the film should have been given a bit more screen time).
However, the movie is a worthy successor to the previous two. I can't say much about its fidelity to its source, as the only X-Men story I ever read was God Loves, Man Kills, which Tim loned to me because I loved X2 so much. I saw the film with Raz, who also liked it on the whole but didn't like some of the way that the material from the comic books was adapted. Nevertheless, he admitted that he will probably like the film better on a second viewing when he is no longer watching it with expectations for the storylines. suitboyskin didn't have these issues with the film, instead being rather amused by the enormous wealth of references.
Dante Spinotti's anamorphic Panavision photography is extremely attractive, and of course the costumes, make-up and effects are all top-notch. And I've already stated how pleasantly surprised I was by Powell's music, which is pitch-perfect. So ultimately, my biggest problem with this film was that it wasn't long enough. Not in the same way as X2, which just left me feeling like I hadn't gotten enough of it, but in that I felt that the movie could have stood to tell a bit more of its own story. Similar, actually, to my reaction to the first X-Men. It's not perfect, but let's face it, I'm complaining about small portions here.
I liked it.
While the onscreen title of the film is X-Men: The Last Stand, it seemed clear from the film that the "last stand" isn't necessarily the last movie, as there are some little tags at the end of the film (one after the credits; it's worth staying for John Powell's stately score anyway) that strongly imply that the saga isn't over. This was confirmed by Tom Rothman, head of Fox. So there will be an X4. Fine by me.
Logan administers mouth-to-mouth resuscitation on Jean Grey because... um... well, better safe than sorry, right?
Some news:Jackman is already hard at work helping to develop the Wolverine prequel, currently being written by David Benioff (Troy). While doing an interview to talk about X-Men: The Last Stand, Jackman told SuperHeroHype! that he had been reading a lot of Logan's back story in the comics in preparation for the prequel, as well as updating on its progress.
"We have two drafts and David is going to do another draft, and then we'll find our director," he said. "I'm not going to make a decision until I have the script right, but I'll definitely look at Brett [Ratner]. I don't want Wolverine to appear to be X-Men 4 in disguise; I don't want to make it stylistically the same. I want to do something different. That's my idea. Until we have the script, I don't really know who's right, but there's been a lot of interest from a lot of really amazing directors, so I'm really excited."