Movie Reviews

bellview--i love movies

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

Movie Awards
2004 Roundup
2005 Roundup
2006 Roundup
2007 Roundup
2008 Roundup
2009 Roundup


"X-Men: The Last Stand"

Directed by Brett Ratner.
Written by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn.
Starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and Ian McKellan.
Release Year:  2006
Review Date:  5/27/06


Seeing a midnight show for a blockbuster like "X-Men: The Last Stand" just makes the whole experience more fun; people have to COMMIT to seeing something so late, so they are naturally going to be fired up to enjoy the experience.

So, naturally, what was the best moment in my theater Thursday night at 12:02 AM?  When the previews started, the screen went black...and, the teaser for "Snakes on a Plane" ended, our theater exploded in applause and howling as the people confirmed that on August 18th, the people will fall in love with a piece of dogshit that has a bunch of snakes running around a plane for no good reason!!!

Our audience rode that high all the way through "X-Men: The Last Stand", which seemed to irritate my comic book friends afterwards but for those among the uninitiated (i.e., me), the film was a great time.  That's because the first two films set up who most of these characters are from a very high-level standpoint, so it was time to get down to action and that's all that "The Last Stand" does.  All of those familiar faces are back, led by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and baddies led by Magneto (Ian McKellan); the mutants-as-society-outcasts plotline is still in place, aided by a new twist--a cure for the mutant "X-gene" developed by a firm in San Francisco that must be dealt with...and, the return of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who looked REALLY dead at the end of "X-Men 2."

Wow, the body count is high in this movie, but the real development in this series, besides a director change (from Bryan Singer to Brett Ratner, of "Rush Hour" fame), is the move from story development to all-out action, a change that I welcomed because there are way too many X-Men characters to keep up with in a movie series.  "The Last Stand" isn't as great as "X2" (maybe the perfect mix of elements so far, that made both the casual and the hard-core fans happy), but it doesn't take itself seriously enough to really matter; the last hour of the film is really just a chance for us to watch special-effects technicians blow everything up and for a variety of new mutant characters to show off their powers, so as brain candy, I thought "The Last Stand" was fine (even IF that scene featuring a moved Golden Gate Bridge looked a bit silly).

I don't understand why so many comments I've seen on this sequel have addressed Singer and his missing touch; he didn't write the script to any of these films and as such, the real missing link isn't Singer at all but David Hayter, who is clearly a comics and gaming fan and was the screenwriter of record for the first two films (and the voice of Solid Snake from the "Metal Gear" games for the last eight years)--his scripts were more grounded in the backgrounds of these characters and naturally was more in tune with what was required to set up the movie series.  His presence is missed mostly by comic fans who wish for some of their favorite characters' return or maybe the belief that Hollywood would EVER make a movie that didn't play to the masses, instead of the hardcore...whatever.  Hey, I'll admit that I had more fun during the last movie too, but this still ain't bad!

Well, what's the difference...chances are you saw this movie over Memorial Day weekend anyway, since I'm sure it's going to pull in big cash during its run.  Next stop--"Superman Returns!"

Rating:  Matinee


Comments?  Drop me a line at


Bellview Rating System:

"Opening Weekend":  This is the highest rating a movie can receive.  Reserved for movies that exhibit the highest level of acting, plot, character development, setting...or Salma Hayek.  Not necessarily in that order. 

"$X.XX Show":  This price changes each year due to the inflation of movie prices; currently, it is the $9.50 Show.  While not technically perfect, this is a movie that will still entertain you at a very high level.  "Undercover Brother" falls into this category; it's no "Casablanca", but you'll have a great time watching.  The $9.50 Show won't win any Oscars, but you'll be quoting lines from the thing for ages (see "Office Space"). 

"Matinee":  An average movie that merits no more than a $6.50 viewing at your local theater.  Seeing it for less than $9.50 will make you feel a lot better about yourself.  A movie like "Blue Crush" fits this category; you leave the theater saying "That wasn't too, did you see that Lakers game last night?" 

"Rental":  This rating indicates a movie that you see in the previews and say to your friend, "I'll be sure to miss that one."  Mostly forgettable, you couldn't lose too much by going to Hollywood Video and paying $3 to watch it with your sig other, but you would only do that if the video store was out of copies of "Ronin."  If you can, see this movie for free.  This is what your TV Guide would give "one and a half stars." 

"Hard Vice":  This rating is the bottom of the barrel.  A movie that only six other human beings have witnessed, this is the worst movie I have ever seen.  A Shannon Tweed "thriller," it is so bad as to be funny during almost every one of its 84 minutes, and includes the worst ending ever put into a movie.  Marginally worse than "Cabin Boy", "The Avengers" or "Leonard, Part 6", this rating means that you should avoid this movie at all costs, or no costs, EVEN IF YOU CAN SEE IT FOR FREE!  (Warning:  strong profanity will be used in all reviews of "Hard Vice"-rated movies.)

Home | Movie Reviews | Video Roundups | Essays | Game Reviews | Subscribe | Mailbag | About | Search

The "fine print":
All material by Justin Elliot Bell for SMR/Bellview/ except where noted
1999-2009 Justin Elliot Bell This site was last updated 01/08/09