What's Good

X-3 is best film in the trilogy. Period.

What's Bad

This movie is the final statement. There should be no more. Unfortunately, it seems like there will be.

X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand is, in my humble, comic book opinion, the best film in the trilogy. There is a finality to it. A richness and realism that I don't think the other movies (or that many comic book movies that are made today) have. It could be that this was the last movie in the series, and the people involved wanted to go out with a bang. I just loved that so many of the main characters were killed off throughout the movie, and there really wasn't much time to think about it. It gave this film a different angle. It actually seemed like any of these superheroes could be killed. Now this movie doesn't knock off all the main characters (or big stars), but it does enough to let you know just how high the stakes in this movie have been raised.

The story of X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand is quite simple. The Brotherhood and the X-Men are still at odds, but they seem to be living in a state of uneasy truce. This all changes when a cure is created and suddenly mutants have a chance to be normal. Now, in most films this would be a minor subplot in between big CGI sequences. This movie still employs lots of CGI, but the question of the cure is lingering in every frame. Some of the mutants see the cure as the way to go in order to be able to a live a "normal" life. Other mutants can't understand it because they don't see themselves as needing to be cured of anything. Then you have people like Magneto who wants to wage war against the cure, the human race and everyone else.

There are a lot of characters in this film, so director Brett Ratner is going to be taken to task for focusing on some when he should have been focusing on others. That's actually what I really enjoyed about this film. It never lingered with dull imagery or meaningless action. He just presented the story, the effects and everything else in a way that all we had to do is observe it. There is much made of Joss Whedon's and J.J. Abrams' storytelling talent, and how Serenity and Alias have so much depth, but I just found myself bored watching those shows. Everything just feels artificial, all the twists and turns seem like ways for us not to focus on how wooden the main characters are. Comic book movies feel so by the numbers nowadays, it was nice to see a film like X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand which didn't try and be something it wasn't.

Special Features:

Deleted Scenes

There are 13 deleted scenes in total that have optional commentary tracks with Brett Ratner and writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn. Amidst these deleted scenes are three alternative endings with only one of them really being "alternative" in my opinion. I really like the way they have done this whole DVD. All of the scenes are broken up very nicely with nice graphics. I also listened to some of them with the commentary on, and Ratner, Penn and Kinberg all gave very logical reasons for why some of these scenes were excised from the final film. The quality of the deleted scenes looked really good as well. Almost like the scenes in question might have been in the film at one time or another, but then were taken out because they didn't go with the film, or they gave away too much information, or they just plain confused things.

Commentary Tracks

We are treated to two commentary tracks on this DVD. There is one with Brett Ratner and writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn. There is also a producers commentary with Avi Arad, Lauren Shuler Donner and Ralph Winter. I chose to listen to the one with Ratner and Co., simply because I like the way that Ratner talks. I think he makes things simple and easy to digest and in doing so makes you feel like you can do what he's talking about. They seem to be having some fun on here as they talk about wanting to change the 20th Century Fox logo (but they weren't given permission), wanting to do things that Bryan Singer hadn't been able to do with the other two films and how shots in X-3 were taken from X2. Overall, I found this be a really engrossing commentary and one that fans will probably get a lot from. One of the more interesting things Ratner discusses was shooting in a normal environment like a neighborhood, and having people like Ian McKellen and Halle Berry wearing funny costumes. That kind of levity is what made this film not take itself too seriously.

Sneak Peek At The Simpsons Movie

Now, I know this might not have anything to do with X-3, but I thought this was pretty cool. Starting out in color and then given to us in black and white animatic form (Homer even explains that the film will look a lot better), we see him driving a pack of dogs through a snowy terrain. He is whipping them and yelling, switching arms so he can continue whipping them and eventually Homer gets attacked by the very dogs who are helping him. Aside from this being done in almost stick-like animation, the feeling and vibe of The Simpsons Movie (and the show) comes through. Even in this short segment, I laughed quite a few times and cannot wait to see what the people behind that show give us for the final film.

The Look

Widescreen - 2.40:1. As Fox has sent us a copy of the DVD that seems to be in it's regular packaging, they have sadly included what looks like a burned copy of this DVD. It has all the extras it just doesn't have the look that I know the final DVD will have. In fact, this DVD was so funky, not only could I not play it on one of the DVD players in my home, it stopped playing on another player. After that, I watched the show on a DVD player with an 8" screen. Not that I am some die hard, home theater enthusiast, but I don't think that X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand was meant to viewed like this. Now, aside from the Fox logo coming up intermittently on the screen, I did like the way this film looked. I think CGI has reached new levels and it almost seamlessly blends together what is real with what isn't in this film. Unfortunately, this screener DVD didn't present this film in it's best possible form.

The Sound

Dolby Digital. English 6.1 - DTS ES /5.1 - DOLBY EX. Spanish and French Dolby Surround. Close Captioned. Subtitled in English and Spanish. Sadly, on the 8" DVD player, I don't think I got the full effect of this film's sound capabilities. I was able to hear everything alright, I just think that in it's final disc form this movie could really play well on an HD-DVD or Blu-ray system. As I was watching this film I also wondered if the sound specs had burned into my DVD. There is a bigness to this movie that comes to us both in an audio and visual sense. I just wish I would have gotten a DVD that could have shown all that off.

The Package

A mixture of X-Men and The Brotherhood grace this front cover as these characters walk toward us with determination. They have done a very good job of mixing and matching all the characters, as this theme also carries over to the back cover. There is a brief description of what this movie is about, a Special Features listing, a cast list and some technical specs. I can't say for sure, but something tells me that the "real" release of this DVD is going to contain packaging with a few more bells and whistles.

Final Word

So much was made about Brett Ratner not being the person to make X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand, but in hindsight he seems like the perfect choice. I remember speaking to some people from other sites and they really had low expectations for this movie. I think this movie's $441 million take at the box office pretty much says it all. I don't remember the last time I saw a bad Brett Ratner film. It seems like people just didn't think the guy who did Rush Hour could pull this off. However, when you consider that his films always look big (regardless if they are telling smaller stories like The Family Man), I don't think anybody should have been worried. The Rush Hour films are pure visceral experiences. They are the kind of movies that go and go, and when they finally end, you almost don't want to leave the theater. I feel that Ratner brought almost a slight of hand to this film. He seems like the kind of director who isn't out to make perfect movies. He just wants to tell entertaining stories and he does it in the best way that he can.

I have been hearing that they are going to be doing some spin-off movies based on the X-Men characters that lived in this film. While I am sure from a financial standpoint that is probably going to happen, I really wish that it wouldn't. This movie raised the bar and I hope that other comic book films follow it's lead. I think that's why this movie did so well. I also think that's probably why Superman Returns didn't. People were talking about the sequel and the movie hadn't even opened yet!! It was such a foregone conclusion that that movie was going to be the biggest film of the year (and that X-Men was going to be a turkey), that I watched Superman Returns never really getting into the film. You knew Lois Lane wasn't going to die. You know that Clark Kent, if he went away, would eventually come back.

When people get into movies it's because they have invested themselves in the characters. Their highs and their lows are shared with the audience. There's also the idea that doom might be around the corner. X-3: X-Men - The Last Stand was an interesting reminder of the mortality of everyone, no matter how big a movie star they are, no matter what size their backend is, no matter what.

- By Evan "Mushy" Jacobs

Dont't forget to also check out: X-Men: The Last Stand

Brian B. at Movieweb
Brian B.