½*/**** Image N/A Sound A Extras C+
starring Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen
screenplay by Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn
directed by Brett Ratner
by Walter Chaw As an example of what can happen when a homophobic, misogynistic, misanthropic moron wildly overcompensates in a franchise that had as its primary claim to eternity that it was sensitive to the plight of homosexuals, Brett Ratner's painfully queer X-Men: The Last Stand (hereafter "X3") manages to present its series of melodramatic vignettes in such a way as to completely negate any sense of peril, individuality, or struggle for the characters. Without a sense of weight, the references in the piece to genocide and The Holocaust ("Ink shall never again touch my skin!" says Ian McKellen's Magneto) become pure, laggard exploitation in the service of a sub-par superhero action film that shows its true colours time and again in its hatred of women ("Hell hath no fury!") and loathing of female sexuality, as well as in its flat-eyed regard of children trying to hasp off their wings while their fathers attempt to break down the bathroom door. It's Michael Bay's Schindler's List: a reptilian populist, at ease with the slick and facile, has been asked to take the reins of a project that, for whatever its crimes of pacing and exposition, had in its Bryan Singer-helmed episodes the good sense not to kick over ant piles it wasn't prepared to contain.