I hate you, Brett Ratner.

Angela Cesere
“Go Blue!” (Courtesy of 20th Century Fox)

You and your rough-shod, slap-it-all together directorial style have taken the most methodical, gradual and satisfying comic-book movie trilogy of all time and diluted it with standard exclamatory/declaratory dialogue (“Work as a team!” “Alcatraz Island!” “Dad!”), the evisceration of a few major x-mythological plot points and the gameful introduction of a half-dozen canonical X-Men quickly rendered into impressive CGI wallpaper. You’ve also taken a script that’s been a fitting stand-in for the black power movement, gay rights and the Holocaust and smashed it into a cartoonish (that’s not a compliment) block that barely runs more than 90 minutes.

I hate you, I hate you, I hate you.

This film could have been so easy to pull off. Under the helm of Bryan Singer, “X2” had Jean Grey (Famke Janssen, “The Faculty”) dead and gently teased the epic Phoenix storyline. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, “Van Helsing,” who was finally settling into the role) had finally balanced rage and humanity on those sweet-ass muttonchop side burns. Professor X (Patrick Stewart, “Star Trek: Nemesis”) kept the dull, lesson-heavy speeches about tolerance and pacifism to a polemic roar.

But no. Not only did you decide to tackle the Phoenix storyline, but you’ve also got to drag in the oh-so-troubling “Cure” arc in as well. They’re both fine choices alone – the notion of a “cure” for mutants, a drug effectively stripping them of their powers and whatever deformities, God-like abilities or cool morphology resonates especially well with the blue, ape-like Beast (Kelsey Grammar in one of the only roles that he escapes with some kind of dignity) and Rogue (Anna Paquin, “The Squid and the Whale”), who still can’t touch anyone with out killing them – but together?

And at 100 minutes?

Come on, Brett, you’re killing me here. I’d make the old joke about circus clowns in a VW, but to your credit, you pulled off some absolutely stunning visuals to keep the most potent rule about filmmaking intact: Put asses in seats.

When Iceman (Shawn Ashmore, “Star Trek: Nemesis”) finally turns his entire body into ice? Beyond sweet.

When Magneto (Ian McKellen, “The Da Vinci Code”) twists the entire Golden Gate bridge to get to the final show down spot on Alcatraz? You better believe I had my Junior Mints in hand.

But still, you turned the cosmic goddess force of Jean Grey into a whiny, bootleg Sylvia Plath who hates that no one lets her be as destructive and powerful as she can be.

Even when the source material is disregarded you failed: The action and expository scenes make leaps in space and time that go so unexplained I kept waiting for some bad-ass time warping mutant to show up and make it all make sense. Screenwriters Zak Penn and Simon Kinburg make dialogue and set pieces that are so in violation of “show, don’t tell” they’d have trouble getting a charitable C in English 223.

But it all comes back to you, Brett.

Little kids won’t be able to follow the nonsensical scene jumps and hasty introductions and exits of so many of their favorite heroes (Kitty Pryde, Angel, et. al.). Parents and smarmy college kids (like this one) are going to wretch at the over-simplified (Violence bad! Be yourself!) “philosophy.”

And us, the nerds who got picked last on teams, who got made fun of for reading “X-Men” deep into adolescence and who still wonder if we’d ever have cool powers, we’re destroyed. We, the people who carry the deep, complex morals held by the “X-Men” about identity, justice and responsibility like a religious text and believe in the communal effect of well-done cinema, are damn near heartbroken.

And it’s all your fault.

Rating: 2 out of 5 stars

X-Men: The Last Stand
At the Showcase and Quality 16
20th Century Fox

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.