Big question: Scientists develop a "cure" to mutation; some mutants fight to destroy it, while others defend the cure's right to exist. With director Brett Ratner replacing Bryan Singer, who helmed the first two "X-Men" installments, can the (supposedly) final adaptation of the comic book series stand tall?
Skip it: The cure isn't exactly being forced on the masses, so as nice as it is to have superheroes with beliefs, there's little exhilaration to be had from a battle based on principle alone. The effects fail to exceed those of the vastly superior "X2: X-Men United," and performances, story and overall entertainment take a giant step backward.
Catch it: If you find Jean Grey's (Famke Janssen) explanation of how she appears to have returned from the dead -- "I don't know" -- to be acceptable.
Bottom line: Ratner clearly has superpowers: He's made the series' feeling and humor disappear. Worse, the number of impressive sequences in the disjointed "The Last Stand" can be counted on one hand, and an already overcrowded cast means new characters -- Shadowcat (Ellen Page), Angel (Ben Foster), Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) and Callisto (Dania Ramirez) -- never register.
Bonus: Thought Frasier was a wuss? Kelsey Grammer is totally unrecognizable as Beast, a giant blue mutant politician who looks a bit like Steroid Smurf.
'X-Men: The Last Stand'
Directed by Brett Ratner; written by Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn; photographed by Dante Spinotti; edited by Mark Helfrich, Mark Goldblatt, Julia Wong; production designed by Edward Verreaux; music by John Powell; produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Avi Arad. A Twentieth Century Fox release; opens Friday. Running time: 1:44. MPAA rating: PG-13 (for intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content and language).
Logan/Wolverine Hugh Jackman
Ororo Munroe/Storm Halle Berry
Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto Ian McKellen
Jean Grey/Phoenix Famke Janssen
Marie/Rogue Anna Paquin
Dr. Henry "Hank" McCoy/Beast Kelsey Grammer
Raven Darkholme/Mystique Rebecca Romijn
Prof. Charles Xavier Patrick StewartCopyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times