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Tuesday, May 09, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand

Starring: Ian McKellen , Patrick Stewart , Hugh Jackman , Famke Janssen , Halle Berry , Kelsey Grammer , James Marsden , Vinnie Jones , Shohreh Aghdashloo


With the loss of director Bryan Singer and the addition of Kelsey 'Frasier' Grammer as a blue beast, how will the second X-sequel pan out?

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Along with 1998's Blade, 2000's X-Men was the film that really kicked off the current cycle of films based on comic book superheroes. Director Bryan Singer made the X-Men franchise very much his own by directing the first instalment, which proved that a smart, stylish and concise film could be realised from the enormous back catalogue of 'X-Men' comic books. He performed the same feat with 2003's sequel.

X2 ended with the apparent death of one of the key characters, Famke Janssen's Jean Grey, but also hinted at the future introduction of a storyline that was legendary among fans of the comics, that of the Dark Phoenix. All seemed to be going smoothly with Singer - then suddenly, in July 2004, everything changed. Singer signed with Warner Bros to direct a Superman film.

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Although he said he'd have been happy to remain involved with Fox as a producer on X3, it wasn't to be. He was out, taking Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris (who'd co-scripted X2), John Ottman (who'd scored and edited X2), Guy Dyas (X2 production designer) and Newton Thomas Sigel (the cinematographer who'd shot both X-films) with him to work on Superman Returns. Singer said, "I had a very strong vision for the next X-Men picture. But Superman has always been a dream of mine. Things weren't moving as quickly as... it was difficult. I love those actors and I have a strong relationship with the X-Men universe."

Fox and Marvel were left in something of a predicament, and, inevitably, the internet was soon awash with rumours. Among the liveliest ongoing sagas was that of whether Halle Berry would be back for more. The actress had been very vocal about her disappointment in the role played by her character, the weather-controlling X-Man Storm. Meanwhile, the franchise was spinning off in other directions, with proposed Magneto and Wolverine flicks (the latter has since been confirmed).

*Review by Film Review by Daniel Etherington,


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