The conclusion to Marvel’s hugely successful comic book trilogy (although a Wolverine spin-off is also in the offing) sees Magneto (McKellen) waging war on humanity after a government lab develops a so-called “cure” to the mutant gene. Meanwhile, Jean Grey (Janssen) – who died in X2 – is brought back to life as omnipotent cosmic-temptress Dark Phoenix, a class five mutant (the most powerful imaginable) whose new superpowers have become a threat to everyone she encounters, particulary her former colleagues.
The final outing in the “X-Men” franchise is missing one crucial chromosome – Bryan Singer. The director of the first two films jumped ship to be replaced by Brett “Rush Hour” Ratner only 6 weeks before filming began and, sadly, it shows. The plot (which would be completely unintelligible to anyone new to the franchise) revolves around Jean’s resurrection, which is explained in one completely unsatisfactory throwaway line that casts a shadow over the rest of the story.
If that wasn't enough, Ratner struggles to accommodate the bloated cast in his narrative, with Rogue (Paquin) mysteriously disappearing after the hour mark and new character Angel taking up crucial time with a pointless sub-plot.
On its release, the general consensus of opinion was that this third X-Men outing was missing the odd chromosome in comparison to its predecessors, something this spectacularly comprehensive bonus features package could never be accused of.
Director Brett Ratner and writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg kick off with an entertaining talk-track, which is followed by over an hour of revealing featurettes from the cast, crew and even comic-book creator Stan Lee.
Other highlights include a wildly different alternative ending (one of 12 deleted scenes) featuring Rogue (Paquin), and a detailed deconstruction (“Anatomy Of A Scene”) of the spectacular Golden Gate Bridge action sequence.
Topping things off are some choice Easter Eggs, 40-minutes of behind-the-scenes production diaries from Ratner, and a shed load of vignettes on costume, makeup, and weapons.
Fortunately Kelsey Grammer’s “Beast” fares much better however, and Vinnie Jones injects some welcome humour with lines like “Don’t you know who I am? I’m The Juggernaut, bitch!” Watch out too for the emotional showdown between Jean and Xavier which is perhaps the best action set-piece of the series.
Overall, fans will probably come away happy but for any outsiders this third outing is closer to Vin Diesel’s xXx in quality than Singer’s brilliant X2.
Staring: Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Halle Berry, Kelsey Grammer, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Vinnie Jones
Directed by: Brett Ratner
Extras: Audio commentary, Deleted scenes (with optional audio commentary), 'X-Men: Evolution Of A Trilogy' featurette (43 mins), 'X-Men: The Excitement Continues' featurette (20 mins), 'X-Men Up Close' interactive gallery, 'Anatomy Of A Scene: The Golden Gate Bridge' featurette (12 mins), Pre-viz animatic gallery (24 mins), Brett Ratner's production diary (41 mins), Character stills gallery, Concept art gallery, Models galleries, Storyboards, Vignettes (25 mins), Blogs (14 mins), Easter Egg (hidden feaure), Trailers