Directed by: Brett Ratner. And this marks the last chapter of my foray into the X-world (other than prequels). Apparently fans and critics were split on this one, and director Brett Ratner, who took over from Bryan Singer for this last film, got a lot of shit. My first impression was that this was a perfectly enjoyable film, a perfectly acceptable third movie to cap off a film franchise like this. I was looking for what the fatal flaw must be that I’d heard about, and I couldn’t really see it. Ratner didn’t dumb anything down: this is still one of the smartest action movie franchises ever made, and definitely the smartest superhero adaptation I’ve seen. That storyline about a mutant cure—borrowed from Joss Whedon on the comics, but nevertheless—finds some way, with the indirection and distance afforded by fantasy and superhero mythology, to comment on some pretty poignant contemporary social issues. This has all been said before, but seriously, this beats the hell out of Spider-Man. What I love about this franchise, and it’s really exemplified in this film, is that you can’t really say that Magneto is a supervillain. The villains are really just mutants who approach this strange conundrum of their situation from a different, but perfectly understandable, viewpoint. And they do sort of nudge Magneto a bit in the direction of a man using these circumstances, paying lip service to these understandable arguments, in order to gain personal glory and megalomaniacal power. But in general, this film completely eschews any appeal to absolutes in good or evil. The “bad guys” all seem to be acting towards a cause that they feel is just and noble, however misguided. All of this stops short at the unfortunate depiction of Juggernaut by Vinnie Jones. I dig Juggernaut, I dig Vinnie Jones, but this looked very much like a “Let’s pile some new villains in there so that we can sell action figures” decision. And, okay, on second view, the dialogue in this film hits sort of a low point amongst the trilogy. But when you’re in the moment, and your IQ dips temporarily as you follow the fast-cutting narrative, this movie does the job just as well as anything.