With Bryan Singer busy reinventing Clark Kent, the onus was on Red Dragon director Brett Ratner and writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg to deliver the goods on what seems to be the final instalment of the X-Men series. Just like the previous episode, new mutants were added to up the ante and The Last Stand sees Kelsey Grammer's Hank 'Beast' McCoy, Vinnie Jones' 'Juggernaut' and Ben Foster's 'Angel' join the cannon of The X-Men and The Brotherhood alike. The story takes up where the last one left off - Scott (James Marsden), distraught after the death of Jean Grey (Famke Jansen), leaves Dr. Xavier's (Stewart) school to take some time out despite the protests from love rival Logan (Jackman).Near a secluded lake, he is overjoyed to find Grey emerging from the water but before he has time to ask any questions, Grey - corrupted by the all-consuming power of the Phoenix - kills him. Meanwhile, the government have invented a 'cure' for all mutants that will change them into normal mortals - something Magneto (McKellan) can't abide and does everything in his power to stop from happening. Enlisting the confused Grey into The Brotherhood, Magneto et al lay waste to everything in their path while the depleted X-Men band together for one last battle. This X-Men movie twists, turns and surprises so many times, it trips over itself in its attempt to tie up all the loose ends. Ratner keeps the kettle boiling throughout and gives almost every scene something special but he looks like he is trying too hard and tends to over-egg the pudding at times. The story, rather than following a straight narrative thread, seems to be manipulated to suit the already thought out action scenes and jumps from one sequence to the next while never giving the characters room to develop. We can spend hours raving about the top-notch special effects, the cool fight scenes and the excellent set-pieces but when you take a step back and see that Ratner's credits include Rush Hour I and II and the writers' CVs include The Fantastic Four, Mr and Mrs Smith and XXX, it's apparent that this is just another cold, soulless, in-house, Hollywood franchise popcorn fodder. But as cold, soulless, in-house, Hollywood franchise popcorn fodder goes, it's up there with the best - if you like that sort of thing.