Slate's Summary Judgment: 'X-Men: The Last Stand, 'An Inconvenient Truth'

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Movie fans who are heading to theaters this weekend might want to see the action film X-Men: The Last Stand. Then there's An Inconvenient Truth, former Vice President Al Gore's documentary about global warming. Slate contributor Mark Jordan Legan sums up what film critics are saying about this weekend's premieres.

ALEX CHADWICK, Host:

Okay, you can't get to Kurdistan this weekend to see what's showing, but we've got a roundup of what critics are saying about what is available for you in your neighborhood. Here's writer Mark Jordan Legan with Slate's Summary Judgment.

Mr. MARK JORDAN LEGAN (Movie Critic): With summer almost upon us, we have two very interesting releases this weekend, one a big studio franchise blockbuster, and the other a small political documentary about the environment. Guess which one Al Gore stars in?

Sorry, Al Gore is not one of the mutants in X-Men III: The Last Stand. The third installment of the popular film series based on the Marvel comic books is finally here. Only this time, the director of the first two, Bryan Singer, left to go make the new Superman movie. Self-professed comic book junkie Brett Ratner was then brought in to replace Singer on X-Men. Believe you me, at comic book stores and at Sci-Fi conventions, this was discussed and argued about more than the Iraq war. Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Patrick Stewart are just some of the returning stars.

(Soundbite of movie, "X-Men III: The Last Stand")

Sir IAN MCKELLEN (Actor): (As Magneto) We will strike with a vengeance and a fury that this world has never witnessed. And if any mutant stands in our way, we will use this poison against them! Nothing can stop us!

(Soundbite of crowd cheering)

Mr. LEGAN: The nation's critics are split on this superhero action flick. The Seattle Post-Intelligencer cheers that it still manages to be an eye-filling fantasy extravaganza and a big crowd pleaser. The Dallas Observer observes, if this really is the last stand, it's a stylish farewell indeed. But some of the detractors, like the Minneapolis Star Tribune complain, without the first film's textured relationships, the story becomes just another episode of orange fireball cinema. And many agree with the Miami Herald, which finds The Last Stand a disappointing chapter in what until now has been a highly entertaining, even thought-provoking series.

Next up, in limited release is the political documentary, An Inconvenient Truth. Directed by Davis Guggenheim, Al Gore leads a crusade to halt global warming.

(Soundbite of movie, "An Inconvenient Truth")

Mr. AL GORE (Former Vice President): I've seen scientists who were persecuted, deprived of jobs, income, simply because the facts they discovered led them to an inconvenient truth.

Mr. LEGAN: A few critics don't care for it. The Hollywood Reporter sniffs, the documentary is an act of political activism, simply a conduit for Gore's message. But overall the critics call An Inconvenient Truth powerful and important.

Newsday concedes, no great shakes is movie making, but it may just shake enough bean counters out of complacency to make a difference. The New York Times says: As unsettling as it can be, it is also intellectually exhilarating. And USA Today shouts, haunting and inspiring.

Hmmm. I wonder which one will make more money this weekend. I know, why don't we get the mutants from X-Men to team up with Al Gore to fight global warming? Can the former vice president and Wolverine stop fossil fuel fiend and the greenhouse gas gang from turning Alaska into a beach resort? Well, jump into your Hummer this summer and drive on down to the cineplex to find out.

(Soundbite of evil laughter)

CHADWICK: Mark Jordan Legan is a writer living in Los Angeles.

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