Apparently that analogy I was handed about the end of Brett Ratner’s X-Men 3: The Last Stand (20th Century Fox, 5.26) being a bit like the finale of The Wild Bunch was not on the mark. Here’s what Maxim critic Pete Hammond says, having recently seen it at on the Fox lot: “While there’s a considerable amount of violence in the final battle scene plus a couple of others, it’s not of the Sam Peckinpah variety but more in line with what we’ve all come to expect from these films. What astounded me is apparently Fox is determined to end the series with this one. It’s flatly stated in the first line of the press notes: ‘….the climax of the X-Men motion picture trilogy.’ Apparently there will be spinoffs including a Magneto film (Ian McKellen, great here again and by the far the best thing in The DaVinci Code) movie that is listed as ‘announced’ on IMDB as is Wolverine for Jackman, but who knows? There are definitely some surprising twists in Brett Ratner’s film but perhaps the best of all is saved for absolute last in an end sequence after the final (endless) credits roll. Fox publicists told the handful of people at the screening to stay all the way through and it was worth it. (I’m usually the last person in the theatre when the lights come up.) I think Ratner put this last bit in there for the true fans. He’s done an excellent job taking over for Bryan Singer, keeping the humanity and tone of the first two and adding his own thing. The action scenes are dynamite. For me this was the best of the three films. It will be interesting to see the reaction when it screens on Monday in Cannes and at the all-media screening [in Los Angeles].”