As part of a promotional agreement with Dell, X-Men: The Last Stand has a 7-minute clip up for perusal. So I perused. With mixed emotions.

The first X3 teaser was, in my opinion, a red flag. Those sassy slo-mo’s, set to a dinky club beat? It compared unfavorably with the X2: X-Men United moody preview former director Bryan Singer set so smartly to Holst’s “Mars, Bringer of War.” But subsequent trailers have looked more promising. And now we get an extended cut: Whole scenes are represented here. The whole notion of a mutant “cure” (known as the Legacy Virus in the comic) is a powerful one, and the fact that it splits both factions of mutants down the middle feels emotionally honest.

I’m of two minds on the actual dramatic work. The paint isn’t quite dry on Kelsey Grammer’s furry blue Beast getup, but the gentle menace he manages to convey is palpable. The scene is his conversation with Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Storm (Halle Berry, above left), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, above right), and Rogue (Anna Paquin) about the “cure” and its ramifications for mutantkind. Beast (that’s Dr. Hank McCoy to civvies) works for the government in this version; he’s the secretary of mutant affairs, which accounts nicely for the oratorical Grammer-ian line delivery. (Ah, just what the X-Men need: bureaucracy.)

The scene felt a tad stagy to me, and the conversational rhythms and writing choices certainly differ from the style of the outgoing X-Men team (Singer, along with writers Dan Harris and Michael Dougherty), who left the franchise to work on Superman Returns). But there’s a lot of promise here. Ian McKellen’s Magneto still gives a great doomsday speech, and I’m glad to see Pyro (Aaron Stanford) has returned as his new minion. Spike and Quicksilver have also been added to the baddie camp. Toad appears to be alive, which puzzles me, since we watched him die in the first movie. And Angel (Ben Foster) still looks a lot better in flight than on the ground, emoting bare-chestedly. But these are quibbles.

The big un-reveal: The clip contains no Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). And thus, no Dark Phoenix, beyond a couple of quick shots. Ah, well. Guess I’ll click on one of these Dell links and find out if they can tell me why my last laptop mutated into a useless pile of crap.

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