‘X-MEN: THE LAST STAND’
Please feel free to comment on my review.
Dark Phoenix and the Procurement of the Cure
Is this really the X-Men’s last stand? 😐
It’s time to take a look at the third ‘X-Men’ film in the ‘X-Men’ film series by 20th Century Fox called ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’! I saw this film at the cinema when it came out in 2006. It’s regarded as one of the most hated ‘X-Men’ films in the series by critics, fans and audiences when it gets talked about.
Me personally, I have mixed feelings about this movie. On the one hand, I can appreciate why lots of people don’t like this film. I mean, I didn’t like it when Professor Xavier got killed off half-way in the film and there were some character plotlines undeveloped e.g. Jean Grey and the Dark Phoenix plot.
But on the other hand, there are good things to say about this movie. I liked the storyline about the so-called ‘cure’ meant to allow mutants to fit in with human society whilst causing a lot of controversy among humans and mutants. It has too much focus, but I still appreciate the storyline. 🙂
I like how the film addresses certain questions about whether it’s right for someone to fit into normal society by taking the cure or whether the person is simply a coward for not embracing his or her identity. You could say it’s how certain people handle their own sexuality within modern society.
The issues of racial cleansing and prejudice are still prevalent and it’s echoed throughout what is considered to be the ‘X-Men’ trilogy featuring the first ‘X-Men’ film, ‘X-Men 2’ and ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. Mind you, that still does not mean the third ‘X-Men’ film avoids itself from becoming a mess.
‘The Last Stand’ was directed by Brett Ratner instead of Bryan Singer who directed the first two ‘X-Men’ films! Bryan Singer bowed out from directing the third ‘X-Men’ film since he wanted to do ‘Superman Returns’ instead. I still wish that Bryan Singer was put in charge of the entire ‘X-Men’ film series here. 😦
And judging by how ‘Superman Returns’ turned out; his endeavours to do his own take on Superman weren’t that successful. Now that’s not to say Brett Ratner is a terribly bad director for ‘The Last Stand’. On the contrary, I feel he does do a decent job in delivering the film’s action and story well. 🙂
But with a change of director in a film series, you’re bound to have a lot of inconsistencies when the new director doesn’t exactly carry forward the original vision the first director had. Now this doesn’t happen in every film series. The ‘Star Trek’ films have done reasonably well with changes of director.
You could also say the same thing about the original ‘Star Wars’ trilogy. But with so many characters to contend with and not having enough time to spend with them, it’s going to hard to balance what ‘X-Men’ fans want to see out from these movies as opposed to what the director wants to deliver. 😐
I should also note ‘The Last Stand’ is shorter compared to the second ‘X-Men’ movie. ‘X-Men 2’ was about 2 hours 44 minutes whereas ‘The Last Stand’ is about 1 hour 44 minutes. How come this third film wasn’t longer than the second film? And I know some scenes were deleted from the original cut.
‘The Last Stand’ has Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry as two top stars of the ‘X-Men’ cast, which is fascinating to spot! They’re joined by Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones and Patrick Stewart.
I did have this film one time as a 2-disc DVD set for Christmas 2006. I currently own the film in an ‘X-Men’ 8-film DVD collection. I should also mention that I did see this film more than once at the cinema. This was at a time when I was pretty hyped for any movies at cinemas whether good or bad.
You could say that ‘The Last Stand’ suffers similar problems that ‘Spider-Man 3’ had in that it had too many characters to contend with. But like ‘Spider-Man 3’, I feel the story was solid enough in order to appreciate ‘The Last Stand’ more. This is unlike some of the recent superhero movies I’ve seen. 😐
Maybe it’s because I’ve grown older over the years and I’m appreciating the films I used to watch in my teens more than how I currently see films in my adult years, due to my nostalgia. I’d like to think I can see ‘The Last Stand’ in a better light compared to how others viewed this film when they saw it.
Hugh Jackman returns as Logan/Wolverine in this film. I like how Logan’s journey in the ‘X-Men’ movies has progressed by this point. At the start, he was a loner and not really wanting to be involved with the X-Men. At the end of this film, he’s considered himself a major team player here. 🙂
In fact, you could say this film explores more of Logan’s leadership skills. This is when he and Storm have to lead the X-Men to fight the Brotherhood of Mutants on Alcatraz Island in the film’s exciting climax. He’s clearly a reluctant leader to begin with, but he does demonstrate those skills really well.
It’s also intriguing how Logan’s love for Jean Grey gets developed when she’s resurrected from the dead and she becomes the Dark Phoenix. Logan struggles to accept the fact that Jean has become a terrifying monster, but he will in the end have to find a way to stop Jean from causing a lot of chaos.
Halle Berry returns to play Ororo Munroe/Storm in the film. I did find Storm’s role in the first two ‘X-Men’ films criminally underused, which is odd considering she had a higher cast billing than Famke Janssen and James Marsden. Here, Storm comes up trumps as being a better developed character. 🙂
Storm takes her leadership role more seriously than Logan. It’s intriguing to see how she’s against the cure being used but still fights against the aggression caused by Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants. It’s also good to see how Storm interacts with Logan more compared to the first two films.
The film could have easily had Wolverine and Storm ending up being a couple as Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry’s top cast billing may have implied. I’ve also heard Wolverine and Storm became a couple in the ‘X-Men’ comics. It didn’t turn out that way however. Storm also has a cool haircut for this film.
Ian McKellen returns as Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in the film. Once again, Ian McKellen delivers another great villainous performance as Magneto and does sort-of steal the show. I enjoyed how Magneto reacted to the threat of a mutant cure and is determined to stop humanity’s endeavours. 🙂
Magneto does get to have some cool action scenes such as sorting out a police convoy with Mystique inside, using his metal-controlling powers. He also lifts the Golden Gate Bridge to get to Alcatraz Island which is still impressive even to this day. Magneto does get his comeuppance though.
Famke Janssen returns as Jean Grey who died in the second film and has come back to life as the Phoenix…or the Dark Phoenix. Whilst Famke delivers a great performance as Jean/Phoenix, I’m disappointed her character wasn’t developed enough upon resurrection as I was hoping it would be.
It would have been great if we explored the psychological aspects of Jean’s character in how her conscious self as Jean wrestled with her subconscious self as the Phoenix. But with the cure storyline overtaking the film, the Dark Phoenix storyline isn’t as enhanced in ‘The Last Stand’ as we would like.
Jean as the Phoenix however is terrifying when she uses her powers with killing people; destroying things and…
…AARH!!! THAT SCARY FACE!!! JEAN GREY IS GOING TO EAT MY SOUL!!!!!
Err…anyway, Anne Paquin returns as Marie/Rogue in the film. I found Rogue’s story in ‘The Last Stand’ rather disappointing. Whilst I understand Rogue wanting to have the cure and being able to touch people and not kill them, I couldn’t help feel her decision to have the cure felt rather wrong. 😦
This is ironic considering there was an alternative scene where Rogue decided not to have the cure when she returned to Bobby in the X-Mansion. I think that alternative scene should have been used instead of the scene where Rogue did have the cure. Also, Rogue doesn’t have many action scenes.
This film introduces Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast. Kelsey Grammer is well-known for playing Dr. Frasier Crane in ‘Cheers’ as well as his spin-off show ‘Frasier’. He also worked with Patrick Stewart in the ‘TNG’ episode called ‘Cause and Effect’ and voiced Stinky Pete in ‘Toy Story 2’.
I greatly enjoyed Kelsey’s performance as Beast and it was funny to see him be a member of the U.S. Cabinet whilst being blue furry-skinned and all that. As Hank, he can be very diplomatic and gentle. When out on the battlefield as Beast, he can be pretty aggressive in fighting against Magneto’s lot. 🙂
James Marsden returns as Scott Summers/Cyclops. Now, you know when Cyclops had less screen-time in ‘X-Men 2’? Well, it gets worse here since once he reunites with Jean Grey who comes up out of the water of Alkali Lake, they have their kiss but he gets instantly killed by her through that kiss. 😮
Like Professor Xavier, I was expecting Cyclops to come back at some point after he had been killed by Jean. But it didn’t happen. How come Cyclops gets less development in these ‘X-Men’ films than say perhaps the comics or the cartoon TV show? Did people hate Cyclops in the comics and the cartoon?
Rebecca Romijn returns as Mystique…also known as Raven Darkhölme as it is revealed in the film. Early on, Mystique gets to have action scenes when tackling guards who try to interrogate her. Her racism towards humanity comes to the fore as well. She is loyal to Magneto who comes to save her.
Unfortunately, Mystique jumps in front of cure darts intended for Magneto. She ends up losing her mutant powers and becomes a naked woman on the floor of the convoy truck. It’s an effective scene as Magneto tells her she isn’t one of them anymore. At least give her a blanket to keep her warm. 😐
Timelord007 stares, entranced.
(shouts) Timelord, stop drooling at Rebecca Romijn’s naked body on the floor!
Tim claps his hands. Timelord007 snaps out of it.
Timelord007: “Mystique, my dear! You must feel cold! Please allow me to warm you up via my survival training procedure of shared bodily warmth!”
This film also features the return of Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman. I like how Bobby has developed in these ‘X-Men’ films. He started being a nice boy in the first ‘X-Men’ film before he becomes a proper ‘X-Men’ team player. He becomes more confident using his ice powers in battle. 🙂
It was interesting to see the tension in his relationship with Rogue, especially when he seemed to start showing interest in fellow mutant Kitty Pryde. Bobby also finds himself up against his old friend John/Pyro who wants to start a fight with him. They both have their showdown during the climax. 😐
Aaron Stanford returns as John Allerdyce/Pyro in the film. Pyro has become Magneto’s loyal aide in the third film and takes over from Mystique. He’s clearly without morals and wants humanity to suffer under mutant thumbs. He also holds a grudge against Bobby since he left during ‘X-Men 2’. 😐
It would be interesting if we explored more of John/Pyro’s anger towards humanity and why he decided to abandon Xavier’s School for Gifted Mutants and join Magneto’s Brotherhood. Sadly in both ‘X-Men 2’ and ‘The Last Stand’, I don’t feel the opportunity for character development is given.
The film also introduces us to… (sighs) Vinnie Jones as Cain Marko a.k.a. the Juggernaut. (groans) Vinnie Jones as the Juggernaut. This is probably what lets the film down for me as I expected the Juggernaut to be a hulking mutant who had uncontrollable anger issues when busting through walls.
Instead, he ended up being an annoyingly British-sounding muscle man who had terrible dialogue to say and he didn’t sound intimidating when I saw him on the big screen. He could have roared out his dialogue instead of speaking softly when he did. It was such a disappointment when I saw him here.
And then there’s this line of dialogue.
Juggernaut: “I’M THE JUGGERNAUT, BITCH!!!”
Patrick Stewart returns as Professor Charles Xavier in the film. As much as I like Patrick Stewart’s performances in these ‘X-Men’ films and he is given some good scenes here, like with Cyclops, Xavier has been criminally underused. And it gets worse when Xavier was actually killed off by Jean Grey. 😦
I wish Xavier hadn’t been killed off as I really like Patrick Stewart playing the character. Couldn’t he have stayed on for the rest of the film? Did the filmmakers not know how to develop Xavier’s character? Mind you, Xavier might not be dead after all which I’ll get onto by the end of this review.
The film introduces Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, a character who was portrayed by different actresses in the past. 😀 I like Kitty Pryde’s character and I sometimes wish she ended up being Bobby’s boyfriend instead of Rogue. Kitty too joins in on the X-Men team fighting in the battle for the cure. 🙂
There’s also Daniel Cudmore as Peter Rasputin/Colossus, who previously appeared in the second ‘X-Men’ film. Colossus gets to be an active member of the X-Men team, but we don’t really know much about him. Apart from throwing Wolverine around, he doesn’t have much in terms of dialogue here.
There’s Ben Foster as Warren Worthington III a.k.a. Angel…or is it Archangel, who has feathered wings. Despite getting some dialogue, Warren’s character isn’t that well-developed either. Incidentally, Cayden Boyd who played young Angel was in the Robert Rodrigeuz’s film ‘The Adventures of Sharkboy and Lavagirl’. 😀
Michael Murphy stars as Warren Worthington II, Angel’s father who develops the mutant cure at Worthington Labs on Alcatraz Island. It was intriguing to see the father/son relationship where the father wanted his son to be cured of his mutant wings, but the son was afraid to have that injection.
There’s also Shohreh Aghdashloo (who was in ‘The Nativity Story’ 2006 film and ‘Star Trek Beyond’) as Dr. Kavita Rao, who assists Angel’s father to procure the mutant cure in the film. It was a shock when Dr. Rao got killed by Kid Omega’s spikes whilst he and the Omegas took away Angel’s father. 😐
The Omegas are a group of mutants who join Magneto’s Brotherhood in the film. There’s their leader – Dania Ramirez as Callisto, who can sense other mutants and has superhuman speed. There’s also Meiling Melançon as Psylocke, Omahydra Mota as Arclight and Ken Leung as Kid Omega.
There’s Josef Sommer as the new President of the United States and Bill Duke as Trask, the head of the Department of Homeland Security. It was intriguing to see a different President in the third ‘X-Men’ film compared to the second film and the new President seemed to be friends with Beast here.
Another new member of Magneto’s Brotherhood is Eric Dane as Jamie Madrox/Multiple Man, who’s like in only two scenes of the film. There’s also Cameron Bridge as Jimmy, a mutant boy who has the ability to neutralise the powers of any mutant in close proximity to him and is the key to the cure. 😐
Kea Wong reprises his role of Jubilee in a cameo and there’s Olivia Williams who plays Moira MacTaggert, an old friend of Charles Xavier’s. Like many characters, we don’t get to see enough of Jubilee and Moira MacTaggert. Stan Lee also makes a cameo in the film’s opening sequence here. 😀
I enjoyed the Danger Room sequence at the beginning of the film. When it turned out to be a holographic simulation like a holodeck in ‘Star Trek’, I couldn’t help but smile. After seeing quite a number of ‘Star Trek’ episodes especially with Patrick Stewart, it just felt very surreal to watch here.
The action set-pieces are pretty good, especially in terms of the climax when the X-Men fought against the many mutants of Magneto’s Brotherhood to defend Worthington Lab on Alcatraz Island. I did feel a sense of thrills when watching the X-Men defending humanity against the evil mutants. 🙂
I quite liked it when the human soldiers used plastic weapons to prevent Magneto using his metal manipulation powers at them. Magneto could see that the human have learned when Magneto is able to control metal. It doesn’t do them any favours though once the evil mutants overpower them.
I was disappointed with how the film concluded since Wolverine killed Jean Grey during her Phoenix madness at the end. This is especially considering Jean had been brought back to life only to be killed again. I was wishing that these ‘X-Men’ films didn’t end on so many downbeat notes by this point. 😐
Magneto was also stabbed with cure darts by Beast, which I thought was clever in how Wolverine distracted him in order to be able to do that. But it seems that the cure might not have worked for Magneto especially when the film ends with his hand over a metal chess piece that wobbles slightly.
There’s also a post-credits scene where Moira MacTaggert attends to a comatose patient and he greets her with Xavier’s voice, leaving her startled. I wonder how that was possible considering Xavier was clearly obliterated by Jean Grey in the film. I don’t think it’s ever explained in future films.
On the 2-disc DVD release of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’, the DVD special features are as follows. On Disc 1, you’re given the choice to Join the Brotherhood or Take a Stand. This means there are two menu options – where you can join the Brotherhood of Mutants or the X-Men team. On the Take a Stand option, there’s a DVD audio commentary with director Brett Ratner and writers Zak Penn and Simon Kinberg. On the Join the Brotherhood option, there’s a DVD audio commentary with producers Avi Arad, Lauren Shuller Donner and Ralph Winter. On both menu options, there are two sets of deleted scenes from the film to enjoy. There are also two Easter Eggs to enjoy. There’s also an inside look into ‘The Simpsons Movie’ featuring Homer Simpson, which I found funny when I watched it. 😀
On Disc 2, there are documentaries including ‘Brett Ratner’s X-Diaries’, ‘X-Men: Evolution of a Trilogy’ and ‘X3: The Excitement Continues’. There are featurettes including ‘X-Men Up Close’ and ‘Anatomy of a Scene: Golden Gate Bridge’. There are pre-viz animatics and there are vignettes including ‘Prophecies’, ‘X-Men Politics’, ‘Clothing vs. Costume’, ‘Make-Up Chair Confessions’, ‘Weapons of Choice’, ‘On Set Effects’ and ‘Learning to Fly’. There are blogs including a production teaser, ‘Live From The Danger Room’, ‘Marvellous Cameos’ and ‘Editing Magic’. There are galleries including character stills, concept art, storyboards and models; and there are three theatrical trailers for the film.
‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ can be argued as a mess of a film, especially with the shorter run time and enough to develop character storylines such as the Dark Phoenix plot and how Xavier, Cyclops and Jean Grey got killed off in the film. But there are good things to take away from watching this film. 🙂
It’s a shame this film didn’t live up to its full potential and I was hoping that the disappointment would be made up for in a fourth ‘X-Men’ movie. Sadly that didn’t happen as the ‘X-Men’ film series moved into more prequel territory. And as it turned out, it didn’t quite start on a really thrilling note.
‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ rating – 7/10
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