Movie Title: X-Men: The Last Stand
Date Released: May 26, 2006
What’s It About? The third installment of the X-Men franchise is the final film of the original X-Men trilogy featuring the original lineup of mutants including Patrick Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellan as Magneto, and Halle Barry as Storm, among others. This time around, a “cure” for the mutant gene had been developed, and it has the mutants divided. While Magneto rallies the Brotherhood of Mutants to fight against the cure, which he believes will be forcefully used to exterminate the their race. Meanwhile, bigger problems arise in the form of Jean Grey, who has come back to life as the Phoenix, one of the most powerful and destructive mutants around. While Professor X initially keeps her subdued in his lab, she eventually awakens and reveals to Wolverine that she killed Scott Summers (aka Cyclops). Then, all hell breaks loose. In a confrontation at her home, Phoenix destroys Charles Xavier and leaves with Magneto, who tries to control her and bring her into the Brotherhood. He then continues to wage war against the human race to get rid of the cure and warns all other mutants to join him or stay out of his way. It all comes to a head in a giant superhero showdown. The X-Men work together to defeat Magneto by administering the mutant cure and stripping him of his powers. Wolverine ends up killing Jean, which is a little ironic since, during a moment of clarity upon initial waking, she begged him to kill her. Xavier’s school continues to stay open with some new mutant students and Wolverine as one of the teachers. The end? Not quite, there is a post-credits scene where Xavier seems to awaken in someone else’s body in the hospital. Good luck trying to explain that one in future sequels.
Is it any good? Not really. While it has some solid moments, it’s pretty messy, as most X-Men films are. Although I don’t trust Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer (It’s a long story), the movie sits at 58% fresh with an average rating of 5.9, so in this case it’s pretty spot on.
Does it hold up? From a technical standpoint, it does. The action sequences and effects are pretty well executed (which they should be considering the movie had a budget of $210 million). However, if we’re talking story? No, it doesn’t hold up. It wasn’t a good movie to begin with and the events of the previous film wiped this movie’s plots from the story’s existence.
Best part? I actually did enjoy some of the action sequences in this movie. The scene where Jean unleashes her powers and kills Xavier (Spoilers! I know, but hey, we’re 10 years out.) is probably the coolest scene. She lifts him out of his wheelchair and has him suspended in the air. At this moment, the action has really slowed down around the two. I’m sure that aspect had some influence on that Quicksilver scene from Days of Future Past that’s so amazing. Before disintegrating, Xavier tells Grey “Don’t let it control you” and then Wolverine and Magneto watch in disbelief as he is vanquished.
Worst part? “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” – Juggernaut. How this line of dialogue made it into the final cut of the movie amazes me. Not only is this the most comical line of the film, it also represents the point in which the entire X-Men franchise took a turn for the worst and began its fall into the abyss of forgettable superhero films.
Overall: Like most of the other X-men movies, it shows some potential, but eventually falls flat. Following X2, which most think is the best X-Men film (My vote goes to Days of Future Past), there was bound to be some drop off, but this was pretty bad. In the entire X-Men franchise, I’d rank this movie as the 2nd worst, ahead of only the pile of hot garbage that is X-Men: Origins-Wolverine. It didn’t help that the movie drew its sources from The Dark Phoenix Saga and Astonishing X-Men: Gifted and really wasted them. After all, there’s a reason they chose to reboot the franchise with the current trilogy that just wrapped up with X-Men: Apocalypse. By the end of this movie, Professor X, Cyclops, and Jean Grey are dead and Mystique, Magneto, and Rogue have lost their powers. Even in a time where we’re practically daring Marvel to kill off someone important in the MCU, it seems like an irreparable mistake was made in doing it here. It’s hard to imagine what other direction they were going to take to continue the franchise had they not rebooted with X-Men: First Class. All in all, I wouldn’t fault anyone for giving this movie a watch. There are definitely worse superhero movies out there.