X-Men: The Last Stand

§ May 30th, 2006 § Filed under Uncategorized Comments Off on X-Men: The Last Stand


Well, actually, all things considered…X-Men: The Last Stand was a perfectly watchable popcorn movie. It ain’t deep, it ain’t meaningful, but the film never drags its feet, Sir Ian McKellen (Magneto) and Hugh Jackman (that claw guy, whassisname) steal the show yet again, and overall, it’s more of an even film than the previous two efforts. It never quite reaches the heights of the best parts of the previous two installments, but then, there’s nothing in this movie that reaches the nadir of “Do you know what happens when a frog is hit by lightning?” Oh, and speaking of which, Halle Berry (Storm) even manages okay this time.

Anyway, I’m going to talk about specific elements of the movie, which will involve revealing big plot details, so SPOILER ALERT is in effect. When you next see a picture of Sir Ian striking yet another pose, the SPOILERS will be over.

Okay, ready? If you haven’t seen the movie, skip to the next pic of Sir Ian…last chance!


  • Okay, Stan Lee shows up in his required cameo early on, and, though the man has received some grief from me in the past, I did appreciate that X-writer Chris Claremont was given a cameo as well. I mean, the man has toiled in the X-Men mines for 30 years, surely this is the least they could do for him.
  • For a very, very brief moment, as the “In the not too-distant future” subtitle flashed on screen, and we went into the Sentinel battle sequence, I thought we were gonna see the “Days of Future Past” storyline. Yeah, I know, I wasn’t really expecting it, but there’s always that little fanboy voice in your head that whispers these things to you, and you can’t ignore it.
  • In the “works on paper, not in live action” department, we have a tie between the Colossus tossing Wolverine “fastball special” bit, and the “Angel flying” effects. Neither are terribly convincing.
  • Kelsey Grammer as the Beast worked better than I expected…I mean, he never looks like anything but a guy with a blue furry suit glued to him, but what the heck, it was close enough for horseshoes.
  • Is it just me, or did the sun come down awfully fast just before the climatic battle scene? Okay, it was about sundown as Magneto was hauling the bridge over to Alcatraz Island, but it seemed like it was still fairly bright out as the bridge dropped onto the island, and then it was suddenly pitch black as Magneto’s crew were disembarking.
  • Speaking of Magneto’s minions…okay, a while back I finally got around to watching Robocop 3 via the Netflix. In that film, there’s a wild street gang terrorizing the community…and of course, they’re dressed as stereotypical “punk rockers,” with Mohawks, leather, studs, oddly colored hair…you know, typical movie punkers. And as I was watching this, I thought briefly about how you don’t get enough of that kind of casting and costuming any more for your typical movie street gang…just dressing a bunch of extras up as what you think punk rockers look like and instructing them to act crazy and menacing.

    Well, it lives on in the new X-Men movie. Okay, it’s modernized slightly, with a lot more tattoos and piercings, but it’s basically the same thing. Look, I find my amusement where I can get it.

  • Rogue wasn’t so much a character this time around as she was a thematic plot device, demonstrating that while the threat of a “mutant cure” is held in low regard by most mutants, there may be actual cases where such a cure would be desirable. This grey area is barely touched on, and when it is it’s usually in the implied context of “Rogue, why would you want to cure yourself, even though your power basically cuts you off from any kind of human contact and clearly makes you miserable?” Of course, it’s all a moot point anyway, since the last pre-credits shot of the film seems to indicate that the cure is only temporary.
  • Yes, I said “the last pre-credits shot” since there is a coda at the very end, after the thanks to the caterers and the soundtrack album info. You know, I wish filmmakers wouldn’t do these, since, um, credits are a lot longer than they used to be.

    Anyway, I told you a couple days ago that some knucklehead started to blab about that ending…he didn’t give away the whole deal, but just mentioned the character involved. That was enough for me to figure out what that coda was going to be as soon as all the elements involved in that coda had appeared on screen.

    Grrrr…that dumb kid.

  • Famke Janssen looked very menacing as the out-of-control Phoenix, though she didn’t get to do much more than stand around as special effects swirled things around her. Still, there were some nice Phoenix visuals involved…and as for that character she killed off early on…well, we never did see a body, did we?
  • WOLVERINE: “Get everyone out of here…I’ll stop Phoenix, I’m the only one who can!”

    KITTY PRYDE: “Um, actually, this mutant kid we just rescued has the ability to strip away the powers of anyone in his proximity.”

    WOLVERINE: “What did you say? Couldn’t hear you, what with all the fighting.”

    KITTY: “Oh, nothing, nothing…you just go do what you do best. Good luck with that.”

    Okay, given that Phoenix was dissolving anyone who got to close too her, getting Leech near enough to effect her wasn’t likely…but still, I know you thought it too. DON’T DENY IT.

  • I knew from the moment they confronted each other on the street outside that clinic that we were going to get a Pyro versus Iceman battle, and I wasn’t disappointed. I even pictured the two of them, shooting their fire and ice powers at each other, with the “beams” colliding in the center, EQUALLY MATCHED. We did finally get an Iceman that was completely iced-up, like in the comics…not sure the effect was 100%, really, but I appreciated the effort.
  • I also liked seeing Jamie Maddrox, the Multiple Man, make an appearance, albeit as a bad guy. Makes me want to see a live-action version of Peter David’s X-Factor (not that I’m holding my breath). Juggernaut was silly but fun, Kitty Pryde finally gets some significant screen time, and Colossus was wisely kept underlit or in shadows (but we get a nice gag of an unarmored Colossus hauling a huge TV under one arm through the school halls).
  • Standout scenes: Wolverine attacking Magneto’s forest camp, Phoenix destroying her family home, Sir Ian McKellen doing purt’near anything. I particularly liked that McKellen’s Magneto expresses genuine shock and loss at the passing of his greatest rival.
  • Kind of a downbeat ending, with major characters having died, especially since the plan appears to be that this will be the last X-Men movie…though I wonder if the box office take will change that.


Man, Sir Ian had some great “I’m usin’ my powers” poses in this film.

So, to reiterate…perfectly fine ‘n’ brainless action movie. Maybe a few too many characters, and maybe not enough plot…but that even one watchable X-Men movie was done is nothing short of a miracle. That there were three X-movies that were reasonably entertaining…well, no one is more shocked than me.

But, really, let’s not have a fourth one. No reason to push our luck!

EDIT: SPOILERS in the comments section, too, just so you know.

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