X-Men: The Last Stand

Alt. Title for promo purposes: X3

Released May 26, 2006 in the United States

Review Synopsis a.k.a Giving Away The Game a.k.a. Enough Already

Okay. From the number of comments I have received cheerfully telling me I'm an idjit, I think I failed to make something clear (note that the original writeup began below this, where it helpfully says Review) Read this next paragraph carefully, because it's absolutely crucial to comprehending the remainder of this somewhat scattered review. Ready? Of course you are. Here we go.

This is a bad movie.

Yep. Keep this firmly in mind. Now, the next thing you'll have to remember before I get to actual information concerning the movie itself, is the following: that doesn't mean you can't enjoy it. I did. I don't know if it achieves true badflique status.


It seems the Thing To Do when discussing this movie is to stake out one's ground first, so let me do that. I like comic books. I like the X-Men. I in no way have read even a meaningful fraction of the X-Men series, much less its multiple spin-offs. Ergo, I have a tenuous at best grip on what can laughingly be called its 'continuity.' I liked the first X-Men movie, and wasn't so thrilled with X2. I think Bryan Singer is overrated by those who discuss his directing. I have no stake in how closely this movie licks Stan Lee's taint or follows panel 7426.49j of issue 4696 of spin-off 94-Zed Stroke 9. I paid my ten bucks expecting to be entertained, understanding that my brain was somewhat weaker even than normal given that it was a weekday midnight showing and that I was in a sold-out theater full of X-Men fanboy geeks including some wearing silver makeup and tinfoil and others wearing angel wings.

From what little I know, this movie takes the notion of continuity from the comic sense and laughs while wiping its ass with it. There's even holes when considered strictly as the third of three movies in a vacuum. Hell, there's holes in scene-to-scene continuity (famous one everyone's mentioning: It's midafternoon! *PULLBACK* It's night! Umm...) But like a magnificent drunk, the movie just stumbles with divine grace across these holes and somehow stays upright through momentum. It's a summer movie, for Gawd's sake, it's not supposed to make sense. There's actually a story of sorts in there; one that connects with the prior two movies, so in that we are lucky. Looked at with one eye closed and the other squinting, it looks almost like it was planned as the third movie in a trilogy. Almost.

There are noticeably more explosions, effects, ass-kickings, and moments of general mayhem than in the first two. Part of that no doubt reflects a higher budget, but part of it also reflects much less of a tendency to get angsty about the personal stresses of mutantdom. The stress is there and still plays a significant role in the story (if not the most critical!) but much less time is spent trying to coach marginal actors (or marginally direct good actors) into producing expressions of personal conflict underneath DRAMATIC MUSIC to display INNER TENSION. More time is spent having said characters display their Issues by blowing the ever-loving shit out of some piece of scenery or even (in this flick) some hapless homo sapiens or even mutant who happens to be in the way - which, really, is what it's all about.

All hail the pyrotechnics teams.

Okay, some minor spoilers below. Nothing you wouldn't get from a close examination of the trailer, I promise.


Still with me? Okay. Some pluses and minuses. Here's one of my biggest peeves - Nightcrawler does not appear anywhere in this film. Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot. He was perhaps my favorite mutant; I was ecstatic when he showed up in X2, and they even did it right, making him one of that movie's high points. For God's sake (heh) he even bamfed properly! Give those people cigars! And then...what? He's just not there. We don't even get a throwaway line explanation of what the hell happened to him. We even have a scene in an abandoned church! His stomping grounds! But nope. No Nightcrawler. POINTS DEDUCTED.

Ian McKellen is a splendid bastard. Truly he is. Despite wearing what looks like a padded vise around his head, his eyebrows manage to perform some 47 percent of the acting duties of the entire cast (it would be a higher figure, but he does have Patrick Stewart to contend with, who is not forced to glower out from behind immobile headgear). Watching him tailor his physical gestures (degree of exertion, type of motion) to his various Magneto exploits is a treat to behold. Finally, we get not one but at least two Magneto-vs.-Xavier debates-with-pointy-words-and-tone, and just being able to pull two actors of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen's caliber into the project pays rich dividends.

There were a great number of Inexcusable Movie Cliches, even for a comic book flick. Honestly. Helpless-housewife-locks-car-door-in-the-face-of-unimaginable-power. R. Lee Ermey's Drill Sergeant Voice. Jack-Ryan-Style Fake-IR-Satellite-Realtime-Video Taken-From-Ten-Feet-Up Live-In-The-White-House. A President who can only speak in overdramatic four-word-cliches. Sometimes the cliches even overrode the movie's sensibilities - for example, Magneto's army. Because the army is Bad Mutants, there's some reason that 95% of them have to look like Biker Gang rejects and be wearing clothes straight out of Deliverance. Uh, I call bullshit on this one. Eric Lensherr would not be delivering his speeches of self-defense and actualization to a bunch of intensely xenophobic backwoods types. He'd be able to find a bunch of self-interested as well as urbane revolutionaries who had a better place to hang out than behind Cousin Bob's Trailer.

More good-natured jokes about the outfits, which is good. Hank McCoy wearing his 'old' outfit and bitching about how it used to fit him was a good follow-on to 'You'd prefer yellow spandex?'

On the plus side as well, the storyline (cough) they chose fit in extremely well with Magneto's character and backstory; his motivations were completely believable, and his actions throughout were self-consistent and (mostly) understandable. The 'with us or against us' meme was developed well, and they didn't spend too much time (as I feel sure Singer would have) 'exploring the issues this would have raised among the Xavier community.' Nope, too busy with the asskicking and general Armageddon.

Technically, the movie was midrange even for a summer action flick. There were a lot of effects, but the CGI got fairly sloppy at times, especially at the end battle. Almost Lawnmower Man level in certain places, which made me shudder. It was inconsistent, though; some of it (Magneto and the Golden Gate) was awesome - I don't know if it reflected a budget disparity or just rushing in some parts to get it done. Jean Grey's dynamic makeup (CGI as well?) was good. We didn't see nearly as much of the Mansion this time, making it seem like less of a 'special place' - we saw some of the school part, but not a lot - and in fact the sets weren't all that great. They were fairly generic. I can't think of any that stand out.

The music was entirely forgettable. In fact, I'm fairly sure I've already forgotten it, except to note that there were several points when it seemed rather out of step with the action on the screen.

Final kvetch: there sure are an awful lot of mutants out there. Makes you wonder how Charles kept everything so quiet and why he even needed the Machine to find them if there were that many - even if they were mainly 'pawns' as Magneto put it.

Okay, done rambling. I enjoyed the flick, and will probably see it again. I liked the final scene; I thought it was the right 'comic book series' ending. It's much more of a comic book (singular) than the first two, which tried to 'distill' multiple comic books into a 'real movie'. This one is more of a comic book painted on screen, and I must guiltily admit that I really enjoy those. Oh, and advice: stay after the credits.

Select Commentary:

mkb says: NO BOOBIES? who cares then
A valid point. I never made this claim though. We do get a fully unclothed and un-Mystique-shifted Rebecca Romijn, for example. Who's to argue with that?!?!

Walter says: This movie was utterly terrible. Everything that happened was stupid and senseless and it was entirely devoid of character. You should feel guilty for enjoying it!
It's a summer blockbuster™. It's supposed to be terrible in many ways. I cheerfully accept this interpretation and offer, to both provide context and assist in further digging my own hole, the fact that I quite like Tank Girl and The Shadow.

X-Men: The Last Stand

Directed By: Brett Ratner
Screenplay By: Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn
Studio: Twentieth Century Fox (with Marvel Comics)

Abbreviated Cast

Professor X / Charles Xavier: Patrick Stewart
Magneto / Eric Lensherr: Sir Ian McKellen
Wolverine / Logan: Hugh Jackman
Storm / Ororo Munroe: Halle Berry
Jean Grey: Famke Janssen
Beast / Hank McCoy: Kelsey Grammer
Cyclops / Scott Summers: James Marsden
Rogue / Marie: Anna Paquin
Mystique / Raven Darkholme: Rebecca Romijn

(Rumor has it director Bryan Singer walked off the project after reading this, the first draft of the screenplay. Only the scenes which feature substantial variation from the finished shooting script have been excerpted here.)


XAVIER: Hello, Jean. You seem like a bright child. Tell us about yourself.

JEAN: Well, I immediately know what everyone around me is thinking, and I'm powerful enough to lift dozens of cars with my mind, so naturally, I'm very pissed off all the time.

XAVIER: Who wouldn't be. Can you fly?

JEAN: Of course. I just never feel like it.

MAGNETO: This girl's gonna go places, I can tell.


STORM: As your field leader, children, it is my responsibility to teach you tactical strategies and how best to effectively synthesize your various talents.

COLOSSUS: What's your first order?

STORM: Everyone run frantically in all directions! That should help.

ICEMAN: This is so much more educational than sitting in class could ever be.

KITTY: Bobby, let me hug you so that missile will pass right through you!

ICEMAN: Okay, but... wouldn't it pass right through me anyway, since this is the Danger Room?

KITTY: Mmmmaybe. But I like doing it this way, because you're all hot, I mean, warm.

ICEMAN: No, I'm not. My body temperature is minus ten degrees Celsius.

KITTY: Oh, you.

ICEMAN: Hey, I thought you were into Colossus.

KITTY: What? You must be thinking of some other Kitty Pryde from some comic-related book type thing that no one cares about.

ICEMAN: Okay, so say I were to have sex with you, and you kept phasing in and out. Would that be a plus, or... just weird?

KITTY: How do I know? What am I, Joss Whedon?

STORM: Children! This battle strategy is not succeeding as I had anticipated! We must adapt!

ROGUE: What should we do?

STORM: Everyone run frantically TOWARD the Sentinel! That should help.

ROGUE: I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Cyclops.

WOLVERINE: Teamwork is for sucks! I can totally handle my own film franchise! Watch as I hack the head off the Sentinel all by myself.

COLOSSUS: But... we couldn't watch. It happened offscreen.

WOLVERINE: Oh, too bad. Hey, unrelatedly, did you guys hear how many millions I got paid to be in this thing? Cigars, anyone?


TRASK: Mr. President, we've finally succeeded in capturing three of the most dangerous mutants in the country.

PRESIDENT: Excellent! Let's put them in a metal truck and send them right through where Magneto lives!

TRASK: Sir, are you sure that's wise?

PRESIDENT: Don't question my orders! I'M THE DECIDER!

TRASK: But why not just keep the prisoners locked up in our secure plastic prisons?

PRESIDENT: No. That's just what they'll be expecting us to do!

TRASK: I never thought I'd say this, but I miss Nightcrawler.

PRESIDENT: Looks like I picked the wrong week to quit sniffing glue!


WOLVERINE: Professor! Storm! Jean just tried to hump me! Clearly she's gone mad!

XAVIER: I always feared this day would come. She's become the Phoenix, a creature of unbridled joy, desire, and passion, and haunted house cliches!

WOLVERINE: Yeah, she made the drawers go in and out all by themselves!

XAVIER: Spoooooooky, wasn't it?

WOLVERINE: I think she killed Scott!

STORM: You think? Should we go look for him?

WOLVERINE: Why? I hate that dick.

STORM: Well I for one would like to be certain, if only because his leadership skills in the field trounce mine. If only we had some type of computer that could instantaneously locate any mutant on the planet!

XAVIER: We do. It's called Cerebro. It's down at the other end of the hall.

STORM: All the way down there? Forget it. Call the tombstone engravers!

XAVIER: Didn't you used to have a South African accent?

STORM: Maybe. I forget. I won an Oscar, you know.


XAVIER: Jean, please know that I never meant to harm or belittle you. Those mental blocks were simply my way of protecting you and everyone you loved from your spooooooky lamp hurling powers.

JEAN: You are too late, Professor, for I am now the Phoenix, a creature of unbridled joy, although I never smile, and desire, which is to sit alone in my parents' house, which I hated. Ultimate power RULES!

XAVIER: Please come back home, Jean. We need you for the third act. You're the only one powerful enough to fight Magneto.

MAGNETO: I resent that! I bet I can be taken out by people much weaker than her!

TATTOOED HO: It's true! She's the only CLASS FIVE mutant on the planet! Magneto's only a Class Four, with a plus three tenths armor modifier!

XAVIER: Where are you getting these arbitrary numbers from? Are we supposed to believe it's part of your power to know these things?

TATTOOED HO: No, I just got the trading card set from Topps.

XAVIER: Ah. Well, anyway, Jean, you see my point. With all that power, you should fight someone. Maybe a Sentinel. That reminds me: Did you kill Scott?

JEAN: Scott? The love of my life? Who can remember these things. All I know is that, as a creature of unbridled passion, I feel nothing and respond to nothing.

XAVIER: Oh, that's not true Jean. I'm sure you'd feel sad if I were to pass away.

JEAN: Hmm. Let's find out.

XAVIER: If you strike me down, I shall become more powerful than you can possibly imagine.

JEAN: I don't know, I can imagine quite a bit.

XAVIER: Fly, you fools!

MAGNETO: That's my line!

JEAN: Dust bunny power go!

WOLVERINE: Anyone else wanna roll that up in a cigar and see if it expands our mental powers? You know what I'm talkin' bout.

(The above scene is scratched out with a crayon and a note below it reads: "Too much talking! We should do it like Scanners, with staring! Scanners r00ld! -B. Rat.")


PYRO: You should have let me kill Xavier.

MAGNETO: You were his faithful student like two weeks ago.

PYRO: Clearly I've changed so much, sir. But there's one thing I don't understand.

JEAN: One thing...?

PYRO: Why are we hiding in the woods where your powers can't defend us? Couldn't you build us a giant castle in the mountains in like two minutes?

MAGNETO: I suppose so. But all these punk goth kids really like to camp out. Hey, unrelatedly, did you hear how many millions Halle Berry got paid to be in this thing?

JEAN: Magneto, you're only the leader because I let you be. I'm way more powerful than you. By a whole integer.

MAGNETO: Surely our goals our the same, Jean. We both want to destroy this "cure" for mutation.

JEAN: Actually, as a modern, resurrected, omnipotent woman, I support freedom of choice. So I'll just stand here with my mouth shut for the entire rest of the movie until all of you have been defeated.

MAGNETO: Didn't you used to have a cool flame effect in your eye? And a firebird corona? Do something. Come on.

JEAN: Not out here in the freakin' woods.

PYRO: That's what I'm saying. I just want a little wrist barbecue.

MAGNETO: I don't quite know what that means but I like the sound of it.


STORM: Well, that's it. Now that Xavier's dead, we must close the school.

WOLVERINE: Wait, what?

BEAST: But that's the last thing Xavier would have wanted. He always talked about his dream outliving himself. You just mentioned that in his eulogy.

STORM: But I'm too sexy to be in a wheelchair! I don't know what I'm saying!

ICEMAN: Besides, most of these kids have nowhere to go.

ANGEL: Hi, I just flew in from San Francisco, and boy are my wings tired! Do you guys have any shirts I could borrow? And cut big holes in?

STORM: That's it. We must reopen the school!

WOLVERINE: Wait, what?

BEAST: Thank God. That's a lot of paperwork I didn't want to do.


STORM: So, this is it. We prepare to make our Last Stand of the week... and we're down to only six of us.

WOLVERINE: What happened to Siryn and Jubilee and everybody else who didn't get a chance to be cool yet?

STORM: They went home. We closed the school, remember?

WOLVERINE: Wait, what?

BEAST: But Bobby, you said they had no homes to go to.

ICEMAN: So they're probably turning tricks for perverts in the city. How do I know? What am I, Grant Morrison?

WOLVERINE: Storm, when it comes to Jean, just don't...

STORM: You love her.

WOLVERINE: No, I just think she's a sweet piece of ass, but you're even crazier than she is, so it's kind of all I've got goin' for me right now.

STORM: Don't worry, I'll be getting beat up by the random tattooed ho with the DM Guide.

WOLVERINE: Thanks, Storm.


MAGNETO: See what I just did with the Golden Gate Bridge? Xavier always wanted me to build bridges, and I totally just did! Ha! Like a bridge over troubled water, I will smack thee down! Zing! My favorite film is Airplane! starring Lloyd Bridges!

PYRO: Sir, nothing about this plan makes sense. Why use the bridge when you could just float us all over by our belt buckles? If you're going to levitate something so massive, why not just use it to crush the facility and save us the fight? And ultimately, what good does it do to even come here when we know the government's got plenty of cure weapons stashed elsewhere?

MAGNETO: If you don't quiet down, boy, I'll quit buggering you.

PYRO: Sir, sorry sir.


R. LEE ERMEY: (over loudspeaker) Please turn in all metal weapons and pick up plastic weapons! Yee haw! Yer mother's a faggot!

SOLDIER 1: Is it really necessary to have that voice explaining what we're doing when any idiot can see what we're doing?

SOLDIER 2: Is it really necessary to even see us doing it, since in a few minutes, Magneto's gonna say out loud, "Hey, plastic!"

SOLDIER 1: What's important is that we question our orders, even if we still blindly follow them.


WOLVERINE: Any Sentinels out there?

BEAST: Nope.

WOLVERINE: Then I guess I don't feel like being a loose cannon anymore. So what are your orders, Storm?

STORM: Well, let's see. You and Colossus are totally useless against Magneto, and Kitty has no offensive capabilities whatsoever. So I say we all go stand between Magneto and his goal.

WOLVERINE: Wait, what?

BEAST: But surely we should have some type of strategy. Tell you what, make a downpour and Iceman can freeze it into a big impassable wall.

STORM: No, I like the standing thing. It feels important! Also, I have nice boobs.

BEAST: I never thought I'd say this, but I miss the Decider.

MAGNETO: Go get 'em, my fishnet clad pawns! Your deaths amuse me greatly!

PYRO: This really isn't the behavior I expected from a Holocaust survivor.

MAGNETO: Well, if we found them in a church, they can't be Jewish, so it's all good.

PYRO: Oh, you.

WOLVERINE: The best defense is a good offense! Possibly the converse is equally valid!

BEAST: I can't believe this! You people have trained together for years! Don't you have any way to coordinate your efforts beyond shouting generic action cliches?

WOLVERINE: Talk is cheap, when the going gets tough, bub!

BEAST: See, that's exactly what I'm talking about, when you - OW! My face! Who put that rake there?

MAGNETO: Ah, Wolverine. Once again I smell your lovely adamantium! When will you learn?

WOLVERINE: What doesn't kill me makes me stronger!

MAGNETO: OW! My chest! Who put those needles there?

BEAST: Didn't smell that coming, did you?

MAGNETO: Oddly, no. Very, very, oddly.

JEAN: Now that all my allies are dead or incapacitated, it's time for me to help them. Potpourri power go! Dustify my love!

WOLVERINE: Jean, please stop! We don't even know what you want! Except to make out with me! You did say that! Let's do that!

JEAN: Clearly I could destroy you anytime I wanted, but your walking against the wind schtick is so darling. I knew you could sing on Broadway, but I did not know you were a gifted mime.

WOLVERINE: Owwww... I didn't need that epidermis... No pain, no gain...

JEAN: Save me.

WOLVERINE: I'm the best there is at what I do. And what I do is stabbing.

JEAN: AGGGGH! I said SAVE me, you jerk!

WOLVERINE: But before you said to kill you! I thought it was like a secret code!

JEAN: I changed my mind! I'm very complicated!


STORM: Call the tombstone engravers!



XAVIER: Moira?

MOIRA: Charles?

XAVIER: Yes, it's me. I telepathically transferred myself into this body!

MOIRA: But... if you could do that, why not do it to Phoenix, to stop her?

XAVIER: Errrr... to be close to you?

MOIRA: But... if you wanted to please me, why didn't you transfer yourself into a non-crippled body years ago?

XAVIER: P.S. I'm gay.
Just saw my first must-see movie of 2006. And here’s what I thought


X-Men 3. Nope, I'm not referring to it by its real name. Because (A) I thought it was lame when they announced it and (B) My least favorite part of the movie makes it so there's really no Last Stand to speak of. Which is sad since it came right at the end and I thought everything else in the movie was sweet closure.

But I really liked it. I thought the conflict with the cure for mutants was really well done. It was something I believed would be the final straw for Magneto to start his brotherhood and thus, have the X-Men defend the fact that mutants had a choice if they wanted to be mutants or not (despite the initial claim of cowardice by Storm).

Sure, the politics and the characters have always been great in the series, but action sells. And it was damn fine again this time around. The Phoenix attack in Jean's childhood home, Wolverine's rampage in the woods, Magneto fucking TEARING cars apart, a Danger Room sequence (finally!), Juggernaut chasing Kitty Pryde, the entire Golden Gate Bridge sequence and Phoenix's farewell. All very well done.

As for the characters, I accept that there's a fine line between comic X-Men and movie X-Men. Cyclops was offed as if he was a bit-character. Why? Because he WAS a bit character in the movie series. A shame? Maybe? But it's not like they were going to suddenly build him up to be the Scott Summers he was on the page in the matter of one movie. I was glad for the storyline in which Rogue felt as if she had to, to use the corny tagline, take a stand for herself and give up her mutation to win Bobby Drake over for good. Rogue always did consider her ability to be a curse (with due cause), and she got to do something about it. Oh yeah, and Angel, while I found him cool looking, was underutilized and pointless. Still, him being in the movie made for the cool scene of him bursting out of the lab, refusing to be the first to be cured, but still, pointless to the greater plot of the movie.

Sure, the Phoenix Saga is classic on the page, but I knew they weren't going to have time to do Jason Wyngarde and Emma Frost and all that the same way they didn't have time to do the whole M'Kraan Crystal deal in X-Men 2 (again, no dumb official name please). And while I could've used maybe a LITTLE more time spent with Phoenix, I liked how they worked everything. My favorite tip of the cap to the Phoenix Saga in comic form was Phoenix holding back Scott's energy blasts and kissing him. All the movie needed was a simple Xavier explanation to Wolverine had all the info out there right quick. Let's face it, they'll never going to get all the details out there in the movies and they'll never be as pure as the comics were. But the X-Men movies have done a fine job given the challenge of translating the source material to the big screen, and the Phoenix Saga was no exception. It resulted in some real cool sequences and a finale to the character that I thought was absolute closure.

Ah yes, closure! I really liked all the other major character transformations. Why? Because it brought a sense of closure. Wolverine starring out in the distance of the Charles Xavier School for the Gifted, knowing the future that maybe more adventures might take place, but we'll probably never see them on the big screen. As that image played on the screen, I realized that the three movies had let me into a huge period of time within the adventures of the X-Men, and I enjoyed them all. Sure, there may be more adventures afterward, but I felt I had seen the best of them, and that it was soon to be closing time in the X-Men movie series. I felt satisfied with that.

The movie cuts to an urban park. We see Magneto: Powerless, sad, a portrait of a once-great man with a great power. Now: an average joe forced to begin rebuilding his life anew. He holds out his hand to try to manipulate metal as he once did...and fails. He hangs his head and the credits roll.

Oh, no. Wait, this is still Hollywood.

Yes, the fucking chess piece moves leaving the door wide open for a sequel.

And yes, after the credits, the coma-striken body turns to Moira MacTaggart and says "Hello Moira" in Xavier's voice. Thus kicking the door even further wide open.

I try not to let bad endings kill movies for me. And by no means did I let these brief moments in the very end and after the very end of the movie ruin what I thought was yet another solid X-Men installment. But why leave the door open? Especially when the movie had such a great sense of closure, with its huge circumstances, epic action sequences, massive moments that shifted (and sometimes ended) the lives of the characters and a fine finale. Why not leave well enough alone?

It's really too bad some suit and tie at 20th Century Fox had to stand up and say "Wait, what?! No! We need MORE X-Men movies after this! We need the bank!"

But hey, let’s just pretend a gust of wind caught that chess piece and that the whole “Hello Moira” bit was just a dream sequence on Moira's part. Because, besides those moments, the movie definitely delivered the goods to a big fan of the series.

Log in or register to write something here or to contact authors.