Should I Watch..? 'X-Men: The Last Stand'

Updated on August 12, 2019
Benjamin Cox profile image

Benjamin has been reviewing films for fifteen years and has seen more action movies than he should probably admit to!

Teaser poster
Teaser poster | Source

What's the big deal?

X-Men: The Last Stand is an action superhero film released in 2006 and is the third film in the X-Men series. Based on the Marvel comic characters of the same name created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the film follows the X-Men as a supposed 'cure' for mutants is discovered while Magneto finds a powerful new ally that could tip the forthcoming war between mankind and mutants in his favour. The film stars Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Kelsey Grammer and Rebecca Romijn and the film was directed by series newcomer Brett Ratner, replacing Bryan Singer. At the time the most expensive film ever made, the film received a mixed reception from critics who bemoaned the film's lack of emotional depth compared to the first two films. However, the film was still a hit with audiences with global takings in excess of $459 million and despite being hailed at the time as being the final film in the series, it would be followed by a prequel film X-Men Origins: Wolverine in 2009.

Watchable

3 stars for X-Men: The Last Stand

What's it about?

Based on Alcatraz, Worthington Labs announce that they have developed a powerful 'cure' that suppresses the genes that results in the various mutations seen around the world. Derived from a young mutant that inherently suppresses mutant powers, Worthington (whose own son is also a mutant) offers the 'cure' to all mutants but while some are interested, the villainous Magneto believes that humans will force the 'cure' on mutant-kind. He therefore decides to reform the Brotherhood of Mutants and prepares them for a war with humanity.

Meanwhile, Charles Xavier's School For The Gifted is still mourning the loss of Jean Grey. Her fiance, Scott Summers, heads out to her final resting place at Alkali Lake but is stunned to find Jean appearing to him in a vision. But this is not the Jean he knows and with Scott now in mortal danger, Professor X senses something very wrong. He summons Storm and Wolverine to the Mansion in order to investigate the appearance of possibly the most powerful mutant the world has ever seen, known as Phoenix...

Trailer

Main Cast

Actor
Role
Hugh Jackman
Logan / Wolverine
Ian McKellen
Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto
Halle Berry
Ororo Munroe / Storm
Famke Janssen
Jean Grey / Phoenix
Anna Paquin
Marie / Rogue
Kelsey Grammer
Hank McCoy / Beast
James Marsden
Scott Summers / Cyclops
Rebecca Romijn
Raven Darkhölme / Mystique
Shawn Ashmore
Bobby Drake / Iceman
Aaron Stanford
John Allerdyce / Pyro
Vinnie Jones
Cain Marko / Juggernaut
Patrick Stewart
Charles Xavier / Professor X
Ellen Page
Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat
Ben Foster
Warren Worthington III / Angel

Technical Info

Director
Brett Ratner
Screenplay
Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn*
Running Time
104 minutes
Release Date (UK)
25th May, 2006
Rating
12A
Genre
Action, Sci-Fi, Superhero
*based on characters created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby
Among the many criticisms levelled at the film was Jones as Juggernaut but only hardcore fans of the comics will care.
Among the many criticisms levelled at the film was Jones as Juggernaut but only hardcore fans of the comics will care. | Source

What's to like?

Despite coming two years before the official start of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) with Iron Man, X-Men: The Last Stand disproves the theory that all superhero films before 2008 were hopeless. The film is loaded with characters and subplots to satisfy the most rabid of comic readers as well as plenty of action sequences that are imaginative and different thanks to the sheer volume of powers on display. The cast are comfortable in their roles now with Jackman, Berry, Stewart, McKellen and Janssen feeling less like actors and more like old friends you haven't seen for a while. And thanks to high production values, costumes and effects are also first class - this film really feels like a living comic book.

The story is a little muddled, given that it merges two popular X-Men story-lines in one film but having said that, the narrative still feels strong and is handled well. I liked the concept of a 'cure' for mutant powers and whether this is a good or bad thing. For the most part, the film follows tried and tested tropes but The Last Stand throws a spanner in the works halfway through that casual fans might not be expecting. Personally, I wasn't that happy about it but I understand how these things work - superheroes never stay dead for long, do they?

Fun Facts

  • Singer left the series in order to direct another superhero film, Superman Returns. However, he later regretted the decision. At one point, Matthew Vaughn was hired to direct but left the project due to personal and professional reasons. However, Vinnie Jones being cast as Juggernaut was largely due to his long-time relationship with Vaughn.
  • Berry initially refused to return as Storm for this film after the lack of character development over the two previous films as well as a strained relationship with Bryan Singer. As a way of enticing her back, the script was changed to allow Storm to become the new leader of the X-Men as well as the change of director. Another factor was that Berry had suffered a catastrophic bomb in the shape of Catwoman.
  • The character of Collosus was originally planned to have a much larger role in the film including fights with both Juggernaut and Magneto. However, his role was almost entirely cut and he only pops up in the background in one scene. Instead of having CG animating him, a reflective body-suit was created for the actor (Daniel Cudmore) which was much cheaper.

What's not to like?

Quite why the decision was made to combine two X-Men stories into one film, I'm unsure because the film never really explores the issues presented in a smart and intelligent way that we saw in both X-Men and X-Men 2. This isn't too much of a shock as Ratner is more of an action director than anything else. And while the film's action scenes match anything seen in the first two films, the lack of character progression and actual story telling is disappointing. To be honest, this is the film's biggest problem - being the problematic "third album" in a series. Compared to the first two films, The Last Stand is noticeably not as good but it is far from the lowest the series would fall. Yet it's this film that seems to attract the most criticism and personally, I don't believe all of it is warranted.

It does make mistakes from the casting of Jones as the unstoppable Juggernaut to the inconsistent narrative that switches from one story to another. It tries to match the seriousness and depth of the earlier films but ultimately, it just wants to have a massive battle with almost every mutant you've ever seen and possibly some you haven't seen before. And it feels like a weak pay-off from a series that had promised so much. I kinda feel sorry for this film - it isn't a total dud and it certainly doesn't deserve to be the recipient of so much hate. It just lacks a little of the magic of the first two films and suffers as a result.

The film shifts its focus from Jackman's Wolverine (right) to Janssen's Jean Grey (centre) which also might not sit well with fans used to the angriest Canadian in the world.
The film shifts its focus from Jackman's Wolverine (right) to Janssen's Jean Grey (centre) which also might not sit well with fans used to the angriest Canadian in the world. | Source

Should I watch it?

Like so many third films in a trilogy, X-Men: The Last Stand suffers in comparison to what had gone before it - and also isn't the final film in the series. It has decent action, decent production values and a wealth of characters for fans to keep their eyes open for. But it is a step back for the pioneering first two films which is a shame. The film's legacy is not in its quality but in convincing Marvel that big-budget superhero films could work and be profitable. Would the MCU have appeared were it not for films like this?

Great For: casual X-Men fans, action junkies, people who have seen the first two films

Not So Great For: hardcore X-Men fans, overly serious geeks, convention attendees, cos-players, considered opinions

What else should I watch?

Of course, people coming across this film for the first time will already be familiar with both X-Men and X-Men 2, two of the finest pre-MCU films in history along with Spider-Man 2. But the series would really suffer after this film's somewhat apocalyptic climax, forcing producers into attempting to make prequels. The first of these, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, was a disaster as it never really told a decent story and worse still, it completely ruined what should have been the first blockbusting appearance of Deadpool on screen. No wonder the actor saddled with the role, Ryan Reynolds, took his time to rescue the character and successfully revived him in his own Deadpool movie.

The X-Men themselves wouldn't return until 2011 with X-Men: First Class which introduced a new set of actors cast as familiar characters as well as serving as the start of a new continuity. Being far more entertaining than it had any right to be, the film served up the ultimate X-Men movie with Days Of Future Past which combined both old and new cast in a time-travelling epic that saw Wolverine going back in time to help save the X-Men from giant murderous robots. This new cast continues to deliver X-Men movies and look as though they might for some time. Unfortunately for Jackman, his tenure as Wolverine ended in 2017 with the highly acclaimed Logan.

Questions & Answers

    © 2019 Benjamin Cox

    Soap Box

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment
      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 weeks ago

        I heard that one was terrible too... That's what I heard about the Matrix sequels and I ended up liking them, so I will check that one out one day.

      • Benjamin Cox profile imageAUTHOR

        Benjamin Cox 

        2 weeks ago from Norfolk, UK

        It's been the victim of history, unfortunately. But it's nowhere near as bad as X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

      • profile image

        Michael115 

        2 weeks ago

        I remember liking this movie when it first came out. Heard nothing but terrible things about it ever since. Might give it a watch to see if it still holds up!

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, reelrundown.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://reelrundown.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)
      ClickscoThis is a data management platform studying reader behavior (Privacy Policy)