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Vault Movie Review: "X-Men: The Last Stand"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

Theatrical Release: 5/26/2006

Theatrical Release: 5/26/2006

Synopsis

The tragic death of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) shook the X-Men. Unfortunately, the X-Men do not have much time to mourn, as there have been developments in the already tense relationship between humans and mutants. A group of scientists have developed a cure for the mutant gene. They claim they only intend to give the cure to mutants who choose to receive it, but there are many in the mutant community that foresee humans imposing their cure by force, in which they could eliminate mutants' abilities and put an end to mutants once and for all.

Some mutants have powers that have ruined their lives, so they see the cure as the answer to all their problems. Other mutants—like most of the X-Men—see the cure as a viable option for those with powers that make life difficult, but they do not see humanity forcing it upon them and they do not want it for themselves. The rest of the mutants—like Magneto (Ian McKellen) and his Brotherhood of Mutants—think it is only a matter of time before humans force the cure on them, and these mutants will stop at nothing to stop the cure from seeing the light of day. The cure has become a hot topic for mutants across the world, and it seems to have brought the potential war between humans and mutants to its boiling point. Amidst all of this tension, Jean Grey has miraculously returned, but she is not the same woman she was before the incident. There is now a powerful, dark, unstable force within her, and it is a force that Professor X fears immensely.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

Wolverine, Jean, and Professor X (+5pts)

Rogue & The Cure (-4pts)

Beast, Kitty, and the Juggernaut (+3pts)

Magneto’s Plan The Mutant Army (-6pts)

Ice Man, Pyro, and the Climax (+5pts)

Dark Phoenix (-6pts)

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Pro: Wolverine, Jean, and Professor X (+5pts)

I did not like the storyline between Logan and Jean in the last movie, but I liked it here. Jean was back, but she was very much not herself. She was dangerous, and as a result, Professor X wanted to control her. She was powerful, and as a result, Magneto wanted to use her as a weapon. Logan seemed to be the only one looking out for Jean, or at least it felt like that to him. It made his connection to Jean interesting, because as powerful and destructive as she was, Logan never gave up hope, right up until the very end.

Then there was Professor X, whose plans for Jean seemed controlling and manipulative on the surface, but he knew how powerful she was, he knew what dark persona was within her, and he knew it would be in everyone’s best interest—including Jean’s—if he did what he was trying to do. This made Professor X’s story interesting, because in order to save Jean, he had to manipulate Jean. It was an ends justifying the means storyline, but he was very much in the right in this scenario. This storyline was a tragic one, it was an interesting one, and this movie could have been really impactful if the whole mutant cure thing was taken out of the movie so that this storyline could have received more development.

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Con: Rogue & The Cure (-4pts)

Once again, Rogue (Anna Paquin) was a disappointing character. In the first movie, she was a typical damsel in distress. In the second movie, she was kind of around the whole time, but she did not really contribute anything. In this movie, she was not even around. She was just a jealous girlfriend, and she stayed on the sidelines the whole time, never really doing anything. The only part of her story that could have been interesting was that she was one of the few mutants at Xavier’s Institute who wanted to get rid of her powers, but the character was so inconsequential that I did not really care whether or not she did.

My problem with the cure was that the filmmakers made it out to be this great big threat against mutants, but it never risked the lives of any mutants. There was also no reason to believe humans would use it for anything but defensive, punitive, or voluntary purposes, despite Magneto’s soap box speeches. Using it for those reasons should not have been at all divisive, but the filmmakers made it out to be this controversial, political issue, and I did not buy it. Basically, Magneto and the bad mutants were just upset because there would be real consequences for using their powers to do bad things, but the filmmakers tried to make the whole issue more complex than it was. The cure also seemed to come out of nowhere, as it was never even hinted at in any of the other movies. Ultimately, it was a mediocre idea for this movie at best, and I did not think the filmmakers executed that idea very well.

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Pro: Beast, Kitty, and the Juggernaut (+3pts)

While none of these characters got that much character development, I liked seeing what little story we got for each of them, and I liked seeing each of them using their powers. Kelsey Grammer as Beast was an interesting choice, but he did well in the part, and I liked seeing the Beast action that we got in the climax of the movie. I also liked Kitty Pride (Elliot Page), even though her story was nothing special. She was in a fairly underdeveloped love triangle with Bobby (Shawn Ashmore) and Rogue, but I liked seeing how she used her powers, especially during the climax of the movie. Then there was the Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) who looked kind of weird, but he was a powerful and formidable antagonist for the X-Men to go up against, and his personality was pretty amusing. None of these characters were enough to entirely make up for this movie‘s problems, but they certainly made this movie a little better.

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Con: Magneto’s Plan The Mutant Army (-6pts)

Magneto’s plan really did not make any sense. There was no real reason to believe mankind would use the cure as a weapon in a war against mutants. Let us, however, assume he was lying about everything he said and that he just wanted to use fear to get other mutants to fight in his war. Even then, Magneto’s plan made no sense. Even if humans did not plan on using the cure as a weapon, Magneto’s plan could very well have provoked humans to do just that. Then, even if Magneto succeeded in his mission, were we supposed to believe the scientists would not have digitally backed up the recipe for their cure? Magneto’s plan may seem like it made sense on the surface, but as soon as you start thinking about it, it becomes clear that the filmmakers did not think it through.

Then there was the mutant army. It was kind of dumb how many of their mutants there were. It made it seem like mutants were not nearly the minority that the last two movies made them out to be. It made the mutant population seem abundant, which made the main characters feel far less unique. Then the climax finally came and the filmmakers dialed the abilities of the mutant army down to zero, so that it seemed like the X-Men were fighting an army of marshmallows. This made their entire presence feel pointless, and I think just having a core group of protagonists fighting a core group of antagonists would have felt far more personal, far more interesting, and far more engaging.

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Pro: Ice Man, Pyro, and the Climax (+5pts)

These characters were once again strengths, but in this movie their feud made them even more interesting than they were in the last one. They were far from being the focal point of the movie, but I liked their inverse storylines, and I liked seeing them facing off against one another in the climax. On top of that, the climax of the movie was pretty cool. I thought the mutant army was kind of dumb, but one thing it did well was let each member of the X-Men showcase their abilities in cool ways. The movie around it certainly could have been better, but the climax itself had a lot of cool moments.

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Con: Dark Phoenix (-6pts)

This storyline was a pretty big disappointment. I think people who watch this movie will fall into one of two groups. The first group is people who were already at least somewhat familiar with Dark Phoenix and that story, and they will be very disappointed by how the filmmakers brought that story to the screen in this movie. The second group is people who have never heard of Dark Phoenix before, and they will just be confused by what on Earth was going on with Jean Grey in this movie. In other words, I do not think anyone enjoyed what the filmmakers did with this character in this movie, and knowing what I know about the character, this was such a waste of potential.

Grading Scale

GradeCategoryPoints

A+

Amazing

95-100

A-

Great

90-94

B+

Good

85-89

B-

Decent

80-84

C+

Average

75-79

C-

Watchable

70-74

D+

Bad

65-69

D-

Terrible

60-64

F

Garbage

45-59

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Grade: C- (72pts)

I really enjoyed X-Men, and I thought X2: X-Men United was even better, so I had high hopes for this movie. Unfortunately, Rogue was once again underutilized, and the concept of the cure did not seem like that big of a deal, as it instead seemed like a great thing that should have been embraced—by everyone except the villains. I thought Magneto’s plan was horrible, as it seemed to be counter productive at worst and entirely ineffective at best, and the mutant army was nothing but a spontaneous and generic army for the protagonists to fight. Finally, there was the filmmakers execution of the Dark Phoenix storyline, which was a massive disappointment that did not at all live up to the storyline’s potential.

I liked the whole storyline between Logan, Jean, and Professor X, as it was interesting to see how Logan and the Professor were trying to help Jean. Logan’s solution seemed more honorable on the surface, but Professor X was more informed, and while his solution was very much an ends-justify-the-means solution, it was definitely the solution that was better for everyone’s well being, including Jean’s. I also liked the three new mutants—Beast, Kitty, and the Juggernaut—I liked the feud between Ice Man and Pyro, and I thought the climax had a lot of cool moments, as it showcased the abilities of all the various mutants involved. The movie was ultimately a disappointment, but it was definitely not without its redeeming qualities.

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