X-Men: The Last Stand- The Road to Dark Phoenix

Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox's X-Men: The Last Stand.

X-Men: The Last Stand is practically non-existent and we owe our thanks to the ret-con provided in X-Men: Days of Future Past.

It’s a shame that Scott Summers/Cyclops (James Marsden) gets the shaft.  Is this because Marsden decided to join Superman Returns?  Maybe.  Nobody could blame him for doing so with Bryan Singer helming the other film.  With Cyclops gone, both Storm (Halle Berry) and Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) take on an increase in leadership.  Wolverine might not want to be in this particular position but it was thrust upon him anyway.

I touched on it in my review of X-Men but I see the mutant cure as standing in for the LGBTQ community.  We see this early on when Warren Worthington III (Ben Foster) decides to cut off his wings.  One can look into the wing-cutting as being ashamed of being born LGBTQ.  Being born LGBTQ is certainly not a choice as the science has shown us over the years.  Similar, being a mutant is not a choice either.  The mutant cure drives the plot of this third X-Men film.  Should one decide to take the cure, they’ll be free of the mutant gene and live out their life as a human.  Or so we think as teased by one of the film’s final scenes.

Conversion therapy should never be the solution.  Ultimately, such an idea will prove to be a failure.  We see this during the film’s final scenes.  The cure eventually forces Magneto to reform the Brotherhood of Mutants.  This only leads to more characters we never get to really know.  Too many to tell you the truth.  Way too many!  Eventually, all hell soon will break loose on Alcatraz Island.  The film ends with the way solution possible: Logan kills Jean.

As far as the casting goes, Warren’s Angel feels underutilized here.  He’s really only here because his dad came up with the cure.  If this were not the case, my guess is Angel would not be in the film.  Meanwhile, we get more of Beast (Kelsey Grammer) after seeing a clip of him in X2: X-Men United.  He’s better utilized and there’s a nice reference to his Shakespearean dialogue.  Overall, there are just way too many characters that are getting introduced in the film.  Even with a core focus on a few, it proves to be way too much.

X-Men: The Last Stand would work better if it had known which direction to go in.  This is the major problem of the film.  The film’s plot chooses to focus on two major story lines.  Ultimately, these story lines prove to be too much for one film.  One the one hand, we have Jean Grey’s (Famke Janssen) Phoenix powers.  Once she comes back into the picture, she’s a threat more so than a fully functional character.  One the other hand, we also have the mutant cure.  I’m sure that there is a way to tell this story and do it justice.  X-Men: The Last Stand isn’t it, bub.  It’s unfortunate because the film is coming off of a benchmark-setting sequel.  Maybe it’s Ratner taking over for Singer but I don’t know.  It just comes off feeling more like a mess.

While X-Men: The Last Stand closes out a trilogy of stories, it leaves a sour taste with the viewers.  If it’s any luck, Dark Phoenix will give us the film that we truly deserve.

DIRECTOR:  Brett Ratner
SCREENWRITERS:  Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn
CAST:  Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Anna Paquin, Kelsey Grammer, James Marsden, Rebecca Romijn, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, and Patrick Stewart

20th Century Fox opened X-Men: The Last Stand in theaters on May 26, 2006.  The film is available on Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. Grade: 2.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.