10 Years: “X-Men: The Last Stand”


When you’re going back and experiencing a film again, for what seems like the first time, your views may no longer hold up. Try as you might, it’s the little things that start to weigh on you, and make you think that maybe the film’s not all that it should’ve been. Being an entertaining film may be enough, but if it’s the potential end of a franchise, it needs to be so much more.

The 20th Century Fox film “X-Men: The Last Stand”, has mutants, explosions, and a plot that comes from somewhere, but I’m not entirely sure.

This action film stars Hugh Jackman (upcoming “X-Men: Apocalypse”, “Eddie the Eagle”), Halle Berry (“Extant”, “X-Men: Days of Future Past”), Ian McKellen (upcoming “The Dresser”, “Vicious”), Famke Janssen (“The Blacklist”, “How to Get Away with Murder”), Anna Paquin (upcoming “Roots (2016)”, “The Good Dinosaur”), Kelsey Grammer (upcoming films “Storks”, “Bunyan & Babe”), James Marsden (“Unfinished Business”, “Into the Grizzly Maze”), Rebecca Romijn (“The Librarians”, “Adventure Time”), Shawn Ashmore (upcoming series “Conviction”, “Relationship Status”), Aaron Stanford (“12 Monkeys”, “Nikita”), Vinnie Jones (upcoming films The Magnificent Seven (2016)”, “Cross 2”), and Patrick Stewart (upcoming “Spark”, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt”).

The film is directed by Brett Ratner (“Breakthrough”, “Hercules (2014)”) and written by Simon Kinberg (upcoming “X-Men: Apocalypse”, “Fantastic Four”) and Zak Penn (“Alphas”, “The Incredible Hulk”).

The film originally opened on May 26, 2006.

What a difference some time makes. I’m not sure when the last time I saw this film was. I’m thinking it’s been some time, as this film seemed a bit foreign to me. Regardless, I’m oddly glad I got to watch this again, especially as the timing is perfect, even though I didn’t plan it that way. Now that I think about it, I wonder if the studio heads even planned the release of the latest “X-Men” film with this in mind. While it doesn’t matter much, it certainly makes for an interesting observation. Much like this piece will be a special one, as I don’t even feel like I know what I’m doing.

Okay, so I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t fully present for this film. I went for a run this morning, and even after multiple cups of coffee and plenty to do during this day, I never fully recovered, and by the time I got to see this film, I was fighting the urge to fall asleep. I hate that that’s the case, but at least it stemmed from something other than sheer boredom. The point of this is that I feel my views on this film are going to be drastically different than what they should be. I did my damnedest to focus, but I barely could. The upside, I still could notice some things about this film that seem to make it worth it, even if I wasn’t capable of feeling them whilst watching.

The questionable CGI may not be something I could feel, but I certainly was on the look out for it, and could spot it. I’m not sure what’s to blame for this, but some of it did look off, and some of it was quite good, even for being 10 years old. Maybe it’s that simple fact. It’s been a decade and even in that timeframe, CGI seems to have improved once again. Mind you, this doesn’t actually prevent you from enjoying the big sequences or setups that utilized this CGI. Worse case, you’re pulled a little bit out of any given moment.

In a much worse kind of way, there was one thing I couldn’t ignore, as even in my half awake state, I could tell something was off with it. The overall structure of the storylines had a flaw. Somehow they didn’t work. They were fighting for the same space, much like Jean and Phoenix, but in this case, neither could come out on top. It all just ended in a big mess that makes this film an absolute wasted opportunity. Now, even though it didn’t look it, and I can see where the writers tried to give the audience something, all the decisions that brought about the events of this film, didn’t make much sense. They came out of nowhere, and all that was sought to be achieved was going from major point to major point, with barely anything connecting them. One word I thought about to describe this film was “episodic”. The events just started out of nowhere and I felt like I was missing a few key elements. I guess you could say the same about the previous film, but I couldn’t fully agree or disagree. I’d need to rewatch it first.

The whole Phoenix storyline felt like an abrupt character change, which technically it was, but there’s an actual history for it. They tried to explain it, but I didn’t fully buy it. It was too convenient. But how I’m viewing the Jean Grey/Phoenix thing is like with the characters on “The Walking Dead” this past season. They’ve grown so much and you know how they think, more or less, and yet, here they are making really bad decisions that make no sense whatsoever. All it did was allow for the progression of a few plot points and made it possible to get to specific markers the writers wanted to hit, and that’s what this film feels like it wanted to do. Seeing as it worked, I guess it’s a win, but not for the betterment of the franchise.

To make things worse, mainly because of the construct of the film’s story, I couldn’t feel anything for the characters. I could see the drama, and how there were supposed to still be dealing with the lingering repercussions from the events of the previous film, but I couldn’t really feel anything for them. I don’t know how much of this is from being more tired than planned, and how much of it is on the fact that these characters weren’t given much to respond to emotionally. They were, yes, in some ways, but they never dwelled on it much and only reacted. That’s what this film was, reactions. Immediate responses without any thought put in. It was just go, go, go and hopefully you save the world. I even noticed that Jean Grey/Phoenix seemed to be reacting out of anger, with no true jump off point. Even Paquin’s storyline, if you can call it that, literally made me roll my eyes. It was so stupid and a wast of her talents, as well as Ashmore’s and Page’s. That’s actually another thing that really stood out. So many characters, new and old, but very little exploration. They were there only to add to the big fight scenes and that’s it.

At the time, in some ways, it seemed like this may be the final film, and whether or not it should’ve been is something people can debate forever if they so choose. It certainly should’ve provided a much more satisfactory conclusion to what many saw as a trilogy, and now with the prequel films, it really is, albeit one with an altered timeline, or something. There seemed to be some smart ideas, but somehow, along the way, things got muddled and became too jumbled to make much sense. If you wanted something with depth, you chose the wrong film. Fluff and fun? This is for you! I may now look at this film as the weakest of the three, but because it’s got mutants, with awesome powers! and actors I like bringing them to life, I may just have to keep them around awhile longer. It’s why I enjoy the prequel films so much.

Just as muddled as the film trailer:

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4 thoughts on “10 Years: “X-Men: The Last Stand”

    • No, you’re right, it’s not terrible, except in my most recent viewing, which I’d been planning for a month. Anywho, it’s funny too, I thought about it after I posted, that this is probably why I took me several years to actually purchase the film. I’d avoided it for so long for some reason, and this may have been it.

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  1. I like this “10 years series” you’re working on. Examining a movie after a significant period of time does provide for better objectivity. In the case of Last Stand, without the disappointment of it not being another X2, it’s, not too bad. Lacking, and suffering from the classic Marvel pitfall of having too many characters and over-the-top doomsday plotlines, but it is no where near unbearable or unwatchable.

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    • Fair points. And, honestly, now I wish I could remember all I said about this film. Clearly I don’t find it too terrible, as it’s still in my collection since I wrote the piece. And yeah, it is an interesting experience overall, especially if it’s a film that I haven’t watched loads of times. Thanks for reading!

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