Thursday Night Movie Club
X-Men: The Last Stand
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Release Date: 26 May 2006

Director: Brett Ratner
Hugh Jackman
Halle Berry
Ian McKellen
Patrick Stewart
Famke Janssen
Anna Paquin
Kelsey Grammer
James Marsden
Rebecca Romijn
Shawn Ashmore
Aaron Stanford
Vinnie Jones
Ellen Page
Daniel Cudmore
Ben Foster
Logan / Wolverine
Ororo Munroe / Storm
Eric Lehnsherr / Magneto
Charles Xavier / Professor X
Jean Grey / Phoenix
Marie / Rogue
Dr. Henry 'Hank' McCoy / Beast
Scott Summers / Cyclops
Raven Darkholme / Mystique
Bobby Drake / Iceman
John Allerdyce / Pyro
Cain Marko / Juggernaut
Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat
Peter Rasputin / Colossus
Warren Worthington III / Angel
X2 X-Men United movie poster X2 X-Men United movie poster X2 X-Men United movie poster
Mutants Attack in X-Men: The Last StandIn this latest installment in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: The Last Stand the series is getting tired. Bigger is not necessarily better. The film contains as cast of hundreds, that is, hundreds of mutants. You can't tell the mutants or their powers apart without a scorecard.

Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy) has discovered a cure for the mutant gene found in some humans. This will strip a mutant of his/her abilities and turn them into "normal" human beings. Worthington has been working on a cure ever since his son Warren Worthington III (Daniel Cudmore) has become afflicted with the "disease" causing the son to grow wings.

Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier in X-Men: The Last StandNews of the cure brings discord to all mutants. Storm (Halle Berry) believes mutants should embrace their differences. Rogue (Anna Paquin), who cannot touch another person or mutant, is in favor of the cure. Magneto (Ian McKellen) believes this to be an outright attack on mutant-kind. Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) scrambles to keep a war from starting.

But a new danger awaits them all! Cyclops (James Marsden) begins hearing the voice of his dead girlfriend, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen). The voice leads him to the very spot where Jean died. In a rage, Cyclops blasts the lake with his energy beam. Moments later, Jean is brought back to life as Phoenix. Her mental powers have been vastly enhanced. Phoenix is also uncontrollable.

Famke Janssen and Hugh Jackman in X-Men: The Last StandCyclops and Jean return to Xavier's mansion. Xavier is trying to help Jean control her powers but he is not sure if the "old" Jean is still present. He fears it is only a matter of time before Phoenix takes over completely with disasterous consequences for all. Jean, fearing for everyone's safety, begs Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to kill her before it is too late. Wolverine cannot kill the woman he loves. In a rage, Phoenix escapes. When Magneto is made aware of the presence of Phoenix, the chase is on! Magneto sees Phoenix as the ultimate weapon under his control. Xavier knows no one, not even Phoenix, can control her powers.

When Magneto tries to rescue a captured Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), she ends up saving his life. Mystique is shot with a special gun containing the mutant cure. She is now completely, irrevocably human. Magneto has all the proof he needs. A war against mutants is coming. His only hope of survival is to gather an army of mutants, attack Worthington Labs, destroy the cure, and destroy the mutant responsible. The cure comes from a young boy named Jimmy/Leech. Jimmy can supress the mutant gene in other mutants. His ability leads Worthington to the cure.

A host of unknown mutants in X-Men: The Last StandWhile the action sequences are still spectacular, Director Brett Ratner has way too many complexities to deal with. The number of mutants in this film has quadrupled. Each mutant has their real name and their mutant name. Each mutant has his/her unique ability. There is the parallel story of Jean Grey/Phoenix. The mutant dilemma: take the cure or stay a mutant? X-Men: The Last Stand has too much on its plate.

Ratner falls into the "cliche" category. Worthington's son grows wings and becomes Angel. In what dilemma will Worthington find himself? Obviously, he will be thrown from the top of a building only to be saved from certain death by his own mutant son! Worthington's ethics are proven wrong by his own son. Sheesh! Eyes roll up in their sockets rather than cheers of elation.

Ratner keeps the pace brisk, the editing tight, the action fantastic. Once fight scenes start, however, it is impossible to tell one mutant from another let alone figure out what is their particular mutation. Bodies fly. Explosions erupt. Chaos reigns. Lost in the confusion is a cohesive story. One particular example comes when government troops surround Magneto's encampment filled with mutants. As the troops attack, the mutants disappear from the overhead infrared satellite imagery. What the...? Seeing the movie multiple times will certainly help. This is only a movie afterall, not a novel!

Kelsey Grammer as Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast in X-Men: The Last StandRegarding the new members of the cast, only Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Hank McCoy/Beast) is worth mentioning. McCoy is an intellectual who uses diplomacy over violence. His particular mutation has turned him into a giant, blue, fur ball who will unleash the beast within when called upon. McCoy helps tell the story to the audience. Grammer, even under layers of makeup, creates remarkable facial expressions that convey McCoy's frustration and growing unease. The President enlists McCoy to diplomatically avoid a crisis. McCoy knows he cannot possibly solve the problem diplomatically. McCoy's only hope is to seek council with Professor Xavier.

Rebecca Romijn as Raven/Mystique in X-Men: The Last StandThroughout the X-Men series, only Mystique stands out as a truly simpathetic person. Rebecca Romijn is fantastic. She plays Mystique as sassy, cocky, angry, sarcastic, playful, sexy, and surprisingly unpredictable. Actually, Mystique's sudden unpredictability is the surprise. Romijn cloaks Mystique in an aura of sadness. Mystique can morph into and perfectly mimic any person on the planet. The cost: Mystique has no sense of self. She is everyone and no one. Sad indeed.

The X-Men film series revolves around genetic mutation. The sky is the limit storywise. However, future movies will be better served adding back humanity into the mix. X-Men: The Last Stand is a good action flick on the surface. The story is too complex for its own good.