"When an individual acquires great power, the use or misuse of that power is everything. Will it be used for the greater good? Or will it be used for personal or for destructive ends? Now this is a question we must all ask ourselves. Why?” - Prof. X
“They can’t cure us. You want to know why? Because there’s nothin’ to cure. Nothings’s wrong with you. Or any of us, for that matter.” - Storm
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, and Anna Paquin.
Writers: Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn
Director: Brett Ratner
The X-Men film franchise is a somewhat unique one in that it offers several installments that act as series finales. The Last Stand is the first such film to do so. Promoted as the concluding chapter to the core X-Men franchise, with the plan to only release smaller single character based exploratory films moving forward, the film does indeed act as something of a finale. But if this were to be the proverbial end, it would have been one that just kinda fizzled out with a loose fart. To say it is an uneven, disjointed mess is to put it mildly. The film suffers from too many characters, too many story threads that don’t weave themselves organically, and too much fan service…all the while spitting in the face of as many fans as possible. An impressive feat, no? Well, director Ratner executes the latter part with excellency.
Picking up shortly after the second movie, Prof. X’s school is still reeling from the loss of Jean Gray. Scott is lost in sorrow over his dead wife and completely abandons his post as leader of the X-Men leaving Wolverine, of all people, to take control of the group…for some reason (even though the film will repeatedly try to tell you that it is Storm who is in charge, though that is never actually shown to be true). The young blood that Wolvie and Storm have to work with are rough to say the least, but they (and the rest of the Mutant world) are put to the test when the government reveals that they have found a Cure for the Mutant gene. This leaves the school in further disarray and gives Magneto further opportunity to convince the Mutant world that the Cure will be forced on them. Magneto rallies the troops to wage a war on the humans and steal/destroy their Cure. AND, as this is all going on, Jean Gray reveals herself to be alive, but has come back different; she is a lot more murder-y (this is where fanboys start shouting at the filmmakers) and is used as a pawn against the X-Men.
A big problem with the film is that it tries to intertwine two relatively good stories (famous ones from the comics; The Dark Phoenix Saga and Gifted) that don’t mix well. The ‘Mutant Cure’ story line actually works quite well. It keeps in line with the plot progression from the first two films and adds a relatively compelling political undercurrent that is effective even when the film is at its weakest. The ‘Dark Phoenix’ material is completely bastardized, mishandled and botches what should be the emotional tug of the film. They filmmakers should have opted to have just focused on one story or the other.