X Men: The Last Stand (2006) from Johnny Web (Uncle Scoopy; Greg Wroblewski)

The Last Stand concludes the X-Man trilogy, or perhaps I should say the FIRST X-Men trilogy, in spectacular fashion. Humans have found a "cure" for the mutant gene. They offer it to the mutant community. Magneto and his minions are offended, and declare war against humanity. The X-Men end up siding with the humans. It all comes to a head in a spectacular battle sequence on Alcatraz Island, which has been made easily accessible by Magneto's having relocated the Golden Gate Bridge.

Usual stuff.

The wild card is that Jean is no longer presumed dead, and has morphed into a stronger incarnation of herself called Dark Phoenix, the most powerful mutant ever, possessing powers which Professor X had previously hidden in her subconscious, but which her near-death experience has brought to the surface. Both Professor X and Magneto are interested in her, each for his own set of reasons.

The film really has only one major weakness. It allows the usually brilliant and calculating Magneto to become less than what he has been. No longer is he the leader of an oppressed minority. Now he's a genocidal maniac, the same thing that he once accused humans of. He's not even rational. At no time in this film do the normal humans ever suggest that the mutants are required to take the magic potion. They are simply offered a choice. If the screenplay had been developed properly, Magneto would have first become paranoid that humans would eventually make it mandatory, and would then have been set into action by some foolish human actions which confirmed his fears. Instead of following that course, the film has Magneto become offended that science would even create such a concoction in the first place. Frankly, that's bullshit. The concoction offered mutants the choice to stay mutants or to become human. Many of the mutants (Rogue and Jean, to name two) were unhappy as mutants and considered their powers a curse. Others considered their mutated genes to be an intrinsic part of their nature, and a step in human evolution, and were happy with their status. In theory, the magic potion left them all free to pursue their own destiny, their own happiness. The only mistake made by the humans was to call the elixir a "cure," thus implying that mutants were merely sick humans rather than coexisting equals. That was certainly offensive to the mutants, but they over-reacted dramatically. After all, if some mutants would rather be human, well, why should the other mutants prevent that? In fact, if they liked the power involved in being mutant, they should encourage as many mutants as possible to turn human, because that would leave the remaining ones with more power, relatively speaking, since there would be fewer powerful beings to oppose them.

If the film had been concocted from a recipe a bit more to my liking, it would have had fewer characters and more screen time for the important, eloquent and amusing main characters. Wolverine could have been sassier, for example, and Magneto more thoughtful. But I think it's fine as it is, just not exactly as I would have preferred it. It actually out-performed the previous two at the box office, so movie audiences obviously took to it.

For some bizarre reason which I don't really understand, but obviously unrelated to the quality of the movie itself, there is a dedicated cadre of X3 haters out there. Check out these IMDb scores:


X-Men 1 X-Men 2 X-Men 3
% of voters awarding tens 12.1 21.3 21.1
% of voters awarding ones 0.9 1.2 4.3
Overall score 7.3 7.9 7.0

4.3% of the voters, nearly 2000 people, have decided that the proper score for X-Men 3 is 1/10. What is that all about? Are they people who have never seen any other movies? Are they Bryan Singer's relatives? Are they people who just have to hate? Are they hard-core comic fans outraged that the film didn't follow the same storyline as the source material? Who the hell can say. The one thing you can conclude is that they are simply not rational thinkers. They have allowed some emotional issue, whatever it might be, to cloud their reason.

The final chapter in the X-Men saga is more or less indistinguishable from the previous two. As you can see from the "percentage of tens" in the table above, it inspires about the same amount of true love as the second one, and much more than the first.

The complete summary chart for the series is as follows:

X-Men 1 X-Men 2 X-Men 3
Ebert  2.5 3 3
Berardinelli 3 3 3
Yahoo voters B+ B+ B+
IMDb voters 7.3 7.9 7.0
% of tens at  IMDb 12% 21% 21%
% of positive reviews (RT) 80% 87% 57%
Per 100, average review (Metacritic) 64 68 58
Domestic box office ($M) 157 215 234
Foreign box office ($M) 139 192 221

I guess I'm about in the same boat as Ebert. I don't see any dramatic decline from #2 to #3, and I like both of them better than the first one. All three are more than simply genre pictures, but are good entertainment pictures in general.

Is this really "the last stand"? Of course not.

  • First of all, look at the box office results. Studios do not abandon blockbuster franchises which keep grossing more with every film. You think they can just afford to leave all that money on the table?
  • Second, watch the ending credits of this film and see if you think Magneto and Professor X have met for the last time.

Look for a Wolverine solo film, and as many other X-Men films as the cast will agree to.



  • Widescreen (2.40). Anamorphic.
  • Commentary by director Bret Ratner and screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn
  • Deleted scenes
  • Three alternate endings with optional commentary



Rebecca Romijn (Mystique) is strategically naked after she becomes human. You can see the side of her hips, but she keeps her naughty bits covered. As usual, she spends all of her blue-skinned screen time in her pasties, thong and body paint.

The Critics Vote ...

  • Super-panel consensus:  three out of four stars. James Berardinelli 3/4, Roger Ebert 3/4.

  • British consensus:  about two and a half  stars out of four. Mail 4/10, Telegraph 4/10, Independent 4/10, Guardian 6/10, Times 6/10, Sun 6/10, Mirror 6/10, BBC 3/5.

The People Vote ...

  • Box Office Mojo. It was budgeted at $210 million for production. It took in $102 million on its opening weekend (5th best of all time) and finished with $234 million.
The meaning of the IMDb score: 7.5 usually indicates a level of excellence equivalent to about three and a half stars from the critics. 6.0 usually indicates lukewarm watchability, comparable to approximately two and a half stars from the critics. The fives are generally not worthwhile unless they are really your kind of material, equivalent to about a two star rating from the critics, or a C- from our system. Films rated below five are generally awful even if you like that kind of film - this score is roughly equivalent to one and a half stars from the critics or a D on our scale. (Possibly even less, depending on just how far below five the rating is.

Our own guideline:

  • A means the movie is so good it will appeal to you even if you hate the genre.
  • B means the movie is not good enough to win you over if you hate the genre, but is good enough to do so if you have an open mind about this type of film. Any film rated B- or better is recommended for just about anyone. In order to rate at least a B-, a film should be both a critical and commercial success. Exceptions: (1) We will occasionally rate a film B- with good popular acceptance and bad reviews, if we believe the critics have severely underrated a film. (2) We may also assign a B- or better to a well-reviewed film which did not do well at the box office if we feel that the fault lay in the marketing of the film, and that the film might have been a hit if people had known about it. (Like, for example, The Waterdance.)
  • C+ means it has no crossover appeal, but will be considered excellent by people who enjoy this kind of movie. If this is your kind of movie, a C+ and an A are indistinguishable to you.
  • C means it is competent, but uninspired genre fare. People who like this kind of movie will think it satisfactory. Others probably will not.
  • C- indicates that it we found it to be a poor movie, but genre addicts find it watchable. Any film rated C- or better is recommended for fans of that type of film, but films with this rating should be approached with caution by mainstream audiences, who may find them incompetent or repulsive or both. If this is NOT your kind of movie, a C- and an E are indistinguishable to you.
  • D means you'll hate it even if you like the genre. We don't score films below C- that often, because we like movies and we think that most of them have at least a solid niche audience. Now that you know that, you should have serious reservations about any movie below C-. Films rated below C- generally have both bad reviews and poor popular acceptance.
  • E means that you'll hate it even if you love the genre.
  • F means that the film is not only unappealing across-the-board, but technically inept as well.


Based on this description, this film is a B-. Like its predecessors, it is a top-notch genre movie with a massive amount of crossover appeal. I enjoyed it.

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