"X-Men: The Last Stand" Film Review
By: Nathaniel Simpson
"Whose side will you be on?" is the major tagline for the final film in the X-Men trilogy, "X-Men: The Last Stand". The past two films have been setting up the plot for this final film, which shows Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) assembling teams to fight one another one final time. The posters and promos for this film showcased all of the mutants now choosing sides to fight in the ultimate battle that will dictate the future for the mutants all around the world. This film should have been an amazing superhero film that gives longtime fans everything they have been waiting for. However, this film is disappointing and horrible on many different levels, and in a way, ruins what the first two films were trying to do.
To start, the movie is only one minute longer than the first X-Men film, which is already a big flag as they are trying to cram all of these storylines into a movie that is only around an hour and a half. It's obvious that they have this huge story they want to tell, but they throw in things out of the blue and ruin the suspense or surprise. For example, take the first few minutes of the movie. Scott (James Marsden) is taking Jean Grey's (Famke Janssen) death really hard, and is in a very deep depression. Then, all of the sudden, Jean Grey is back out of the blue with no real explanation for how she came back. It doesn't make sense, and ruins the whole Dark Phoenix plot point that they have been teasing for two films now.
Then, at the same time, this movie doesn't really seem like a full superhero movie. It seems like an add-on for the second movie that you would find in the bonus features on the second film. There is barely any action in the movie at all, and most of the characters deliver pointless monologues and walk around the mansion depressed for either no reason or for the events that happened in the previous scene. It moves at such a slow pace, and when you finally get to the action or the best parts of the movie, they're over by the time they have already started.
When a film studio teases all of these characters to return (or be included for the first time) in a major film like this, that's what you're expecting the film to be like, right? Well, in the case of this movie, you will be sadly mistaken. From the start of the film to the end credits, the filmmakers kill off major characters out of the blue and for no reason. They also just drop major characters for random reasons. This is definitely evident in the character of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), who is only in the movie for one or two scenes before she loses her mutant powers. The antagonists then decide to leave her, and we never see her again.
They want the viewer to think they are going to get massive crossovers and awesome action sequences, but it is hard to not feel disappointed when the final battle includes only six of the X-Men, with three of them being new students that were only present in this film. Then, in the case of the X-Men that don't die throughout this movie, they decide to go somewhere or break off of the team before the final battle and come back in the ending moments. It is one of the most ridiculous and bizzare things in a Marvel film, and is ultimately one of the worst parts about this film.
However, in all of this negative, there are some positives about this movie. Hugh Jackman and Halle Berry give some great performances, as well as Stewart and McKellen when they are actually present in the movie. Even some of the newer cast members, such as Elliot Page and Ben Foster, give some standout performances when they are present in the movie. Sadly, their performances are overshadowed by their mediocre storylines and horrible plot structure.
Also, even though the action and fight sequences are only in the last fight of the movie, it is a pretty great fight sequence. It is shot beautifully, and is able to focus on every mutant it wants to without making it seem like too much. The ending of the fight is very disappointing, but I don't think it is fair to discredit the rest of the great fight scene due to the horrible aspects of the ending.
I don't think there is any real saving grace for this movie. This film fails on so many different aspects, and is hard to be redeemed. Sure, there are certain things in the film that are pretty good, but are cancelled out by all of the bad that is present. I'm not really even sure we can say that the filmmakers tried their hardest either, which is worse than it being a bad movie with good intentions. Overall, this film is such a disappointing conclusion to the X-Men trilogy as a whole, and unfortunately cheapens the entire trilogy as a result.