The Unpopular Case For ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’
When ‘Game of Thrones’ Daenerys utters the word “dracarys” to one of her dragons, the dragon shoots fire from his snout (lol) and the person standing in front of the beast becomes immediately engulfed in flames. Well, the same thing happens to comic book fans whenever you mention the 2006 film ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’. People in Marvel t-shirts start throwing themselves out of the nearest windows, lighting themselves on fire and for some weird reason that guy over there is touching himself and screaming? Maybe he was already doing that before. I don’t know. This is a weird Mcdonalds.
Anyhow, I’ve always had a soft spot for ‘Last Stand’. Yes, sometimes it makes me throw up in my mouth. I can feel goodness in it though. Like Xavier feels within Magneto. Although, Xavier does end up blown to smithereens whilst Magneto watches from the kitchen pretending not to notice. Like my Wife, when I call for help after realizing all too late that there’s no toilet paper in the bathroom. What I’m trying to say is that while I’m well aware after this article is over I’m going to be left waddling to the pantry, pants around my ankles looking like an asshole…. I’m going to try and convince you guy anyways. X-Men: The Last Stand isn’t that bad.
So, with ‘Dark Phoenix’ about to hit theaters in a weirdly uncomfortable “DISNEY FORECLOSED ON OUR HOUSE EVEN THOUGH WE WERE PAYING OUR OWN BILLS JUST FINE” goodbye to this version of the X-Men franchise; I thought it time to revisit the last time we tried this whole ‘Dark Phoenix’ storyline. With a positive lens.
Exhibit A: James Marsden as Emo Cyclops.
What little time we had with emo cyclops was so special. Don’t give me this “he was barely in the movie” bullshit. He was barely in any of the movies! One of the great downfalls of the entire early X-Men franchise was not using this character enough. Atleast in this movie they gave him something interesting to chew on.
Broken completely by Jean Grey’s supposed death, Cyclops grows some nice beard stubble and even ditches his X-Men responsibilities. At one point, he bumps into Wolverine in the halls of the mansion and even freaks him out with his new found don’t give a fuck attitude.
Who can forget the sickest emo burn of all time? “Not everybody heals as fast as you, Logan.” followed by the angsty teenager storm off. In all seriousness, these fleeting moments were the most interesting Cyclops moments of the series. He wasn’t just a dude carrying Xavier’s rule book and walking around with stick-butt anymore. He had real pain behind those….eye.
I also really enjoyed how he didn’t even want to hear Logan’s shit about Jean Grey. Here’s this guy who wanted to bang your girlfriend trying to tell you he’s sad too but it’s time that you should move on? Fuck you, buddy!
Ofcourse Brent Ratner fucked it all up by having Jean Grey kill Cyclops without showing it, explaining it or having anyone barely fucking notice whatsoever. But we’re trying to be positive here, Greg.
Exhibit B: “Consequences Galore”
People out here dyin’ in these streets! How many times have you seen a superhero movie KNOWING that no-one is in actual danger? They aren’t going to murder Ant Man in ‘Ant Man and the Wasp’, you know? I thought people were going to die by the assload in Captain America: Civil War and all they did was paralyze a side character. This is one of the many things that made Endgame so special. There’s rarely a finality quite like this in superhero films.
Say what you want about the reckless abandon for which they killed legendary characters in ‘Last Stand’ but you have to give them points for putting everyone in peril for once. I mean, fuck isn’t that what we loved about ‘Game of Thrones’? ANYONE can get it. Anytime. Remember Sean Bean? That set the tone for seven more seasons because everyone is at risk at all times. By killing Professor Xavier midway through the film I thought….these guys are willing fuck up anything. I mean, do anything.
Now that the movie is no longer canon you can also treat it as one big fucked up episode of ‘Marvel Presents: What If???’ which is a pretty fun way to watch this movie.
Exhibit C: “Wolverine and Jean Grey”
It may have been at the detriment to literally every other character in the X-Men franchise…. but Wolverine and Jean Grey had a beautiful storyline.
Think about it, Wolvie wanted to get with another mans woman for a long, long time. Suddenly she comes back from the dead goth as fuck and kills the her boyfriend probably. She’s all his! And she wants him too! Like, bad! They actually complete about 73% of an extremely rough sex scene between the two right there in Xavier’s mansion. Not the stuff you usually get in Marvel movies.
Just as well, Hugh Jackman was really starting to come to terms with the vulnerable and emotional side of Logan in ‘The Last Stand’. This showed during a great dialogue scene in which Storm is begging Logan not to go after Jean once she escapes to Magneto’s ‘Robin Hood: Men In Tights’ lair.
The end however, when Wolverine has to use every bit of regenerative power he has to fight through Jean’s crazy and ultimately kill her with his love claws? That was powerful. That was legendary comic book level powerful. Also, it was a giant sex analogy for them both wanting to get it on for so long but not being able to due to the ultimate ramifications of such an act. Ultimately, he still ends up shirtless and inside of her and it still kills/saves her. Look at the picture above. Tell me I’m wrong. I just blew your fuckin mind.
Many people malign Xavier’s death scene as well but I felt the same sort of epic emotion. When he looks at Logan and makes that stupid ass, face jiggling smile just before his ripped apart? It was like a father trying to tell his son that everything was going to be alright. Emotions man, I’m telling you! They exist in this film!
Exhibit D: ‘Bromance Intact’
The bitter bromance between Xavier and Magneto was alive and well in ‘Last Stand’. There’s some great banter between the two when they pull up at Jean Grey’s house to recruit her. There was also some good “My friends being a fucking asshole right now” moments while Magneto tried to bait Jean during what ended up being Xavier’s death scene.
All of this culminating when one of Magneto’s Nu Metal kids tried to diss Xavier post death later in the film leading to the great Ian Mckellen line “Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know. My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live.” Classic Xavier/Magneto respect.
Exhibit E: ‘But I Don’t Know What To Do With Those Tossed Salads and Mutant Antidotes’
I’m tying in two for one here because this article is becoming shockingly long. Kelsey Grammar as Beast is fucking fantastic. Especially with his role in the ‘Last Stand’ storyline involving the mutant cure.
Beast was basically the most respected mutant in all the land by this point. Even working as a liaison between the White House and mutants. Beast wore suits! It was awesome! This is the kind of shit I would have thought we would have had to be twelve movies deep into the franchise to get.
Also, the mutant cure storyline in itself was a fantastic storyline for the X-Men to deal with. Had this been the focus rather than Magneto recruiting a shitty team of Mortal Kombat rejects in the woods, it could have been really special.
Anyways, the mutant cure storyline is a perfect protagonist to what the X-Men are all about. Dealing with being different. The ethics of the world. How would humans and mutants co-exist? Say what you want about the movie as a whole, but there are some of the most interesting story lines in the whole franchise here. They just ignored them. For things like for the porcupine guy.
There are no doubt some egregious errors and horrendous mistakes made in ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ starting with that horrible title. Why are we still wearing black leather? What happened to Cyclops? Who gives a fuck about iceman ice skating RIGHT after Professor fucking X just got killed? What the fuck is Juggernaut wearing? That one line where Juggernaut said “I’m Juggernaut, bitch!”. Juggernaut as a whole. Colossus looking 0.2% as cool as he did when Deadpool created him for 1/4th the budget. Juggernaut.
My point here is that these horrible atrocities against the franchise and eyeballs everywhere skew our vision of this film as a whole. They have us overlooking that badass danger room scene where white Colossus catapults Wolverine into a Sentinel who’s head he promptly berzerkers off. Or the fascinating scene where Logan has the adamanteum ball-zines to question Xavier’s ethics for keeping Jean’s evil side dormant. There was both great acting and dialogue during that scene.
The film should also get credit for questioning Xavier’s choices the way they did. To quote Denzel Washington in ‘Training Day’: “This shit is chess, it ain’t checkers.” The X-Men live in a far more complicated world that that of other superheroes. Where ethical lines aren’t black and white. I think ‘Last Stand’ actually does a decent job of shining a light on this. Try to remember that the next time you watch this douche bag shoot waffle cones out of his wrists.
Thanks for reading! (Waddles back to bathroom)