Struggling to cope with the loss of Jean Grey, the X-Men try to continue their lives as normal. Meanwhile, the US government announce that a new drug is about to be released that will ‘cure’ mutants to remove their powers and make them the same as everyone else. When Jean Grey’s alter ego, Phoenix, returns, Magneto tries to control her, causing him to once again butt heads with Professor X. Facing a final showdown that could change everything, The X-Men must fight their former friend before she destroys the world.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – Director: Brett Ratner
Running Length: 104 mins
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Famke Janssen
Genre: Comic Book, Action
Being the third movie in the ‘X-Men’ series (following ‘X-Men’ and ‘X-Men 2’), ‘The Last Stand’ looks at how humans and mutants react when a supposed cure is developed to take away the remarkable abilities that mutants possess. Some welcome the chance of a normal life but others view it as oppression and liken it to a potentially legalised genocide. At the same time, the return of Jean Grey (or rather ‘Phoenix’, who is made up of all of Jean’s suppressed anger and rage) is soon revealed to be a curse when they find that the woman they once knew is gone and has been replaced by pure violence and destruction.
Sadly, while it has a lot of potential for a great story, it doesn’t quite get there, making it a poor relation to the other movies in the franchise. When two major characters are killed off and there is barely any emotional impact on the people who care about them (one of these deaths isn’t even given any screen time), there is a loss of all the character depth that had been established in the previous films. The handling of the ‘wonder drug’ storyline also lacks the depth it deserves, especially when the idea of genocide is fleetingly mentioned by Magneto, a concentration camp survivor who knows just how dangerous something like this could be to humanity.
While there is plenty of action to keep the kids entertained, anyone who enjoyed the first two movies will probably find ‘The Last Stand’ rather shallow in comparison.
IS ‘X-MEN: THE LAST STAND’ SUITABLE FOR CHILDREN?
A young boy stands in his bathroom, crying and is using a tool to cut something on his back. His father knocks on the door and the boy begins to frantically put bloody bandages and tools into a box in order to hide them. The tools are all sharp implements, including knives and razors which the boy has obviously used. Being worried and angry about not being let in, his father barges into the room. When he looks at his son’s feet, he is clearly disappointed to see feathers, the boy then turns around revealing two bloody stumps on his back which were obviously once wings. The camera then zooms in to one of the stumps and goes into the opening credits of the movie.
Several of the X-Men are seen running through fiery rubble which is being used as a battleground between them and an unknown foe. There are lots of explosions and debris flies dangerously close to the heroes. Some have to use their powers in order to prevent themselves and others being killed. After one explosion, a large rock flies towards Wolverine and hits his head, causing deep gashes on his face which are then seen to quickly heal.
The character of Mystique has the power to change herself to look like other people and, while being locked in a cell, she makes herself look like a little girl and begs to be let go. The guard who she is talking to isn’t fooled by the act and tells her ‘I’ll spray you in the face, bitch’. The little girl smiles and tells him ‘When I get out, I’ll kill you first’. When Magneto and his followers attack the van which is carrying Mystique, one of them engulfs a guard in flames and another guard has their neck snapped. When she is in her natural form, Mystique is essentially naked, the actress is covered in blue paint and prosthetics to prevent anything too explicit being shown.
The movie spends some time focusing on the romance between teenagers Rogue (Marie) and Iceman (Bobby). Rogue is unable to touch anyone as her powers drain the lifeforce from them, which causes strain on her relationship, especially as Bobby is becoming increasingly friendly with new girl, Kitty. During an argument, Rogue says to Bobby, ‘I can’t touch my boyfriend without killing him’, Bobby replies ‘Have I ever put any pressure on you?’ to which Rogue responds ‘You’re a guy, Bobby, your mind’s only on one thing’.
Jean Grey is taken back to the X Mansion so that Professor X can try to suppress Phoenix and revive Jean. She lies on a medical bed and her low cut top shows quite a lot of cleavage. At one point she is alone with Logan (Wolverine) who is in love with Jean. She touches her chest and removes some medical instruments which appear to be monitoring her heart beat. Logan watches her do this and Phoenix says ‘Logan, you’re making me blush’. Logan asks ‘You can read my thoughts?’ and Phoenix tells him ‘I don’t have to’. She then sits up, revealing that she is only wearing the top and underwear and wraps her bare legs around Logan’s waist. They kiss passionately and Logan lays her back down on the bed with him on top of her and she scratches him deeply in the shoulders. This does not go any further and nothing explicit is seen.
Phoenix kills people by disintegrating them although there is no blood or gore. One major character is killed in this way and many other, incidental characters are also disintegrated during the final battle scene.
One character’s powers are that he can make spikes stick out from all over his body. At one point, he holds a woman close to him, pretending to comfort her but then makes his spikes stab and kill her.
As in the other X-Men films, Wolverine uses his claws to hack, slash and kill his enemies but it is dealt with using quick camera cuts and again, there is no blood or gore.
CAN I SEE A CLIP?
‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ is a disappointing addition to the otherwise good franchise of movies which focus on important issues such as discrimination and segregation. There were plenty of opportunities to put across a valid argument but they are lost due to the focus being placed almost entirely on the characters that we already know rather than the world around them. Due to the average level of violence and sexual content that generally isn’t lingered upon, we feel that this movie should be appropriate for most kids aged 8 and over.
- Violence: 2/5
- Emotional Distress: 2/5 (two major characters are killed. One is mourned at their funeral but the emotional impact is not too strong)
- Fear Factor: 1/5 (Phoenix may be quite frightening for younger children as she is unpredictable and, when she is angry/about to kill someone, her eyes go dark and a bright shining light surrounds her)
- Sexual Content: 2/5
- Bad Language: 2/5 (Infrequent mild and moderate cursing)
- Dialogue: 0/5
- Other notes: Deals with themes of discrimination, betrayal, loss, jealousy, the return of a loved one who has changed, accepting people’s differences and having respect for your enemy.
Words by Laura Record