X-Men: The Last Stand
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Experience the awesome power of The X-Men's epic, final battle. Join well-known mutant heroes and villains, and meet a cadre of all-new warriors -- including Angel, Beast, Juggernaut and Colossus -- in this thrilling, explosive adventure!
After a controversial "cure" is discovered, mutants can choose to retain their superhuman abilities or give up their unique gifts and become "normal." When peaceful mutant leader Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) clashes with his militant counterpart, Magneto (Ian McKellen), the battle lines are drawn for the war to end all wars.
Bursting with nonstop action, spectacular special effects and exclusive extras, X-MEN THE LAST STAND is a force of nature that "will blow you away!"
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For those expecting to see the Phoenix saga from the "X-Men" comic books played out it is quickly made clear that is not going to happen. We begin two decades ago, when Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Eric Lensherr (Ian McKellen) visit the home of young Jean Grey, where we learn this little girl is the only Level 5 mutant on the planet (No, the idea of levels is not explored further, but my best guess would be that Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Callisto are Level 4s, and no clue about the rest, although I would think Wolverine is just an upgraded 2 because his healing powers are natural but the claws are not). Phoenix is now the unconscious side of the powers of Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), and after years of being controlled by Xavier's mental blocks, the beast is out. That is something Logan (Hugh Jackman) can relate to, but he does not like the idea that the professor has been messing with the mind of the woman he loves.
The other element from the past prologue is young Warren Worthington III, trying to hide from his father that he is starting to have wings grow out of his back. Father and son are ashamed, but what matters is that daddy (Michael Murphy) has enough money to do something about it. Then we pick up the narrative in the not too distant future where relationships between humans and mutants has apparently improved to the point that Dr. Hank McCoy (Kelsey Grammer) is Secretary of Mutant Affairs in the cabinet of the president (Josef Sommer). Meanwhile, a distraught Scott Summers (James Marsden), hearing Jean's voice in his head goes back to Alkali Lake to exorcise his pain, only to find out what we all know: the woman he loves is not dead. She is just different. Big time.
However, that is not the big problem, because Worthington announces that he has found a mutant, Leech (Cameron Bright), who can "cure" mutants. A magic formula has been created and if you do not want to be a mutant, your wish can come true. But for Magneto, who still bears the number tattooed on his arm in a Nazi concentration camp knows full well, the government can always decide to cure mutants in the name of national self interest. Besides, he does not think mutants need a cure, and he rallies an army to his banner to join him alongside Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) and Pyro (Aaron Stanford) (part of the fun is seeing who shows up). Meanwhile, Storm (Halley Balle) has to take a bigger leadership role with the X-Men, where Rogue (Anna Paquin), who cannot touch another living soul because she can kill them absorbing their powers, is desperate enough to take the cure.
My primary cryptic complaints about the film are as follows. First, we did not realize that the first X-Men to die in the film had actually died. Only one of the deaths really had emotional resonance, mainly because I am a big "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" fan so it was really "been there, done that" for the final death. But part of the problem is that we expect the dead to come back in these movies (Gandalf came back, Electra came back, hands up if you think we will see Dumbledore again). Second, making Bobby Drake young enough for Iceman to be part of the next generation of X-Men with Rogue, Colossus and Shadowcat sets up an implied love triangle that rubs against the grain because the two things we know about Kitty is she walks through walls and loves Peter. At least they did not cross the line in this film with that regard but they skate pretty close to it (literally). Third, where was the Phoenix effect? They set up the whole thing at the end of the second movie as we see the shape of the Phoenix beneath the waters of Alkali Lake and I waited for Jean Grey to go full-blown Phoenix, but she just stays on the cusp.
However, there are more things I liked about the film. The second scene at the home of Jean Grey is the most memorable in the movie, I liked the fact that the American military are better prepared for an assault by Magneto and his, and any scene in which Stewart and McKellen have a conversation makes you think they are still doing. The script makes good use of Kitty and her powers (she has the single best fight movie in the film), and Wolverine and the Beast bickering is fun. The key thing is that you have to go with the movie and not let your expectations be colored by the comic books you have read, because those will just prove to be false paths. I was convinced that in the end Magneto was going to be leading the X-Men in an effort to stop Phoenix, and that Jean was going to regain control long enough to use the cure on herself, but all of that was from what I have read (and what Chris Claremont and John Bryne wanted to have be the original ending of the Dark Phoenix saga). This could be the last X-Men movie simply because of the relatively high body count, but on the other hand the roster of merry mutants has been evolving to such a high degree since Claremont and Dave Cockrum brought them back with the international flair that you kill one of the X-Men and you have a half-dozen to take their place.
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the regular people has decided they have made a cure for the mutants
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