Xmen: The Last Stand

I dunno, I loved it.  Am I crazy?

I know there are many out there who found this movie sadly lacking.  I’m not sure what they were expecting.

Maybe all the bad reviews lowered my expectations, but I had a whale of a time. Feel free to tell me why you didn’t like it.

And, just so no one’s hands are tied, SPOILER ALERT.

UPDATE: It seems that a lot of people, not so much here as elsewhere on the internet, hate Brett Ratner.  Is there something I’m missing?  Did he kill someone’s father?  Many people, it seems, went into the movie already hating it because it was Ratner instead of Bryan Singer, as though Singer is some kind of dynamic Francis Coppola-level visionary and Ratner is some kind of soulless Guy Hamilton-level hack.  ‘Sup with that?
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Comments

44 Responses to “Xmen: The Last Stand”
  1. greyaenigma says:

    Trying to avoid spoilers…

    I enjoyed it. I could see why people didn’t like it. I think a lot of it had to do with wanting the franchise, if not the characters, to go on. And, of course, there are all the differences from the comics — but, as many have pointed out, the X-Men comics aren’t even internally consistent.

    What I didn’t like about it is mostly picky and geeky. The bridge scene was unneccessary (Magneto could kill almost anyone from a distance if he wished, given those powers) and distractingly shifted instantly from broad daylight to night. On the other hand, I did like the clever use many of the other heroes (and villains) put their more limited powers to.

    I didn’t mind that they changed the details of the Phoenix story, but I did find myself wishing that Jean wasn’t just standing silently through most of the film — I wanted some more insight into why she was acting the way she was. It feels like some of it was cut, and some of it was just never writen. I found myself explaining her motivations in the infirmary scene to a friend of mine and it occurred to me I was doing the scriptwriter’s job.

    • Todd says:

      Re: Trying to avoid spoilers…

      It’s funny, I have a passing familiarity with a lot of the characters (I developed an X-Men spinoff for Fox, and studied the books in some depth) and while I occasionally wished to dwell more on one character or another, the glossing over major characters didn’t bother me. What I liked about that aspect of it was that it presents the mutants as regular people, as human as anyone, maybe even more so, but with special powers. So they have their moments and the story moves on. I’d much rather watch a movie and wish it would slow down than the opposite.

      As for “changing the details” of the Phoenix story, what Phoenix story are you thinking of? Hasn’t she come back and gone away several times over by now? Isn’t she an ongoing character by this point?

      I don’t mind the movies’ takes on the characters differing from the books, they have from the very beginning and the books are still available. X-Men, more than any other comic book I think, has an elasticity to the concept that allows it to include a lot of different ideas.

      And sure, I wanted to see more of this or that character, but I would bet that my choices would be different from other peoples’.

      I did wonder why Magneto moved the whole bridge when he could have just as easily picked up a tanker from the middle of the bay or something. And the day-to-night thing, well, what can I say? One continuity error didn’t ruin the experience for me. Now, the first movie, where the whole bad-guy plot makes no sense, that was a let-down.

      • greyaenigma says:

        Spoiling away

        Please don’t take my willingness to be analytical for a dislike of the overall film. I may not have been clear (I’m playing blurry insomniac tonight) in trying to say that I understand why the characters and plots need to be changed for the big screen. (You apparently don’t need this synopsis but it’s cute and I already looked it up.) I admit to being disappointed that Colossus didn’t seem to be Russian anymore. But I did enjoy the Kitty/Juggernaut duel.

        I admit that when I think of the Phoenix, I think of the original Claremont story, and given the context, the first Dark Phoenix story. That all takes way too long to have been adapted to the movie, I agree. I was just commenting today how the basics of the Jean Grey/Phoenix were actually quite similar — death, rebirth with additional power, being overhwelmed with that power. I think what’s frustrating to me is she spends so much of the movie as Limbo Phoenix — silently neither good nor bad.

        I liked how Dark Phoenix, when she first appeared in the comics, was simply tired of being manipulated by everyone and decided to just have some fun annhilating stars and planets. We can gather that this one didn’t like Xavier holding her back, but once he was apparently out of the picture, I couldn’t fully grasp her motivation through the latter half of the movie.

        I could imagine what was going on in the infirmary when Wolverine wakes her up — good Jean is wracked with guilt for killing Cyclops, so bad Jean distracts her with Logan, who she’d been suppressing her interest in. But he’s able to survive both confrontations by A) being unkillable and B) forcing her to confront her guilt while at the same time reminding her of the role Scott had played. At least, that’s my speculation. And if that’s even roughly what the writer and the director had in mind, I suppose it’s a good thing that I could infer all that, even if it’s just an inference.

        I’m also curious to know whether people have seen the post-credits scene with Xavier waking up. I know my companions were actually a little disappointed this was less likely to be the end of the franchise. And I wonder whether people are upset that while Professor X might continue, Patrick Stewart might no longer play the role.

        And tanker, shmanker. Magneto could have launched Alcatraz into orbit. I did wonder about his extreme chauvinism — after going through all that effort to get Mystique (OK, and her information) he just leaves he there when she loses her powers. Then he locks the doors of the family’s SUV (so they’re protected? so they can’t get away?) — and I couldn’t help but wonder if, later, that was one of the flaming projectiles.

        Time to stop over-analyzing, and get some sleep.

        Oh, one more thing, about elasticity of concept — this is something that has been intriguing me of late about superheroes especially. Over the past seventy or so years, we’ve watched these characters evolve — the storylines and iconography as the DNA, the differing creative teams and media as the mutations and generations. What presumably took hundreds or thousands of years for ancient myths, we’re seeing change in decades. Pieces that don’t fit within the public imagination or zeitgeist are discarded, while others take hold. It seems like it would be fascinating to study.

        • eronanke says:

          Re: Spoiling away

          Two things, darling:
          1) Magneto has no use for humans, and was sad to leave Mystique. “Too bad”, he says, “She was so beautiful” (or pretty, I don’t remember exactly). Their relationship is never specified in the movies, (and never explicitly so in the books either), but I think that his actions were exactly those of the comic-book Magneto. As well, I think the writing of Mystique was superb- to have her turn-coat like that was completely in character.
          2) The MOTHER locked the car doors. That’s why Magneto smiled.

          • greyaenigma says:

            Re: Spoiling away

            1) I got that he felt he had no use for humans, it just seemed like kind of an extreme viewpoint, especially for someone who’d grown up in a concentration camp.

            2) That could be. I thought she seemed surprised when they locked, but it would make more sense.

        • Todd says:

          Re: Spoiling away

          1. They seem to have completely done away with the international aspect of the X-Men. I don’t know why, but I can guess. It doesn’t bother me that Piotr Rasputin is called “Pete” by his classmates.

          2. Phoenix represents a problem in that she is The Bomb, the “secret weapon” that Magneto has that must be defused by Wolverine in order to save the day. I agree that her motivation is muddy, but hey! She’s Crazy, so maybe she doesn’t need a motivation. I think her rage and destruction could all be linked back to “being reined in” for so long, but then the question is, why wait so long to use her if she’s The Bomb? The problem with any X-Men movie, of course, is the same as with any episode of Justice League: too many characters with too many awesome powers; what are they all going to do when any one of them could save the day/destroy the world, and why do they spend the whole time standing around before going into their specialty act?

          3. I waited to see Xavier waking up at the end. The other people in the theater were audibly startled and/or annoyed. They had no freakin’ clue as to what they were looking at. Although a group of them were still standing in a cluster outside the theater discussing it after the show, no mean feat at 12:30 in Santa Monica, so I guess that’s good news.

          4. Well, Joseph Campbell would say that the real superheroes never did die off, that Hercules is Superman, that it’s always the same characters over and over again, with different faces, serving the needs of whatever millenia they happen to be in. And, while Hercules may have been extraordinarily popular in his time, my guess is that Superman and Batman and a few others will last into the next century at least.

          • greyaenigma says:

            Re: Spoiling away

            1. I didn’t mind him being called “Pete”, but I wish they’d’ve kept the accent. I guess it’s not as daring to have a Russian after the Cold War but yeah, no more internationalization. And, I just realized, we don’t even see Nightcrawler in this film!

            2. I get your point, I think. But I still prefer to think that even the Crazy should have motivations. The best reason I can the that Magneto didn’t unleash her was that he was just too damn scared of her. It’s funny, he talks of her as the next step in evolution, and I think he even says someday everyone will be like her… I don’t think humanity would survive that day.

            Justice League Unlimited has been dealing with godlike problem pretty nicely, by focusing on a lot of little stuff while Superman is off saving another galaxy, allowing lesser characters like The Question to have their moment in the sun. Or, in his case, under the streetlight.

            3. People sounded startled and annoyed in my theater as well. I think by that point in the movie, people had gotten to accept all the deaths by thinking it was the end of the franchise, so having him wake up was kind of pulling out the carpet under that sense of resolution.

            Another point, I really loved the relationship Erik and Xavier have through the series.

            4. Sure, Superman and Batman play a sort of archtype. My point was less about longevity and more that we’re getting to see the the myth being created. I’d be very surprised if Superman and Batman weren’t around in the next century, but it’ll be interesting to see in what forms and how popular they remain. And how they adapt to the changing public sentiments.

            • popebuck1 says:

              Re: Spoiling away

              How could anyone who’s read the books be surprised by Xavier coming back? Jeez, how many times has Xavier been dead by now? More than Jean Grey, that’s for sure.

              By now, Xavier calmly accepts his latest “death” as the opportunity for some much-needed relaxing vacation time on the Higher Planes.

              • eronanke says:

                Re: Spoiling away

                Actually, Jean has been dead more than the Professor.
                It’s like this:
                1) Wolverine
                2) Jean
                3) Magneto
                4) Prof X
                The reason you think he’s been dead more is because he’s always in Space/Genosha/The Savage Land/disappeared.

                • Todd says:

                  Re: Spoiling away

                  Wow, you’re really into this. If I ever get that gig doing the X-Men spinoff, can I use you for a resource?

                  • eronanke says:

                    Re: Spoiling away

                    Yes. Yes you can. And I’ll need no payment – just an hour alone with Hugh Jackman. (teehee – such a fangirl!)

                    It’s not my fault- my dad collected comics as a kid and kept a few, (mostly war comics like “Nick Fury & his Howling Commandos” and “Weird War”), and he had one or two X-Mens… I loved them. I was trapped by them at age 6, and then by the cartoon on Fox. So many memories….
                    Anyway, yes, I kinda am a X-Men nerd. I can’t say I’m familiar with the rest of the Marvel Cannon, but if I had unlimited money and time, I would be.

                    • Anonymous says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      I’ll need no payment – just an hour alone with Hugh Jackman.

                      Get in line, fangirl.

                    • eronanke says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      Ha! I don’t line up behind anonymous commenters! 🙂
                      But, for serious, we’ve got 24 hours in a day… I’m sure we can get a schedule going.

                    • Todd says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      I don’t line up behind anonymous commenters!

                      Sorry, that was me. Get in line, fangirl!

                    • eronanke says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      That’s dangerous, Mr. Alcott- how are we to trust you if you infiltrate us- become one of us- without our knowing?!!
                      PS- I certainly hope you plan on doing other things with YOUR hour with Hugh Jackman. Aren’t you married? 🙂

                    • Todd says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      I certainly hope you plan on doing other things with YOUR hour with Hugh Jackman.

                      Weren’t we both talking about pitching him an action movie?

                    • eronanke says:

                      Re: Spoiling away

                      I was thinking more along the lines of a romantic comedy. Mine involves a young Egyptology student and a sexy Australian movie star. 🙂

  2. popebuck1 says:

    I liked it okay – I just thought Bryan Singer did a much better job directing the actors, and handling the dramatic arcs and political subtext. This one, everything that wasn’t a fight scene felt rushed and half-hearted, as though Ratner was just getting through it as fast as possible so we could get to the next big fight.

    And I was annoyed, like , with the idea that most of the fight scenes just plain seemed unnecessary – once the movie establishes that Jean Grey is pretty much omnipotent, she gets to stand around and NOT use her powers until we’ve gotten through all the “lesser” fight scenes, while we’re all wondering “What, exactly, is she waiting for?” Similarly, the fight between all the secondary characters while Jean and Xavier were having their big faceoff seemed like time-filler.

    (Of course, that’s the most comic-booklike thing of all, because one of the rules of Golden Age comics was, EVERY issue had to have one or two big battle scenes whether the story demanded them or not. And everyone knows, from both comic books and action movies, that you always save the BIG guns for the climax. But couldn’t they have taken the trouble to justify not using Jean’s or Magneto’s superior powers, just a little bit?)

    I guess my greatest quibble was just the pacing – with a slightly slower approach, the political stuff (which seemed to ramp up to “Magneto becomes a terrorist” AWFULLY quickly!) would have had greater weight and heft, and would have been more dramatic as a result. But as I say, overall I liked it. The script was solid, and most of the actors were apparently able to direct themselves with generally good results.

    • greyaenigma says:

      I actually didn’t necessarily mind Jean not using her powers. (Althought I was expecting she was going to be the one to deal with the military ambush.) It’s possible she didn’t consider it to be her fight. The trouble with that is, why was she tagging along with Magneto, if that’s the case? Just bored? Or maybe she really wants to be lead, but won’t admit it to herself?

      And I didn’t mind the secondary fighting at Jean’s house because while their fighting was unneccessary, they didn’t know that. And it might not have been as interesting if the whole scene was just Xavier in a wind tunnel while Magneto puttered about in the kitchen.

    • Todd says:

      I just thought Bryan Singer did a much better job directing the actors, and handling the dramatic arcs and political subtext.

      I agree that the dramatic scenes could have used a dollop more weight and humanity, but it didn’t bother me. And when the action was so well-done, it really took me by surprise for some reason.

      Of course, that’s the most comic-booklike thing of all

      Yeah, I made that leap too, and I haven’t read the books in years. Same goes for the big slaughter at the end. I remember thinking “This is both totally unnecessary and utterly like an issue of one of the comics.”

      • popebuck1 says:

        I suspect that it’ll all have a lot more dramatic weight when they add back the, oh, let’s say 4 hours of extra scenes onto the DVD version…

  3. sanspoof says:

    Aside entirely from the adherence or lack thereof to the books, my biggest problem was that all the emotion and realness seemed to be drained out. Hugh Jackman did fine, but he also had some goofy stuff to do and was constantly being stood in front of by Halle Berry (whom I’m told specified in her contract that she get a lot of screen time). In such a large-cast movie, using up that much screen time on her was really not warranted, especially given her pretty lame Catwomany acting.
    Also, I thought the ability to kill (Hugh Jackman was really stabbin’ away) was wasted. In the previous movies killing was scarce (to the point that Jackman would have his claws out, and proceed to kick a guy over instead of using them), and this movie could have started with a similar unwillingness to take life but progressed into the killin’ orgy that needed to happen.

  4. eronanke says:

    Ok, everyone knows that I love Wolvie, so here is my complaint:
    Why the hell did they make him such a Cyclops?
    Every other line was, “C’mon, we’re a team!” or some bullshit like “The Professor wanted it this way!” He was totally not in character for the entire movie, (save the Danger Room session). And, in the last shot of the Mansion, right at the end, (which was filmed 3 blocks from my house, btw!), Wolvie’s looking out over the campus, and I swear to god, if he had a thought-bubble, it would have said, “I wonder if I should work on the azaelias today?”…. They made him so….. Scott!
    And as for Storm, yeah. She sucked. But I knew that from the first movie, so I was expecting a lot more tripe from her anyway.
    Kelsey Grammar’s BEAST was great.
    Anna Paquin’s ROGUE was fine… but she had such a small part!
    No character development for the Next-Gen, likie Iceman, Rogue, Kitty Pryde (who was much better used, of course in her previous role in “Hard Candy”), or Collosus, who, I believe, had one line in the entire movie.
    Patrick Stewart’s Prof X was superb, as usual. The writers decided to make him a little more morally ambiguous in this film, which is how I like him. (PS- in the sequel, which is *totally* greenlit after this weekend’s BO pullings, how do you think they’ll bring him back? With another actor and his voice? Nevermind.)
    Magneto was excellent.
    Jean scared the shit out of me, even though 90% of the time, she was staring off into space. I enjoyed how they explained her split-personality leading to the Phoenix, but I hated that it was Wolverine who was the only one who couold rationalize with her. That doesn’t make sense for either character, in my opinion. (Although I will never complain about a shirtless Hugh Jackman.)

    All in all, I give it a B, whereas the other two X-Men movies were As.

    • greyaenigma says:

      I was bothered that Rogue’s only function was to lose her powers, but I guess it seems pretty in-character for her.

      Hey, they filmed that in Tanzania? Cool!

      I did like the morally questionable Prof. X.

      And who knows, maybe Jean sucked Scott’s personality out of him, and tossed it into Wolverine when she woke up. She can do that kind of thing, being omnipotent.

      • eronanke says:

        Not Tanzania- Toronto, dufus. 🙂
        And no, not Omnipotent. Matter-Manipulator. She can’t do anything with Time. And she’s not as powerful a psychic as the Professor. Just telekinesis. (PS- I hate the Phoenix almost as much as I hate Jean Grey!)

        • greyaenigma says:

          It depends which Phoenix you’re talking about. I think in the Grant Morrison stories (just to name one) she’s at least as powerful of a telepath as Xavier. So there’s no reason why this one couldn’t have been. And I think she demonstrated some telepathic abilities in the movies — if nothing else, calling out to Scott and Logan.

          And if you’re an infinitely powerful telekinetic, who needs time? She probably could have recreated all the people she vaporized if she felt like it.

    • Todd says:

      Why the hell did they make him such a Cyclops?

      Good observation, but I think you’ve answered your own question.

      Kitty Pryde is a wonderful character, but there’s no reason she can’t be in, say, the Wolverine movie or one of its sequels.

      One of the great things about the X-Men is that they can be in movies of all different genres (I’m told that the Wolverine movie is essentially a western) and show different sides of themselves in different movies. This movie was the end of Mystique, which makes me sad, but there’s no reason the character can’t come back in, say, the Magneto prequel.

      • popebuck1 says:

        The chess-board ending also clearly leaves the door open for the “mutant cure” to be temporary. (And there’s really no other reason for Rogue to come back and live at the school again at the end despite losing her powers.) So Mystique could easily make a comeback, in or out of her blue scuba suit.

        I noticed Colossus’ lack of lines – what, did he have a total of three the whole movie? This despite being a “main character” and being put out there front and center for the whole thing. Does Daniel Cudmore have some horrible speech defect we haven’t heard about, or something?

        • greyaenigma says:

          Maybe he had a Russian accent he couldn’t quite overcome.

          • eronanke says:

            Actually, in the past two movies, they’ve forgotten to give him an accent at all, much to my dismay. I think they are worried about his acting ability, tho, since he was ‘scouted’ and didn’t have to audition or anything.
            PS- I looove yor icon. Where’s it from?

      • eronanke says:

        #1 – Why is it the end of Mystique?
        #2 – I don’t want to answer my own question. Wolverine has never been a team leader. A team player, sure, but never has he had any intention of leading.
        #3 – Kitty Pryde is, actually, one of my LEAST favorite characters. It would take an essay to tell you why. 🙂

        • Todd says:

          Why is it the end of Mystique?

          Well, as one Fox executive put it to me (he shall remain nameless): “Rebecca Romijn is getting a little long in the tooth.”

          While I in no way agree that Rebecca Romijn appears to be long in the tooth, I understand what he means. How long can an actress play a character who walks around naked and blue? Eventually you’ll have to get a younger actress.

          In fact, I would bet dollars to doughnuts that the characters who are killed off in this movie correspond directly to the amount of money demanded by the actors for doing this movie (which was not, I understand, part of the original contract).

          • eronanke says:

            Wait, wait, wait- you’re saying that actors that demanded more money got killed? What about Halle? She seems to have made the biggest stink about her role!
            And as for Patrick Stewart, I’m biased, but I’m going to assume that he will do anything for any amount of money, because he knows how much we love him, (and ’cause he’s a total whore).
            And as for James Marsden- if you replace him with Casper Van Dien, I don’t think anyone would notice.
            And I call ‘bullshit’ on your friend the exec. Rebecca is gorgeous. There are so many other actresses who need more airbrushing than her. I’ve never seen her in person, but every picture I see of her, she looks totally flawless. But the great thing about her character, I suppose, is because she can be played by anyone, (just add yellow eyes)!

  5. toliverchap says:

    longevity

    I was a big fan of the comics and really got into X-men right around the time that Jim Lee was doing art for the X-books. I didn’t really like the first movie but I understood it would be lacking a bit since it was an origin story and had to get the ball rolling. I thought the second one was good. But this final one was done in a way that just didn’t serve the comics (of which there is still a great pool of stories to be made into movies). Main characters are killed off (off screen what’s that!) And the whole bit about a “mutant cure” was bad. Basically the reason that the comics were so great and some of the cool stories in the comics is because there were enough characters to yield good A,B, and C stories. By shortening their numbers and then kind of using this “cure” thing to put an end to any revolutionary action on the part of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants the moviemakers essentially did a very quick finishing story to a series that could have done with much more development and many more movies. I think it would have been better to wait and not do another film so soon rather than to just feature the two big actors, betting on the star power to make some cash before cashing out on what could have become a truly good franchise. And yes I am a big enough geek to sit through the credits and I did see their little hint at how they might make another one but who knows. Certainly it’s nothing new for characters to “get better” in comics I just hope that if they do a 4th movie they capitalize on the richness of the comics for story and further characters (esspecially villians). That’s my take on why I didn’t think it was that good a movie. But as one franchise dies with a whimper I hold out expectation for Superman’s Return.

    • Todd says:

      Re: longevity

      Well, Fox’s plan as I understand it is to not end the franchise per se, but rather serve the characters better by making an even larger number of spinoff movies, Wolverine and Magneto being the first announced, so that a) we’ll be able to spend more time with good characters and b) have a never-ending stream of X-Men product in a number of different genres. When I first heard this plan, I told the guy “Why don’t you take every movie that Fox currently has on its slate and re-develop it as an X-Men movie?” which isn’t that far from the truth. In short, don’t worry, there’s plenty more X-product on the way.

      • eronanke says:

        Re: longevity

        All I can say is, I hope your source is right.
        Avi Arad (Lord of Marvel) says that it’s the end for the main run, but I call bullshit on that one, since he greenlit a FF4 sequel, as well as “Ghost Rider”, which looks like crap.

        • Anonymous says:

          Re: longevity

          You mean, of course, Avi Arad, ex-Lord of Marvel. He announced his retirement today.

          • eronanke says:

            Re: longevity

            SHUT UP!!!
            I totally go out for the day, and I come home, and….!!!!
            Holy crap.
            He was pretty good, actually. Except for that letting that “House of M” bullshit happen.

      • toliverchap says:

        Re: longevity

        I’ve heard this thing about spin-offs aswell and as a comic fan who read the Wolverine spin-off I can say that it had some good moments but by in large spin-offs work best as one shots being like 4-6 issue mini-series were some aspect of a character can be further elucidated. The cool thing about the X-books for my money were the overarching stories in the crossovers where you would have many teams fighting many villians where it all ended in a large epic style battle in space or on some island. I don’t know perhaps this taste towards a “larger” more complex story is better suited to an episodic television series. Who knows with the popularity of shows like Lost it seems the TV critics are once again saying that there might be an audience for episodic sci-fi with good characters. I guess we’ll have to wait and see what Lucas does with his Star Wars series.