X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Genre: Superhero Running Time: 1 hr. 44 min.

Release Date: May 26th, 2006 MPAA Rating: PG-13

Director: Brett Ratner Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Kelsey Grammer, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, Ellen Page, Daniel Cudmore, Ben Foster, Dania Ramirez




wenty years ago, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen) visited a young Jean Grey, recognizing her extraordinary mutant capabilities. Ten years later, a child named Warren copes with his own mutant characteristics, which are heralded by wings sprouting from his back. And in the not too distant future, the core members of the X-Men, including Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Ice Man (Shawn Ashmore), and Shadowcat (Ellen Page), train in a fight simulation.

Meanwhile, Cyclops (James Marsden) can’t move on from the death of his girlfriend, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who sacrificed herself (in the previous movie) to save the rest of the group; Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) has been apprehended by the government; and mutant rights activist and Secretary of Mutant Affairs, Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy (Kelsey Grammer), has used diplomacy – and his unconcealable mutation – to advance the acceptance of mutants among humankind. Although attitudes towards mutants have softened over the years, fugitive Lehnsherr (aka Magneto) is still convinced that a war is coming. And when major pharmaceutical company Worthington Labs announces that it has created a viable mutant gene suppression (touted as something of a cure), he’s certain they’ll soon use their breakthrough forcibly on unwilling subjects. “Come; we have an army to build.”

“Is it cowardice to save oneself from persecution?” The concept that supernatural mutant genes are a fantastical metaphor for current, realistic, present-day intolerances has become strongest here in this final chapter to the X-Men trilogy. In fact, it’s so obvious now that it occasionally doesn’t feel analogous; mutants simply are their own race, inundated with hate and prejudice, targeted for isolation and alienation.

But despite the somber parallels, there’s fun to be had with the wealth of new superheroes and supervillains that come into play. Familiar faces and a few surprising reappearances join some striking variations and updates, allowing for spectacle-heavy fight sequences and CG-riddled interactions; the action and destruction are clearly trying to outdo the predecessors. And, indeed, the showdowns are epic. Plus, there’s a mutant classification system ranging from 1 to 5, designating strengths and capabilities, some of which are so extreme (others of which are comically stupid) that the film can’t calculate all the ways in which these superpowers must be creatively restricted so as to avoid simpler solutions to the primary predicaments.

Unfortunately, the story itself is rather incomplex, setting up a climactic closing clash that, while brimming with frenzy and some staggering set pieces, is all marvel and little substance. It’s mere protracted battling, continual explosions, cheesy one-liners, ridiculous posing, and nonsensical physics. At least the antagonists vastly outnumber the protagonists, creating underdog drama. But when the heroes lack depth, it’s difficult to sympathize with their plight; their ultimate, multi-movie conflict has never felt so trivial.

– Mike Massie

  • 3/10

The X-Men Franchise

X-Men (2000)

X2: X-Men United (2003)

X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

X-Men: First Class (2011)

The Wolverine (2013)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Deadpool (2016)

X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

Logan (2017)

Deadpool 2 (2018)

Dark Phoenix (2019)