Perhaps We Were Too Harsh On X-Men: The Last Stand?

The Last Stand is considered one of the worst X Men film adaptations, but nearly 15 years and numerous movies added to the franchise since, maybe it wasn’t so diabolical.

Vinnie Jones recently lamented that X3 was one of the most disappointing jobs he’s ever taken on and that he was “mugged off” which made me think, was the Juggernaut and more importantly the movie as a whole THAT bad?

Now don’t get me wrong, the introductions to classic characters such as Juggernaut were disappointing.

There was little character development due to the sheer number of mutants being introduced in such a short sequence.

Some of our favourite mutants who were already in the film franchise are also victims of injustice.

Like Mystique, who is literally locked away the majority of her screen time, to then meet her fate by being a victim of the “cure” anyway.

The build-up to the final battle was also quite lacklustre at times, subplots like Cyclops’ death seemed to happen and then is rarely mentioned again.

Yet, there were elements to the film that deserve some credit and recognition.

For instance, Ian McKellen is completely badass (as always) and this is not lost in this movie.

Magneto quite literally uprooting the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the coolest moments in the entire franchise.


X Men The Last Stand Marvel Movie Dark Phoenix

Credit: 20th Century Fox

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Looking back in hindsight – this is the greatest film adaptation of the Dark Phoenix were actually going to see, for now anyway.

This is borderline a cinematic masterpiece in comparison to The Dark Phoenix adaptation we were given in 2019.

The effects throughout are also quite remarkable, even with such advancement in visual effects since the film still really holds its own on that front – shout out to John Bruno and team!

Although the supporting mutants didn’t get the expansion in character development they deserved, they were still fun and exciting to watch.

From that memorable and iconic line “I’m the Juggernaut bitch!” to seeing Psylocke, Arclight and Kid Omega in action as a trio, you can see that they were at least trying to diversify the mutants and not just the ones we were already used to seeing on the big screen.

The overall concept of the “cure” was also something different and mystifying.

It made the whole premise rather philosophical whilst touching on both social and political differences.

As an audience, we were taught the lesson that it’s OK to be different, and that our uniqueness is key – and it allowed the whole picking sides element to take place much like Team Cap and Team Iron Man.

Rogue eventually giving up her power was also a well-rounded conclusion to something that was severely interfering with her everyday life in the previous two films.

It gave the character a sense of closure.

Whether you were rooting for her or not, this was a nice element of character development that was actually fleshed out.

We also got a better insight into Wolverine.

In this film, he is fully incorporated into Xavier’s School for the Gifted, and nearly follows all the rules – a side of Wolverine we had not been introduced to yet within the franchise.


X Men The Last Stand Marvel Wolverine

Credit: 20th Century Fox

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Cool scenes such as the Jean Grey prologue was also a nice touch.

Fans of just the films didn’t know much about Jean Grey as a child and hadn’t really explored any of the mutants’ past lives in such depth.

The whole flashback element basically set precedent for the next 13 years of the franchise, so the significance of this opening scene cannot be ignored.

The fact that people actually die in this film cannot be missed as being an extremely bold move by the writers.

Until recently, it was the general consensus that a character dying is near enough never going to happen if the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has anything to do with it.

Sure, there will be some ‘close calls’ but actual, definite, verified death? Very unlikely.

The Last Stand changed the narrative completely, and this was before people really started calling it out as a critique for the next decade.

We lose Cyclops (in like the first 20 minutes – boo!), Charles is literally torn apart and Jean meets her fate to be free of the reigns of the Phoenix.

Those who know the unwritten rule to stay for the end credits would have seen Charles’ consciousness manifest itself into a new body, but the fact still remains, his death was a huge plot twist and an integral part of the film.

We even see the death of supporting characters like Dr. Kavita Rao which was actually quite brutal come to think of it.

Now, the vast number of mutants dying in one film was quite savage, but it really set a precedent that it’s not all combat followed by resolution where everyone holds hands and has learnt from their mistakes by the conclusion.

Sometimes you actually have to lose people along the way.


X Men The Last Stand

Credit: 20th Century Fox

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It also cannot be ignored just how well The Last Stand did in the box office in comparison to its predecessors.

The last stand it was not, as Fox was able to achieve the epitome of every studios dream – spin-offs.

Without the success of this third movie, we may not have been exposed to some further instalments, for example X Men Origins: Wolverine or The Wolverine, this was for better or for worse but that’s a whole other discussion.

If there is one factor the film absolutely executed immaculately it was seeing the one and only Kelsey Grammer as Beast – the oddly perfect casting no one knew they needed.

It’s safe to say that the conclusion to the original trilogy is not without its flaws.

Yes, we saw the most controversial and infamous villain Magneto seemingly lose his mutant powers, and yes the entire storyline was essentially rewritten in Days of Future Past.

It, however, cannot be ignored that perhaps we really were too harsh back in the day, I mean who would have thought whilst sitting through some of the latter films within the franchise we’d actually be yearning to watch The Last Stand all over again instead?

What do you make of this article?

Do you think we misjudged X-Men: The Last Stand?

Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

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