X-Men: The Last Stand might not go down in history as the best X-Men movie, but it will go down in history as... a movie. One in which the X-Men appear prominently. Although this film failed to live up to the expectations of fans and upset continuity in such a way that it was later stricken entirely from the record, guess what? It still exists, and it’s the kind of Z-movie gold we here at FANGRRLS really live for.
We're not here to belabor the fact that this isn’t the greatest movie. Oh, wait, that IS what we're here for? Okay, thank God. This was about to be a really short article. The point is, it does occupy that realm in which its badness grows more endearing over time. When this movie premiered in 2006, cries of how it was ruining the franchise might have been understandable, but now we can look back and chuckle knowing that the X-Men do indeed still exist. If nothing else, at least this is one X-Men movie that wasn’t directed by Bryan Singer, so we have to count it as a win in some ways.
1. The story begins, as so many stories do, with Xavier and Magneto taking verbal snipes at each other in front of someone else’s house, and me in the audience not being able to tell if they’re friends or… more than friends.
2. Jean Grey's poor parents are at their wits’ end, but longtime comic book fans will note that they are never not at their wits’ end, because Jean Grey is their child. Life for the Greys is basically just that episode of The Twilight Zone where the reality-shaping child forces an entire town to obey his will and fulfill his every whim, only Jean is slightly more chill.
3. Never mind that part about Jean being chill; they ask her about her powers and she levitates every car in the neighborhood just to prove a point. Charles drops another Xavierism with “Will you control that power, or let it control you?” Spoiler alert: It controls her. Jean not being able to handle her high is kind of the point of the movie.
4. We see Angel (otherwise known by his much more hilarious name, Warren Worthington the Third) as a little bop bop, trying to cut off his own wings. It is pretty mortifying. I actually cried at this part, but it’s hard to tell if it was the actual impact of the scene or mood swings caused by early-onset menopause.
5. The X-Men are training in the Danger Room, and we are introduced to a very boring love triangle between Kitty Pryde, Iceman, and Rogue. Wolverine lights a cigar off a burning car because he is here for that flair. Storm tries to talk to him about why he’s not setting a good example for the teenagers whose lives have been entrusted to him, and he says, “You got a problem, talk to Scott.” Great. You mean the guy who is falling apart because his girlfriend died in the last movie?
6. Cyclops is having feelings about Jean, aka existing in his natural state. Wolverine shows up to be like, “Listen, I have Jean feelings, too, but maybe it’s time for us to do other things with our Jean feelings than feel them.” Cyclops gets further mad and storms out because usually after Jean Grey dies he spends a few storylines acting like an unruly teenager.
7. The prison warden from Silence of the Lambs interrogates Mystique because he is a type that got cast. Our girl Raven Darkholme changes shape a bunch of times to mess with him because that’s her thing. That’s what she’s into. She head-butts him and calls him a homo sapien. Truthfully, it's a pretty solid insult.
8. Professor X is “teaching class,” otherwise known as monologuing at his students about ethics that he himself in no way practices. Kitty Pryde quotes Einstein. The sky fills with dark storm clouds, which is what happens if a teenager quotes a man born before the turn of the 20th century in casual conversation.
9. Oh, I guess Storm is actually the one responsible for the incredibly metal weather change. Xavier goes to talk to her, and she’s like, “Oh, sorry, was that me? Am I the one that turned the entire sky black with clouds? Weird how I can do that yet I barely have any role in the fight scenes of this franchise! My bad!”
10. Xavier has a meeting with Beast and Wolverine walks right in and says, “Who’s the furball?” God, Logan! Did you skip the sympathy training seminar? Like, all of them? Beast is offended because literally no one wouldn’t be.
11. Cut to a community meeting where a lot of mutants are arguing about the cure — "What is it? Who is it for? Is it for me?" — and Magneto walks in like he owns the place to completely disrupt everything and recruit the more aggro amongst the group. Bad Haircut Pyro is here, too! He’s not that fun to be around, but he is here, and that’s what matters.
12. Everyone is dressed like they’re at a rave. One woman walks up and gives Magneto some guff for not having a tattoo, and Magneto is like, “Oh, girl. Check out my tattoo THAT NAZIS GAVE ME IN AUSCHWITZ.” Damn, Magneto. You only needed a two of hearts to win the game, yet you threw down your whole damn deck and swept the table.
13. Mystique keeps changing form in prison trying to trick the guards, who react in ways that are not entirely professional. Mystique tells one of them that she’s going to kill him, which is the exact moment that this guard should have quit his job, sold his house, taken up a new identity, and moved his family to the damn moon because she is definitely not kidding about that. He laughs it off. He is a dead man.
14. At one point, Beast is taken to a weird white room where they keep Leech, a young mutant who “leeches” people’s powers (clever girl). When Beast walks up to Leech, his blue fur starts to vanish. Not to be “comics continuity lady” in a movie that does not adhere to that world, but one thing to remember about Beast is that his blue fur is 100% due to him experimenting on himself. It’s neither here nor there for the film, but I feel like it will help non-comics fans understand why we love this guy: He’s a complete wreck of a mad scientist who ruins his own life constantly.
15. Scott goes to a lake to yell “Stop it!” at it, because, you know. He’s fine.
16. Jean is back all of a sudden, and Scott is like, “How?” and she’s like, “I don’t know,” and honestly if anything sums up this movie in a nutshell, it’s that exchange.
17. Scott makes out with Jean, although that is ill-advised at best. They run through a scene from Uncanny X-Men #132 in which Jean takes off Scott’s visor to show him that she can hold back his power, which is rendered meaningless without the backstory that made it so effective in the comic. Then, well, she kills him. Like, kills him. Dead.
18. Wolverine and Storm show up a little on the late side to find Jean passed out on the beach in a full leather bodysuit that she’s been wearing SINCE THE LAST MOVIE.
19. Xavier very casually explains how he limited Jean's powers and forced her to develop a dual personality as if that weren’t the most messed-up thing you’ve heard of in your life. If only there had been some clue that one man who is accountable to no one and given complete control of orphaned teenagers would abuse his power.
20. Mystique kills the guy she said she was going to kill, and she really speaks for all of us when she says, “Told you.” Magneto shows up for the prison break, but when Mystique gets hit by the anti-mutant serum, he ditches her and walks off muttering, “It’s a shame, she was so beautiful.” Wow. Yikes, and yikes again.
21. You can always tell when Jean is losing control of her powers because she just starts making out with people willy-nilly. Making out = EVIL.
22. Magneto and Xavier go talk shit to Jean in her own living room. Because Jean is in a fragile emotional state, Xavier starts yelling in her face. Again, he is really bad at his job. He’s like, “You’re a danger to everyone!” and “You killed the man you love because you couldn’t control your power!” Just your regular old delicate, empathetic, healing therapy.
23. Cut to: Xavier’s empty wheelchair and a living room full of emotions.
24. There are two consistencies in Rogue’s life, and one is that she would get rid of her powers in a heartbeat, and that’s fine because her powers blow. The second is that she has terrible taste in men and her relationship drama is through the roof. Iceman comes to sit on Kitty’s bed and make eyebrows at her. They talk about their Xavier feelings. Feelings are hard, so Iceman takes Kitty ice skating... on the ice.
25. Jean hangs out with Magneto for some reason, even though there is truly no universe in which Jean can even stand to be in the same room with that guy, mostly because he tried to murder her constantly throughout her entire adolescence.
26. Angel shows up at the X-Mansion like “I heard this was a safe place for mutants,” and Beast, who does not live at the mansion or work at it, says, “It was.” Storm stands up and says, “It still is.” Say what you will, Storm is indeed highly underutilized in these movies, but she is still cooler than the rest of the team combined.
27. Colossus is in this movie too, but he does not have a Russian accent, and, honestly... I can’t. I try to be chill about the changes made from comic to film, but there are some things I just can't wrap my head around.
28. Everyone has guns that are filled up with anti-mutant serum, and, I’m not trying to be rude, but it seems unlikely that you could just shoot someone with a dart and change their DNA. Then again, I’m no expert on DNA, and if scientists can create a theme park full of dinosaurs that go on to wreak havoc on the world, I guess anything is possible.
29. Wolverine just goes sickhouse on some people living in the forest, because he needed to go sickhouse, on something, somewhere, in this movie.
30. Magneto is leading a big weird press conference for his black-hoodie-wearing, Unabomber-looking followers. He refers to Jean as a weapon, which doesn’t seem great if you’re trying to differentiate your views from those of Xavier, who also pretty much referred to Jean as a weapon.
31. I can’t help but feel like most of the time Magneto serves as an exaggerated view on leftists as written by what amount to middle-of-the-road liberals and therefore by positing him as an extremist rather than serving as an effective metaphor for oppression he actually becomes a tool with which to silence minorities and foster an unsavory view of protesters and those who participate in direct action and community-building, thus villainizing those who lead civil rights movements. I'm... just saying.
32. Mystique rolls on Magneto to the feds, which is understandable considering he left her to die. The president is like, “Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned!” Great, thanks for that sexist sidebar that exists for NO REASON.
33. Multiple Man is in this, and the casting is really good, so it’s a shame he does pretty much nothing. Also, Juggernaut’s outfit is a lot more BDSM than usual, but I’m here for it.
34. Magneto trashes the Golden Gate Bridge, and this is where we are forced to realize that this is a man who just does not give a darn. This plan makes no sense, but that’s fine. Sense is not what we came here for today.
35. Magneto also rips the bridge up and carries it over to Alcatraz, cracking, “Charles always wanted to build bridges!” Well, Erik, that is a hell of an effort you went to in order to burn a dead guy.
36. Beast finally does it! He says, “OH MY STARS AND GARTERS!” OK!!! I’m having a great time now! Roll credits, please.
37. Hold onto your butts, everyone, because it’s Ellen Page versus the Juggernaut! He says, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!” It’s no “it’s Britney, bitch,” but okay. Juggernaut runs into a wall and knocks himself out. Okay, times two.
38. Magneto says, “It’s time to end this war” but like, what war? You just got dusted.
39. Lol, Iceman versus Pyro. Like, why. Bobby goes full ice for the first time in this movie so he can... headbutt Pyro. With his head. No ice was required for this.
40. Well, they’ve defeated their foes so it’s time for Jean to pop in and say “What’s up, how ya been, I’m gonna kill every damn person here who has an X on their jacket.” I find her position more and more relatable.
41. Magneto sees Jean wrecking stuff and is like “What have I done?” Um, literally what you were trying to do for this entire movie. Congratulations! Your plan was terrible. We tried to tell you that this whole time.
42. Everyone goes home. It’s fine.
43. The movie ends with Magneto trying to move a chess piece with his now non-existent powers, but, hear me out: Are those chess pieces even made of metal?