Once upon a time I thought this was the worst movie I had ever seen. Ah, to be that young again, ignorant of things like Diary of a Cannibal and Collateral Beauty… Regardless, this is widely considered to be a wet fart of an ending to an otherwise pretty decent trilogy. Some even still consider this the worst X-Men movie, but… well, touch on that more when I eventually review X-Men: Dark Phoenix.
You would think that with the amount of fan service in X-Men: The Last Stand, that it would be more widely regarded. Yup, I’m not doing the standard review format this time. Anyway, the story grabs plot threads from two very popular stories: The Dark Phoenix Saga by Chris Claremont (gonna keep bringing him up since he did so much work on making the X-Men who they are) and the beginning of Joss Whedon’s run on Astonishing X-Men (2004 – 2013). From the former we take the malevolent Phoenix entity, and from the latter we take Dr. Kavita Rao (Mrs. Shohreh Aghdashloo) and the mutant cure. The Astonishing X-Men stuff is pretty much straight from the comic, minus the sinister alien who started creating the cure and along the way resurrected Colossus (oh yeah, he died for a while). But as for The Dark Phoenix Saga (1980)… woof, where do I even begin. Let’s keep things short and say “malevolent Phoenix entity” and “Jean Grey dies” is about all that they kept from that iconic story.
And then there are all the new characters! Kitty Pryde ([Elliot] Page) is recast and given a bigger role, and Colossus (Mr. Daniel Cudmore) was also there. He even sometimes helped! Over with Magneto’s Brotherhood, there are a bunch of obscure comic characters, ranging from Morlocks (Callisto and Leech), Marauders (Arclight), Academy X (Glob Herman and Quill, who is incorrectly listed in the credits as Kid Omega), and even some from X-Statix (Phat and Spike). So the writers sure seem to be comic nerds. I mean, Zak Penn also wrote the stories for X2 and The Avengers! And Simon Kinberg, who wrote the screenplay, also wrote… X-Men: Dark Phoenix. Wait, they let the guy who wrote this disaster try the same story again, and somehow made it WORSE? I’m honestly a little impressed.
Back to the movie itself, I could go into the fact that Professor X suddenly becomes a huge dick just so the plot could move forward. I could complain that having the Phoenix Force be a hedonistic alter/personality of Jean Grey’s is dumb. I could bemoan that depowering Jean could have been an ending, but the writers stuck to the “Jean Grey dies” plot point without analyzing why the editors at Marvel decided she had to die. But instead I’m going to bitch that Cyclops dies off screen! First of all, he’s my favorite X-Man. No, seriously. Starting out unerringly faithful to Xavier’s dream, Scott Summers grew up to question his mentor’s dick moves, eventually becoming a revolutionary rebel in order to keep mutantkind alive. Sure he had some missteps, like leaving his wife and kid for his old girlfriend, but a lot of that is due to behind the scenes Marvel Comics bullshit. But one of the main characters being killed off screen is just low; even lower when he was killed in part because he went with the previous director to film Superman Returns (following a trend of his character getting cucked by the main hero, but that’s another matter). And then, years later in comics, they killed Cyclops off panel! There’s a time jump and he’s just… dead. And when we have a comic explaining how he dies, his big, dramatic sacrifice is actually an illusion, and we find out that ONCE AGAIN, HE HAS DIED OFF PANEL! How dare you treat Scott Summers like this! Fuck this movie for many reason, but especially for that!
Next: X-Men: Days of Future Past
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