Release date: May 26, 2006
The story: Bloated and often nonsensical, the main thrust of the action is the unveiling of a mutant “cure,” created using the blood of a mutant who can negate the mutations of others. The mutant community is divided between those that want the cure and those that don’t believe their condition is a disease, and Magneto builds a mutant army by joining forces with others who don’t want to see their kind eliminated. Dr. Henry “Hank” McCoy, a.k.a. the acrobatic blue-furred Beast, is the U.S. government’s secretary of mutant affairs, putting him in a tricky professional quandary when the cure is made available to the public, and the winged Warren Worthington is in a similar position due to his father’s role in the cure creation. This all sounds like it could be a solid X-movie, but then there’s the subplot involving Jean Grey’s resurrection as the Phoenix that throws everything off track.
The flashback that begins the film reveals the extraordinary psychic power Jean Grey had at a young age, and Charles Xavier kept that power in check by setting up barriers in Jean’s mind. These barriers led to the creation of a split personality, The Phoenix, who harnessed all that might, and the events at the end of X2 broke those walls and set The Phoenix free. After rising from Alkali Lake, The Phoenix kills Cyclops and Professor X and joins Magneto’s army, and then she mostly stands around in the background until she decides she wants to start blowing shit up and disintegrating bodies. The assault on Worthington Labs ends with Magneto depowered by the cure and The Phoenix dead at the claws of Wolverine, but the movie begins backtracking immediately: Magneto’s powers trickle back in the final moment, and the post-credits scene reveals that Charles Xavier transferred his consciousness to the comatose body in the care of Dr. Moira MacTaggart.
Warren Worthington II
Noteworthy events: That comatose body that Xavier takes over? It belongs to his brain-dead twin brother, as revealed in the director’s commentary on the X-Men: The Last Stand DVD. That’s important information that should be included in the movie, but it’s such a stupid plot development that it would be hard to sell. The new Charles Xavier will work with Magneto and the X-Men of the future to send Wolverine to the ’70s in X-Men: Days Of Future Past, and by the end of that film, the events of The Last Stand have been wiped from continuity to create a new XMU timeline.