If you do not relate to the term “fanboy” or you have never found yourself foaming at the mouth over changes made to a series you’ve loved, then you do not know how furious it must have made Marvel Comics fans who went to see X-Men: The Last Stand. Now I see what all the negativity was about.
Now, for a couple-dozen minutes, it’s all good: we all know Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) met her end in the last film, X2: X-Men United. We also know that Jean Grey returns; at least you have to know because she has a big role in the film. What happens after those 24 minutes or so is a warping and twisting of the X-Men canon that most fans of the Marvel Comics series would retch at the sight of. It’s not to say that these major plot points will anger people who have never picked up an X-Men title. The Last Stand is a solid film on its own, but it really shreds and fiddles with what we X-fans all know about our favorite mutants.
The film begins two decades before the present time, when Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erick Lensherr (Ian McKellen), the future villain Magneto, go to recruit a young Jean Grey for Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. This is an important moment in the history of the X-Men because Jean Grey’s mutant ability is telepathy and her power has a potential that Xavier saw and wanted to help mold. While a young Jean Grey saw the benefit to her mutation, a young Warren Worthington III (10 years later) does not find his angelic wings to be a blessing, but a curse.
This sets the scene for the two major plot points, the return of Jean Grey and the discovery of a “cure” for all mutant-kind. Word of this cure first reaches the hands of a mutant named Beast (Kelsey Grammer) who is a member of the government’s mutant affairs division. Beast is friends with Xavier, so he gives him warning about this cure. While Xavier does oppose this new creation by Worthington Labs, he is not willing to take matters into his own hands through violence. His old comrade Magneto, on the other hand, is more than willing to kill anyone, mutant or human, who gets in the way of him and the newly expanded Brotherhood destroying this “cure.”
This is where things get hinky for people who know and love the X-Men series. Without giving out any spoilers, all I can say is that things happen that aren’t supposed to according to X-Men history. There are also certain people who show up where they don’t exactly belong and finally, the Juggernaut’s (Vinnie Jones) history is totally turned on its head. This is the only bit of info I can expose without spoiling it for any potential viewers.
In X-Men: The Last Stand, the Juggernaut is now a mutant, he doesn’t seem to have any relation to Professor Xavier and he has, well, Vinnie Jones’ British accent. I think that fans will overlook these details because they will be too busy pulling out their hair at what happens at every step of this film.
I would like to expose myself as an X-Heretic because I do not think that these monumental changes in the X-Men story make the movie bad. I have already read and seen various incarnations of X-Men stories. I already know the story behind the Phoenix saga. What’s wrong with giving fans a story where they will not be able to tell what’s going to happen next? Every X-Men film has not followed the X-Men comics to the letter, but the problem for X-fans here is that the screenwriters have gone off the deep end into a totally different direction that just will not sit well with people who know and love nearly every mutant who appears in this mutantfest. Hey, at least a lot of the mutants we fans have always wanted to see on the big screen are represented (except for Gambit, damn you) and get to toe-to-toe with each other.
Now, for you non-X fans. It’s okay, you can watch (and enjoy) this film. Please take my word for it. X-Men: The Last Stand is a solid sci-fi action comic book movie with stunning special effects, good performances from everyone involved and strong fight choreography. The total disregard for X-Men history should not bother you, because you don’t know much about the source material. X-Men: The Last Stand is a worthwhile night at the movies. If you find any fault with this film, I believe the writers are to blame, not X-Men’s new director Brett Ratner, who took a lot of crap for helming this.
Oh, and before I go, be sure to stay after the credits roll for a special bonus scene!