Progress Report provides ongoing impressions of serials or sets I view them.
Replay revisits what I've previously seen.
When I first watched X-Men: The Last Stand, it put me in such a foul mood, I almost walked out of the theater. Many years later, I decided to give the film another chance. Like its predecessors, it hasn't worn well, which is unfortunate, because The Last Stand was an unbelievable mess to begin with.
The story is split into two separate and loosely connected elements: First, a private corporation has come up with a "cure" for mutants, that will suppress their powers indefinitely. In the other story, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) come back from the dead (as hinted at in X2). And some crazy backstory about Jean Grey having some hyperdestructive split personality or something like that comes out of it. Anyway, the cure stuff gets Magneto (Ian McKellen) pretty riled up (not that he wasn't already) and he goes on and goes back to his regular line about a war brewing with humanity and I guess the X-Men want to stop him from destroying the cure or something like that.
The story: The two stories don't really seem to have a point and a purposeful conflict. The "Phoenix" storyline featuring Jean Grey seems almost an afterthought, only to justify some shock value as she kills off various notable characters (and dozens of lesser ones). The "cure" storyline, while it has great potential for thematic exploration, mostly serves as an impetus for Magneto to assail the laboratory and lead to a grand showdown between the two mutant factions. Every character makes out-of-character decisions with such frequency, to drive the incoherent plot(s) forward, that the story appears to be assembled out of a series of necessary contrivances to justify the action scenes and special effect scenes. The resulting "story" is pointless, artificial, implausible, and boring. Given that it had the potential to explore the "cure" theme, especially as it interacted with the only believable story element, a love triangle around Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn) and Shadowcat (Ellen Page), but that was all too brief in the course of the 104 minute film that it could hardly redeem the rest of the incoherent mess by itself.
So, given that the story is, at best, a ludicrous excuse for action and special effects, does the film at least provide that much? Yes, although not exceptionally so. Unfortunately without a believable motivation to the action, it seems like spiritless organized chaos, but at least some of the use of powers to fight were interesting. The acting itself was also hugely lackluster, with the actors trying to pour some meaning into the husks of empty characters resulting in ridiculous emoting as all that could be managed. And I can imagine it's hard to be motivated to perform well when the characters are so thoughtlessly wrought. At least the production values are nice, giving the film a nice Hollywood tentpole glow.
X-Men: The Last Stand, is at best, a messy excuse for mediocre action and special effects on display. And what is seen seems forced due to the lack of any stake in the action. The lack of a believable story and consistent (even if two dimensional) characters destroys the credulity of what occurs on screen. This is exceptionally disappointing because the conceptual conceit of a cure storyline actually had more thematic potential for drama than past X-Men films. Very little of that potential was fulfilled. I don't know why this film is called the Last Stand, but I believe it was as successful as its historical namesake undertaken by General Custer. 3/10.