Sunday, May 28, 2006

X-Men: The Last Stand
Overview- Includes Spoilers for entire film:

X-Men the Last Stand looks to be the final chapter in the X-Men trilogy.
Mutants have become semi-mainstream, at least in the United States—Hank McCoy— a former X-Man code-named Beast—is Secretary for Mutant Affairs, and apparently the shape-shifting villainess Mystique has just been captured—or so it seems. Jimmy, aka ‘Leech’, is a mutant whose very presence cancels out the powers of nearby mutants, through pheromones. He has been somehow captured, his mutant-power harnessed and synthesized into a chemical ‘cure’ for mutants in society. The spearhead of this is business mogul Warren Worthington Jr., whose son, Warren III, has bird-like wings that allow him to fly. A press conference is announced regarding the cure, bringing both alarm and relief to the mutant community.
McCoy is apprised of the developments of Worthington Industries, and is sent by the President to investigate. In the meanwhile, the X-Men’s arch-foe Magneto recruits disgruntled mutants from society’s fringe and begins organizing his Brotherhood into a virtual army. Convinced this
is simply a formality in a planned extermination of mutantkind, Magneto intends to destroy Worthington Laboratories: The corporation apparently bought out Alcatraz Island to use as their headquarters, and Jimmy/Leech is housed there

But another wrinkle has developed. The X-Men’s field leader Cyclops keeps having nightmares of his deceased lover Jean Grey, who seemingly died at Alkali Lake, the abandoned military facility where Wolverine apparently received his adamantium skeleton. Acting on impulse, Cyclops heads to Alkali Lake, where the seemingly impossible happens—Jean rises from the lake, resurrected right in front of his eyes. More powerful than ever before, Jean suppresses Cyclops’ optic laser-power, normally only kept in check by his special glasses. The couple embraces and kisses each other passionately, but only at the last moment does Cyclops realize that Jean is not ‘all right’…

A psychic ‘explosion’ alerts the telepathic Professor X to the calamity, and the X-Men’s founder and moral leader sends Storm and Wolverine to investigate. At Alkali Lake, the pair finds Jean’s body amidst a maze of floating debris, but Cyclops’ eyeglasses are the only remaining proof that he was there.
Back at the mansion, tensions rise among the younger mutants and X-Men trainees. Marie, a.k.a. Rogue, still cannot touch anyone without absorbing their life-energy (and mutant powers if they have any); her boyfriend Bobby, the Iceman, finds himself getting closer to Kitty Pryde, whose ghostlike ‘phasing’ power allows her to pass through walls and other obstacles.
Magneto crashes an urban mutant rally, recruiting tattooed mutant Callisto and her ragtag band of mutants to the Brotherhood cause. Among Callisto’s talents are locating other mutants and instinctually gauging their power level. Her abilities are put to the test in finding Mystique, currently imprisoned on a military convoy. Magneto orchestrates a violent jailbreak, but it is a pyrrhic victory as Mystique ends up shot with the mutant ‘cure’ in dart-form. Reverting back to her human form—permanently—she is abandoned by Magneto, but not before he frees and recruits two other mutants also on the convoy: The self-duplicating Multiple Man, and the rampaging strongman Juggernaut.
Back at the X-Mansion, Jean is in the medical lab, attended to by Professor X. It is revealed that he placed psychic barriers on Jean’s mind while she was still a young girl, to prevent her potentially catastrophic-level telekinetic powers from overwhelming her—and others. Left alone, Wolverine visits her, and Jean’s emotional side erupts, releasing the dark ‘Phoenix’ within her, and she forcibly breaks out of the mansion. She is tracked back to her childhood home, where Magneto is already there—two new recruits in tow and looking for a third.
The two senior mutant leaders try to talk with Jean, but her powers quickly grow further out of control—in the meanwhile, Storm and Wolverine scrap with Callisto and Juggernaut. Jean’s emotions reach a fever pitch, and she ultimately atomizes Professor X while a helpless Magneto can only watch. With Wolverine and Storm subdued, Jean—now the Phoenix—leaves with Magneto by default.
Shortly thereafter, Magneto orchestrates a series of violent demonstrations at the various mutant-cure clinics that have proliferated in the wake of Worthington’s announcement. The Xavier school is reeling after Professor X’s death, facing possible closure. Storm decides against it, and vows to maintain the Professor’s ideals. Beast has resigned his post after discovering that the military already has a hand in the just-publicized cure serum. Returning to the X-Mansion, he stands with Storm and Wolverine as they confront the possibility of Magneto’s war coming to pass.
The third act begins when Magneto leads his Brotherhood army to the Worthington Laboratory on Alcatraz—he uses his powers to uproot the entire Golden Gate Bridge, displacing it to link the island to the mainland. Knowing that Magneto must be stopped, the remaining adult X-Men—including Beast—bring along junior X-Men Iceman, Colossus, and Shadowcat—Rogue has left the mansion, heading for one of the mutant-cure clinics. When the team arrives at Alcatraz, Magneto has already begun his assault on the facility, unswayed by the fact that military security are all armed with mutant-cure darts and grenades. Both sides are decimated heavily, and ultimately the X-Men oppose Magneto’s forces, fighting them to a virtual standstill. Leech is rescued by Shadowcat, but only the combined efforts of the other team members finally defeat Magneto, Beast sticking him with mutant-cure darts.
Yet, the remaining ‘x-factor’ is the Phoenix. Angrily igniting her powers again, she threatens to obliterate everything around her. The X-Men evacuate their own, but many others are caught in the Phoenix’s cataclysmic waves of destruction. The only mutant who can resist is the fast-healing Wolverine, who begs Jean to resist her vengeful alter-ego. But she’s too far gone. Ultimately, Wolverine has to engage in mercy-killing to end the telekinetic maelstrom.
Picking up some weeks later, the Xavier School for the Gifted is apparently still active—though two more gravesites have been added next to Professor X—those of Scott Summers (Cyclops) and Jean Grey. Beast has returned to the diplomatic world as the newly appointed U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations. The Angel still has his wings, and longtime loner Wolverine has stayed on as a teacher at the school. Rogue apparently went through with the cure, and is able to hold hands with Bobby—skin-to-skin—for the first time. Finally, somewhere in San Francisco, an old man sits in a public park playing chess by himself. Holding his hand in front of a metal chess piece, it wobbles, just slightly…

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