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  • Alternate Character Interpretation:
    • Bobby's little moment with Kitty—are his hormones craving physical intimacy that he's not able to have with his girlfriend? Or is he just doing something nice for a friend with no bad intentions or ulterior motives? It's worth noting that the kiss that was filmed but cutnote  had Kitty as the one who initiated the kiss. So that puts her into interpretation - is she misreading Bobby's intentions (and she knows he has a girlfriend) or is she just caught up in the heat of the moment?
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    • Rogue's attitude as well—does she have a legit reason to be suspicious? Or is she just paranoid and possessive?
    • There's also Jean not sensing Logan coming up to her during the final battle. Is she holding the Idiot Ball? Or is she holding back the Phoenix just enough to prevent her from killing him outright?
    • Did Magneto callously abandon a de-powered Raven for not being a mutant anymore, or he instead did it because he thought that a powerless human would be a load for them and that she would be safer not following them to the battlefield?
  • Can't Un-Hear It: Kelsey Grammer as Beast. His character managed to be a fan favourite despite the contested nature of the movie.
  • Contested Sequel: The film is either a bad representation of the Phoenix Saga and a total cop-out as far as the role of Cyclops goes, and being "The Wolverine and Jean Show" and devoid of all other character development... or it is an adequate adaptation of the Phoenix Saga that does away with plot elements that would have been out of place in the established movie canon, and a sweet action movie in which all hell breaks loose and Wolverine owns the show. A third camp feels that it's not as solid as the first two, but still nowhere near as bad as a lot of people say. Take your pick.
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  • Critical Dissonance: The film had the worst reviews, but the best box office results out of the original X-Men trilogy, although a lot of that was banked on the goodwill from the first films, which were parlayed into a HUGE opening weekend for the third.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse: Ben Foster's heartfelt performance as Angel almost makes you forget his screen time is so small. Doubly impressive, considering the role was massively against type for him at the time (he was best known for psychopath roles, such as Hostage).
  • Fanon: A common theory regarding the Continuity Snarl between X-Men: First Class and this movie is that the Xavier who visited Jean Grey was, in fact, a psychic projection. X-Men: Days of Future Past would later offer an alternate to this theory, with the presence of a serum that allows Xavier to walk, but takes away his powers if too much is used.
  • Harsher in Hindsight:
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    • After watching X-Men: First Class (which revealed that the young Xavier taught Lehnsherr how to achieve greater control over his power by finding the point between rage and serenity—the latter requires a happy memory), Magneto's line of "Charles always wanted to build bridges" as he's moving a large section of the Golden Gate Bridge seems to indicate that he's thinking about his old friend instead of his mother in order to attain serenity. And like his mother, Xavier—whom he loved as a brother—is now dead, so happy memories from their brief friendship in 1962 is all Magneto has left of him.
    • Erik truly seemed to grow fond of Raven in X-Men: First Class and spent decades with her at his side, then casually kicked her to the curb in this movie after she was hit with the mutant cure. The disheartened look in his eyes for being forced to do so, however, cannot be ignored either.
    • The infamous scene of Jean killing Cyclops and Professor X under the Phoenix's influence, only now that a Phoenix-possessed Cyclops kills Xavier in a very similar scene. The blame put on Cyclops is even déjà-vu to Phoenix!Jean's controversial genocide.
    • At one point, Magneto uses his powers to blast away Logan into a tree, and Logan survives the fall downwards due to his healing factor. Then Logan happens, and we see X-24, a full clone of Logan, shove the latter into a jutted tree branch. As Logan was severely weakened due to his age and adamantium skeleton poisoning him, there is a lot of blood, and he dies.
    • The Rogue-Kitty-Iceman romance subplot seems far less cute in light of Ellen Page and Anna Paquin's testimonials about Brett Ratner's sexual harassment towards them.
    • The fact that Phoenix kills people by blasting them to dust. Thanos would replicate this on a universal scale come Avengers: Infinity War.
  • Heartwarming in Hindsight: Professor X reassuring Beast that "You are always welcome here. You are a part of this place" becomes that much sweeter when you take into account their close relationship in X-Men: Days of Future Past. In between 1963 and 1973, Charles and Hank were each other's Only Friend after the former was forced to close his newly budding school due to the Vietnam War draft. Xavier then fell into a deep depression that was further worsened by his alcoholism, and McCoy did his best to try to take care of his former mentor. They eventually became Heterosexual Life-Partners, so Beast isn't just a good friend to the Professor; he's family. Hank also mentions to Logan that both he and Charles had built the school and the labs, so McCoy is just as essential as Xavier in the formation of the X-Men.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • Beast throwing down the mutant cure in disgust is slightly amusing when you take into account his experience with another serum in First Class.
    • Iceman came out as gay in the comics. Makes his semi-love triangle in the movie with two girls quite a bit funnier, especially when you consider that both his love interests are played by actresses who are into girls in real life.
    • The Phoenix had meant to insult Wolverine when she tells him "What, you think [the Professor's] not in your head, too? Look at you, Logan. He's tamed you." In X-Men: Apocalypse, Jean successfully "tames" the Phoenix with Xavier's help.
  • Idiot Plot:
    • The government hears that Magneto is raising an army to attack the mutant cure laboratory on Alcatraz. In response, they arm the guards there with mutant cure dart weapons in plastic dart rifles, the latter of which is sensible to stop Magneto but the former being Crippling Overspecialization at its finest. This only works because Magneto is equally stupid. They also leave Leech at Alcatraz instead of quietly moving him somewhere else when they know his life is in danger. Even though Magneto has a mutant sensor character in his ranks and would know they moved him, the government doesn't know that.
    • Magneto's plan involves uprooting the Golden Gate Bridge to bring his mutant army to Alcatraz. He could have just as easily dropped the bridge on Alcatraz, removing the need for an army entirely, or flown himself to an unreachable distance and turned the entire island and its large supply of metal (rebar, pipes, etc.) into a deathtrap.
    • Magneto just sends his army in with no plan, using them as fodder to determine the enemy's capabilities. As he demonstrates later, he could just have his A-list destroy everyone in a few moves and they would be powerless to stop him. This essentially serves no purpose but to make Magneto seem unsympathetic and callous to his own race. (A deleted scene does show Magneto try to get Phoenix to do something, which she refuses, telling him, "You're sounding like [Xavier] again." This does not excuse him failing to use his lesser, but still ridiculously powerful elites right off the bat.)
    • Magneto is surprised that the humans are using plastic guns, as if he genuinely didn't expect them. This from a guy who's not only been held in a plastic prison for quite some time (which included guards with plastic weapons), but has shown the ability to detect metallic signatures from far greater distances and act on them accordingly. He does so in this very film, in fact.
    • Magneto controls metal. Wolverine has metal bones and Colossus turns into metal. You would think Magneto would just toss them into the ocean (something he would do in a later film), but instead he leaves them on the battlefield.
    • The heroes need to stop Phoenix, so Wolverine is sent in to stab her with his claws. If he's in a position to get close enough to do that and you aren't going to make her vaporize his pants, then he should have grabbed some cure darts (which are literally everywhere) and cured her instead of killing her. Still psycho or not, she wouldn't be a threat.
  • Like You Would Really Do It: Magneto is stabbed with the cure. The movie's final scene shows Erik in a park, and a chess piece moves ever so slightly, implying the cure wasn't permanent. The events of The Last Stand seem to be Ret Gone courtesy of X-Men: Days of Future Past, though. Also, in that film, Future Magneto is definitely shown to have gained his powers back.
  • Misblamed:
    • A lot of X-Men fans blame Brett Ratner for every single problem with the film. Others blame the film's original director, Matthew Vaughn, for screwing the film over by quitting right before the start of filming, and still others hold both men equally to blame. In actual fact, while you could make legitimate criticisms about both Ratner's direction and Vaughn's decision to quit, neither of them were responsible for the storyline. That was about 90% the same as the final film well before Vaughn had signed up, and neither director was permitted to make any serious changes to the screenplay (which, despite him giving "family reasons" for his decision to quit, was apparently a major factor in Vaughn leaving the film).
    • Ironically, many fans actually blame Bryan Singer for everything wrong with the film. Despite (or perhaps even because of) Singer departing the franchise to direct the similarly failed Superman Returns, and having nothing to do with the film at all!
  • Narm:
    • Kid Omega's Intimidation Demonstration where he quills out in Magneto's general vicinity. Perhaps not silly itself, as it is clearly meant to evoke a scary animal's threat display, but utterly ridiculous when you learn that it's all his mutant power. That's correct, he is throwing his entire might on Magneto, which does nothing because it is literally next to nothing.
      • The fact that the quills are about three inches long certainly doesn't help. The one time we see him use them to any kind of effect, he literally has to hug his victim while "quilling out" (and it seems that she let him do it anyway). Considering that throughout the film he's included in a trio with the other two mutants' powers being vastly more impressive, it makes the whole situation that much worse.
    • The whole exchange between Mystique and the guard in the prison truck.
      Mystique: (posing as the President) Let me out of here! I demand that you release me! Do you know who I am? I am the President of the United States!
      Guard: Oh, Mr. President... Shut up!
      Mystique: (posing as a little girl) Why are you doing this? Let me out! I'll be a good girl! Please!
      Guard: (pulls out a can of mace) Keep it up...and I'll spray you in the face, bitch.
    • Magneto's line, "Charles always wanted to build bridges!"
    • Storm's passionate speech about how there's nothing wrong with being a mutant when Rogue asks if there's a cure, while well-intentioned, falls a bit flat when you remember that the woman who can control the weather is lecturing the woman who kills everything she touches about how she's wrong to consider getting rid of her ability to kill everything she touches and should embrace herself. This, at the very least, makes Storm come off as a bit pompous, blinkered and sanctimonious. The movie does point out that Storm is being a bit myopic and self-centred later, however.
  • Never Live It Down: Storm is frequently attacked for her "there's nothing to cure" speech, even though literally after she's finished speaking, Beast calls her out on the fact that other mutations have worse effects than hers.
  • One-Scene Wonder: The movie is full of them — Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, Eric Dane as Multiple Man, Ben Foster as Angel.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: The first two X-Men films were directed by Bryan Singer. This one, directed by Brett Ratner, is considered by many fans to be a step down in quality.
  • Overshadowed by Controversy: In November 2017, Ellen Page accused Brett Ratner of homophobic abuse during the production of this film, with Anna Paquin corroborating her account of the incident. In the space of a day this film went from being at the back of most people's minds to being negatively referred to on every news broadcast and website in the world. At time of writing, Brett Ratner has denied her claims.
  • Rainbow Lens: The film begins with Angel's anti-mutant father walking in on him trying to cut off his wings as a child to hide his mutation. His father throws himself into developing a "cure," which his son is supposed to be the first to test. At the last minute, he decides he doesn't want to be cured and flees, seeking refuge at Xavier's school, where he is surrounded by other mutants for the first time and learns to be proud of his status as a mutant.
  • Retroactive Recognition:
    • Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde. She had only just finished Hard Candy at this point and it would be a couple of years before her Oscar-nominated role in Juno.
    • Miles Straum as a mutant.
  • Rule of Sean Connery: Ellen Page. Even a lot of the film's detractors enjoyed Kitty Pryde taking down the Juggernaut. These included Bryan Singer, who went on to bring Page back for Days of Future Past.
  • Scapegoat Creator: Brett Ratner picks up a lot of hate from fans of the X-Men for his role in directing this movie. Said fans tend to ignore the fact that Ratner joined the film's production at a relatively late stage (replacing Matthew Vaughn, who had been attached to direct for most of the film's development phase), thus minimizing the amount of creative input he could have possibly had to the movie.
  • Signature Scene:
    • Wolverine killing Phoenix, one of the most heart-wrenching sequences of the original trilogy.
    • Professor X's apparent death showed this franchise wasn't afraid to kill off major characters.
    • The Juggernaut's "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" remark to Kitty Pride, thanks mostly to Memetic Mutation.
    • Magneto lifting the Golden Gate Bridge is one of the most breathtaking scenes from the original trilogy and still holds up more than a decade later.
  • So Okay, It's Average: While The Last Stand is not considered to have lived up to the standards set by the first film and especially X2, many claim it has just enough redeeming qualities to be decently enjoyable, with the well directed actions scenes and the superb acting being highlights. The criticism that the storylines clash very heavily against each other still stands, with many citing that the "cure" storyline should've just been the main focus entirely and that the Phoenix one felt like it was clumsily shoehorned in, but both plots are easy enough to follow along with and understand.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: This film evoked this response more than the other films. Particularly killing off Cyclops anticlimactically and depowering Mystique—although this was partly a case of Real Life Writes the Plot, as the actors were unavailable for most of production.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character:
    • Many members of the main cast were considered to suffer from this, as wanting to showcase Loads and Loads of Characters robbed their screentime.
    • The film in general is lousy with this, wasting not only the already under-utilized Colossus, but Psylocke and Multiple Man as well. Even Callisto could have gotten more characterization mileage than simply being another of Magneto's lackeys.
    • Cyclops, leader of the X-Men and arguably the REAL main character of the comics: the guy was less than a cameo in the movie. The character had to deal with the death of his lover, but apparently that wasn't worth exploring, nor were his actual leadership abilities. Also, with Xavier's death, the idea of Cyke taking leadership of the X-Men as a whole and not just the field team was very doable (he's been leader of the majority of the mutants for years in the comics), and would've made sense in the context of the story. But no, he was thrown out like yesterday's trash.
    • Basically, there are two kinds of characters in this film: on one hand, you have the characters who could all be the poster children for this trope. On the other hand, you have Wolverine.
    • This was the first film that had the original X-Men team (Professor X, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Iceman, Beast and Angel) all play a part... but they never share a scene as a unit, let alone work together like fans would have loved to see. Jean spends the majority of the film in the villainous Phoenix persona, Charles and Scott both die at her hands, and Angel never even joins the team. The only ones seen to work together are Beast and Iceman in Act 3. Considering the next team film was First Class (which managed to feature none of these characters besides Charles and Hank,) this stings all the more.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Plot:
    • On the one hand, you have a member of the cast who turns evil, gains a huge boost to her superpowers, and threatens to kill lots of people if she's not stopped. On the other hand, you have a "cure" for mutations, with some mutants wanting the cure while others are afraid that it will be forced on them. Of course, since they are both in the same film, there is no time to explore either of them to their full potential. Not only that, the obvious justification for doing both in the same film, that the "cure" just so happens to be a solution to that whole Phoenix problem? It's never even considered.
    • X2 ends with Professor Xavier suddenly getting distracted during a class and staring into the distance, after which he smiles and says "everything will be alright". The implication is that he felt the Phoenix as she appeared in Alkali Lake, therefore realizing Jean had survived. So of course the third movie chooses to completely forget about this scene and have him act as surprised as everyone else when Jean is found. This in turn means Cyclops is the one who unleashes the Phoenix and gets killed for it.
  • Took the Bad Film Seriously: More like bad subplot, but despite the film's poor handling of the Phoenix storyline, Famke Janssen really tries her hardest to commit to it. She plays both the vengeful Phoenix and the sympathetic Jean Grey so well that it's an even bigger shame not more was done with her.
  • Unfortunate Implications: Some critics, such as Lindsay Ellis, felt that the scene where Logan is forced to kill the Phoenix because she's too powerful is similar to real-life abusers justifying why they hurt their victims.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic: In the beginning of the film, Logan tells Scott that he knows how the latter feels, which is in general a terrible thing to say to someone that's grieving, and in the specific case, makes Logan seem incredibly self involved. He's essentially equating his grief over a woman he knew for about a week to Scott's over his fiancee that he'd known for at least a decade.
  • Vindicated by History: For a long while, it was considered the lowest rung in the X-Men movie franchise by a lot of fans for one reason or another (Change in directors, wonky writing, Cyclops getting shafted again and killed off, the Phoenix being Jean's Split Personality instead of an initially good cosmic being that was just corrupted by evil forces, clashing the storyline with one about a mutant cure). But over the years, fans eased up on the movie and admit it's not as bad as initially viewed or word of mouth would suggest. Especially true after the mess that was X-Men Origins: Wolverine and, years later down the line, the second attempt at the Phoenix Saga, Dark Phoenix. The latter film, while trying to be more accurate to the comics, didn't do the story any better and is actually compared unfavourably to The Last Stand by both fans and professional critics, who cite that its middling tone fails to match the fun and energy of its predecessor. Some critics even felt that Dark Phoenix unwittingly proved that the Phoenix Saga simply wasn't possible to adapt to a single movie, and that The Last Stand had the right idea all along in simplifying the story, even if the execution could have been better.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome:
    • The special effects create action scenes straight out of a comic, such as the Golden Gate being flown by Magneto's powers and the Dark Phoenix disintegrating stuff.
    • There's also Angel's wings and Quill's spikes.
    • One moment that is slight more subtle is the "digital skin grafting" that made Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen look two decades younger. While it borders on Uncanny Valley, it's still convincing.
    • Not forgetting the practical makeup effects, such as the muscle suit Vinnie Jones wore as the Juggernaut, Angel's wings in their folded position and of course the full-body makeup applied to Beast.
  • Watch It for the Meme: "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!", which was added to the script after it became a YouTube meme.
  • What an Idiot!:
    • Scott starts hearing Jean's voice in his head, calling his name.
      You'd Expect: That, being the leader of the team, he would (at the very least) go talk to someone about it, especially Xavier (who would be able to read his mind and figure out what's going on).
      Instead: He secretly packs a bag, blows off Logan (who tries to help him) and goes off to Alkali Lake by himself. There, he accidentally(?) awakens Jean/Phoenix, who then proceeds to de-atomize him. As if acknowledging Scott's actions, no one mentions him for the rest of the film. Stuffed into the Fridge and Sudden Sequel Death Syndrome, indeed.
    • Prior to the events of the film (and the trilogy), Xavier implanted a series of mental mind blocks in Jean's mind to prevent a latent personality (Dark Phoenix) from taking over.
      You'd Expect: That anytime over the last twenty-plus years, Xavier would have at least mentioned this information to Jean for her own safety. Not even when she's brought back to the school from Alkali Lake does he bother to come down and see her (when she's feeling conflicted about her identity) and try to restore the mind blocks. Instead, he's teaching a class.
      Instead: Jean, more pissed off than ever, takes up residence at her old home, and Xavier willingly walks in (with Magneto, no less) to try and reason with her. It ends about as well as you would expect.
    • Magneto wants to kill the mutant whose DNA is being used to create the anti-mutant serum, who is located on Alcatraz Island. Magneto, in a stupendous display of power, lifts the freaking Golden Gate Bridge to get to Alcatraz.
      You'd Think: Since Magneto wants to kill this particular mutant, and doesn't really care about civilian casualties incurred in the process, that while he was lifting an object hundreds of feet in the air that weighs over 1000 tons, he'd just drop it on their heads or turn it into a blizzard of shrapnel to tear every living being on the island into shreds.
      Instead: He uses it to form a bridge, marches across it and digs in for a long, difficult, and unsuccessful siege of the place.
  • The Woobie: Cyclops. Plenty wanted to give him a hug during the film. And then Jean killed him.

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