Australian Council on Children and the Media

X-Men: The Last Stand

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Not recommended under 13, PG to 15 (Viol. Scary scenes)

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This topic contains:

  • overall comments and recommendations
  • details of classification and consumer advice lines for X-Men: The Last Stand
  • a review of X-Men: The Last Stand completed by the Australian Council on Children and the Media (ACCM) on 16 May 2006.

Overall comments and recommendations

Children under 13 Not recommended due to violence and scary
Children under 15 Parental guidance recommended.

About the movie

This section contains details about the movie, including its classification by the Australian Government Classification Board and the associated consumer advice lines.

Name of movie: X-Men: The Last Stand
Classification: M
Consumer advice lines: Moderate action violence
Length 104 minutes

ACCM review

This review of the movie contains the following information:

A synopsis of the story

X-Men: The Last Stand commences with images of Angel (Ben Foster) as a distressed young boy trying to mutilate the source of his mutant powers, angel-like wings. Several years later, Angel’s father, billionaire industrialist Warren Worthington II (Michael Murphy), who is unable to accept his son’s mutation, has developed a cure that will turn mutants it into ‘normal’ human beings. Some mutants are attracted to the idea of having a normal life, such as Rogue (Anna Paquin), who only has to touch to kill. However, the darker side of the mutant population lead by Magneto (Ian McKellen) believe the government will use the cure as a weapon against mutants who pose a threat. Magneto’s fears are realised when Mystique (Rebecca Romijn), a mutant close to Magneto, is shot by a cure gun removing her mutant superpowers. In response to the threat, Magneto gathers together an army of renegade mutants, which he intends to use to destroy the source of the cure, a mutant child being held at facility owned by Warren Worthington on Alcatraz Island.

The only ones able to stand against Magneto’s army are the X-Men consisting of Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Cyclops (James Marsden), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Storm (Halle Berry), Beast (Kelsey Grammer), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page). However, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who was killed off in the second X-Men film is reborn as the evil Dark Phoenix, and joins Magneto’s army.

Themesinfo

Children and adolescents may react adversely at different ages to themes of crime, suicide, drug and alcohol dependence, death, serious illness, family breakdown, death or separation from a parent, animal distress or cruelty to animals, children as victims, natural disasters and racism. Occasionally reviews may also signal themes that some parents may simply wish to know about.

Mutants

Use of violenceinfo

Research shows that children are at risk of learning that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution when violence is glamourised, performed by an attractive hero, successful, has few real life consequences, is set in a comic context and / or is mostly perpetrated by male characters with female victims, or by one race against another.

Repeated exposure to violent content can reinforce the message that violence is an acceptable means of conflict resolution. Repeated exposure also increases the risks that children will become desensitised to the use of violence in real life or develop an exaggerated view about the prevalence and likelihood of violence in their own world.

There is frequent, stylised action violence with low level blood and gore in this movie, including:

  • Mystique strangles a guard with her feet
  • Dark Phoenix uses her mutant powers to suck the life out of her victims
  • Magneto crushes cars and throws trucks around like toys
  • Dark Phoenix throws Wolverine against walls and a ceiling like a rag doll
  • a female mutant smashes Storm’s head into a glass table
  • two female mutants smash each other against walls
  • Dark Phoenix burns the flesh off the Professor and then disintegrates his body
  • a mutant sets a building on fire and then blows it up
  • a mutant with horn-like spikes impales Wolverine
  • Wolverine brutally stabs and slashes his victims to death with his knife-like claws
  • Magneto hurls Wolverine hundreds of meters through the air smashing his body into some forest trees
  • Beast brutally pounds other mutants with his fists and throws others through the air
  • Storm calls lightening to electrocute her attackers
  • mutants throw balls of fire at soldiers
  • Dark Phoenix disintegrates numerous soldiers.

Material that may scare or disturb children

Under fiveinfo

Children under five are most likely to be frightened by scary visual images, such as monsters, physical transformations.

  • In addition to the above-mentioned violent scenes, particularly the more brutal acts of violence such as Dark Phoenix disintegrating the Professor, there are some scenes in this movie that could scare or disturb children under the age of five, including the following:
  • numerous mutant monster-like creatures, both good and evil, with frightening physical appearance
  • a number of physical transformations, particularly Dark Phoenix undergoing a demonic transformation with eyes, facial features and skin tones taking on an evil, menacing appearance.
  • Juggernaut, a large, scary looking and intimidating mutant threatens some adolescent children, crashing through walls in his bid to kill one of them.

Aged five to eightinfo

Children aged five to eight will also be frightened by scary visual images and will also be disturbed by depictions of the death of a parent, a child abandoned or separated from parents, children or animals being hurt or threatened and / or natural disasters.

The above mentioned violent and scary scenes could also scare or disturb children aged five to eight.

Aged eight to thirteeninfo

Children aged eight to thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic threats and dangers, violence or threat of violence and / or stories in which children are hurt or threatened.

The above mentioned violent and scary scenes could also scare or disturb children aged eight to thirteen.

Over thirteeninfo

Children over the age of thirteen are most likely to be frightened by realistic physical harm or threats, molestation or sexual assault and / or threats from aliens or the occult.

Children over the age of thirteen years will cope better with the on screen violence but could still be concerned by the more brutal instances.

Sexual references

There are some sexual references in this movie, including:

  • Rouge says ‘Boys only want one thing’
  • Wolverine, frustrated by a mutant’s ability to grow back arms that he has severed, kicks the mutant in the groin, and says, ‘Grow those back’.

Nudity and sexual activity

There is some nudity and sexual activity in this movie, including:

  • Magneto’s ally Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) is shot with a cure bullet and reverts to a non-mutant form leaving her naked on the floor, although only her side is shown.
  • some mutant females wear tight fitting black leather jumpsuits.
  • Dark Phoenix acts in a sexually seductive and erotic manner towards Wolverine wrapping her legs around his waist, pulling him onto a table and kissing him strongly on the lips.

Use of substances

No drug or alcohol use. The ‘cure’ itself is a drug, and is inflicted upon numerous mutants without their consent resulting in physical and emotional pain and suffering.

Coarse language

There is infrequent coarse language in this movie, including:

  • hell
  • bitch
  • dickhead.

In a nutshell

X-Men: The Last Stand is a the third instalment in the X-Men series Its main take-home message is about conformity and prejudice, showing the pressures placed on individuals to avoid persecution by conforming to ‘normality’ and the prejudice that results from people not knowing or understanding what is different, or by perceiving it as a threat.

Parents may wish to encourage the altruistic and self sacrificing qualities of some of the X-Men and women who were willing to sacrifice their own lives for the sake of humanity regardless of the prejudices humanity displayed towards them.

Parents could also discuss the concept of treating individuality as a disease, and whether those who are different from the majority need to be ‘cured’. Parents may wish to discuss the unrealistic nature of the comic book violence presented throughout the film, and what the real life consequences of using violence to resolve conflict would be.

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