X-Men: The Last Stand (2006 Movies)
Twenty years in the past, Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr meet young Jean Grey at her parents’ house to invite her to join their school, the X-Mansion. Ten years later, the industrialist father of Warren Worthington III discovers his son is a mutant as Warren tries to cut off his wings.
In the present, Worthington Labs announces it has developed an inoculation to suppress the X-gene that gives mutants their abilities, and offer the “cure” to any mutant who wants it. The cure is created from the genome of a young mutant named Jimmy, who lives at the Worthington facility on Alcatraz Island. While some mutants are interested in the cure, including the X-Men‘s Rogue, many others are horrified by the announcement. Lehnsherr re-establishes his Brotherhood of Mutants with those who oppose the cure, warning his followers that the cure will be forcefully used to exterminate the mutant race.
With help from Pyro, Lehnsherr recruits Callisto and several other mutants. They attack the mobile prison holding Mystique to free her, also freeing Juggernaut and Multiple Man. Mystique saves Lehnsherr by taking a shot of the mutant cure aimed at him, rendering Raven Darkhölme human. Hateful of humans, Lehnsherr abandons Darkhölme, much to her shock and disappointment. Meanwhile, Scott Summers, still distraught over the loss of his fiancée, Jean Grey, drives to her resting location at Alkali Lake. Jean appears to Summers but, as the two kiss, Jean kills him. Sensing trouble, Xavier sends Logan and Storm to investigate. When they arrive, they find only telekinetically floating rocks, Summers’ glasses, and an unconscious Jean.
When they return to the X-Mansion, Xavier explains to Logan that when Jean sacrificed herself, she also freed the “Phoenix“, a dark and powerful alternate personality which Xavier had telepathically repressed, fearing the Phoenix’s destructive potential. Logan is disgusted to learn of this psychic tampering with Jean’s mind but, once she awakens, he discovers that she killed Summers and is not the Jean Grey he once knew. The Phoenix emerges, knocks out Logan, and escapes to her childhood home.
Lehnsherr learns of Jean’s resurrection through Callisto, and the X-Men arrive at the Grey home at the same time as the Brotherhood. Lehnsherr and Xavier go in alone, and both vie for Jean’s loyalty until the Phoenix resurfaces. She destroys the house and disintegrates Xavier before leaving with Lehnsherr. The Brotherhood decides to strike Worthington Labs, and the government sends multiple teams to attack the Brotherhood’s base in the forest, with information gained from Darkhölme, furious over Lehnsherr’s betrayal. However, the life forms in the camp are all copies of Multiple Man, and Lehnsherr uses his powers to move the Golden Gate Bridge so he and his army can get to Alcatraz and facilitate the attack on Worthington Labs. The remaining X-Men confront the Brotherhood, despite being significantly outnumbered, and arrive just as the military troops who thus far have been neutralizing the attacking mutants are overwhelmed by the Brotherhood.
During the fight, Kitty Pryde saves Jimmy from Juggernaut, who had been sent to kill him. Logan has Colossus throw him at Lehnsherr and distract him long enough for Hank McCoyto inject Lehnsherr with the “cure” and thus nullify his powers. Army reinforcements arrive and shoot at Jean just as Logan had calmed her down. The Phoenix is awakened by the attack and disintegrates the troops in retaliation. The Phoenix then begins to destroy Alcatraz and anyone within range of her powers. Logan realizes that only he can stop the Phoenix due to his healing factor. When Logan approaches her, Jean momentarily gains control and begs him to save her. Logan fatally stabs Jean, destroying the Phoenix, but mourns for her death.
Sometime later, mutant rights are finally obtained and Xavier’s school is still operating with Storm as headmistress. The President of the United States appoints McCoy as ambassador to the United Nations. Rogue reveals to Bobby Drake that she has taken the cure, much to his disappointment. Meanwhile, Lehnsherr sits alone at a chessboard in a San Francisco park. As he gestures toward a metal chess piece, it wobbles slightly, indicating his powers to be returning and the “cure” to be temporary.
- A Canadian mutant born with hyper-acute, animal-like senses, claws on his hands, and an accelerated healing factor that made it possible to implant a coating of the indestructible metal alloy adamantium on his skeleton. Jackman was pleased to see that the script allowed Wolverine to expand his character choices, as instead of questioning whether he would remain a loner or join the X-Men, Logan now is asked if he will play a leadership role in the X-Men.
- A mutant, who is one of Xavier’s earlier students and the leader of the X-Men in Cyclops’ absence. Storm is a woman with the ability to manipulate the weather. Berry had stated during interviews for X2 that she would not return unless the character had a significant presence comparable to the comic book version, leading to a larger role in The Last Stand’s script. Berry declared that her ethnicity made the actress identify with the cure plot: “When I was a child, I felt that if only I could change myself, my life would be better. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to terms with what utter nonsense that is.” The character was given a more modern haircut, and costume designer Judianna Makovsky opted to give Storm more black clothes, a color she only wore in the leather costume for previous films, to make her “tougher .
- Leader and founder of the Brotherhood, Magneto is a mutant Holocaust survivor who wages war against humanity in the name of mutant superiority. He has the ability to control and manipulate metal, making him one of the most powerful mutants. Well-known for his homosexuality, McKellen found a parallel of the cure with many prejudices: “It’s abhorrent to me, as it would be if a person said I need curing of my sexuality, or if someone said that black people could take a pill that would ‘cure’ them of being black.” McKellen’s shooting schedule had to accommodate his work in both The Da Vinci Code and the London theatre, going as far as filming the actor in England to later superimpose into the Vancouver plates.
- A mutant former member of the X-Men, a Class 5 mutant who possesses potentially limitless telepathic and telekinetic powers. The X-Men learn that she has survived the flooding dam from the previous film, but when the rest of the team finds her, Grey has given in completely to her aggressive alternate personality of her powers, the Phoenix. Her mutant powers rival those of Xavier. The writers described the multiple personalities was “an Oedipal drama played out”, where the Phoenix was “someone embodying a Greek goddess” , while Jean Grey kept the character as “a human, grounded in Freudian terms, a victim, a schizophrenic. To mark the change of Jean Grey into Phoenix, her wardrobe focused on red colors, and everyday fabric in contrast to the leather costumes of the X-Men. Digital make-up also made Jean’s face darker with her skin showing some veins and her eyes turning black, signifying the Phoenix personality of her powers.
- Haley Ramm as Young Jean Grey
- A young mutant woman whose power causes her to temporarily take on the powers of anyone she touches, leaving her victims (mutant or human) unconscious, Rogue’s lack of control over her power causes a great deal of strain on her relationship with Iceman. Paquin declared that while Rogue did not have “a large physical component in this movie”, the “adult decisions” the character was forced to do made for more intensity on the emotional side.
- A mutant former student of Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Mutants who is now a member of the U.S. Cabinet as the Secretary of Mutant Affairs, Beast is a brilliant scientist and statesman. He is covered in blue fur and has heightened strength, reflexes and agility, as well as pointed fangs and a lion-like roar. Grammer’s make-up took three hours to apply, it involved applying latex prosthetics before painting his eye area and lips blue, applying various hair pieces and wigs, and a muscle suit covered with a hand-punched fur suit.
- A mutant, who is X-Men’s field leader, Cyclops emits powerful energy blasts from his eyes, and must wear specially made glasses to prevent the destruction of anything he looks at. Although he is in a committed relationship with Jean Grey, her Phoenix persona kills him early in the film. Marsden saw no problem in having a smaller role, as the films opted to feature Wolverine as the standpoint character, and feeling that “it’s difficult when you have however many new characters that you’re trying to introduce to an audience in 90 to 120 minutes, to give everyone their due.”
- Magneto’s mutant blue-skinned right-hand woman possesses the ability to shape-shift to mimic anyone’s appearance, as well as fight with incredible agility, reflexes and strength. She jumps in front of cure darts intended for Magneto and, after she loses her mutant abilities as a result, Magneto abandons her. Romijn described this story as “a traumatic experience” for Mystique, given that the previous movies implied that she and Magneto had “a deep-seated bond”, and becoming “a frail mortal would be her worst nightmare”.
- A young mutant, Iceman can create constructs of ice or blasts of cold. Ashmore’s commitments to X-Men made him decline Bryan Singer’s invitation to play Jimmy Olsen in Superman Returns. The actor was content with his bigger role after Bobby joined the X-Men main team in X2, as during the predecessor’s production he wondered “When do I get to freeze something or get into a fight?”
- A mutant who was a former student of Xavier’s School for Gifted Mutants with a grudge against his former friend Bobby Drake, Pyro has the ability to manipulate fire, generated through wrist-mounted lighters. Stanford stated that with the Brotherhood, Pyro “is allowed to fully explore his power” for lacking moral restraints. The actor was comfortable with returning to the role, particularly for following The Hills Have Eyes, which had an exhausting shoot in the Moroccan desert, while Pyro was nowhere as physically demanding – “My character’s pretty much stand-and-deliver, stand there and throw fire at people. There’s no acrobatics.”
- A mutant criminal recruited by the Brotherhood in a prison truck, Juggernaut is incredibly strong, fast and, once he gains momentum, he is nearly unstoppable. The film’s version of Juggernaut is depicted as a mutant and his relation to Charles Xavier was never mentioned. Matthew Vaughn cast Jones, who he met producing the Guy Ritchie gangster movies where Jones begun his acting career. The actor had to go through a four-hour make-up process to portray Juggernaut, which included a muscle suit and a prostethic chin. The costume tried to retain the bullet-shaped helmet of the comics without going excessively over the top.
- A mutant with uncharted telepathic powers, and founder of Xavier’s Institute for Gifted Mutants. Xavier is an authority on genetic mutation and an advocate of peaceful relations between human and mutant kind. Stewart signed to the film without knowing Xavier would die, and not meeting original director Matthew Vaughn – both would meet in Manchester, where Stewart was filming Eleventh Hour, but eventually Brett Ratner called to introduce himself as the new director.
- A mutant with the ability to phase through matter and walk through solid objects, her clear affection for Iceman further adds to the tension already present between Iceman and Rogue. Maggie Grace was considered for the role, before Ratner invited Page, who impressed the director with her performance in Hard Candy. The actress initially declined, not wanting to yet jump to Hollywood filmmaking, but accepted after reading the script. Page said part of her motivation was having a new experience: “I thought, well, when else am I going to have a chance to wear a leather suit and run through exploding things? Why not be a superhero for a change?”
- The mutant son of an industrialist, who has feathered wings which allow him to fly. The static wings were models with a 15 feet (4.6 m) wingspan and 5 feet (1.5 m) height glued to Foster’s back, replaced with computer-generated ones when movement was required.
- Cayden Boyd as Young Warren Worthington III
- The leader of The Omegas, Callisto is a mutant with enhanced superhumanly acute senses, who senses mutants and their powers, and possesses superhuman speed and reflexes. The character combined the powers of the comics’ Callisto with another of the Morlocks, Caliban, and was written as someone who could be “beautiful, but with a tough persona”. Ramirez had originally auditioned to play the mutant prostitute Stacy X, and impressed Brett Ratner so much the director decided to bring her to play Callisto.
- Michael Murphy as Warren Worthington II
- The head of Worthington Labs, the corporation developing the “cure”, Worthington expects to rid his son of his mutant abilities. The addition of the character allowed to integrate Angel into the cure plot, which also added a parallel between Warren’s discovery of his son’s mutation with a father finding out about his son’s homosexuality.
- A scientist who works at Worthington Labs on the mutant cure, she is killed by Kid Omega. Aghdashloo signed without a completed script, and erroneously said her character would be mutant doctor Cecilia Reyes.
- Josef Sommer as The President
- The President of the United States is tolerant of mutants, but fearful of the Brotherhood’s threats. While creating the role, the producers felt that a “different” president, like an African American or a woman, had become a cliché in itself and went for a traditional route with an elder caucasian man. Sommer was invited by Ratner following their collaboration in The Family Man.
- The head of the Department of Homeland Security, Secretary Trask aids the president of the United States during the war against the mutants. His first name was never mentioned in the film and is portrayed as African American. In the comics, Bolivar Trask is the head of Trask Industries and creator of the mutant-hunting Sentinels. The comics version of Bolivar Trask is later played by Peter Dinklage in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
- A mutant with the ability to transform his body into an organic steel, while also granting him superhuman strength and a resistance to physical damage while in that form. Cudmore wore a foam latex muscle suit covered with a chrome-plated plastic plus a hard plastic head to have the metal skin on the set, with some digital augmentation being used to enhance the facial expressions. A digital double was used only for stunts that could not be achieved practically, such as the Fastball Special where Colossus throws Wolverine.
- A mutant and thief recruited by the Brotherhood in a prison truck, Madrox has the ability to create a very large number of copies of himself. The writers considered Dane’s performance memorable despite being featured in only two scenes. Madrox’s wardrobe invoked the symbols worn in his comics costume.
Director:- Brett Ratner
- Hugh Jackman
- Halle Berry
- Ian McKellen
- Famke Janssen
- Anna Paquin
- Kelsey Grammer
- James Marsden
- Rebecca Romijn
- Shawn Ashmore
- Aaron Stanford
- Vinnie Jones
- Patrick Stewart
Music by:- John Powell
- May 22, 2006 (Cannes)
- May 25, 2006 (United Kingdom)
- May 26, 2006 (United States)
- United States
- United Kingdom
Budget:- $210 Million
Box office:- $459.4 Million
To make sure the visual effects were made in just one year and without exceeding the budget, special effects supervisor John Bruno shipped the 900 effects shots to eleven companies in four countries – United States, New Zealand, United Kingdom and Canada – and did extensive previsualization. Their work begun in April 2005, before the director Brett Ratner had even been announced, and Bruno made sure to emphasize practical effects, “shoot as many practical elements as possible, and only use CG when we had to.” For instance, complex wirework rigs were employed which enabled the actors to do some stunts without resorting to digital doubles, including a computer controlled flying rig from Cirque Du Soleil for Angel’s flight, and one for Halle Berry’s flying spins.
Bruno estimates one-sixth of the effects budget was spent on the Golden Gate Bridge scene, which employed both a miniature of the bridge and computer graphics. The effects team had to work without reference footage due to the city of San Francisco vetting any filming in the actual bridge, including aerial shooting as the area has restrictions on flying helicopters. Framestore had further challenges in matching the varied weather conditions across the film’s plates. As compositing supervisor Matt Twyford detailed, “the elements consisted of cold, rainy night live-action footage from Vancouver, sunny day miniature elements, traditional misty day background plates of San Francisco, and of course the CG bridge and fx elements.” Another miniature was for the Grey home, which had a destructable equivalent matched the Canadian location and also had a digital equivalent. A notable effect was the “digital skin-grafting”, which rejuvenated the faces of senior actors Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, made by the Brothers Strause‘s Lola Visual Effects. Bruno made sure to ask the atomization made by Phoenix was not too vivid and gruesome, instead resembling oatmeal.
Ratner, a fan of John Powell‘s work in The Bourne Identity, invited Powell to write the music for The Last Stand. Powell was unsure if the Bourne work was “the kind of score that would fit the film” and Fox got reluctant on the composer’s availability given he was already scoring Ice Age: The Meltdown at the time of Ratner’s contact. But Powell finished the Ice Age score early to accept the X-Men job even if it meant a tighter schedule. Powell included references to the score from the previous two films as “it all had to be in the same family, and the same language”. The Phoenix theme used lyrics from Benjamin Britten‘s Requiem Mass for the choir parts. A soundtrack album was released on May 23, 2006.
The film broke the Memorial Day weekend record with $102,750,665 in its four-day opening weekend. The film’s release was also a new single-day record for Friday openings. The opening weekend gross was surpassed six weeks later by Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man’s Chest, making The Last Stand‘s opening the second-highest of 2006. Internationally, The Last Stand topped the box office in 26 countries with a total gross of $76.1 million overall, but suffered competition from The Da Vinci Code, which retained the top spot in most markets, and beat The Last Stand in international gross that weekend with $91 million. The film’s second weekend dropped 67 percent to $34 million, which was the steepest post-Memorial Day opening drop on record. X-Men: The Last Stand eventually grossed $234,362,462 in the domestic box office and $224,997,093 internationally, for a worldwide total of $459,359,555, the fourth-highest in domestic grosses and seventh-highest worldwide for 2006. X-Men: The Last Stand was also the highest-grossing film in the franchise, until it was surpassed by X-Men: Days of Future Past eight years later.
|Empire Awards||Best Sci-Fi / Fantasy||Nominated|
|Scene Of The Year||The Phoenix and Professor X showdown||Nominated|
|Costume Designers Guild Awards||Excellence in Costume Design for Film – Fantasy||Judianna Makovsky||Nominated|
|Irish Film & Television Award||Best International Actor||Ian McKellen||Nominated|
|People’s Choice Award||Favorite Movie Drama||Nominated|
|Favorite Female Action Star||Halle Berry||Won|
|Satellite Award||Best Editing||Mark Helfrich, Mark Goldblatt, Julia Wong||Won|
|Saturn Award||Best Supporting Actress||Famke Janssen||Won|
|Best Science Fiction Film||Nominated|
|Best Supporting Actor||Kelsey Grammer||Nominated|
|Best Music||John Powell||Nominated|
|Best Costume||Judianna Makovsky||Nominated|
|Best Special Effects||John Bruno, Eric Saindon, Craig Lyn||Nominated|
|Teen Choice Award||Choice Movie: Action||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actor: Action||Hugh Jackman||Nominated|
|Choice Movie Actress: Action||Halle Berry||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Villain||Ian McKellen||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Liplock||Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen||Nominated|
|Choice Movie: Rumble||The X-Men vs. Magneto’s Brotherhood||Nominated|
|Young Artist Awards||Best Supporting Young Actor in a Feature Film||Cameron Bright||Nominated|
Sequels & Prequels
In February 2006, Ratner said that The Last Stand could be the final X-Men film: “We wanted to make sure the audiences knew that this was a trilogy. Even though they weren’t made together like Lord of the Rings, this is really closure for the X-Men series. … This is the last stand for sure.”
However, the next two X-Men films, X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and X-Men: First Class (2011) were instead prequels that took place before the events of the first X-Men movie. The first installment set chronologically after The Last Stand was The Wolverine, released in 2013. A stand-alone sequel, The Wolverine shows Logan heading for Japan to escape the memories of what occurred during The Last Stand. Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen reprised their roles, while Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart appear in a mid-credits scene.
X-Men: Days of Future Past, the sequel to First Class, was released on May 23, 2014, with Jackman, Berry, Stewart, McKellen, Paquin, Page, Ashmore, Cudmore, Grammer, Janssen, and Marsden returning in their respective roles. The plot, inspired by the arc “Days of Future Past“, begins in a dystopian future years after The Last Stand, and Wolverine’s consciousness is sent back into his 1973 self so he could guide the past Xavier and Magneto into preventing the catastrophe. The events of the film end up retroactively changing the continuity of the series, erasing key events in all previous films (except First Class) within series including The Last Stand; with the ending set in an altered timeline where Jean and Cyclops are still alive.