X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

Director: Brett Ratner
Writer: Simon Kinberg, Zak Penn

Cast: Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Halle Berry (Ororo Munroe / Storm), Patrick Stewart (Professor Charles Xavier), Anna Paquin (Marie / Rogue), Kelsey Grammer (Dr. Hank McCoy / Beast), James Marsden (Scott Summers / Cyclops), Shawn Ashmore (Bobby Drake / Iceman), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat), Daniel Cudmore (Peter Rasputin / Colossus), Ben Foster (Warren Worthington III / Angel), Ian McKellen (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey / Phoenix), Rebecca Romijn (Raven Darkholme / Mystique), Aaron Stanford (John Allerdyce / Pyro), Vinnie Jones (Cain Marko / Juggernaut), Eric Dane (James Madrox / Multiple Man), Dania Ramirez (Callisto), Meiling Melançon (Psylocke), Omahyra Mota (Arclight), Ken Leung (Kid Omega)

Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
Released: May 26, 2006 (USA)
Running time: 104 minutes
MPAA: PG-13 — intense sequences of action violence, some sexual content, language

It has been several months since The X-Men stopped William Stryker, but that victory came at a price, they have lost Jean Gray when she tried to save them from the collapsed reservoir. Scott Summers (Cyclops) is still grieving about her loss. One day, he came out to the place which is where Jean Gray sacrificed herself. Then, Jean Gray appeared right in front of him. Though, it seemed that after that, Scott had disappeared. Meanwhille, the rift between humans and mutants had finally reached the boiling point. When humans discovered what causes humans to mutate, they have found a cure for the mutation. The X-Men were appalled at this idea. It was not long at all until the news about the cure came to Magneto. He decides to organize an army of mutants and wage his war against the humans. Then, it became clear that Jean Gray evolved into the Pheonix, her new mutant powers are so strong that she can not control her own body. Then, she kills off Professor X with her new powers. Now, The X-Men must stop Magneto again and put an end to the war against the humans, as well as stop Jean Gray’s Pheonix powers.

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» Trivia

• Philippe Rousselot was hired as cinematographer by Matthew Vaughn, and initially stayed on when Brett Ratner took over as director. Not long into shooting, however, Rousselot quit the project (later saying that signing on to shoot the film was the biggest blunder he’d ever made). Dante Spinotti, the cinematographer on Ratner’s previous two films, was available, and he took over for most of the remaining filming. He had to leave about a week before the end of shooting as he was committed to working on The Contract, and so J. Michael Muro was hired for the remainder of shooting.

• Angel’s wings were initially too heavy for Ben Foster, and were remade from foam.

• Halle Berry had initially decided not to reprise her role as Storm for this film, citing lack of character development in the previous two installments and a tense relationship with director Bryan Singer. However, after Singer’s departure and suffering a major box-office flop with Catwoman, Berry agreed to return on the condition that her role be expanded. Consequently, in this film Storm replaces Cyclops and Professor Xavier as team leader of the X-Men (which is keeping with the comics, where for a time Storm served as team leader in Xavier’s absence).

• When Bryan Singer was going to direct, he and his writers Dan Harris-Michael Dougherty wrote a treatment solely based on the “X-Men” storyline ‘The Dark Phoenix Saga’: the deceased Jean Gray returns, with a new, more destructive personality called the Phoenix. She would be manipulated into joining the Hellfire Club, by their telepathic leader Emma Frost (Sigourney Weaver was intended for the role). A three-way battle occurs between the Club who want to take over the world, the X-Men who want to save their comrade, and Magneto’s Brotherhood who want the Phoenix for their own plans. At the end, to save everyone Jean kills herself, but her spirit lives on and transcends into a divine being, which Dougherty compared to the star child in 2001: A Space Odyssey.

• Cain Marko’s line “Don’t you know who I am? I’m the Juggernaut, bitch” was inspired by a popular web parody film that made use of scenes from X-Men. Throughout the parody , the Juggernaut character repeatedly says, “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch.” According to the Wikipedia, Brett Ratner even has a link to this parody on his own website. (Whether or not the parody itself was inspired by a mis-heard line from an old X-Men video game is irrelevant to film’s usage of this line, since it’s clearly an homage to the web parody.)

• For the opening flashback, the VFXperts created a special program that enabled “digital skin-grafting”: with the use of old photos of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, complex keyframing (dissolving an image into another image, i.e. old actors into younger-looking versions) was applied to the scene to digitally make them appear 20 years younger.

• Jed Bernard and Nick Stahl were considered for the role of Warren Worthington III/Angel. Mike Vogel was originally cast, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Poseidon, and finally Ben Foster took the role.

• According to VFX supervisor, John Bruno, about $35 million (a sixth of the film’s budget) was spent on the Golden Gate sequence. This included constructing a full-scale section of the bridge that was about the size of a basketball court (94 feet), and then using computer-generated imagery on the rest of the Bridge and its background.

• The Danger Room facility was going to appear in the previous X-Films, but was written out due to budgetary concerns. It finally appears in this film.

• The maneuver where Colossus grabs Wolverine and throws him at something (spinning around a few times to gain momentum) is known as the Fastball Special and is an iconic move in the “X-Men” saga. The Fastball Special in this film is based on John Cassaday’s “Amazing X-Men” #6.

• When director Bryan Singer dropped out of production, Hugh Jackman recommended Darren Aronofsky to replace him, having worked with Aronofsky in The Fountain. Joss Whedon turned it down to work on a “Wonder Woman” movie (ironically his “X-Men” comic ‘Gifted’ would inspire the final film’s plot). ‘Rob Bowman’ and Alex Proyas were considered for the job. Zack Snyder was approached, but he was committed to 300; Peter Berg was approached, but turned down the job. Matthew Vaughn was hired in March 2005, but with a release date set of May 2006, he realized he could not put together a good film in such a short time and left. Finally Brett Ratner was hired.

• Bryan Singer was in the middle of a three-picture deal made with Fox beginning with X2, and keen to make X-Men 3, but he and Fox were unable to come to terms. During this time, Warner offered him the chance to direct Superman Returns immediately. Singer informed Fox that he was going to take this opportunity and would still like to return to direct X-Men 3. Consequently, his deal was terminated and Matthew Vaughn briefly joined the production before he backed out. Brett Ratner was the finalist for the director’s role for the first X-Men movie, having experience of making a successful film out of a rushed production with Rush Hour

• Both Rebecca Romijn (Mystique) and James Marsden’s (Cyclops) roles were reduced substantially when the film was rushed into production and the two cast members had prior scheduling conflicts.

• Brett Ratner cast Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde after seeing Page in Hard Candy. She initially turned down the role, but after Ratner personally called her with the script, she agreed to do the role.

• Many of the actors performed their own stunts in the film.

• For her dual role as Jean Gray/Phoenix, Famke Janssen extensively researched dissociative identity disorders and split personalities to make her performance convincing.

• Matthew Vaughn was hired in March 2005. Vaughn cast Kelsey Grammer as Beast (Dr. Hank McCoy) and Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut (Cain Marko), and also conceptualized several scenes for the film. He got no farther, however, because family issues forced him to drop out of filming. Vaughn was also cautious of Fox wanting to rush production: “I didn’t have the time to make the movie I wanted to make. I had a vision for how it should be, and I wanted to make sure I was making a film as good as X2, and I knew there was no way that could be.” Vaughn’s ideas and casting of Grammer and Jones stayed in the final film, though.

• The number tattooed on Magneto’s arm is 214782. This identifies him as a survivor of the Auschwitz-Birkenau complex of Nazi concentration camps.

• In a June 2009 interview, Bryan Singer admitted that he regretted declining to direct this film in favor of Superman Returns, confessing that he realized his mistake “before I was watching the third X-Men film, during watching it, after watching it.”

• The house used for Professor Charles Xavier school is the same house used on “Poltergeist: The Legacy” TV series.

• The whirlwind wire-stunts performed by Halle Berry made her so nauseated that she vomited in one scene, and the crew had to bring in buckets for her before shooting her fight scenes.

• In 1996 Brett Ratner was a candidate to direct X-Men. He directed this threequel ten years later.

• In the comics, the Phoenix wore a green/gold outfit; in this film, the Phoenix is dressed in a red dress from the time she appears in Jean Gray’s home. The red dress is a homage to the Scarlet Witch (Wanda Maximoff, Magneto’s daughter), a mentally unstable superhuman with near-ultimate powers.

• The Golden Gate Bridge sequence was originally in the middle of the film, but Brett Ratner decided it would create a more dramatic climax if moved to the end.

• Brett Ratner invited composer John Powell to score the music for this film, being a fan of Powell’s work on The Bourne Identity.

• The mutant Nightcrawler was going to make a cameo appearance in the film; Alan Cumming, who’d played Nightcrawler in X2, was going to reprise the role, despite his discomfort with the prosthetic makeup he had to wear for his role. The cameo was so short, however, that the filmmakers felt the long and costly makeup process was not worthwhile, so he was omitted from the film – the video game X-Men: The Official Game (VG) mentions that Nightcrawler joined the X-Men, but left because he didn’t appreciate their life of action and violence.

• The mutant Kitty Pryde was named after an actual person, a former classmate of “X-Men” writer John Byrne. Upon the release of X-Men, reporters tracked down Pryde in Calgary to interview her about the film (she has now changed her name to K.D. Pryde, and states that she appreciates the comics, but wishes to be known as more than just a heroine’s namesake). The comic-book Pryde appears in all three X-Films, but is played by different actresses (Sumela Kay, Katie Stuart, Ellen Page) and only has a major role in X-Men: The Last Stand.

• The popular mutant Gambit was going to appear in the film and would have been a love interest of Rogue and a rival for Iceman, similar to how Kitty Pryde was Rogue’s rival for Iceman’s affections. However, Fox was developing X-Men Origins: Wolverine and stipulated that no mutant could appear in both X-Films, and so Gambit was removed from the script. Channing Tatum was in the running for the role before it was removed.

• The last scenes of Magneto and Professor X (Magneto discovers the return of his powers, Professor X reveals his survival) were not in the script, and were secretly filmed. Sirs Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart admitted even they didn’t know whether their scenes would be in the final film or not.

• The design of Cyclops and Jean Grey’s tombstones is taken from the “X-Men” storyline ‘Days of Future Past’, where the X-Men’s gravestones were in a similar deco (The X symbol with the member name below).

• The death of Cyclops (James Marsden) was based on Marsden’s availability (he had decided to film Bryan Singer’s Superman Returns). The studio considered killing him off-screen with a dialogue reference, but Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn insisted that Jean be seen killing him, to emphasize their relationship.

• The filmmakers intended the death of Professor Xavier to be a dramatic turning point. Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were initially cautious of killing Xavier, but grew to like the idea, saying it paralleled Spock’s sacrifice in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. To keep Xavier still in the X-Films, though, they wrote the post-credits scene where Dr. MacTaggert discovers Xavier in another man’s body.

• Fox Studio heads Tom Rothman and James Gianopulos debated on Rogue’s final scenes: since she took the cure, Rothman wanted her to passionately kiss Bobby Drake and Gianopulos wanted her to simply hold his hand. The two executives screened the film for their daughters and the studio’s female marketing executives, and the hand-holding prevailed: Gianopulos stated that the kissing “was all about sex, and they didn’t want that.”

• Magneto ending up a normal human and Wolverine’s snide comment (“I’m…” “One of them?”) is a tribute to the “X-Men” storyline ‘House of M’, which ended with Magneto rendered human with Wolverine stating he deserves “every second of his crap sapien life.”

» Quotes

Logan: [to Rogue] I’m not your father. I’m your friend.

Dr. Hank McCoy: Have you even begun to think what a slippery slope you’re on?
The President: I have. And I worry about how democracy survives when one man can move cities with his mind.
Dr. Hank McCoy: As do I.

Ororo Munroe: I don’t understand. Magneto’s a fugitive. We have a mutant in the cabinet, a president who understands us. Why are we still hiding?
Prof. Charles Xavier: We’re not hiding. But we still have enemies out there. And I must protect our students. You know that.
Ororo Munroe: Yes, but we can’t be students forever.
Prof. Charles Xavier: [chuckles] Storm, I hadn’t thought of you as my student for years. In fact, I thought that, perhaps, you might take my place some day.
Ororo Munroe: But Scott’s…
Prof. Charles Xavier: Scott’s a changed man. He took Jean’s death so hard. Yes, things are better out there. But you, of all people, know how fast the weather can change.
Ororo Munroe: There’s something you’re not telling us.

Marie: [cured] I’m sorry, I had to.
Bobby Drake: Marie, this isn’t what I wanted…
Marie: I know. It’s what I want.

Phoenix: You would die for them?
Logan: No. Not for them. For you. For you.
Dr. Jean Grey: [surfacing] Save me.
Logan: I love you.
[stabs Jean]

Logan: [talking about “The Cure”] Well, for all we know, the government helped cook this up.
Dr. Hank McCoy: I can assure you, the government had nothing to do with this.
Logan: I’ve heard that before.
Dr. Hank McCoy: My boy, I have been fighting for mutant rights since before you had claws.
Logan: [to the Professor] Did he just call me boy?

Logan: Hey, look. I know how you feel.
Scott Summers: Don’t.
Logan: When Jean died…
Scott Summers: I said don’t.
Logan: Maybe it’s time for us to move on.
Scott Summers: [Scott walks away, then turns back to Logan] Not everybody heals as fast as you, Logan.

Eric Lensherr: Charles Xavier did more for mutants than you will ever know. My single greatest regret is that he had to die for our dream to live.

Prof. Charles Xavier: [to class] When an individual acquires great power, the use or misuse of that power is everything. Will it be used for the greater good? Or will it be used for personal or for destructive ends? Now this is a question we must all ask ourselves. Why? Because we are mutants.
Kitty Pryde: But Einstein said that ethics are an exclusive human concern, without any superhuman authority behind it.
Prof. Charles Xavier: Einstein wasn’t a mutant, so far as we know.

Mutant Theatre Organizer: This cure is voluntary. Nobody’s is talking about extermination.
Eric Lensherr: No one ever talks about it. They just do it. And you go on with your lives, ignoring the signs all around you. And then, one day, when the air is still and the night has fallen, they come for you.
Mutant Theatre Organizer: [interrupting] Excuse me, but…
Eric Lensherr: It’s only that you realize, while you were talking about organizing and committees, the extermination has already begun. Make no mistake, my brothers. They will draw first blood. They will force their cure upon us. The only question is, will my brotherhood and fight, or wait for the inevitable genocide? Who will you stand with – the humans… or us?

Dr. Hank McCoy: Oh, my stars and garters.

Cain Marko: Don’t you know who I am? I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!

Prof. Charles Xavier: I don’t have to be psychic to see that something’s bothering you.

Dr. Jean Grey: [sobbing] Kill me.
Logan: What?
Dr. Jean Grey: Kill me before I kill someone else.
Logan: Don’t say that.
Dr. Jean Grey: Please.
Logan: Stop it.
Dr. Jean Grey: [turning into Dark Phoenix] Kill me.

John Allerdyce: Nice helmet.
Cain Marko: Keeps my face pretty.

Cain Marko: I’m the wrong guy to play hide-and-seek with.
Kitty Pryde: Who’s hiding… dickhead?

Logan: That was my last cigar.

Logan: Who’s the furball?
Dr. Hank McCoy: Hank McCoy, Secretary of Mutant Affairs
Logan: Right, right. The secretary. Nice suit.
Prof. Charles Xavier: Henry, this is Logan. He’s, uh…
Dr. Hank McCoy: Wolverine. I hear you are quite an animal.
Logan: Look who’s talkin’.

Callisto: If you’re so proud of being a mutant, where’s your mark?
Eric Lensherr: I have been marked once, my dear, and let me assure you,
[pulls back his sleeve to reveal the Nazi concentration camp serial number tattooed on his arm]
Eric Lensherr: no needle shall ever touch my skin again.

The Interrogator: Where is Magneto? Raven? Raven, I asked you a question.
Raven Darkholme: I don’t answer to my slave name.
The Interrogator: Raven Darkholme. That’s your real name, isn’t it? Or has he convinced you you don’t have a family anymore?
Raven Darkholme: My family tried to kill me, you pathetic meat sack.

Warren Worthington, Sr.: [as Psylocke and Arclight dangle him from a rooftop] I was only trying to help you people.
Kid Omega: Do we look like we need your help?

John Allerdyce: You’re in over your head, Bobby.
[starts throwing fire even harder]
John Allerdyce: Maybe you should go back to school.
Bobby Drake: [Bobby turns his entire body into ice, grabs John’s arms and headbutts him] You never should have left.

Eric Lensherr: [to Phoenix] Do you remember when we first met? Do you know what I saw when I looked at you? I saw the next stage of evolution both Charles and I dreamt of finding. And I thought to myself, “Why would Charles want to turn this goddess into a mortal?”
[He holds up the cure gun]
Eric Lensherr: I can manipulate the metal in this, but you, you can do anything. Anything you can think of.
[the Phoenix telekinetically breaks apart the gun, and steers its cure darts towards Magneto… ]
Eric Lensherr: [alarmed] That’s enough, Jean… enough! ENOUGH!
Phoenix: [At the last moment, she stops] You sound just like him.
Eric Lensherr: Nooo, he wanted to hold you back.
Phoenix: And what do you want?
Eric Lensherr: I want you as you are. As nature intended.

Marie: Is it true? Can they cure us?
Prof. Charles Xavier: Yes, Rogue. It appears to be true.
Ororo Munroe: No, Professor. They can’t cure us. You want to know why? Because there’s nothin’ to cure. Nothing’s wrong with you. Or any of us, for that matter.

Logan: You’re talkin’ about a person’s mind here, about Jean.
Prof. Charles Xavier: She has to be controlled.
Logan: Control? You know, sometimes when you cage the beast, the beast gets angry.

Bobby Drake: There’s only six of us, Logan.
Logan: Yeah. We’re outnumbered. I’m not gonna lie to you. But we lost Scott. We lost the Professor. If we don’t fight now, everything they stood for will die with them. I’m not gonna let that happen. Are you?
[Bobby shakes his head]
Logan: Then we stand together… X-Men, all of us.

Dr. Hank McCoy: A major pharmaceutical company has developed a mutant antibody – a way to suppress the mutant “X” gene.
Logan: Suppress?
Dr. Hank McCoy: Permanently. They’re calling it a cure.

Prof. Charles Xavier: Since the dawn of existence, there have always been moments when the course of history shifted. Such a turning point is upon us now: the conflict between the better and worst angels of our very nature, whose outcome will change our world so greatly there will be no going back. I do not know if victory is possible. I only know that great sacrifice will be required. And because the fate of many will depend on a few, we must make the last stand.

Ororo Munroe: We live in an age of darkness: a world full of fear, hate and intolerance. But in every age, there are those who fight against it. Charles Xavier was born into a world divided, a world he tried to heal… a mission he never saw accomplished. It seems it’s the destiny of great men to see their goals unfulfilled. Charles was more than a leader, more than a teacher. He was a friend. When we were afraid, he gave us strength. When we were alone, he gave us a family. He may be gone, but his teachings live on through us, his students. Wherever we may go, we must carry on his vision. And that is a vision of a world united.

Ororo Munroe: [about the cure] Since when did we become a disease?

Dr. Hank McCoy: Not all of us can fit in so easily. You don’t shed on the furniture.

Dr. Jean Grey: Logan, you’re making me blush.

Bobby Drake: You don’t seem fine; you seem like you’re avoiding me. I mean, something’s wrong.
Marie: What’s wrong is I can’t touch my boyfriend without killing him. Other than that, I’m wonderful.
Bobby Drake: Hey, I don’t think that’s fair. Have I ever put any pressure on you?
Marie: You’re a guy, Bobby. Your mind’s only on one thing.

Logan: This isn’t you…
Phoenix: No, it is me.
Logan: No, it isn’t. Maybe you should take it easy. The Professor said you might be… different.
Phoenix: He would know, wouldn’t he? What, you didn’t think he’s in your mind too? Look at you, Logan. He’s tamed you.

Eric Lensherr: [moving the Golden Gate Bridge towards Alcatraz] Charles always wanted to build bridges…

[Wolverine watches a TV]
The President: And now, it’s my great pleasure to introduce the American Ambassador for the United Nations: Dr. Hank McCoy!
Dr. Hank McCoy: Thank you…
Logan: Way to go, furball.

Eric Lensherr: [as the Dark Phoenix rises, Magneto looks shocked] What have I done?

Ororo Munroe: We work together as a team!
Logan: Best defense is a good offense.

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