Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand marked a major turning point for Fox’s mutant franchise, drawing the trilogy kicked off by Bryan Singer to a close and eventually leading to a full-blown reboot that saw the series gain a second wind. However, it was far from plain sailing up to that point for the tortured production.
Once Singer dropped out to direct Superman Returns, the entire cast had to be signed to new deals after originally penning two-picture contracts, which included Hugh Jackman being given approval over the director. Alex Proyas, Zack Snyder and Peter Berg all turned it down before Matthew Vaughn agreed to helm the project, but he withdrew just two months before the start of shooting, which led to Ratner boarding The Last Stand.
Throughout it all, a number of writers tackled various drafts of the script including Dan Harris, Michael Dougherty, Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, although the latter two scored the final credit. As a result of the constant personnel reshuffles and overhauling of the screenplay, The Last Stand was the most expensive movie ever made at the time with a budget north of $200 million.
While it became the highest-grossing installment yet after earning $460 million at the box office, it also scored the worst reviews, as both critics and fans were critical of the multiple half-baked plot threads and focus on spectacle over character. And after the disappointing one-two punch of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, there were concerns over the long-term future of the property until Vaughn eventually circled back around to deliver First Class. It’s not the best entry by any means, then, but it could find a whole new audience nonetheless now that it’s been added to the Disney Plus library.