X-Men: The Last Stand (also called X-Men III: The Last Stand) is a 2006 superhero film and the third in the X-Men series. It was directed by Brett Ratner and stars an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Kelsey Grammer, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Aaron Stanford, Vinnie Jones, Rebecca Romijn, and James Marsden. The film’s script is loosely based on two X-Men comic book story arcs, “The Dark Phoenix Saga” by writer Chris Claremont and artist John Byrne, and “Gifted” by writer Joss Whedon and artist John Cassaday, with a plot that revolves around a “mutant cure” that causes serious repercussions among mutants and humans, and on the mysterious resurrection of Jean Grey.
The film opens with two flashbacks, one twenty years before the film’s events where Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto meet a young Jean Grey at her parents’ house, and another ten years afterwards where young Warren Worthington III tries to cut off his wings.
In the present day, the pharmaceutical company Worthington Labs announces it has developed on their laboratory on Alcatraz Island an inoculation to suppress the X-gene that gives mutants their powers and makes them different from other humans, offering the “cure” to any mutant who wants it. While some mutants are interested in the cure, including the X-Men’s Rogue, many others are horrified by the announcement. In response to the news, the X-Men’s adversary, Magneto, raises an army, warning his followers that the “cure” will be forcefully used to exterminate the mutant race.
Cyclops, still depressed about the loss of Jean Grey, returns to Alkali Lake. Jean appears to Cyclops, but as the two kiss, Jean takes on a fearsome appearance. Psychically sensing trouble, Professor X sends Wolverine and Storm to investigate. When they arrive, the two X-Men encounter telekinetically floating rocks, Cyclops’ glasses, and an unconscious Jean. Cyclops himself is nowhere to be found. Xavier explains that when Jean sacrificed herself, she unleashed the powerful alternate personality she calls “Phoenix”. Wolverine is disgusted to learn that Xavier has kept Jean in check telepathically, but when Jean awakens, he realizes she is not the Jean Grey he knew. Jean pleads with Wolverine to kill her, but when he refuses, the Phoenix surfaces and knocks out Wolverine, before escaping to her childhood home.
Magneto, also aware that Jean is now a powerful mutant, meets Xavier at Jean’s house. The two men vie for Jean’s loyalty until the Phoenix resurfaces. She destroys her family’s house, disintegrates Xavier, and leaves with Magneto. The X-Men regroup and decide to confront Magneto’s army, who have crossed the Golden Gate Bridge that Magneto has diverted to attack the pharmaceutical company on Alcatraz. During the fight, Beast injects Magneto with the “cure”, nullifying his mutant powers. Then the Phoenix begins to destroy everything around her. Wolverine tells Storm to evacuate everyone. He goes to face the Phoenix alone, his self-healing barely neutralizing her disintegration attack. Momentarily gaining control, Jean begs Wolverine to save her. Telling Jean he loves her, Wolverine kills her.
The school continues without Xavier, with Storm now as headmistress and Logan as a teacher; the President appoints Beast as ambassador to the United Nations; Rogue returns, telling Iceman she has taken the “cure.” The depowered Magneto sits at a chessboard in a park and reaches out toward a metal chess piece that moves slightly, indicating that the mutant cure may be only temporary. Following the end credits, Dr. Moira MacTaggert checks on a comatose patient who greets her with Xavier’s voice. Startled, she replies, “Charles?”.
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