X-Men: The Last Stand is a 2006 superhero film, based on the X-Men superhero team introduced by Marvel Comics. It is the sequel to the 2003 film, and the third installment in the franchise. The film was directed by Brett Rattner, written by Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn, and continues to feature an ensemble cast. The script is loosely based on the 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 resurrection of Jean Grey.
Bryan Singer, who had directed the two previous films, decided to leave to work on Superman Returns, as he had not even defined the storyline for a third film. Matthew Vaughn, who was initially hired as the new director, left due to personal and professional issues, and was replaced with Ratner. Filming took place from August 2005 to January 2006 with a budget of $210 million, and was consequently the most expensive film at the time of its release. It had extensive visual effects created by eleven different companies.
X-Men: The Last Stand was released on May 26, 2006, by 20th Century Fox. It has grossed approximately $459 million worldwide, becoming the seventh-highest-grossing film of 2006; it was at the time the highest-grossing film in the series and currently the fourth-highest-grossing film of the franchise. Critical reception was mixed, with the acting and action scenes receiving positive notice, and criticism directed at the screenplay, overuse of characters, and style.
The Film Itself (3/5):
X-Men: The Last Stand gives its viewers a good amount of mutant action, however it does this at the expense of the origin story and depth that was originally provided in the earlier films of the franchise. Re-visiting this movie with my wife the other night really made me realize that they were focusing more on the stunts and action sequences, and really pulled away from the storyline and solid experience they had going for them. It’s still a fun piece, but certainly not one of the better releases of the trilogy.
Picture Quality (4/5):
Offering a 2160p presentation that’s been upscaled from a 2K Digital Intermediate, X-Men: The Last Stand, the difference in the finer details when comparing it to the first two films of this release are much, much more noticeable. There are some cleanups that have been done in terms of grain, and the darker tones appear to be much more coarse with this movie. The attention to and levels of details in this release are considerably commendable as it not only boasts those darker blacks, it absolutely shines with a much more boastful color palette. The utilization of HDR provides an interesting number of visual tweaks, and it’s significantly more present during the scene that features the Golden Gate Bridge.
Audio Quality (4.5/5):
Bundled with the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 mix as the earlier released Blu-ray copy, X-Men: The Last Stand offers a similar experience as the previous two films, and still has left me wondering why they didn’t opt to go with either a DTS:X or Dolby Atmos mix. Dialogue is clean, and offers no distortion in the experience, ensuring that everything can be heard and understood without having to manually adjust the volume level as it progresses onward.
The Packaging (4.5/5):
X-Men: The Last Stand comes packaged in the X-Men Trilogy 4K release. This release is packaged in a six-disc 4K UHD amaray case. The case is just a little bit thicker than your standard release case. Within that case are the three movies on 4K UHD and on Blu-ray. The UHD discs do not feature any artwork outside of the standard release text and a generic black background, while the Blu-rays feature a piece of artwork that’s related to that specific movie. There is also a digital copy redemption pamphlet that allows you to add all three movies to your digital collection, as well as a thicker style slipcover that’s been made available during the original pressing of the release that features the same piece of art that’s been included on the case.
Special Features (2.75/5):
There are two special features that have been included with the 4K UHD disc of X-Men: The Last Stand, and those are both Optional Feature Audio Commentaries. The first is with Director Brett Ratner and Writers Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn. While the second audio track features Producers Avi Arad, Laruen Shuller Donner, and Ralph Winter. All other special features are on the included Blu-ray disc. Included with this release are:
- Feature Audio Commentary With Director Brett Ratner and Writers Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn
- Feature Audio Commentary With Producers Avi Arad, Laruen Shuller Donner & Ralph Winter
- Theatrical Trailers
Codec: HEVC / H2.265
Resolution: 4K (2160p)
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1
Original Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
English: DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 (48kHz, 24-bit)
English: Dolby Digital 5.1
Spanish: Dolby Digital 5.1
French: DTS 5.1
Spanish: DTS 5.1
German: DTS 5.1
Italian: DTS 5.1
Czech: Dolby Digital 5.1
Polish: Dolby Digital 5.1
English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Cantonese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Polish, Swedish
Original Film: 104 Minutes
Overall, I was really happy to see that X-Men: The Last Stand got the 4K treatment as with the launch of the format, I’ve been working to upgrade all of my comic book oriented movies. The visual and audio presentation of the 4K release was definitely better than that of the Blu-ray releases; however I do feel that this release was mostly put out there as a cash grab as they aren’t significantly better (especially in the audio department). If you’re considering this release for your collection, then I can only recommend it if you already do not own these on Blu-ray. Otherwise, save yourself the money. “The X-Men Trilogy” is available on 4K UHD already.