3/10 X-Men: The Last Stand was a doomed production. Franchise director Bryan Singer and two of X2’s writers had jumped ship to makeSuperman Returns, which had its own problems, and 20th Century Fox producers set a May 26, 2006 release date and refused to move off of it despite an inability to find a new director. After being publicly turned down over a period of several months by four different directors, including Matthew Vaughn who explicitly said he quit the job because he didn’t want to rush to meet Fox’s deadlines, Fox settled on their eighth choice in Bret Ratner, who finally began production in August 2005. The Last Stand released on schedule, which is the best thing that can be said for it.
X-Men: The Last Stand is one of the first film credits for co-writer Simon Kinberg, who has since made a powerful name for himself as a writer and producer of several high-performing movies, but has always remained involved in the X-Men franchise. Kinberg considered it a personal failure to have written an adulterated, studio-mangled adaptation of the Phoenix story, and revisiting it was unfinished business for him. This time, he would be in the driver’s seat – Singer, who had returned to the franchise, was stepping away again as his personal problems began to affect his work, and star Jennifer Lawrence demanded that Kinberg direct the next X-Men film.
But 13 years later, Dark Phoenix was also a doomed production.