Every X-Men Film Explained

Dark Phoenix marks the 12th film in the X-Men franchise.  While there is still one more X-Men film in the can, this will be our last journey with this set of characters.  Now that Disney owns both Fox and Marvel, they will supposedly reboot the franchise at some point and make it part of the Marvel universe.

Until then, all signs point to Dark Phoenix being the natural conclusion of this chapter of the franchise. As we prepare to say goodbye, here’s a brief primer on the first eleven films to help refresh your memory.  

 

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The Original Trilogy

  • X-Men   The movie that introduced the X-Men characters to mainstream audiences.  Charles Xavier — founder of the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters — and his fellow peace-loving mutants, try to stop Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants from mutating world leaders to bring about worldwide acceptance of mutants.    

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Charles Xavier (aka Professor X), Magneto, Wolverine, Rogue, Mystique, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Storm,  Sabretooth

  • X2  (AKA X-Men United) Heroes and villains work together to stop Wolverine’s creator, William Stryker, from using Cerebro as a weapon to find and kill all mutants.  

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Nightcrawler, Iceman, Pyro, Lady Deathstrike

  • X-Men:  The Last Stand  The first attempt at telling the Dark Phoenix story from the comics.  A drug company found a cure suppressing the mutant gene. This divides the mutant community.  Magneto reforms the Brotherhood and with a resurrected Jean Grey in Dark Phoenix form at his side, declares war on humans.  A final battle between the mutants ensues in San Francisco.

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Angel, Beast, Juggernaut, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Callisto, Multiple Man

The Wolverine Trilogy

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine   Wolverine’s origin story.  We learn more about his relationship with William Stryker, how he got those adamantium claws, and why he doesn’t remember his past.  This is the only movie where Gambit appears. Ryan Reynolds plays a weak version of Deadpool in this film and doesn’t even get to use the character’s trademark sarcasm.  (He redeemed this in his own feature film later.)

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Gambit, Deadpool , Blob, John Wraith, Chris Bradley, Agent Zero

  • The Wolverine   After the events of The Last Stand, Wolverine returns to Japan to protect a friend’s granddaughter.  

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Yukio and Viper  

  • Logan  Wolverine and Xavier, now old men, try to protect a young girl with powers similar to Logan’s, in a world on the brink of destruction.   

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Laura

The New Trilogy

  • X-Men: First Class  A soft reboot of the franchise.  New actors play younger versions of the characters.  This is an origin story for several X-Men characters including Mystique, Magneto, Beast, and Charles Xavier, set during the Cuban Missile Crisis.  We find out why Xavier is in a wheelchair.

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Emma Frost, Azazel, Havok, Darwin, Sebastian Shaw, Banshee, Angel Salvadore, Riptide

  • X-Men:  Days of Future Past   Wolverine goes back in time to 1973 to stop the mutant-killing Sentinels from being invented.  This movie unites the cast from the original trilogy with the cast from First Class .

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Quicksilver, Bishop, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath

  • X-Men: Apocalypse   The first mutant awakens after thousands of years and puts together an apocalyptic team to create a new world order.  Xavier and Mystique must find a way to stop him.

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Apocalypse, Psylocke, Jubilee, Caliban

Deadpool Duology (And Once Upon A Deadpool)

  • Deadpool  The origin story of Deadpool.  Deadpool seeks revenge on the man who disfigured him.  Woe to the man known as Francis.

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Negasonic Teenage Warhead, Ajax, Angel Dust

  • Deadpool 2  To honor the memory of a loved one, Deadpool tries to save an orphan mutant from time traveling soldier Cable. 
  • There’s even a PG-13 version! <— With 15 minutes of new scenes! Read our review of Once Upon a Deadpool

Significant X-men/mutants introduced:   Domino and Firefist

 

The final X-Men film, The New Mutants, is slated to finally get a theatrical release next April.  Previous trailers suggest it will have a different tone than other X-Men movies and may even be a horror film.   As the title suggests, it will not feature Wolverine, Magneto, Mystique, or any other mutants we’ve come to love, but rather will feature a new cast of characters.  

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Is Deadpool in the Avengers’ Universe?

Movie Review – Logan

Movie review : X-Men First Class

X-Men: Days of Future Past – movie review

X-Men: Apocalypse (movie review)

Movie Review – Once Upon A Deadpool

4 Replies to “Every X-Men Film Explained”

  1. The first two movies will always have a special place in my heart. The first movie got me started reading the X-Men comic books. I saw X2 at a theater with close friends the night it premiered. I remember how excited we were about it.

    Deadpool and Days of Future Past are a lot of fun.

    1. Totally with you. I’m working on a Ranking piece right now after I see Dark PHX today. I gave X2 the highest score, plus X-Men 2000 the second, close on its heels.

      Also seeing The Wolverine for the 1st time. After the disaster of Origins I was kind of turned off to his solo efforts. So far it’s definitely better, but I miss seeing other X-men onscreen. I like ensembles best.

      I don’t consider Deadpool in the saga (not matter what he tells you, lol).

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