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Film: X-Men

aka: X-Men

"Mutation: it is the key to our evolution. It has enabled us to evolve from a single-celled organism into the dominant species on the planet. This process is slow, and normally taking thousands and thousands of years. But every few hundred millennia, evolution leaps forward."
Professor Charles Xavier

An adaptation of the X-Men comic book franchise to the silver screen, which pretty much singlehandedly revived superhero movies for the 2000s.

It holds to the original premise of the discovery of mutants, humans who possess unusual abilities and superpowers and are feared by the rest of the world. The heroes are the X-Men, a team organized by powerful telepath Charles Xavier who hopes to establish peace between mutants and regular people, with a school dedicated to helping mutants understand and harness their powers for good. Various others oppose them, some militants hoping to kill them and, most prominent, Xavier's former friend Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto, who leads a counter-team who are trying to establish complete mutant domination.

The original trilogy consists of:

  • X-Men (2000) - New recruits Wolverine and Rogue join Professor X's mutant team to stop Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants from using a devastating weapon to decimate humanity.
  • X2: X-Men United (2003) - The X-Men reluctantly team up with Magneto to rescue Professor X and the students of Xavier's School from Wolverine's old enemy Colonel William Stryker who's fully intent on mutant genocide.
  • X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) - An antibody for the mutant gene has been developed, prompting the X-Men to defend those responsible from Magneto's growing army.

Rather than continuing the series chronologically from there, FOX decided to film a series of spin-offs and prequels. In the case of the latter, the First Class trilogy consists of:

  • X-Men: First Class (2011) - A prequel depicting a young Xavier, Magneto, Mystique and Beast forming the X-Men in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) - A combination sequel/prequel featuring the cast members of both eras, with Kitty Pryde sending Wolverine back in time from the disastrous, Sentinel-dominated future to unite the young Xavier and Magneto in the past.
  • X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) - A follow up to Days of Future Past with Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, Beast and Quicksilver returning to face a dangerous, ancient mutant named Apocalypse.

The solo character movies include:

  • X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) - A prequel spin-off detailing Wolverine's Mysterious Past as a mercenary for William Stryker's Team X who went rogue.
  • The Wolverine (2013) - A solo Wolverine spin-off set long after X-Men: The Last Stand, following Logan's adventures in Japan.
  • Deadpool (2016) - A spin-off focusing on "The Merc with a Mouth" Wade Wilson a.k.a. Deadpool with Ryan Reynolds reprising the title role.
  • Gambit (2016) - Starring Channing Tatum.
  • An as-yet-untitled third Wolverine spin-off (2017).

A film based on the X-Force is currently stuck in Development Hell. Many other projects are planned for the future, including a live-action television series produced by the team behind 24. However, Disney currently owns the rights to make any live-action X-Men show, so Fox cannot make it as of yet; they are currently attempting to make some kind of a deal with Disney (whom they have an infamously strenuous relationship with in regards to Marvel properties) in an attempt to expand the franchise to a television format.

You can vote for your favorite film here.

The franchise is still owned by 20th Century Fox, and therefore it is not part of Paramount/Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The series in general provides examples of:

  • Absurdly Sharp Blade:
    • X2: X-Men United: Lady Deathstrike's fingernails (or talons, if you prefer) are made of adamantium and can effortlessly slice through everything in their way.
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine:
      • Wolverine's claws, which are coated in adamantium. Shortly after he receives his adamantium infusion, he slices up several items in a farmhouse bathroom (including a porcelain sink) with his now impossibly sharp claws, despite applying what appears to be no more than the force required to move an unrestrained arm.
      • Wade Wilson's katanas.
    • The Wolverine:
      • The heirloom katana that Yukio brings with her to meet Logan is able to cleanly slice barstool legs and a beer bottle, without harming the man on the stool or the guy holding the beer bottle.
      • Ichiro Yashida's samurai swords which actually cut through Wolverine's claws.
  • Achilles in His Tent:
    • The Wolverine: Logan has quit the X-Men for at least a year, and isolates himself within the Yukon wilderness because he is unable to cope with his guilt for being forced to kill Jean Grey.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: '70s Charles Xavier gives up on his powers and his role as the leader of mutants, and refuses to cooperate with Wolverine; without his aid, the entire venture is impossible. He's got more justified reasons than in most examples of the trope.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene:
    • X-Men: Wolverine talks to Rogue on the train to convince her that she can find a place at Xavier's school.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand has a similar scene where Wolverine catches Rogue leaving to get the cure and asks her if she's sure that's what she truly wants, and if she's doing it for the right reasons.
    • X-Men: First Class: The many quiet talks between Charles and Erik about the latter's past and potentials as well as their differing views on human-mutant relations clinch how tragic their fall-out and eventual parting is.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: There are plenty of emotional, character-driven moments (especially with the younger Xavier) in between the spectacular action sequences.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • X-Men:
      • Wolverine is played by the Tall, Dark and Handsome Hugh Jackman, whereas in the comics the character was the butt of jokes about his stocky build and short height. Also, rather than an ill-mannered thug, Wolverine is a James Dean-esque bad boy in the film series.
      • Inverted with Magneto. While not ugly by any means, he's considerably older than the character in the comics and much less physically imposing. While Magneto was a buff and chiseled in the comics, in the original trilogy his white hair is the result of him being seventy-something years old. Justified, since the movies don't have the comics' sliding timescale or the multiple instances of him being de-aged and re-aged, and had to make him the realistic age of a Holocaust survivor.
      • This gets rectified when you see Erik in First Class, where his younger self is conventionally handsome.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Quill and Callisto, with the former looking like an actual person rather than a freaky man/porcupine hybrid.
    • X-Men: First Class:
  • Adaptational Sexuality/Hide Your Lesbians: Mystique was bisexual in the comics and had a lover, Irene Addler/Destiny, who she lived with for over a century and adopted a child with (said child would grow up into Rogue). In the films, Destiny is never mentioned, Mystique isn't quite as old, and so far all her romantic interests have been men.
  • Adaptation Dye-Job: Professor X in the comics was blond before he lost his hair, but his movie counterpart is a brunet.
  • Adorkable:
    • X2: X-Men United: Nightcrawler loves to give (often interrupted) long-winded introduction speeches, playfully spies on secret meetings, and awkwardly flirts with Storm.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Charles Xavier was a cute geek in his childhood, as demonstrated by the framed pictures of his favourite scientists next to his bed. As an adult, he uses his nerdy knowledge to woo girls at bars.
      • Hank McCoy. Soft spoken, stutters, asks Raven out on the pretext of getting a blood sample and then apologizes for being forward.
  • All There in the Script: Some characters are never named.
  • Alternate History/Been There, Shaped History: Comes in two flavors with the prequel movies.
    • Origins: Three Mile Island housed a prison where William Stryker experimented with mutants, and the infamous nuclear incident was caused by one destroying a cooling tower.
    • First Class: The Cuban Missile Crisis was caused by Sebastian Shaw and the Hellfire Club manipulating the military of both America and the Soviet Union trying to cause the Third World War. Then the proto-X-Men foiled his plans.
    • Days of Future Past: Magneto had some hand in the "magic bullet" that killed Kennedy, Bolivar Trask is attending the post-Vietnam War Paris Peace Accords (with Mystique invading in order to kill him), and Magneto wrecks havoc in Washington, revealing himself to the public almost thirty years before the original movie. His actions are now part a different Alternate Timeline.
  • Anachronic Order: Ever since The Last Stand made it easier to go with prequels. X-Men Origins: Wolverine preceded all movies, then First Class preceded that (while also following the World War II opening flashback of the first movie), The Wolverine was a sequel to The Last Stand (with the opening being set in WWII as well), and then Days of Future Past acted as a sequel to both The Wolverine and First Class simultaneously due to Time Travel. Apocalypse is set to follow the "past" timeline as well.
  • Anti-Villain: Magneto honestly believes what he's doing is in mutants' best interest.
  • Artistic License – Biology:
    • The series has a whole collection of offenses. Mutants cannot be called another species, given that they can still interbreed freely with normal humans. Even if you don't have a biology diploma, it ought to be obvious that there could be no universal "cure" that suppressed all the flashy mutations (but not "regular" ones like, say, heterochromia?) on any given mutant without affecting anything else, and certainly not in a matter of seconds.
    • Incidental dialogue (particularly Pyro during X2) mentions "the X-gene", implying that all modern Mutations (the controversial superpower kind) stem from a single gene that appeared at some point during human history and slowly proliferated until becoming widely apparent in recent years. The Sentinels also have detectors of said gene.
  • Audible Sharpness: *SNIKT!*
  • Badass: All of the superheroes and supervillains, naturally.
  • Badass Longcoat: Sabretooth has had one in both his appearances.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: In most of the films, whatever danger the mutants face from humans is resolved not by the X-Men, but by the Brotherhood. In the first film, it's Mystique's impersonation of Senator Kelly that gets the Mutant Registration Act defeated in Congress; in X2, Magneto stops the machine that Stryker's using to kill all the mutants; and in X-Men: First Class, Magneto stops the missiles that the US and Soviet fleets shoot at the mutants. The role of the X-Men in the films is not to protect mutants, but to protect humans from the Brotherhood. It gives a sense of why the Brotherhood might attract recruits.
  • Barbie Doll Anatomy:
    • Mystique has no visible nipples or genitalia in her standard form. Then again, her true form is basically a scaly blue creature, so nipples wouldn't have been necessary in either case.
    • Emma Frost's diamond form also features this.
  • Battle Butler:
    • The Wolverine: Yukio performs certain tasks for Master Yashida (like tracking down Wolverine), and is very deadly with a samurai sword.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Hank essentially fulfills this role for Charles. In addition to looking after his ex-mentor's needs and maintaining the mansion, McCoy also serves as Xavier's bodyguard.
  • Beat Them at Their Own Game:
    • Magneto is very fond of this one—in X2 he reverses Stryker's machine to target humans rather than mutants, and in First Class he throws the US and Soviet navies' own missiles back at them. Threatening to shoot cops with their own guns in the first X-Men movie may also qualify.
    • A notable subversion—threatening to use the Mutant Cure against any mutants willing to stand against the Brotherhood in The Last Stand.
  • Berserk Button:
    • When Wolverine was cage fighting the contender was given this advice from the fight promoter.
      Promoter: Whatever you do, don't hit him in the balls.
      Contender: I thought you said anything goes.
      Promoter: Anything goes, but he'll take it personal.
    • In First Class, Hank McCoy is shown to very much dislike being mocked for his mutation. More so once he turns blue-furred.
    • Beast flies into a murderous rage after Magneto attempts to kill Mystique in Days of Future Past. Hank still harbours feelings for her.
  • Big Bad: Magneto and William Stryker alternate between the four movies. In First Class it's Sebastian Shaw.
  • Big Bra to Fill: All of the women.
  • Big Brother Instinct:
    • One of Charles' most admirable and flawed traits is his excessive need to protect Raven, who doesn't appreciate his coddling in the slightest. By the end of First Class, it has driven a wedge between the two of them, resulting in Raven's choosing to side with Erik and make her own decisions for the first time in her life.
    • In Days of Future Past, when 1973 Charles sees Mystique again for the first time in 11 years, he caresses her hair and shoulder as a gesture of comfort while telling her that he will keep her safe among other soothing words. When Magneto then points a gun in her direction, Xavier stands in between the barrel and his adopted sister, and Erik later has to use his power to change the bullet's trajectory so that it won't hit Charles in the head. Despite their estrangement, Xavier is willing to die for Raven to save her life.
    • It's hinted that Peter Maximoff cares a lot about his little sister by the way he holds her while they watch TV.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Wolverine does it three times: The Last Stand: After killing Jean. Origins: When his father dies, and later when his Temporary Love Interest dies.
    • Erik as a kid has a Big Nein in X-Men: First Class.
    • Xavier shouts this in First Class when Magneto pushes the coin through Sebastian Shaw's forehead and just before he tackles Magneto to the ground to try to stop him from committing mass murder against the American and Soviet fleets. In Days of Future Past, Charles yells this in panic when the guards try to shoot him and his allies in the Pentagon kitchen.
  • Birds of a Feather:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Mutants in general are thrilled to meet another mutants since each one believes they were the only one. The adolescents are then "adopted" by Charles and Erik.
      • It's especially intense between Hank and Raven because they possess visible mutations, but they drift apart after the latter begins to accept her real appearance.
      • Among the young recruits, Xavier connects more strongly with McCoy than with the others because both men are scientists with a similar temperament who believe it's important to Hide Your Otherness from human society. X-Men: Days of Future Past even goes a step further by showing us that they become Heterosexual Life-Partners.
  • Blatant Lies:
    • X2: X-Men United: Bobby Drake presents Wolverine to his parents (who think he's been attending a normal prep school) as "Professor Logan." This in itself is borderline, but when the Drakes ask Wolverine what he teaches, he replies tersely, "Art." The trailers for the film played this to maximum effect by intercutting the question and the response with a shot of Logan, claws extended, screaming and leaping towards the camera.
    • X-Men: First Class: Raven claims that her eye colour change at the pub was an accident, but Charles knows that she did it on purpose, and the audience understands that Raven's motivation for the "slip-up" was jealousy towards Amy.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • When Past Xavier (who is drunk and looks like he just got out of bed) is initially unwilling to hear Logan's plea for help, his excuse is:
      Charles: Well, tell whoever it was who sent you that I'm... busy.
      • When confronted by guards in the Pentagon kitchen, Charles attempts to reassure them that he and Logan are important personnel, but one part of his speech is especially unconvincing.
        Charles: We are special operations C-B-F-E-C-I-C.
      • There's a glitch in Logan's Mental Time Travel, resulting in his past self waking up at the worst possible time, in the middle of a botched assassination, surrounded by strange people (some of whom are blue), days after he last remembers anything. Charles briefly tries to explain the situation to him truthfully, before giving up.
        Charles: You're on acid. Someone gave you really bad acid.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Rogue's superpower doesn't allow her to touch the ones she loves.
    • X-Men: The mutations produced by Magneto's machine are fatal.
    • X2: X-Men United: Jones can change television channels by blinking, but he never sleeps.
    • The Wolverine: Yukio's mutant power allows her to foresee a person's death (including that of her own parents), but she can't do anything to prevent it from happening.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: After slipping into a deep depression, the younger Charles views his telepathy as a curse because he can no longer control it. He is unable to shut out the clamour of thoughts that he doesn't want to hear, and this causes a tremendous amount of agony, to the point where he becomes addicted to a serum which numbs his ability, allowing him to sleep at night.
      • At the age of nine, Xavier believed that he was mentally ill (schizophrenia, most likely) due to the voices in his head, and it took him three whole years to recognize that he was actually telepathic—as dysfunctional as he is in 1973, his childhood experience must have been downright nightmarish in comparison.
  • Bloodless Carnage:
    • The only person in X3 to have blood is Wolverine. Everyone else is made out of clothes and skin. People are torn to shreds without spilling a drop.
    • In First Class, Xavier getting shot, as well as Azazel's massacre of the CIA agents.
  • Bonus Material:
  • Breakout Character: Deadpool was already popular among comics fans, but his reception in Origins has led to talk about him getting his own feature film, which is due to be released in Feb. 2016.
  • Break the Cutie:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Charles Xavier. When the movie starts, he's a friendly, happy-go-lucky, idealistic Oxford grad whose only interests are protecting his adoptive sister, studying genetics, drinking yards of beer and picking up coeds. His initial reaction to meeting other mutants is a puppyish eagerness to find others like him, as well as a gung-ho enthusiasm to work with a superhuman team to fight evil. During the climax, he gets smacked around in a variety of ways, including telepathically experiencing Shaw's gruesome death at Magneto's hands, getting shot in the spine, and having the US government, his best friend, and his sister all turn against him. By the finale, his government is trying to hunt him down, his best friend is preparing for a war against humans, and he's crippled for life in a wheelchair. We know from future installments that he never quite abandons his ideals, but he's frighteningly subdued and obviously much more cautious about who knows his secrets.
      • Hank McCoy starts off as the Adorkable love interest for Raven. He then undergoes a Karmic Transformation after telling Raven that society would never accept them for the way they really looked.
      • Raven Darkholme starts off as an innocent Woman Child who turns into a villain by the end, after being harshly rejected by her love interest Hank, and being repulsed by both humanity's intolerance and by Charles' ideals.
      • Erik Lehnsherr as a child in the early scenes, where he is subjected to the harsh treatment of the concentration camps and is forced to watch his mother die simply because he couldn't move a coin in time.
  • Broken Aesop/Metaphor Gotten:
    • Arguable, but the Fantastic Racism-is-bad aesop loses some power when the group being hunted have Superpower Lottery powers that can include almost god-like powers like Jean's Phoenix powers in X3; especially as they try to use it as a metephor for homosexuality and homophobia, but generally gay people don't actually pose any risk to others, at least not naturally. However, it seems mutants are hated and feared regardless of if they're villainous, or even if they have useful powers that could harm others, as seen by the apprehension given towards one mutant who only has a blue tongue and another who can control TV channels by blinking who gets shot and taken by Stryker's soldiers, without any issue with doing so on the soldier's behalf. Generally, the metephor seems to work better when compared to mental illness (some mentally ill people pose a risk to others or themselves, but most are harmless or well-meaning and so shouldn't be treated with fear and loathing), but this isn't what they shoot for.
  • Brutal Honesty:
  • California Doubling:
    • X-Men: The mansion interior was filmed in Casa Loma, a Toronto landmark.
    • X2: X-Men United: Hatley Castle in Victoria, British Columbia was used for the exterior and most of the interior of Xavier's school.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Jean Grey's childhood home is in the Vancouver suburb of Tsawwassen.
    • X-Men: First Class: Englefield House in Reading, UK serves as the exterior for the Xavier mansion. The small island near Cuba is actually Georgia's Jekyll Island with some palm trees.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The Paris scenes were actually filmed in Old Montreal, and parts of the Pentagon (like the area where we see visitors touring the building, and when Charles and Logan are walking alone in a basement corridor) are from the Arts Building at McGill University.
  • The Cameo:
  • Canon Discontinuity/Cosmic Retcon: ...by making the events triggered by Wolverine's Mental Time Travel in Days of Future Past erase The Last Stand (aside from Kelsey Grammer being the older Beast) and X-Men Origins (the film even features a different William Stryker) from existence.
  • Can't Have Sex, Ever: Rogue takes this to can't kiss ever.
  • Cerebus Retcon: Sort of, since the original incident was pretty dark in itself, but Mystique poisoning Charles in the first movie becomes much more sinister in hindsight when the prequel First Class decided to retcon that the two are adopted brother and sister.
    • However, it is possible that she and Magneto may have known beforehand that the poison would have been ultimately harmless and have intended to simply keep Charles out of the way of their plan.
  • Changing of the Guard: The original trilogy and Origins featured Wolverine as the main protagonist, but First Class has Magneto and Professor X as the two lead characters.
  • Character Development:
    • Wolverine has had the most character development throughout the film series.
    • X-Men: First Class explores Erik Lehnsherr's Start of Darkness.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past focuses primarily on Charles Xavier's transition from a Broken Bird to gradually embracing the role of an All-Loving Hero. As Simon Kinberg explains in the January 2014 issue of Total Film:
      "...very early on we made the decision that it was young Charles' arc, and that really the emotional story of the movie is watching him go from the guy who's lost his legs, lost his best friend, lost his sister, and in some ways lost his mind, to a guy who will become the all-powerful, benevolent Professor Xavier. McAvoy is really about as far as one can be from the Patrick Stewart that we know from X1, and we're really watching him take the first big step towards owning that chair and being a leader."
  • Civvie Spandex: Which was even ported to the early-2000s comics.
  • Code Name: Yeah, um, all of them. (Many of the characters have real names, but we haven't listed them. There's a character sheet for that.) Greatest lampshade comes in the first movie when Wolverine asks Xavier:
    "Sabretooth? (looks at Ororo) Storm? (looks at Xavier) What do they call you, Wheels?"
    • First Class has a scene where the younger mutants make up code names for themselves, Charles and Erik.
  • Cold War: This is the setting for the First Class trilogy. First Class dealt with the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962, the 1973 portion of Days of Future Past included the Paris Peace Accords (which marked the end of the Vietnam War), and Apocalypse takes place 1983.
  • Comic Book Movies Don't Use Codenames: Played with in just about every way possible. See the main page for details.
  • Composite Character: Some of the characters are amalgams of various mutants from the comics. Which explains weird power combinations such as Callisto.
    • Rogue in the first three movies has the comic Rogue's powers and appearance but the comic Kitty Pride's personality and relationship with Wolverine.
    • Stryker is a combination of the homonymous preacher from the arc "God Loves, Man Kills", and Weapon X's Professor Thornton.
    • Pyro combines the name and powers of his comic book counterpart with Quicksilver's attitude and original position as Magneto's Dragon.
    • In First Class, Angel has her comics powers but the wings of Pixie.
    • Shaw in First Class is a composite of Sebastian Shaw and Mr. Sinister, combining Shaw's powers and personality with Sinister's immortality and obsession with mutant genetics.
  • Continuity Snarl:
    • Origins and First Class have plenty of inconsistencies for supposed prequels, especially with each other.
    • To be fair, in Origins and The Last Stand, all supposed inconsistencies can be explained away if they're thought about hard enough or if you really try to make them fit. First Class however has no such luck, to the point of many fans believing that it's a reboot rather than a prequel.
    • Notably subverted with Mystique—her slow aging process is explained by her mutation's side effect, which is actually close to the explanation given in the comics (that shapeshifting into different people renews her cells to prevent the aging process or some such).
    • In X2, a human Hank McCoy makes a cameo, but in The Last Stand he's blue and hairy.
      • Examples in First Class: Charles being crippled in the '60s when he's shown walking in the '80s, Magneto and Charles going their separate way earlier than before, Hank's blue furry form, etc.
      • In Hank's case, at least, his nigh-obsessive displeasure with his mutant appearance could have led him to create a serum similar to what he did in First Class, so that it at least rendered him temporarily "normal". In fact, this plot point got hit on several times in Last Stand.
      • Both got a Hand Wave in Days of Future Past through a healing serum that temporarily disguises Beast and fixes Charles' spine (though in the latter's case, negating his telepathy, while he does use it in The Last Stand...).
      • Even worse is Moira MacTaggert—besides being Scottish in Last Stand and American in First Class, for whatever reason she's hardly aged in 40 years.
      • Then there's Wolverine's cameo in First Class, which, while funny, depicts Charles and Erik briefly meeting him for the first time in the 1960s, despite the original movie seemingly depicting their encounters in that film as being the first time they have ever met. Though Wolverine not remembering them can be explained away by his memory loss at the end of X-Men Origins, that still doesn't explain why the other two men don't seem to remember him or mention that they have met before.
      • Except for the fact that they met him for ten seconds and didn't see him again until forty years later, during the events of X1.
      • First Class might have originally been intended as a case of Canon Discontinuity for the films that didn't involve Bryan Singer (Last Stand and X-Men Origins). However, Days of Future Past has decided to tackle the continuity issues head-on...
  • Conveniently Coherent Thoughts:
    • X2: X-Men United: Played with when Jean Grey starts to lose control of her psychic abilities. Apparently she can usually tune out the garbage and focus on the particular thoughts she's looking for, but when her powers start to malfunction, she hears every thought of every person in the very crowded museum she's in. This gives her a headache, which causes her to involuntarily short out all the TV screens around her.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Among the cacophony of thoughts at the White House, Xavier can distinctly hear Mystique's inner voice speaking, "This is for you, brothers and sisters."
  • Cool Shades:
    • Justified with Cyclops—he's always wearing them because they keep his particular mutation in check.
    • In 1973, Logan, Charles and Erik sport fashionable '70s-style sunglasses.
  • Creator Cameo:
    • Stan Lee in the first and third movies.
    • Chris Claremont in the third.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Len Wein and Chris Claremont appear as members of the government committee Trask speaks to.
      • Mystique disguises herself as cinematographer Newton Thomas Siegel as she walks away from the commotion at the Paris Peace Accords.
      • Immediately after Past Magneto uses his power to throw several Parisian police officers backwards, Bryan Singer can be seen as a bystander filming him.
  • Decomposite Character:
    • Emma Frost, who appears in First Class as a grown woman, despite the film being set decades before a much younger girl with a different background but similar powers (minus telepathy) appeared in Origins: Wolverine. The girl was supposed to be Emma Frost, but this was changed at the last minute by the producers and she is not named in the movie, and even the end credits only call her "Emma" (and not "Emma Frost"). While many accused First Class of creating a plot hole, in reality they are two separate characters.
    • The Silver Samurai in The Wolverine is two separate characters. Harada, Silver Samurai's civilian ID in the comics is a ninja and Mariko's childhood friend, while the actual Silver Samurai is Ichirō Yashida, Mariko's grandfather.
  • Defrosting Ice King:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: It's alluded to when the Phoenix (who is presumably using her telepathy) says to Wolverine, "What, you think [the Professor's] not in your head, too? Look at you, Logan. He's tamed you." Unbeknownst to both Wolverine and the audience, he has grown to love Xavier as a friend, and this finally comes to light after Logan crumbles emotionally after Charles is murdered. This is the first time in the original trilogy where Wolverine had displayed this much vulnerability towards a male character.
    • X-Men: First Class: In a Power of Friendship example, the combination of Charles' sensitivity and intelligence is able to "thaw" Erik's cold heart, making him the first (and possibly the only) person Erik has loved since the death of the latter's family during World War II.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Wolverine's bond with the elderly Professor X must have grown quite strong during the Time Skip in between The Wolverine and Days of Future Past because after Logan meets the younger Charles—who is practically a stranger to him—he gradually sheds his outer "macho armour." Compared to Wolverine's normally gruff exterior (especially towards other male characters), he really is quite gentle with Xavier in a few scenes where it's just the two of them, like the plane ride to Washington D.C. and the heart-to-heart talk they share in the Alternate Timeline.
  • Deus Exit Machina: In the first three films, Professor X is removed from the action so his potential Story-Breaker Power doesn't resolve everything in one scene.
    • In X-Men, he is poisoned by Mystique and is in a coma for the entire final act.
    • In X2, he is subjected to illusions by Stryker's conjuring mutant son, and rescuing him is the plot. Not to mention that his powers were used against the X-Men.
    • In The Last Stand, he is killed by Jean Grey as she succumbs to the Phoenix. Though he apparently survived by transferring his consciousness into a brain-dead man's body....
    • Averted in First Class, where Xavier is active, but the bad guys have both Emma Frost and a telepathy-blocking helmet to counter him, and he's not as overwhelmingly powerful as in the chronologically-later films.
  • Disappointed In You:
    Professor X: The next time you feel like showing off, don't.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Xavier is upset when the mutant teens are behaving like party animals, and he rebukes them with a frown: "I expect more from you."
      • After Havok insults Hank by calling him "Bozo," Charles' terse delivery of "Thank you, Alex" is his very polite way of saying, "Shut up."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Magneto believes that Mystique has grown soft when he sternly asks her, "What's happened to you? Did you lose your way while I was gone?"
      • It's subtle, but there is resentment in Charles' voice when he says, "Goodbye, Erik."
  • Dropped a Bridge on Him: Toad in the first film; Cyclops, Xavier, Juggernaut, Callisto, Psylocke, Arclight, and Kid Omega (Quill?) in the third; possibly Fred Dukes in Origins.
  • Elaborate Underground Base: The Weapon X facility, and arguably the X-Mansion.
  • Emotional Powers:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Erik is originally only able to use his powers when extremely angry. The first two times involves maternal separation. He can't properly focus it until Charles coaches him to concentrate on happier emotions.
      • Raven's mental state influences the effectiveness of her mutant ability.
      Raven: You know I can't control it sometimes if I'm stressed or I'm tired."
  • Enemy Mine: X2 has the X-Men teaming up with Magneto and Mystique because of a greater threat to mutant kind, Origins has Logan and Victor teaming up to fight Weapon XI and First Class has the USSR and the US uniting against the "mutant threat."
  • Face-Heel Turn: Pyro in X2; even when he was with the heroes, he was at best a jerk. At his worst, he's clearly a sociopath.
  • Fanservice: Mystique (particularly a leg take from below in X2), some shots of the women, and the Lingerie Scene and Mystique's chest view both in First Class. Actually, all of the women in First Class (Mystique, Angel, Emma and Moira) get at least one scene where they're wearing little or nothing; for Emma and Angel it's most of their scenes. It's a little glaring.
    • For fans of the male form, Origins features Hugh Jackman's naked tush, Gambit's incredible handsomeness, Ryan Reynolds' arms and Liev Schrieber's ripped abs.
  • Fantastic Aesop: Don't discriminate against mutants, and don't try to cure them; because that would be racist, and racism is bad.
  • Fantastic Racism: The main driving conflict of the series.
    • The attempts by non-mutants to find a cure for mutants in the films, and the mutants that are ashamed of their abilities lean more towards a Gay Aesop. This parallel has been explicitly stated to have interested Bryan Singer and Ian McKellen, both openly gay, in the franchise.
  • The Farmer and the Viper:
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles Xavier believed that he could help the emotionally damaged Erik Lehnsherr find some measure of peace and happiness by offering the latter friendship and a home, but Erik repays Charles' kindness with betrayal, abandonment, and a permanent (if accidental) spinal cord injury.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: '70s Magneto's sole contribution to the venture is to derail things the moment he sees a chance to advance his cause at the expense of everyone else. As the endings of First Class and X2 show, this is something of a habit for him.
  • Fire/Water Juxtaposition: Used thematically to set up Iceman's rivalry with Pyro (which is much tighter than the two's relationship in the comics). Their battle in The Last Stand is pretty much the logical extreme.
  • First Name Basis:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • While the public and most other characters refer to Erik (Magneto) and Raven (Mystique) by their mutant code names, Charles and Hank still remain on a first name basis with both of them, and vice versa. This is also presumably true for Alex, who still addresses his former allies as Raven and Erik.
      • This is the first time in the franchise where Logan uses Charles' first name when speaking to Xavier directly. It's the result of the close friendship they developed during the Time Skip after The Wolverine.
      • Surprisingly, the elderly Magneto calls Bobby by his first name instead of his codename (Iceman). This indicates that Erik must have gotten to know Bobby on a more personal level during their war against the Future Sentinels.
  • Foil:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Shaw serves as one to Xavier; both are doctors of genetics who are interested in maximizing Lehnsherr's potential, but whereas Shaw uses torture to uncover his raw power, Charles utilizes emotional intimacy to give Erik greater control. Erik grows to love Charles as a brother, but vehemently opposes the latter's peaceful approach to human-mutant relations. Magneto wholly embraces Shaw's mutant supremacist views, but loathes the man for murdering his mother.
      • You can probably write a whole essay on how Charles and Erik contrast each other. Producer Bryan Singer gives us a very basic summary from the "Magneto the Survivor" featurette:
      "Ultimately, they come from different places. Erik Lehnsherr is a victim of the Holocaust, he probably left the war with nothing, and is very much a solitary man, while Xavier had a life of privilege, became a professor at Oxford, was surrounded by peers, has an intimate relationship with Mystique since childhood, so he's quite loved, and therefore quite idealistic, less embittered, and just has a very different view from Lehnsherr."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Both '70s and future Magneto contrast each other in the film. '70s Magneto continues to move forward with mutant supremacy and attacking Charles and his group, while future Magneto was fighting to protect both mankind and mutants while lamenting his pointless struggles with Charles in their younger years. Past Erik is very much on his own, but his elderly counterpart is a valuable team member.
      • Past Magneto and Past Xavier were both inactive and isolated in between 1963 and 1973 (the former due to imprisonment, the latter due to depression). Erik shows signs of wanting to repair at least part of their previous friendship, but a bitter Charles isn't interested for the most part. Magneto tries to kill Mystique while Xavier tries to protect her. Hank remains unwaveringly devoted to Charles, but Erik loses Mystique's loyalty after the murder attempt. In X-Men: First Class, Erik personified "rage" while Charles embodied "serenity," but their roles are reversed in 1973. Xavier is now the one who is full of pain and anger, and therefore has great trouble wielding his telepathy, whereas Magneto is (relatively) calm and controlled, still possessing great mastery over his power despite being deprived of metal for a decade. (We even see Erik adopt a meditation pose in his prison cell, which makes him appear almost Zen-like.)
  • The Foreign Subtitle:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand:
      • In Japan, the film's subtitle was changed from The Last Stand to Final Decision.
      • In Quebec, Canada, the direct translation of L'Engagement ultime is The Ultimate Engagement, which is a little different from France's L'Affrontement final (The Final Confrontation).
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • In France, the subtitle translates to The Beginning (Le Commencement).
      • In Japan and many Spanish-speaking countries (with the notable exception of Brazil), the film's subtitle was changed from First Class to First Generation.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble in First Class: Xavier (leukine), Havok (choleric), Beast (melancholic), Mystique (phlegmatic), and Banshee (sanguine).
  • Friendless Background:
    • X-Men: First Class: Since Raven is explicitly stated to be Charles' oldest and only friend, that means prior to their meeting in 1944, he had difficulty connecting with other children despite growing up in the lap of luxury. X-Men: Days of Future Past elaborates on this a little further by revealing that Xavier was considered to be "crazy" in between the ages of 9 and 12 due to the voices in his head, and was therefore a social pariah among his peers.
    • The Wolverine: Mariko had difficulty making friends while she was younger.
  • Fully-Clothed Nudity: A variant in Mystique's natural form.
  • General Ripper: William Stryker.
  • Genius Bruiser: Beast.
  • Gentleman and a Scholar: Professor X is well-educated (he has a doctorate in genetics) and carries some characteristics of a Quintessential British Gentleman.
  • Glamour Failure:
    • X-Men:
      • Mystique's shapeshifting isn't quite perfect. Her eyes flare yellow if she loses her concentration, and she can't quite mimic the scent of others (making her particularly vulnerable to Wolverine's sense of smell).
      • After "Bobby Drake" convinces Rogue that she should leave the school, his eyes turn yellow, revealing that it was Mystique in disguise. This occurs again with a Statue of Liberty sculpture and Senator Kelly at the end of the movie.
    • X2: X-Men United: Mystique can't seem to hide the scars Wolverine left behind on her. Likewise, Stryker isn't fooled when she masquerades as Wolverine. One thing he knows better than anyone is his own work.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Mystique's irises briefly become yellow when she assumes the identity of a Secret Service agent and Major Stryker. Moreover, when she duplicates Bolivar Trask, she doesn't get his face quite right.
  • Gotta Get Your Head Together:
  • Groin Attack: Mystique to Wolverine, and Wolverine to another healing mutant ("Grow those back").
  • Hate at First Sight:
    • X-Men: Wolverine and Cyclops show an immediate disdain for one-another before even a single line of dialogue is spoken.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Judging by the harsh glare the younger Magneto gives to Logan just before he walks away from the Pentagon kitchen, he plainly dislikes the clawed mutant even though the latter hasn't done or said anything negative. It seems highly unlikely that Erik would remember a rude stranger that he once tried to recruit in a bar 11 years prior, and even if he did, his behaviour is rather antagonistic for such a minor insult.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners:
    • Considering that Charles Xavier's and Erik Lehnsherr's friendship only lasted a few months in X-Men: First Class, it was unusually intimate on an emotional level.
    • Played straight in X-Men: Days of Future Past with the elderly Magneto and Professor X (the moment where they're holding hands is the closest that we've seen them since First Class), but averted with their younger selves. In 1973, Charles never once calls Erik "friend" (although Erik uses the endearment twice), which goes to show how broken their relationship is.
    • Hank and Charles are each other's Only Friend in between 1963 and 1973, so it's inevitable that they would develop a very close bond. There are moments of non-verbal (and non-telepathic) communication between the two men, like when Xavier gently taps Beast on the chest after he mutters to Logan, "I think I'd like to wake up now." McCoy immediately understands that the gesture means, "You can calm down now, our visitor is not a threat," and he reverts back to his human form.
  • He Who Fights Monsters:
    • X-Men: With regards to Magneto, director Bryan Singer explains in the September 2000 issue of SFX:
      "...the paradox in Magneto's character is that he was the victim and then becomes the aggressor. It's like he's slowly become these people who persecuted him and murdered his family right in front of him. He became embittered. You get angry enough and you start forgetting."
    • X-Men: First Class: Erik Lehnsherr hates Sebastian Shaw and wants to kill him, but he eventually embraces Shaw's beliefs about mutant supremacy. It's even spelled out through the villain wearing the same helmet that Magneto is associated with. At the crucial moment, he separates revenge from his ideals, which is why he's able to complement Shaw's vision while still hating the man to his core. Shaw-the-man wronged him terribly, but Shaw-the-visionary is inspirational.
  • Hide Your Otherness:
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: The film starts with a little Angel who tries to cut off his own wings in his desperation to be normal. Considering that he did cut them off then, but still has the wings as an adult, they must have kept growing back.
    • X-Men: First Class: Fearful of humanity's negative reaction to mutants, Charles and Hank firmly live by this philosophy. Raven was initially influenced by her adoptive brother, but she has already grown frustrated with concealing her blue form in public when we first see her as an adult.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: 1973 Magneto invokes this as he's shouting at Xavier, "Hiding, you and Hank, pretending to be something you're not!" Beast in particular is very uncomfortable with his blue, furry form, and he creates a serum which temporarily suppresses his mutation so that he can appear human.
  • Hollywood Evolution: In this universe, the concept of evolution is, some people develop a random super(natural) power when they hit puberty.
  • Homoerotic Subtext:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • According to co-screenwriters Ashley Miller and Zack Stentz in the "Second Genesis" featurette (which was included on the DVD/Blu-Ray release), this movie is essentially a love story between Charles and Erik, with Raven and Hank being the Beta Couple:
      Miller: The story between Charles and Erik is on some level this tragic romance. You gotta arrange the other elements in that way, too.
      Stentz: Yeah, in this case you have Hank and you have Raven who end up being kind of the B-story version of the same thing you're seeing playing out with Charles and Erik. It's the making and breaking of a relationship.
      • In the rare "Magneto the Survivor" featurette (see the Bonus Material entry), First Class producer Simon Kinberg refers to Professor X's and Magneto's separation as a divorce when he discusses their older counterparts.
      "What I love between Ian [McKellen] and Patrick [Stewart] in X1, 2, 3 is the sense that they're disappointed in each other. They actually wish that the other one would just come back to them, come back to their side, you know, 'we could be so great together.' It really is a post-divorce story. Understanding the origin of their conflict was the thing that was most interesting to me in this film. Understanding the beginning of their political fissure and their emotional fissure."
      • James McAvoy called the movie a "love story" between Xavier and Magneto, even though, when pressed for clarification, he admitted they were not gay. The film certainly concentrated heavily on the two's relationship, and the final scene, in which the two split and their surrogate children chose sides, played out like a couple's divorce.
      McAvoy: It is a little bit of a mini-tragedy that [Xavier] and Magneto don't, you know, have sex and become married and become best friends.
  • Humans Are the Real Monsters: Played with as a motif for the series. The humans for the most part are shown to be intolerant and hateful of mutants (with some like Col. Stryker going that extra mile to make things a living hell for mutants), wishing they could eradicate their kind, while mutants themselves don't want to harm anyone and just live peacefully among humans. Professor X tries to bridge this gap and be a goodwill ambassador on behalf of mutantkind, hoping humanity will lower their guard and learn tolerance while Magneto loathes humanity and wants mutants to use their higher abilities to step over these hateful beings and become the one true inheritor of the planet. However, his methods are often excessive and definitely give good pause to humankind's fear and shunning of mutants, so he's not helping his case. And of course, there are those mutants like Sebastian Shaw who genuinely are evil and destructive, caring not for humans or even fellow mutants (regardless of what rhetoric they try to convey).
  • I Am a Monster:
    • In one of the TV spots for X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Sabretooth utters this chilling line.
      "I'm not your friend... I'm an animal who dreamed he was a man. But the dream is over... and the beast is awake. And I will come for you, because it's my nature."
      • This is either a Shout-Out or a ripoff of Seth Brundle's "insect politics" speech, which itself is an homage to the Japanese poem, "I dreamed I was a butterfly, flitting around in the sky; then I awoke. Now I wonder: Am I a man who dreamt of being a butterfly, or am I a butterfly dreaming that I am a man?"
    • X-Men: First Class: Erik Lehnsherr calls himself Frankenstein's Monster, believing that it was Sebastian Shaw's (whom he views as his "creator") experiments which turned him into a freak of nature.
  • I Am Very British: X-Men: First Class attempts to explain why Xavier (who is American in the comics) has a Received Pronunciation accent. He is half-British, half-American (or alternately, he's fully British, but his family moved to the United States before World War II broke out in 1939), and his speech pattern was influenced by his posh English mother. It was later reinforced when he studied at the University of Oxford.
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Rogue. In a deleted scene from the first movie, she asks if Xavier can "cure" her. She takes the cure to become human in the third film.
  • I Was Quite a Looker:
  • Idiot Ball: Madrox didn't need to sacrifice himself to the military when his dupes could have fought them off while Madrox Prime escaped.
    • That's not how his power works. If one Madrox goes down, they all go down.
  • In Name Only: While deviations are to be expected in adaptations, certain characters (especially in The Last Stand) are absolutely nothing like their comic book counterparts. Callisto, Kid Omega, Psylocke, Agent Zero, and Deadpool are among the most drastic examples.
    • First Class does little better. While at least keeping the powers of most of the cast and a few elements of their personality, most of the mutants bare little resemblance to their comic counterparts. Havocnote , Angel Salvadorenote , Azazel note , and even Mystiquenote , despite being in the previous movies, are probably the best examples.
  • In Touch with His Feminine Side: Charles Xavier scores high on androgynous personality traits because he possesses qualities from all of this trope's five broad categories: Lack of Athleticism (especially after he becomes wheelchair-bound), Lack of Aggression (he prefers negotiation over violence to resolve problems), An Open, Emotional Personality (he's the epitome of a Sensitive Guy), Typically Feminine Interests (he's a teacher, which is considered to be a "nurturing" profession), and Effeminate or Non-Masculine Appearance (he's a shorter-than-average Pretty Boy).
  • Informed Fantastic Racism: Government-related parts aside (that being a common thing for the superhero genre), it honestly feels like the first two movies spend more time talking about how much normal humans hate and fear mutants than actually showing it. This is somewhat remedied in The Last Stand, but still nothing like the comics.
  • Kill All Humans: In the second movie, Stryker wants to Kill All Mutants, then Magneto changes plans to Kill All Humans. In First Class, Shaw plots the extinction of humans so that mutants can replace them as the dominant species.
  • Lampshade Hanging: Wolverine gets a lot of screen time, just like in the comics. Magneto likes to point this out in the original trilogy: "Once again, you think it's all about you."
  • Leitmotif:
    • In the original trilogy, Mystique has a particularly exotic one that lets you know when it's really her.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Erik has a brooding guitar theme. If you've made an enemy of him and it kicks in, things are about to get unpleasant for you.
      • When listening to the complete score on the Blu-Ray release, Charles is associated with a simple orchestral violin melody which gradually evolves into the X-Men: First Class theme. This makes perfect sense because he's the leader of the group. "Rage and Serenity" is actually a combination of Charles' and Erik's themes.
      • Raven's scenes are usually accompanied by a piano tune.
      • Schmidt/Shaw plays a record of Edith Piaf singing La vie en rose as an establishing motif in 1944 and 1962.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Composer John Ottman elaborates on Professor X's theme in this interview.
        Radio host: We talked about Xavier's theme which almost acts as the central theme for the film because his story is so important, and it hovers around him. Since the film is about hope, and his character is about hope and rediscovering his hope, kind of a lost soul, where did you really draw the music from [...]?
        John Ottman: [...] I knew what the character's challenge was, what the film was about, so I tried to create a piece of music or a theme that could play both sides, sort of despondent and tortured, but also be designed so that it can be hopeful as it evolves later in the movie. I started sketching on an electric piano, and it sounded so cool and vintage [...]. Early in the movie, when it's just very subtly underscoring him, it's a lot of electric piano within the strings.
      • In this featurette, Ottman brings up Magneto's theme.
        John Ottman: Magneto's theme is a very simple "baauum baaaaw." That's basically it, it's so simple you can identify with it and feel it. [...] When he does his stuff at the end and you hear that big sound, it's bigger than it ever was before, and it ties things together.
  • Like Brother and Sister:
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles cites this when Raven, feeling insecure about her looks, asks if he would date her... although it falls a little flat coming right after he's answered the question with "of course" in reference to her human form, before she clarifies that she means in her real form. (Charles is being a bit obvious in invoking the trope as the film establishes that she is indeed his adopted sister.)
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Lampshaded by the older Professor X when he mentions that Mystique was like a sister to him. It's later alluded to when a nurse wonders if the blue, scaly woman at the Paris Peace Accords has a family, and Raven replies, "Yes, she does."
  • Like Cannot Cut Like: Adamantium blades, such as Wolverine vs. Lady Deathstrike and Wolverine vs. Deadpool.
  • Living Emotional Crutch: In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Hank is this to the dispirited Charles; the latter is so desperate to escape from his mental pain that he would most likely have died from alcohol poisoning if McCoy wasn't around to supervise him. But it works the other way around, too, as the approval-seeking Hank has voluntarily suppressed his individuality (i.e. he has no career, hobby, or social life) just to attend to Xavier's needs 24/7, and is thus defining himself exclusively through his dutiful service to his ex-mentor. These are strong indicators that they are both trapped in an unhealthy co-dependent relationship.
  • Loads and Loads of Characters: In the third movie especially.
  • Logo Joke: The original trilogy features the "X" in the 20th Century Fox logo fading out a fraction of a second later than the rest of the logo.
  • Made of Iron: Made of adamantium to be exact in the case of Wolverine. Also, the Juggernaut and Mystique are really hard to kill.
  • Magic Pants:
    • Averted with Mystique, who does all her shapeshifting nude and forms the clothing of her disguises with her body.
    • Played straight with Wolverine as Phoenix's attacks destroy all the rest of his clothes, as well as skin and muscle, but his pants remain. The same thing happens in The Wolverine when he shields Ichiro after the atomic bomb is dropped.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: An Xavier student in X2 (implied to be Siryn), and Banshee (who is Siryn's father in the comics) in First Class.
  • Marquee Alter Ego: Mystique's default normal human form in the film trilogy is... Rebecca Romijn.
    • In First Class, it's Jennifer Lawrence. But when Magneto says he might sleep with her "in a few years," she briefly becomes Romijn.
  • Meaningful Echo: Between two movies, highlighting the difference between the Xavier School and Magneto's views on mutants. In a deleted scene from the first movie, Bobby asks Rogue her name, she says "Rogue," and he says "What's your real name?" She tells him "Marie." Then in X2, on the plane, Magneto has a conversation with Pyro:
    Magneto: What's your name?
    Pyro: John.
    Magneto: What's your real name, John?
    Pyro: Pyro.
  • Meaningful Look:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr exchange numerous glances throughout the movie, which are indicative of their closeness.
      • After Raven Darkholme insinuates that Alex Summers' manhood may be small in response to the latter's mocking of Hank McCoy's feet, Raven and Hank look at each other; the former silently says, "I'm on your side," while the latter quietly expresses his gratitude.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Kitty Pryde and Bobby Drake share one as they cross paths during their battle against the Sentinels, and this may allude to them being in a relationship.
      • Mystique, disguised as a colonel, winks at Alex in a reassuring manner which says, "Don't worry, I'll get you out of this." Alex is unaware that the colonel is his former friend, though, so the wink confuses him.
      • Hank and Charles exchange an amused "Why am I not surprised?" glance (the former even adds a raised eyebrow) after Peter Maximoff asks them, "I saw your flight plan in the cockpit; why are you going to Paris?"
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint:
    • In X-Men, the characters pass through one of these entering a museum. Wolverine, naturally, sets it off, and then destroys it.
    • In the epilogue of The Wolverine, the title character requests a pat-down rather than have to deal with the inevitable difficulties that would arise from trying to go through one of these at the airport.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: There is one on the White House lawn; it beeps when Xavier passes through because of his wheelchair, and when it's Wolverine's turn... nothing happens because his 1973 body is adamantium-free.
  • Monumental Damage: The Statue of Liberty in the original, Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island in The Last Stand, Three Mile Island in X-Men Origins, and both RFK Stadium and the White House in Days of Future Past.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Producer Tom DeSanto thought about the original costumes, but eventually decided they would look silly and changed to leather ones (something Stan Lee and Chris Claremont approved). Lauren Shuler Donner added that the costumes helped the X-Men "blend into the night."
    • In First Class however, the 1960s founding members of the team wear blue and yellow costumes similar to their first appearance in the '60s comics.
    • There were plans for Wolverine's yellow costume and mask to make a Cameo appearance in The Wolverine, but this was scrapped. Concept art for the suit can be found online.
  • Mythology Gag: Wolverine complains about the costumes. Cyclops: "What would you prefer, yellow Spandex?" Then in First Class, the uniforms are yellow and blue bodysuits, and the reaction of one character is "Do we really have to wear these?"
    • The explanation for how Rogue acquired the signature strands of white hair
    • Allusions to Wolverine's past
    • The way Mystique approaches Wolverine disguised as Storm– and how he identified her– is very similar to a scene from The Dark Phoenix Saga, where a Skrull named Raksor, also impersonating Storm, tried the same trick on Logan, with a similar result.
    • In the second, there is a brief exchange between Nightcrawler and Mystique who are mother and son in the comics.
    • In First Class, the helmet Erik seizes from Shaw and the repainted version in the final scene of the film resemble his helmet in the comics much more than the helmet worn by Ian McKellen, Banshee's wings are striped only to resemble the comics counterpart, and given that the movie is set in 1962, Xavier opened his school the following year... when the actual comic first debuted in 1963.
    • In the second film, Magneto says "When will these people learn to fly?", referring to the fact that some of the X-men can fly in the comics.
  • Nice Guy: Professor X opens his heart and his home to mutants who feel persecuted by the outside world.
    Logan: There's not many people that will understand what you're going through, but I think this guy Xavier is one of them. He seems to genuinely want to help you, and that's a rare thing for people like us.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent:
    • Xavier keeps Patrick Stewart's English accent.
    • Gambit doesn't sound remotely Cajun (in fact, he almost sounds like he's from Texas).
      • Somewhat justified in Gambit's case, as Louisiana and Texas, being right next to each other, share a significant degree of dialect between them.
    • While Halle Berry attempts some sort of accent in the first film, by the third she's not even trying anymore.
    • Same with Anna Paquin and Rogue, who has a slight Mississippi accent in the first movie which disappears in the sequels. Somewhat justified with Rogue as she's a teenager and growing to fit in with her classmates.
    • The North Albertan bartender in X-Men Origins: Wolverine seems to be from Tennessee for some reason.
    • First Class de-accentizes Banshee and Moira (though the latter goes from Scottish to American).
      • Basically, if you're not Nightcrawler, you WILL lose your trademark speech pattern in the movieverse. (However, it's less glaring than you think in some cases—in the original comics, after being taught English telepathically, the X-Men are noted on-panel to have no accents. It's just that we hear that once ever, characters' talk is positively filled with random words from their own languages, and every adaptation ever keeps the accent.)
    • Also based on Mystique's origins in First Class, she probably should have gained a British accent after spending 20 years there but has none. It's kind of funny how even though they're not related British Charles's "sister" sounds completely American.
      • The Xaviers lived in Westchester, New York when they took in Mystique. Charles has the accent because him and his parents are British. He and Mystique only moved back there in their late teens/early twenties so he could attend Oxford.
  • Novelization: The second and third films have novelizations by Chris Claremont; the one for the third film shows a lot more of what's going on in Jean's head than the movie is able to, appropriate from the man who wrote the Dark Phoenix Saga.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: X2: X-Men United is the only X-Men film which has a number in its title.
  • Old Money:
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles Xavier was born with a silver spoon in his mouth. He lives in a very Big Fancy House, there are servants (a maid is mentioned), and his mother is a snobby British Socialite who thinks so highly of herself that she never enters the kitchen of her own home. Charles' taste in material goods is often expressed in classic, Simple Yet Opulent ways, in contrast to the gaudy Conspicuous Consumption that we normally associate with the Nouveau Riche.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Past Charles can afford not to work for a decade because he can simply mooch off his inherited wealth. The Xavier family crest on the tail of his personal plane, his plane's elegantly decorated interior, and even the design of the chess set he brings along for the trip are a visual cue to the audience that he is this trope, and not the tacky (or so the stereotype goes) Nouveau Riche.
  • Once per Episode: In every movie where Beast is a prominent character, we see him hanging upside down.
  • Only Friend:
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Near the beginning, Raven points out to Charles that she is his only friend. Presumably an affable fellow like Xavier would have numerous acquaintances, but his sister figure is only person he fully trusts.
      • Charles becomes this to Erik.
    • The Wolverine: While Logan is hiding out in the Yukon woods, his sole companion is a grizzly bear that lives nearby.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: After Past Charles isolates himself from the outside world due to his severe depression, Hank becomes his sole companion. Hank also doesn't seem to have a social circle, as he has taken it upon himself to be Charles' caretaker, which appears to be something of a full-time job.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Occasionally Hugh Jackman simply can't hide that he's Australian.
    • Michael Fassbender also lapses into his Irish origins in First Class.
      • It's somewhat unavoidably noticeable if he was speaking German the moment before and he's meant to be from the Eastern bloc.
      • Handwaveable with Magneto as he's spent years living all over Europe and learned at least four whole languages (Polish, German, French and English). It's quite possible he spent some time in the Emerald Isle and picked up a few tics.
    • James McAvoy's English accent is very good, but he reverts to his native Scottish whenever he shouts or cries.
    • The English Nicholas Hoult's American accent is consistent, but he frequently messes up on the word "professor."
  • Opposed Mentors: Pyro in the second X-Men movie had the choice between Magneto or Xavier. This is often the case with some characters in the comics too.
  • Palette Swap:
    • Magneto always had some red and/or purple colour on his outfit, but in 2023, his uniform is completely black and grey, signifying that he's now part of the X-Men.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past costume designer Louise Mingenbach described Past Xavier's switch from his brown-and-pink casual wear to his more formal blues and greys that is typically associated with the character in the other movies.
      "At the beginning of the film, Charles is medicating, and very possibly on hallucinogens, so we had that come through in his shirt. As he pulls himself together, he wears a nice blue oxford like all good, put-together men—a progression from that psychedelic Cat Stevens-wear."
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: (what did you expect?) First and second films. The DVD of the third shows it would also have it.
  • People Puppets
    • X-Men: Professor X briefly takes control of Toad and Sabretooth and attempts to rescue Rogue from Magneto.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Xavier possesses various people around Mystique at the airport to talk to her in a casual display of how creepy his power can be when he gets creative. At the end, he also controls Magneto when Mystique knocks the latter's helmet off to free himself from the metal debris that fell on him earlier.
  • Pretty Boy:
    • Bobby Drake's dainty facial features quickly communicate to the audience that he's a good-hearted person. This is especially true in the first movie, where he was only a minor character, but viewers were able to tell right away that "the cute guy" is sincere when trying to befriend Rogue. Moroever, being forced to abandon his family in the second film is more painful when his expression is very much like a puppy dog who has just been kicked.
    • X-Men: First Class:
      • Appearance-wise, Dr. Charles Xavier is strongly defined by his boyishness: he has a soft, round face, baby blue eyes, reddish lips (the colour is so deep at times that it almost looks like he's wearing lipstick), and is of shorter-than-average height. It's symbolic of his sensitive, nice guy qualities. Erik Lehnsherr even calls him "adorable" when Charles tries the Cerebro machine for the first time.
      • Dr. Hank McCoy is quite similar to Xavier (just younger and a lot more insecure), and while this may be a coincidence, it's nevertheless convenient that he shares some facial features with his mentor, like pale skin, blue eyes and thick reddish lips. The one big physical difference between them is that Hank is a lot taller.
    • The Wolverine: Wolverine invokes this when he confronts Harada, presumably as an attempt to deride the latter's masculinity.
  • The Professor: Dr. Charles Xavier earned his "Professor of Genetics" title from the University of Oxford. Even before he became a paraplegic, he was considerably less action-oriented than the other mutants on his team, and is often protected by a combatant (e.g. Cyclops, Beast). Professor X serves as the Team Dad for the X-Men.
  • The Promise:
    • X-Men: Wolverine keeps his vow to Rogue by nearly dying trying to save her life in the climax.
      Logan: I'll take care of you.
      Rogue: You promise?
      Logan: Yeah, I promise.
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles managed to uphold his promise not to use his telepathy on Raven for 18 years until the shock and pain of a bullet in his spine became too much for him to bear, compromising his concentration.
      Raven: You promised me you would never read my mind.
      Charles: I know. I promised you a great many things, I'm afraid. I'm sorry.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Wolverine requests that the younger Xavier form the X-Men regardless of the outcome of their mission.
      Logan: Whatever happens today, I need you to promise me something. [...] The X-Men, promise me you'll find us. Use your power, bring us together. Guide us, lead us. [...]
      1973 Charles: I'll... do my best.
      • And later:
      Logan: It's good to see you, Charles. It's good to see everyone.
      Professor X: (smiles warmly) Well, I had a promise to keep.
  • Psychic Radar: It's X-Men with Professor X. This was going to come up. Cerebro provides him with a massive boost, allowing him to mentally trace people all over the world. He knows as soon as he scans the school that Rogue has up and run away, too.
  • Race Lift:
    • Bolivar Trask is black in The Last Stand.
      • Now subverted in Days of Future Past, where Trask has been retconned as a different person altogether.
    • In First Class, both Banshee and Moira MacTaggert (Irish and Scottish respectively) are changed into Americans.
    • Blink is played by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing in Days of Future Past.
  • Radiation Immune Mutants: Mutants are naturally immune to radiation, which makes Magneto's mutation device harmless to them (but lethal to humans) and it's part of Shaw's plan in First Class, since mutants would live just fine despite an atomic war's fallout.
  • Red Herring:
    • X-Men: Magneto looks at Wolverine's dogtags before asking Sabretooth, "Where is the mutant now?" This is to mislead the audience into the same line of thinking as the heroes, that Magneto is after Wolverine, instead of his true target Rogue.
    • Will Yun Lee (Harada) was promoted to have rigorous sword training, but throughout The Wolverine, most of his action scenes involved archery. If you're familiar with the comics character, one might be surprised that in this film, Harada is NOT the Silver Samurai.
    • X-Men: First Class: There are two incidents which fooled some audience members into believing that this would be the moment where Xavier would become crippled: the first was when the Blackbird crashed, and the other was when Charles experienced the trauma of Shaw's death telepathically. Afterwards, these viewers then assumed that Xavier's disability will be dealt with in a sequel, but then he is accidentally wounded by Magneto.
  • Red Oni, Blue Oni:
  • Ret Canon: The movies inspired a number of elements that made their way into the comics and the various cartoons:
    • During Grant Morrison's run, the X-Men adopted black leather outfits in order to better match their movie counterparts. This lasted up until Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men run, where the team started wearing colorful outfits again in order to seem less threatening.
    • For a time, Mystique adopted her scaled, reptilian appearance from the comics.
    • Magneto's plastic prison was used by The Ultimates in Ultimate X-Men.
    • Ultimate X-Men also used a version of William Stryker directly inspired by his role in X-2 (in the original comics, Stryker was just a bigoted preacher).
    • Toad adopted his Adaptational Badass qualities from the movies for a while, before reverting back to being a massive loser.
    • The movie introduced the idea of Iceman being significantly younger than the original X-Men, which was used in Ultimate X-Men, X-Men: Evolution, and Wolverine and the X-Men.
    • The depiction of the Xavier Institute as an actual school for mutants was also taken from the first movie. Prior to that, the school aspect was just a cover, and the only real "students" were the X-Men themselves.
  • Retcon: At least one character per movie: Sabretooth, Lady Deathstrike, Juggernaut and Deadpool.
    • Considering the way the movies have changed around some of the comic book characters' generations, there's likely to be more in the future if more movies are going to be made based somewhat on the comics.
    • First Class retcons certain elements of The Last Stand, notably the fact that Charles and Erik were still shown to be working together while middle-aged during the flashback sequences in the latter film.
  • Rule of Sexy:
    • Most (if not all) fans expected the young Professor X to be bald in First Class, but the studio wanted James McAvoy to keep his hair in order to retain the actor's sex appeal.
      James McAvoy: I had showed up on the first day of X-Men: First Class, and I had shaved my head because I wanted to check what it looked like about a month before we started shooting—and it looked quite good—and they were like, "No, no, no, no, we want you to have long hair."
    • In the March 2014 issue of Empire magazine, the actor states that he was more than willing to get rid of his luxurious locks for Days of Future Past, but once again the producers nixed the idea.
      James McAvoy: I wanted to go bald in this one, [...] but they didn't go for it. I was gutted.
  • Rule of Symbolism: In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the presence (or at least the desire to have it) or absence of Magneto's telepathy-blocking helmet is a fairly good gauge of how unhealthy or healthy his relationship with Professor X is. As Simon Kinberg puts it, the finale marks the beginning of the characters' Friendly Enemy dynamic:
    "At the end of the movie, [Magneto] flies away without his helmet, with the implication that he'll go off and continue to be Magneto in some form, but not be able to hide it from Charles, who'll be able to read his mind and track him. There's a truce of some kind between Charles and Magneto, but there's a part of Magneto that will always be the Magneto we know from the comics."
    • This article has made the following observation about the elderly Erik:
      "From the photos, we see that Ian McKellen's older Magneto has no need for his iconic helmet that protects him from mutant telepaths since he's once again allied with old friend

Charles Xavier."
  • Sensitive Guy and Manly Man:
    • X-Men: First Class: Charles is the Sensitive Guy to Erik's Manly Man. They display this dynamic in their personalities and physique as well as their philosophies and methods.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: Xavier in 1973 is more accurately an Overly Sensitive Guy with Wolverine taking over the Manly Man role. Logan has to act as the "glue" which barely holds the emotionally fragile Xavier together in order to complete their mission. Their opposite natures are most directly contrasted in the Pentagon kitchen scene, where Charles attempts to persuade the guards that he and his partner have a valid reason to be there, while Wolverine just knocks them out with a frying pan.
  • Sequel Escalation: Each film was bigger/more expensive than the previous one, which is why Fox started spinoffs instead of an X4.
  • Shapeshifting Seducer: Mystique uses this several times in the films.
    • In X-Men 2, she seduces a guard by taking the form of a hot blonde so she can use him in Magneto's escape from prison. She later uses it on Logan by trying to seduce him in the form of Jean Grey. Logan catches her, and she goes through several other forms, including Storm and even Rogue, but he tells her to leave.
    • In X-Men: First Class, she upgrades her age about 15 years to please Magneto, which doesn't really work for her until Magneto tells her he prefers her without the shapeshifted appearance.
  • Sharp-Dressed Man:
    • Charles Xavier in X-Men: First Class and in his elderly years is always well-dressed as befitting a professor and principal. Costume designer Louise Mingenbach refers to Professor X as "Mr. Fancy Pants" in the "United Colors of X" featurette on the X2: X-Men United DVD, and Sammy Sheldon has stated in the "Suiting Up" documentary on the First Class Blu-Ray that she made Charles' attire as stylish as she could while keeping him "honest, real, studious."
    • Almost everyone in First Class, with Azazel and Riptide standing out the most.
  • Shirtless Scene:
    • X-Men Origins: Wolverine took this to an extreme, much to the delight of Hugh Jackman fangirls. During a dramatic escape scene, not only does he erupt from a tank of water completely shirtless (and indeed naked, muscles + dripping water...), but he then proceeds to escape, running and fighting his way out of the building. Viewers get a lovable full-body shot (in which censorship is barely provided by his leg from a mostly-side-shot) when he jumps off a waterfall.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past: The younger Magneto is bare-chested when he's analyzing the Sentinel schematics.
  • Shock and Awe: Storm.
  • Skyward Scream:
  • Smart People Play Chess: Xavier and Magneto in the first film, First Class and Days of Future Past, less obviously in the second movie when Magneto's in his plastic prison, and alluded to again in the third at the end where Erik is at a park with a chess board...
    • The chess motif is also there to establish the attitudes of both men as The Chessmaster.
  • Spandex, Latex, or Leather: Black leather. First Class has them wear spandexy-Kevlar and denim (modelled after real life battle fatigues), and DOFP has kevlar plates mixed with spandex and regular pants.
  • Spoiled Sweet: Charles Xavier is filthy rich and he is a gentle, caring person. Certainly the most altruistic character in the franchise.
    Sean Cassidy: (in awe of Xavier's mansion) This is yours.
    Charles Xavier: (smiles) No, it's ours.
  • Spotlight-Stealing Squad: Wolverine. He's the main character of the first three movies even though he is central to the plots of none of them. See where he and ostensible team leader Cyclops are on the page image.
  • Stuffed into the Fridge:
    • Cyclops. Double points for being killed by his lover! Triple points for being a Rare Male Example!
    • In Origins, Temporary Love Interest Kayla. Then subverted when we learn her death was faked and Stryker was specifically invoking this so Logan would agree to join the Weapon X program, and double subverted when she is Stuffed into the Fridge for real. Also, the old couple who help Logan and are killed by Agent Zero, and arguably John Wraith when he is killed by Victor.
  • Super Weight:
    • Type 0: Regular humans, Depowered mutantsnote .
    • Type 1: Mariko, Yukio, Shingen.
    • Type 2: Most mutants.
    • Type 3: Cyclops, Rogue, Pyro, Iceman, Storm, Wolverine, Mystique, Beast, Weapon XI (Wade Wilson), Viper, Silver Samurai, Past Sentinels.
    • Type 4: Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey (after exposure to Magneto's machine), Sebastian Shaw, Future Sentinels, Apocalypse.
    • Type 5: Professor X while connected to Cerebro, Dark Phoenix.
  • Swapped Roles:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • Professor X was Wolverine's mentor in the original trilogy, but in 1973, Logan has to try to motivate and counsel an emotionally damaged Xavier.
        Professor X: Logan, you're going to have to do for me what I once did for you. Lead me, guide me.
      • Not surprisingly, the abrasive Wolverine isn't very good at this task, and it's lampshaded in the following exchange:
        Past Charles: I'm sorry Logan, but they sent back the wrong man.
        Logan: You're right, I am. Actually, it was supposed to be you, but I was the only one who could physically make the trip.
      • This also applies to Charles and Hank. In X-Men: First Class, Xavier acted as a big brother figure to McCoy (they're about a decade apart in age), but after 1963, Hank becomes responsible for Charles. Although McCoy certainly prevents his friend from doing anything too self-destructive, he inadvertently becomes Xavier's enabler by inventing an addictive telepathy-blocking serum. Considering that Hank was probably only around 21 years old when he suddenly found himself in the position of being Charles' long-term caregiver (plus he has no experience looking after someone who is mentally ill), it's understandable that he couldn't help his former mentor as well as he would've liked.
  • Team Dad:
    • Professor Charles Xavier. Best shown in X-Men: The Last Stand during his funeral, where a massive amount of his students cried during it. His tombstone reads, "Father, Teacher, Friend", and naturally "Father" is listed first because he was viewed by the youngsters (especially those who are orphans or have been disowned by their families) as primarily a paternal figure.
    • X-Men: First Class: Erik Lehnsherr has a "tough love" approach with the young mutants (Sean Cassidy learns this the hard way). Charles Xavier might qualify as well, but he tends to act more like the nurturing Team Mom. Insert witty commentary here.
  • Teleport Spam: Nightcrawler, Wraith, Weapon XI and Azazel all do this.
  • That Man Is Dead:
    • The Wolverine: When Yukio tells Logan it's an honour to meet the Wolverine, he mutters, "That's not who I am anymore."
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • When Hank tells Logan that "the Professor isn't here," Xavier is still living at his estate, only he has lost his powers and the will to lead mutants, thus dissociating himself from his identity as Professor X. It doubles as a Callback to First Class when he insisted that "You don't get to be called a 'professor' until you actually have a teaching position."
      • In Saigon, Mystique tells Alex that Raven isn't her name anymore. Given how the film ends, it's ambiguous if she still feels this way.
  • Uncle Pennybags: A Spoiled Sweet example from X-Men; Professor X mentions that most of his students were runaways, so his school isn't just a centre for education, but also a safe haven for a lot of the youngsters who don't have a home.
  • Undying Loyalty:
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past:
      • There are plenty of other things that Hank could do with his time, yet he chooses to take care of Charles during the latter's decade-long Heroic BSOD. Hank may even be a little too loyal because he serves as an enabler by providing a serum which worsens his friend's already bad case of substance abuse.
      • Wolverine has developed this for Xavier during the Time Skip after the post-credits scene of The Wolverine. Although both Magneto and Professor X are co-leaders of the remaining X-Men in 2023, Logan only defers to Charles' authority. When Erik tells him that, "You'll need me as well [in the past]," Wolverine is wholly against the idea, but he reluctantly agrees after Xavier nods in approval.
  • Vietnam War:
    • Alluded to by Stryker in X2, and the intro to Origins.
    • Mystique rescues several mutant soldiers stationed in Saigon in Days of Future Past.
  • What Kind of Lame Power Is Heart, Anyway?: As with the comics, as mutant powers are seemingly random, some students at the school have powers are rather... unthreatening, though these characters are pushed to the background because, frankly, people don't want to watch a film about characters who's 'power' is 'being mute and having a lizard tongue'. It helps to humanize mutants as a whole, as it shows that, while some mutants are fairly dangerous and so it makes sense to be weary, they're just as likely to be harmless, and so hunting them down and treating mutants as a whole as inherently dangerous beings is rather unfair. Because of this, mutants are fairly similar to people with mental and social disorders, who're similarly just as likely to be harmless and/or benevolent despite their condition, despite being perceived as dangerous by nature.
  • Waistcoat of Style: Professor X frequently wears one with his elegant suits, and it adds a little extra flair to his aura of academic professionalism while also being an indicator of his upper-class status.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Magneto sincerely believes he is valiantly championing a righteous cause—at least as far as mutants are concerned.
    • As far as we can tell, Dr. Bolivar Trask was really just trying to unite humanity against a common enemy, unlike Stryker, who's beef with mutants is more personal and vengeful.
  • Winged Humanoid: Warren Wortingthon III has bird wings; Angel Salvatore has dragonfly wings.
  • Wolverine Claws: Obviously.
  • Wolverine Publicity: Wolverine is one of only two characters to appear in every film (the other is Xavier, but he's played by two different actors). One occasion was a cameo (First Class), while others were whole movies about him (XMOW and The Wolverine).
  • World War II: The first film begins with a flashback as Jews are being herded into a concentration camp. X-Men Origins: Wolverine has an even shorter one in the opening credits. First Class has an extended version of the concentration camp scene from the first film. The Wolverine opens in a prison camp in Nagasaki minutes before the second atomic bomb is dropped.