YMMV / X-Men Film Series
aka: X Men 1

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  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation:
    • While the source material is well known, people who got their first contact with X-Men through the film franchise tend to have a hard time accepting that Magneto's real name is not Erik Lensherr and that Sabretooth is not Wolverine's brother in the comics.note  In a more literal example, given that this series pioneered the Movie Superheroes Wear Black trope, people often get surprised to find that X-Men actually wear brightly colored costumes in the comics.
    • In the movies, Xavier is an unambiguous Big Good and almost a saviour-like figure. In the comics he's a Manipulative Bastard, and he was booted out of his post as Headmaster, and his school is named after Jean Grey. Cyclops who is Demoted to Extra in the movies is a Mutant revolutionary, who killed Professor X. As for Wolverine, he's in more teams than he has time to deal with, and he has multiple offspring who have turned out to be villains. Magneto is also not a main X-Men villain and hasn't been one in ages.
  • Complete Monster: Sebastian Shaw; Ajax; Apocalypse; Dr. Zander Rice and Donald Pierce. See those pages for more details.
  • Dork Age: Both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine fall under this in a period less-than-affectionately called "Rothman's reign of terror", referring to Executive Meddler Tom Rothman, the executive working at Twentieth Century Fox when those two filmsnote  were made, he was responsible for Bryan Singer's departure for the third movie, as well as the many woes faced in the Troubled Production for the first spin-off. Both movies are widely considered to be the worst out of the entire series, and pretty much the entire bunch of movies that followed (X-Men: First Class, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Deadpool, and X-Men: Apocalypse) were specifically written to right the wrongs that had happened under Rothman's watch (as he'd been let go by the company in the middle of 2012).
  • Fandom Rivalry: An intense and often bitter one between fans of the X-Men films and those of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Fans of the latter hate seeing the X-Men films succeed and respond to every little thing they disagree with with demands for Fox to turn over the franchise to Marvel, with a popular target being deviations from the source material (despite the MCU's own history of altering characters and events to suit their own narrative). Meanwhile, fans of the X-Men franchise accuse the MCU of being formulaic, simplistic and kid-friendly, and believe that Disney would be unwilling or unable to manage the more mature and darker themes that are central to the mutant narrative. Another common argument is that Disney would never have green-lit R-rated films such as Deadpool and Logan (which was proven to be true when Bob Iger said as much), although it should be noted that even MCU fans tend to really like movie Deadpool and/or movie Wolverine.
  • Fan-Preferred Couple: Logan/Rogue is much more popular than Logan/Jean or Bobby/Rogue, and it's actually the #1 couple of the original trilogy. They have since been overshadowed by the Charles/Erik pairing after X-Men: First Class — just look at the difference in the sheer number of fanfics on Archive of Our Own for proof. The shippers Took a Third Option indeed.
  • Franchise Original Sin:
    • The first two X-Men movies that were universally considered to be amazing for their time have problems that the later movies keep intensifying to make the entire franchise become extremely Love It or Hate It among comic books fans: the lack of color in cinematography and design in a franchise and genre famous for its colorful costumes, the significant deviations from the comic (to the point that many people think that the films are almost ashamed of being labeled as comic book movies, which was later proven to be true when James Marsden and Hugh Jackman admitted that Bryan Singer had banned comic books from the film set), the spotlight hogging of Wolverine, Professor X and Magneto, the severely underused and Demoted to Extra mutants that were leads in the comics, etc. These are problems that are increasingly less forgivable in the later market when superhero movies prove themselves to be able to satisfy critics, fans and be box office successes.
    • First Class was praised as the Author's Saving Throw of the franchise, making a movie that didn't center around Wolverine (reduced to a single albeit hilarious cameo), and likewise taking the concept of mixing X-Men with a period setting, and mixing pulp fiction with period aesthetics and stylings. At the time, this change was refreshing, gave the film a unique flavour and it made sense to ground Professor X and Magneto's rivalry in a historical context and settingnote , and likewise the use of the Cold War and Bay of Pigs as background did not overwhelm the superhero story at the center. But the films that followed, namely Days of Future Past and Apocalypse are set in The '70s and The '80s respectively, and the film and the story it tells has very little narrative and aesthetic reason to fit in that time and place. The characterization and plot also retcons and changes the ending of First Class (Magneto going from solidly villainous at the end to a friendly enemy in the next two and moving in and out of the Heel–Face Revolving Door), which makes what was supposed to be a soft-reboot for the series into Continuity Snarl, backsliding to Wolverine Publicity (especially X-Men: Apocalypse with its single Weapon X flashback that literally exists to shoehorn him in) and also not properly aging Charles, Magneto and Mystique in the thirty years or so when the three films transpire, leading to films like Deadpool and Logan standing out and earning critical acclaim for its Broad Strokes approach.
  • Harsher in Hindsight: A meta example: Hugh Jackman was diagnosed with skin cancer in 2013. Cancer is cell growth taken to dangerous and uncontrollable levels. Now consider what Hugh Jackman spends a lot of time doing as Wolverine... Also, cancer is caused by mutation.
  • Hilarious in Hindsight:
    • For those who have seen Star Trek: First Contact and the team X-Men films before Children of Dune, it's very amusing that the Borg Queen is the grandmother of Professor X. By virtue of being a Kwisatz Haderach (a being who can access the genetic memories of its female and male ancestors), Leto Atreides II (played by a young James McAvoy) has intimate knowledge of the Lady Jessica (portrayed by Alice Krige) that he finds very uncomfortable, which mirrors Captain Picard's distress that the Borg Queen knows everything about him when he was assimilated into her collective. Patrick Stewart also appeared in Dune.
    • Anyone who is a fan of both McAvoy's Xavier in the X-Men First Class Trilogy and Will Graham from Hannibal will notice the striking similarities between the two characters. (You can read a more detailed comparison in the Referenced by... section in the Trivia tab, but for the sake of this entry, it's enough to know that Will is a "pure empath" who is physically and emotionally scarred by his abusive love-hate relationship with the murderous Hannibal Lecter—heck, Hugh Dancy and James McAvoy even look somewhat alike.) The X-Men Film Series fandom coined the term "Mutant husbands" to describe Charles' and Erik's homoerotic friendship, so all Cherik shippers who had watched the Hannibal episode "And the Woman Clothed with the Sun..." burst out laughing when Freddie Lounds called Graham and Lecter "Murder husbands."
    • In the premiere episode of MacGyver (2016) (which stars Lucas Till as the titular hero), Vinnie Jones was cast as a baddie, so it's funny to see Havok and the Juggernaut face off in a non-superpowered scenario.
  • My Real Daddy: There are competing claims:
    • Bryan Singer wrote, directed, and produced the first two films and he had this reputation and status for the first three films, returning after a hiatus to direct the well-received X-Men: Days of Future Past. The highly divisive X-Men: The Last Stand directed by Brett Ratner was weakly received for not having Singer at the helm. However, Singer's direction was put in doubt with the mixedly received X-Men: Apocalypse, which was admittedly a Tough Act to Follow for his own, previous film.
    • A lot of fans consider Matthew Vaughn to be this for the later X-Men films. He was the director of X-Men: First Class which was considered the Author's Saving Throw for the franchise, and became the first successful X-Men film not centered on Wolverine. He also changed the aesthetic of a trilogy that was formerly the Trope Maker and Trope Codifier for Movie Superheroes Wear Black, introduced a much more humorous and sexy style (even those who liked the first X-Men films pointed out that they were rather overly serious) and made the costumes and visual design much more brighter and colourful (giving the First Class team a dark blue and lemon yellow ensemble and setting the finale in broad daylight on the beaches of Cuba) and also setting the Mutants against a historical period and backdrop and invoking the aesthetic and slang of that time and place. When Singer returned to the franchise, with Days of Future Past, he followed Vaughn's aesthetic (brighter costumes and palette, more humor, period setting, and sex appeal), and the success of First Class also led Fox to green-light more personal and director-driven takes on the series, and even push to the R-Rating (Vaughn's film was the first mainstream superhero film with a Precision F-Strike), leading to Deadpool and Logan.
  • Only the Creator Does It Right: Played With on accounts of the Popularity Polynomial of Bryan Singer's first two movies:
    • The first two X-Men films were directed by Bryan Singer and were well-received in the wake of Batman & Robin and for making a super-team a viable concept. The third one, X-Men: The Last Stand, helmed by Brett Ratner (and meddled by producers), is considered by many fans to be a huge step down in quality from the first two. The next X-Men movie which didn't divide opinions was produced and co-written by Singer, and he hand-picked Matthew Vaughn to replace him in the director's chair and this was far better received by fans who liked the more colourful costumes and period aesthetic, as well as limited Wolverine Publicity, as an improvement on not only the third film but also Singer's original films which faced a backlash for its Movie Superheroes Wear Black humorless approach and making Wolverine the center of the story. Singer then returned for X-Men: Days of Future Past, which was not only a critical and commercial smash, but also undid much of the plot damage done by X3 via the plot's Set Right What Once Went Wrong Alternate Timeline, including reviving Cyclops and Jean from the dead. Fans also note that Singer borrowed Vaughn's ideas, brighter costumes, period aesthetic and also a greater focus on humour.
    • However, X-Men: Apocalypse was not very well received with many feeling that Singer had run the series dry and likewise retreading water by trying to do the Phoenix right again rather than use the time travel to properly Continuity Reboot and Setting Update the series. The continuity was also seen as becoming much looser and lacking in weight, to the point that Logan and Deadpool which took a Broad Strokes approach were far better received.
    • With the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the opinion that Marvel Studios could make a better X-Men movie than 20th Century Fox could is gaining traction. However, of the three film franchises that Marvel Studios does not own, the X-Men movies (except for X-Men: Apocalypse) that have come out since the start of the Paramount/Disney Shared Universe have been the most well-received and successful post-Spider-Man Trilogy, leading to others arguing that Fox are capable of doing right by these charactersnote . However, this might all change if a potential deal between 21st Century Fox and Disney comes to passnote .
    • At the very least, both franchises have put out their own version of the same characters: Quicksilver, and the X-Men/Fox version is generally considered better than the version of the character in Avengers: Age of Ultron who was Killed Off for Real by Joss Whedon to give the story some amount of stakes and also because the character became disposable. Likewise, the fact that Marvel Comics have responded to Fox holding on to the rights for characters that it has made into commercial successes by essentially short-changing the X-Men in the comics and promoting the Inhumans as a Suspiciously Similar Substitute has spurned many long-time fans of the X-Men away from Marvel, while Logan was seen as an improvement on the original Old Man Logan story by Mark Millar.
  • "Seinfeld" Is Unfunny:
    • The first two X-Men movies have largely been overshadowed in the mid-2000s by the Spider-Man Trilogy, and The Dark Knight Trilogy and of course the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but at the time, the first movie was a surprise hit that proved vital in convincing Hollywood that superheroes could be viable again after Batman & Robin had killed the genre several years earlier. People tend to forget that alongside Blade and even the divisive Daredevil, the original X-Men films were massively influential in terms of tone and costuming, arguably becoming the Trope Codifier for Movie Superheroes Wear Black (although Tim Burton's Batman can claim that as well).
    • Also, up till then, superhero films tended to be star-driven vehicles in order to avoid a perceived comic-book ghetto; you needed a $20-million headliner like Jack Nicholson, Val Kilmer, or Wesley Snipes to pull in a mass audience, and ones that didn't like The Phantom and The Rocketeer got destroyed at the box office. Here, the two biggest under-50 names were Halle Berry and Anna Paquin, both supporting characters (and both women!) and two of the three central leads were played by aged Shakespearean actors, while the other was an Australian unknown in Hugh Jackman. Nowadays, especially in the Turn of the Millennium and The New '10s movie landscape where star vehicles have given way to ensemble pieces driven by premise and spectacle, superhero films have no qualms about casting unknown actors or actors who had never headlined before, knowing that the license will do the selling and the movies will propel the actors to further heights instead of the other way around.
    • The films also showed superheroes with powers and skills entirely different from the superhero films made before, showing how unique and special superhero action could be, with many citing Nightcrawler's opening in the second film as a major example of the unique action setups possible only with super-powered characters. Before the only super-powered being (as opposed to Badass Normal or Empowered Badass Normal like Blade) was Superman's Flying Brick skillset whereas this film showed magnetic, telekinetic, telepathic, teleportation-based powers that hadn't really been shown in movies before.
  • Signature Scene:
    • X-Men has Magneto confronting Wolverine in the train, and later stopping all the bullets fired by the police and then turning them back.
    • X2: X-Men United has four by itself: the Nightcrawler opening, the attack on the X-Mansion (where we first see Wolverine unleash his claws through human flesh), the scene at Bobby's parents house where his mother asks him "Have you tried not being a mutant?" and Magneto's grisly escape from the plastic prison.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand has the opening sequence with the de-aged Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen (the first time the technology had been used in a major film) and the attack on Alcatraz, with Vinnie Jones' Juggernaut insisting he's the Juggernaut.
    • X-Men: First Class has Magneto lifting a submarine out of the sea.
    • X-Men: Days of Future Past has at least two: young Magneto lifting an entire stadium and dropping it around the White House, and old Magneto and Storm turning the X-Jet into a bomb to take out a number of future Sentinels, and of course Evan Peters' Quicksilver showing his Super Speed powers set to "Time in a Bottle".
    • X-Men: Apocalypse has Apocalypse hijacking the Cerebro and using Charles Xavier's mind to launch all of the Earth's nuclear missiles in space.
  • Strangled by the Red String: The supposed "great love" between Logan and Jean Grey is hard to take seriously since they only knew each other for about five days at most. The majority of the first film's plot takes place over roughly two or three days, then Logan goes off to Canada to find out about his past; they spend a day or two more in each other's company in the second film as they prepare to stop the villain, and she dies at the end of the mission, and in the third film, she's come back evil and spends most of their scenes together crazily beating the crap out of him. Plus, in the first two films, Jean was already in a long-term, loving relationship with Scott.
  • Strawman Has a Point:
    • Unfortunately, even more so than in the source comics. Magneto and humans who want to try and control mutants both make far more convincing arguments for their positions than the X-Men and Xavier, who never try to do anything to bridge the gap between the two species and spend their time keeping the status quo in check.
    • In X-Men, Kelly specifically mentions a girl who can walk through walls, and asks "What's to stop her from walking right into a bank vault — or the White House?":
      • In the very next movie, a Brainwashed and Crazy Nightcrawler is able to teleport into the White House and kick the Secret Service's collective ass, proving Kelly right.
      • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, Bolivar Trask tells Nixon that Mystique can impersonate anyone, and could use her power to turn into him, walk into the White House and order a nuclear strike. Once again, he's absolutely right.
    • X2: X-Men United: The villain in X2 is so extremely anti-mutant that he would experiment on and enslave his own son to exterminate them all. In the process, he enslaves another mutant to attack the president of the US, just so he can offer a target for the president to authorize an attack on. Before the strike, though, an objection is made that the target is a school. The villain responds sarcastically, "sure it is", showing X-ray imagery of a secret jet underneath the school's basketball court. A dispassionate observer should note, actually, that that is actually extremely suspicious. Normally, schools don't have military-grade equipment hidden in their facility, and after all, "schools" in some parts of the world have been used as recruiting centers/supply bases/etc. by terrorist organizations before — both for the purpose of camouflage, and making attacks on them politically troublesome. The president then orders a non-lethal infiltration and capture mission, which from his position is entirely reasonable.
    • Throughout the franchise, everything that Magneto warns Xavier about comes true:
      • In X-Men: The Last Stand, the mutant cure is weaponized in guns that shoot syringes of the cure and these guns are used to combat them.
      • In X-Men: First Class the US and Soviets launch a barrage of missiles at the mutants, not caring that half of the ones present just stopped World War III. Most of Magneto's actions in the series after the first film are about launching counter-attacks after the humans make the first move against mutants.
      • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the Bad Future has gotten to the point of mutants and mutant sympathizers and potentials being rounded up and herded into internment camps in a scene very obviously based on the Holocaust, exactly the type of thing Magneto believed would happen.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: Probably one of the biggest criticisms laid against these movies is that the Spotlight-Stealing Squad of Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto and Mystiquenote  take away screen time from several other characters who are deserving of attention. Cyclops is commonly cited as getting the absolute worst of this treatment (and in effect criminally under-utilizing actor James Marsden, who many agree was a pitch-perfect casting choice), as he's the main character in many of the comics, but he's Demoted to Extra in X-Men: The Last Stand, and he wasn't a major character in X2: X-Men United. An adolescent Scott Summers (portrayed by Tye Sheridan) does have a significant role in X-Men: Apocalypse, though, so the Alternate Timeline appears to be repairing some of the damage.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?:
    • Gambit, having been Darrin'd from Taylor Kitsch, who previously portrayed the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, to Channing Tatum as he looks and sounds nothing like the character in question. And even if the role was going to go to another actor, fans seem to prefer a more convincing one for the part like Josh Holloway or French actor Gaspard Ulliel. That said, the movie is now firmly in Development Hell.
    • The casting of Henry Zaga as Sunspot and Alice Braga as Cecilia Reyes in The New Mutants has lead to considerable backlash and accusations of whitewashing. Although Zaga is from Brazil, Sunspot is Afro-Brazilian, and his origin specifically has him being discriminated against for his African features. Likewise, Reyes is Afro-Latina. Both Zaga and Braga fall more under Latino Is Brown. The reaction to Braga's casting is further fueled by the fact she is replacing the much better-received Rosario Dawson, who had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts with Luke Cage.

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