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Film / X-Men

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"We're not what you think. Not all of us."
"We are the future, Charles, not them! They no longer matter!"
Erik Lensherr / Magneto

X-Men is the first movie in the X-Men Film Series directed by Bryan Singer, based on the celebrated comic book franchise of the same name. It came out in 2000.

It starts with some guy with claws, and a runaway teenage girl who accidentally puts her boyfriend in a coma by kissing him. She's named Marie, but calls herself Rogue, and hitchhikes with the guy-with-claws ("Logan") until they get attacked by a big guy who also has claws, just less cool ones, and then are rescued by a guy wearing a weird visor and a woman directing a snowstorm.

Um... okay, so, comic books can be a little goofy at times.

Logan wakes up in the infirmary of a school. Unlike most schools, this one teaches Mutants—people like Logan who have unusual powers. The school also has its own team of superheroes: the X-Men. The bald, wheelchair-bound psychic Professor Xavier runs both the school and the X-Men, and he offers for both Logan and Marie to stay with them.


After introducing these major characters, the movie gets to work on the plot: Magneto (the boss of the bad guy with claws) has invented a machine that turns humans into mutants (with the unfortunate side effect of killing them shortly after). He mounts the machine in the torch of the Statue of Liberty, with the intention of using it on a major UN Conference. Unfortunately, using the machine that much would kill him, so he kidnaps Marie (aka Rogue) with the intention of forcing her to absorb his powers and run the machine for him. Wolverine leads the rescue effort.

Fun fact: David Hayter wrote the original screenplay, and Joss Whedon did an uncredited and almost entirely unused rewrite.

Followed by X2: X-Men United.

Previews: Trailer


X-Men contains examples of:

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  • #1 Dime: Wolverine's dog-tags. They're about the only link to his past that he has to go on (and even then they have no real useful information, considering they bear his nickname rather than his real name), and when Sabretooth takes them as a trophy, he makes a point of retrieving them at the climax. His giving them to Rogue at the end of the film is taken as an assurance that he's coming back.
  • 20 Minutes into the Future: The film is set in "the not too distant future." The World Trade Center is still standing, which seems to make the "future" early 2001. However, invokedViral Marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past explicitly states that this movie is set in 2005, which makes it an Alternate History.
  • Absurdly Sharp Blade: As always Wolverine's claws cut through pretty much anything, and Mystique creates claws using her shapeshifting power in her attempt to kill Cyclops while disguised as Wolverine, with which she cuts a metal chain. They don't hold up to the original though.
  • Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene: We have Wolverine talking to Rogue on the train to convince her that she can find a place at Xavier's school.
  • Actor Allusion:
    • Toad whirls a pipe in a menacing manner, a reference to how his actor Ray Park played Darth Maul.
    • May or may not be intentional, but Professor Xavier's wheelchair sure looks a lot like Captain Picard's command chair onboard the Enterprise.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Cyclops chuckles when Wolverine flips him off with his claws.
  • Adaptational Attractiveness:
    • Wolverine in the comics and cartoon was a short, over muscled, animalistic guy with copious amounts of body hair. Hugh Jackman is quite tall and handsome in comparison, and the success of his portrayal has filtered back into the comic and other media.
    • Toad was previously a deformed hunchback, Ray Park was given greenish, rubbery skin but could otherwise pass as looking normal without much effort.
  • Adaptational Badass: In the comics, Toad was originally conceived as a deformed, sniveling hunchback who served as The Igor to Magneto. His super power was he could hop... really high because of having very low-grade super-strength, concentrated in his legs. However here, stuntman Ray Park played him as a wisecracking martial artist with wall-crawling abilities and a tongue that he could use as a whip, thus making him more capable of holding his own in a fight with other heroes. Also, he could spit slime projectiles.
  • Adaptational Name Change: Unless it's an error, Henry Gyrich's last name is spelled "Guyrich".
  • Adaptational Nice Guy: The movie version of Bobby Drake is much sweeter and more mature than his comic book counterpart's Jerk with a Heart of Gold/Manchild persona.
  • Adaptational Skimpiness: Mystique's comic book counterpart wore clothes, but the movie has her fully nude in her default form, albeit with scales covering her nipples and genitals.
  • Adaptational Ugliness:
    • In a minor example, Magneto is normally depicted as a towering man with a body builder physique and considered a Silver Fox by much of the fanbase. Ian McKellan looks much older and has a more slight frame.
    • Mystique in the comics is more of a Cute Monster Girl. The film gives her a slightly more alien appearance with scales and yellow eyes.
  • All There in the Script:
    • Magneto's island fortress is apparently supposed to be the movies' version of Genosha, an island nation in the Marvel Universe that plays a major role in several X-Men stories. This is never actually mentioned in the film, leading most viewers to conclude that it's just a nameless island.
    • Narrowly averted with Toad and Mystique. In his commentary, Bryan Singer specifically mentions that he remembered that he had to namedrop them, lest they just be the "nameless minions of Magneto."
  • Alone Among Families: Rogue in the train station particularly notices affectionate gestures from mother to son.
  • And Starring: "And Anna Paquin."
  • Applied Phlebotinum: Magneto's mutation machine. It is never explained what exactly it's doing to so specifically alter a person's genome (namely, activating the latent X-gene in normals).
  • Artistic License – Geography: There is no Laughlin City within the province of Alberta.
  • Attacking Through Yourself: An interesting variation when Magneto has bound the X-Men with metal plates from inside the Statue of Liberty's head. To neutralize Wolverine's claws, he points them inward at Wolverine's chest before clamping metal over them. Wolverine escapes by popping his claws through his own chest and shoulders to cut the metal behind him, freeing himself. Because he's Wolverine, the wounds don't affect him in the final fight with Sabretooth, but when he gives his powers to Rogue to heal her from the life-draining of Magneto's machine, the wounds reopen.
  • Badass and Child Duo: Wolverine and Rogue.
  • Badass Crew: The X-Men consists of Cyclops, Jean Grey and Storm. They all view Professor X as their father figure, who trained and cared for them when they were younger, and this has reinforced the team's familial-like connection over the years.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: The Mutant Registration Act is defeated due to the Brotherhood unintentionally killing the Act's main supporter and Mystique replacing him later on.
  • Bag of Kidnapping: After Magneto renders Rogue unconscious by throwing a tranquilizer dart at her with his powers, Toad kidnaps her.
  • Balls of Steel: During a cage fight, Wolverine's opponent is told, "Anything goes, but you hit him in the balls, he'll take it personal." Sure enough, the poor fool tries it—there's an audible "ping"note , and Wolverine kicks the tar out of him.
  • Big Applesauce: A justifiable location for a meeting of Heads of State, as it is the home of the U.N.
  • Big Bad: Magneto.
  • The Big Board: The X-Men headquarters have a digital board for strategic planning.
  • Big, Thin, Short Trio: Perhaps stretching the trope too far, but Sabretooth (big), Mystique (thin), and Toad (short).
  • Blade Brake: Wolverine averts a fall off the Statue of Liberty by hooking one of the points of the statue's crown, then spinning around it to land on top. The point falls off only after he's done.
  • Blessed with Suck:
    • Rogue's superpower doesn't allow her to touch the people she cares about.
    • Wolverine's claws hurt every time they pierce through his skin.
    • Cyclops must always cover his eyes with a ruby quartz lens, otherwise he might accidentally kill someone.
    • The mutations produced by Magneto's machine are fatal.
  • Bookends: The Professor and Magneto's conversation at the beginning and end of the film. One asks "why are you here?" and the other responds "why do you ask questions to which you already know the answer?", with the one asking and answering switched.
  • Both Sides Have a Point: The film had this trope for the political hearing which Jean Grey debated with politicians concerning mutants. Both sides brought up good points which was the intentions of the director.
  • Broken Aesop: A major theme was the Fantastic Racism towards mutants by humans. However, one of the taglines for the movie was "Trust a few. Fear the rest." Imagine this being applied to any real life minority group.
  • Brutal Honesty:
    Rogue: Are you going to kill me?
    Magneto: Yes.
  • Canada, Eh?: Northern Albertans are depicted as rude, beer-loving, rough-and-tumble rednecks.
  • Captain Obvious:
    • When Logan sees Cerebro for the first time, his astute observation is, "This is certainly a big, round room."
    • Storm's much maligned observation: "Do you know what happens to a toad when it's hit by lightning? The same thing that happens to everything else." This was supposed to be the payoff to a Running Gag where Toad constantly brags about things a toad can do. For some reason, it was left in as an Orphaned Punchline.
  • Car Cushion: Sabretooth has a variation of this. Granted, it's a boat, not a car, but still, closest they could've done at Liberty Island. Sabretooth's healing factor lets him walk away uninjured.
  • Catapult Nightmare: Wolverine has an especially notable one. In all honesty, adamantium claws don't mix well with many activities.
  • Chekhov's Classroom: In a deleted scene, the young mutants are learning about ancient Rome. Rome started out persecuting Christians, and then wound up becoming a Christian empire. How did this happen? "The Emperor became a Christian!" Which is exactly what Magneto had in mind with his plan to turn all the world leaders into mutants.
  • Chess Motifs: Professor X and Magneto play chess in the latter's prison cell, and Xavier wins the match, which parallels the X-Men's victory over the Brotherhood earlier in the story.
  • Clothesline Stealing: After being mutated by Magneto and using his new power of semi-amorphism to escape, Senator Kelly lands naked on a public beach and grabs a swimmer's change of clothes.
  • Code Name: Wolverine ridicules the fact that they have code names, which is some Hypocritical Humor on his part, as he has one, too.
  • Color Me Black: A Fantastic Racism variant is used, when Magneto turns anti-mutant Senator Kelly into a mutant.
  • Comic Book Movies Dont Use Code Names: Xavier tells Logan the X-Men's code names, just so he can snark about how ridiculous they sound. In-universe 'Wolverine' is a cage fighting name for him. Storm however is still called by her code name plenty of times.
  • Conscience Makes You Go Back: After Wolverine finds Rogue stowed away in his truck, he's about to leave her by the side of the road until he realizes he can't.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Toad does just fine when battling Cyclops, Jean and Storm all at once. When it's down to just Storm, things go belly-up.
  • Cool Bike: Cyclops' motorcycle that Wolverine *ahem* borrows to get to the train station.
  • Cover-Blowing Superpower: By taking a beating in the cage match without a single bruise, Wolverine gives his opponent fair reason to suspect his mutant status. Then the guy goes at him with a broken bottle and Wolverine busts out the claws, removing any doubt.
  • Creator Cameo:
  • Cruel and Unusual Death: Senator Kelly melts from his mutations.
  • Darker and Edgier: In this film, you can pinpoint the exact moment the world started taking comic book films seriously. Here's a hint: the story begins inside a concentration camp...
  • Dark-Skinned Blonde: Ororo. Although, the hair's platinum or just plain white.
  • Dead Person Impersonation: Mystique impersonates Senator Kelly's aide who Magneto casually mentions "has been dead for some time" then effectively becomes Senator Kelly after his artificial mutation apparently kills him.
  • Death by Cameo: Two of the writers (one of them being David Hayter) show up as cops who are taken out in a sneak attack by Sabretooth and the Toad.
  • Debate and Switch: Magneto isn't trying to Kill All Humans; he wants to turn the leaders of various nations into mutants. Now that's still ethically highly questionable, but... oh, never mind, the process is fatal, and he won't believe this. And just to make sure Magneto has a firm grip on the villain ball, his "process" is powered by an unwilling Rogue.
  • Designated Girl Fight: The film averts this, with Storm and Jean Grey fighting Toad in the final fight, with Wolverine taking on Mystique. Both fights are quite close before the good guys win in both instances.
  • Deus Exit Machina: The plot could have been solved with minimal fuss with Xavier's telepathy. He could have read someone's mind to figure out the Red Herring and tracking the Brotherhood is simple with Cerebro. So the first thing Magneto does is send Mystique to sabotage Cerebro and take out Xavier
  • Disney Villain Death:
    • Sabretooth fell off the Statue of Liberty, though he may or may not have survived.
    • Toad was electrocuted and then fell into the ocean.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?:
    • Magneto's description of God sounds a lot like Professor X. Doubles as Fridge Brilliance after it's revealed in X2: X-Men United that Magneto views mutants to be gods among insects, and there is no one in the world he respects (and loves, as we learn in X-Men: First Class) more than his old friend.
      Magneto: I've always thought of God as a teacher, a bringer of light, wisdom, and understanding.
    • The relationship between Charles and Erik is set up as being akin to the relationship between Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X; near the end of the film, Erik even quotes Malcolm X's line, "By any means necessary."
    • If you didn't already get the suggestion that Senator Kelly was akin to Senator Joseph McCarthy, the fact he claims he has a list of known mutants early on the film should be a clue.
    • Magneto notes the similarity between the Mutant Registration Act and the Nuremberg Laws where all Jews in Germany were forced to register, making them easy targets for The Holocaust "I've heard these arguments before."
  • Don't Sneak Up On Me Like That!: Rogue tries to wake up Wolverine during a nightmare and he attacks her. Good thing he can heal and she can steal his powers...
  • Downer Beginning: The film starts in a concentration camp.
  • The Dragon: Mystique is Magneto's right-hand woman.
  • Dramatic Gun Cock:
    • Taken to the extreme by Magneto, when, after yanking all the cops' guns out of their hands and pointing them at their owners' heads, he cocks every one at once.
    • The bartender with the shotgun to Wolverine's head in the beginning of the movie also counts.
  • Early-Bird Cameo:
    • Pyro a.k.a. John tries to impress Rogue by creating a small ball of fire during Ororo's lecture. He would later become an important secondary character in X2: X-Men United and X-Men: The Last Stand.
    • Colossus can briefly be seen sitting near the basketball court. He gets much more screen time and a few lines in the next two movies.
    • Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat leaves the room by phasing through the door when Wolverine meets Xavier. Although in this case she wasn't included as a major character until X-Men: Evolution gave her a boost in popularity among casual fans.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • Storm has a hint of an African accent; in all of the other movies starring Halle Berry, she speaks with her natural accent.
    • Jean is portrayed as rather plain and mousy, but she gets Progressively Prettier in the sequel, with more flattering hairstyles and clothes as part of an Adrenaline Makeover.
    • When the X-Men enter the museum at Liberty Island, Mystique disguises herself as a statue to hide. This is the only time in the films that she uses her powers to disguise herself as an inanimate object. The rest of the films imply that she can only disguise herself as another person.
    • Aside from the implication that she and Magneto are intimate, Mystique is not presented as being any more important than Toad or Sabretooth in the Brotherhood. Her sabotage of Cerebro, which almost kills Xavier, is also committed remorselessly. Starting with the second film, she would be established as The Dragon to Magneto and foster sister to Xavier, details that would form a major part of her character arc in the prequel trilogy.
    • Logan's musculature is fairly unimpressive for this film. Hugh Jackman would put on a ridiculously chiseled physique for all later renditions of the character.
  • Establishing Series Moment: X-Men has probably the most powerful opening scene in comic book movie history. It shows a young Erik Lensherr arriving in a concentration camp. He's torn from his parents and in the traumatic attempt to fight his way back to them, his mutant power activates. Effectively establishes movie (and the franchise) as much darker and edgier, lacking the camp and tackling contemporary issues. It also tells you all you really need to know about Magneto and what drives him. After this moment, comic-book movies would never really be the same.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: The X-Men have no idea why the Brotherhood kidnapped Rogue, nevertheless Wolverine plans to rescue her on his own when...
    Cyclops: Wait a second! You said this machine draws its power from Magneto, and that it weakened him.
    [Wolverine stops at his tracks.]
    Xavier: Yes, in fact it nearly killed him.
    Wolverine: He's going to transfer his power to Rogue and use her to power the machine.
  • Fakeout Opening: The film opens with a young boy - Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto - being separated from his family in a concentration camp. Even if you're familiar with the comics, it's pretty easy to wonder what this has to do with the rest of the movie, at least until Erik uses his powers to bend the metal fences. In the years since, many fans who saw it in theaters reflected on thinking they'd accidentally walked into the wrong movie.
  • Fake Shemp: During the climax, the shot of Magneto getting hit by Cyclops' optical beams only shows him from behind as Ian McKellen had left to begin filming The Lord of the Rings. A double had to fill in for that one scene.
  • Faux Action Girl: Despite being one of Xavier's first students, Jean Grey is noticeably less competent than her teammates when it comes to using her powers. When Toad attacks the group, her only contribution is awkwardly lifting him into the air, which doesn't stop him from using his own mutation to take her out; and during the climax, she visibly struggles helping Storm transport Wolverine up to Magneto's machine. The sequels would justify her apparent inaptitude by establishing that Xavier had placed her under a mental block, to prevent her powers from overwhelming her. Once her full power is unleashed, she becomes unambiguously the most powerful character in the series.
  • Faux Documentary: One of the bonus features on the DVD is a "making-of" segment framed as "The Mutant Watch", "XNN" news coverage of the Senate hearings on Senator Kelly's proposed "Mutant Registration Act."
  • Feel No Pain: Inverted, where Rogue asks Wolverine if his claws hurt when he extends or retracts them. He grimly says, "Every time."
    • The inversion is also suggested by the warning Logan's opponent receives to not hit him in the balls because "He'll take it personal". He may heal from his injuries quickly, but that doesn't mean it doesn't hurt just as much as for non-mutants while it's happening.
  • Fight Clubbing: Wolverine takes part in one of these at the start of the film.
  • Flat Character: The lower-ranking members of the Brotherhood don't get any meaningful scenes; their sole purpose is to carry out Magneto's orders. Mystique at least gets a couple in the next films.
  • Flipping the Bird: Wolverine flips Cyclops off with one of his claws during the climax.
  • Foreshadowing: The "X-Men 1.5" Director's Cut has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it Deleted Scene where the energy pulse from Magneto's device washes over the X-Men. Jean Grey is the only one who shows a physical reaction to the flash; this would seem to be the event that activated the Phoenix Force which would become so important in the next two movies. The second film acted as if this scene had been left in, with Scott and Jean discussing how her powers had changed since the Statue of Liberty.
  • Friendly Enemy: Even after Magneto trying to kill Xavier and his students, Xavier still visits him and they play chess together.
  • Funny Background Event:
    • Magneto is giving out orders in his barren cave-office as a Newton's Cradle clicks back and forth on his desk. As he turns to leave, the little metal balls clatter to the floor, revealing that there were no wires and it was just him mentally fidgeting.
    • The audio of the news broadcast at the end of the movie reveals the exact fate of the aide that Mystique had been impersonating:
      "In a related story, the body of Senator Kelly's longtime aide, Henry Guyrich, was found today. Preliminary coroner reports seem to indicate that Guyrich was mauled by a bear."
  • The Gadfly: Professor X telepathically guides an anxious Logan—the latter has no idea where he is or why he's there, or why he's hearing a strange male voice inside his head, and because Dr. Jean Grey wanted to take a blood sample, Wolverine assumes that he's being experimented on—from the school's infirmary to Xavier's office, where Charles greets his guest with a polite "Good morning, Logan." Professor X is aware of the traumas that Wolverine had experienced, and it's a bit disconcerting that the former took advantage of the latter's paranoia for a little bit of fun, even if it was only for a short time.
  • Glamour Failure: When Mystique is disguised as Wolverine and fighting with the real one, her claws break easily.
  • Glassy Prison: Although not made out of glass, Magneto is imprisoned within a plastic, transparent prison at the end of the movie.
  • Go-Karting with Bowser: Professor X playing chess with Magneto.
  • Groin Attack: During the fight in the Statue of Liberty, Mystique knees Wolverine in the groin, and you can hear an audible 'ping' (balls of adamantium).
  • Hate at First Sight: Wolverine and Cyclops show an immediate disdain for one-another before even a single line of dialogue is spoken.
  • He Who Fights Monsters: With regards to Magneto, 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."
  • Hide Your Otherness: Professor X informs Logan that "Anonymity is a mutant's first chance against the world's hostility."
  • Hoist Hero over Head: Sabretooth does this to Wolverine.
  • Hollywood Darkness: Averted. In the scene outside the train station (where Magneto confronts the police) which, if you watch the making-of video, is revealed to have been shot in broad daylight. It looks like night and the clear lighting of the characters and location is from police floodlights.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Mystique wore clothes in the comics but is fully nude here.
  • Hypocrite: Magneto is willing to sacrifice Rogue, but not himself in the advancement of his cause. Beautifully called out by Wolverine, who tells him: "You're so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, it would be you up in that thing." Of course, the biggest irony of that is, if he had been willing to sacrifice himself, the plan would have worked.
  • I'm Melting!: Seen after Senator Kelly befriends Storm.
  • Impostor Exposing Test: This hilarious exchange:
    Wolverine: Hey, hey! It's me.
    Cyclops: Prove it.
    Wolverine: You're a dick.
    Cyclops: (beat) Okay. (lowers hand off his visor)
  • Instant Sedation: Rogue immediately loses consciousness after Magneto hits her with a tranquilizer dart.
  • Invulnerable Knuckles: In the cage-match scene, Wolverine blocks the other man's punch by punching back. The other man's hand/wrist visibly (and audibly) breaks, and is seen bound up later. Of course, Wolverine's bones are reinforced with an indestructible metal...
  • Ironic Echo: Professor X asks Magneto "What are you doing here?", referring to the Mutant Registration Act hearings; Magneto replies "Why do you ask questions to which you already know the answers?" The roles are reversed at the end when Magneto is in prison and Charles comes to visit him.
  • I Surrender, Suckers: Used by Magneto to terrifying effect.
  • It Never Gets Any Easier: Rare physical version:
    Rogue: When they [the claws] come out... does it hurt?
    Wolverine: Every time.
  • It's All About Me: When everyone is certain that Magneto is trying to kidnap Wolverine, only to discover that he's actually after Rogue.
    Wolverine: What do you want with me?
    Magneto: You? My dear boy, whoever said anything about wanting you? (glances towards Rogue, cue Oh, Crap! expressions from her and Wolverine)
  • I've Never Seen Anything Like This Before: Played Serious. When they are examining Wolverine's X-rays and Jean is telling everyone about his adamantium covered skeleton, Xavier ominously says, "Experimentation on mutants isn't unheard of, but I've never seen anything like this before..."
  • I Will Show You X!:
    Magneto: Whatever are you looking for?
    Xavier: I'm looking for hope.
    Magneto: I will bring you hope, old friend. And I ask only one thing in return: don't get in my way.

  • Jammed Seatbelts: Rogue gets caught in a burning truck this way at the beginning of the film. Wolverine, who was not wearing his, gets thrown a good twenty feet out through the windshield and is only saved from serious injury or death by his unbreakable bones and Healing Factor.
  • Just in Time: The X-Men manage to stop Magneto's World-Wrecking Wave in the neck of time before it reaches the audience of the UN Conference.
  • Karmic Transformation: What Magneto intends for Senator Kelly (because he is an anti-mutant bigot) and for the dignitaries on Ellis Island during the climax.
  • Kirk Summation: Magneto tells our heroes (whom he has handily all bound up with metal) his plan. Wolverine calls him out.
    Wolverine: You're so full of shit. If you were really so righteous, it'd be you in that thing.
  • The Lady's Favour: Gender-switched. Wolverine gives his dog tags to Rogue as he's leaving to learn about his past, promising that he'll come back for them. It's not intended to be romantic, since his feelings for her were more like a big brother.
  • Lampshade Hanging: During the scene in which Wolverine becomes acquainted with the X-Men team and their adversaries, he repeatedly draws attention to their goofy code names. Later in the film, Cyclops heads off fanboy criticism by remarking on the film's deviation from classic X-Men outfits: "Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?" Magneto takes the opportunity to subtly lampshade Wolverine's Spotlight-Stealing Squad nature in each movie of the trilogy:
    "Once again, you think it's all about you."
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: In response to Wolverine's complaint about their black leather uniforms, Cyclops says "Well, what would you prefer? Yellow spandex?"
  • Lecture as Exposition: Jean Grey at the beginning.
  • Liquid Assets:
    • After Rogue (having absorbed a large part of Magneto's power) is used as a battery for the machine that gives normal people powers, she becomes drained of energy, and her hair gets a grey streak. In fact, Magneto used her for this because using it was expected to kill the user.
    • Wolverine lets Rogue absorb his healing factor to save her, and instead of his healing merely being halted, his already-healed wounds returned.
  • "London, England" Syndrome: We have a vaguely-defined province, country example with "Northern Alberta, Canada."
  • Macho Masochism: When asked to put out his cigar, Wolverine looks around to find something to stub it out on, but doesn't find anything within reach, so he resorts to his own palm. It's not a case of machismo; his own regenerating skin was the only option at the moment (other than his boots, which is how non-mutant smokers usually put things out).
  • Male Gaze: An in-universe version. Rogue in her first scene notices her boyfriend's eyes are on her butt, which she gives a shake.
  • Mass Empowering Event: Magneto's plan is to turn all the world leaders into Mutants.
  • Meaningful Background Event: In "X-Men 1.5" (released to home video just prior to the theatrical debut of X2: X-Men United), when the energy pulse from Magneto's device washes over Jean Grey, it affects her (and only her) noticeably. This hints at the Power Incontinence she develops in the sequel.
  • Metal Detector Checkpoint: The characters pass through one of these entering a museum. Wolverine, naturally, sets it off, and then destroys it.
  • Mind Control: During the abduction at the train station, Magneto, Sabretooth, and Toad are facing a police squad with Magneto turning the police's guns on themselves. Sabretooth immediately grabs Erik and Toad tells him to let the police go. Magneto is amused by Xavier possessing his lackeys from a distance and calls for the professor to show himself.
  • A Minor Kidroduction: The film starts with Magneto as a boy in a concentration camp.
  • Monumental Battle: The final battle takes place at the Statue of Liberty, with Wolverine and Sabretooth having a battle atop its head.
  • Monumental Damage: The climax takes place atop the Statue of Liberty, but other than the destruction of her torch by Magneto's machine (and a ray of her crown sliced off by Wolverine's claws) it is otherwise unharmed.
  • Morality Pet: Rogue proves to be one for Logan. Whenever a troubling situation happens, Logan always makes sure Rogue is alright. And he takes off to look for her when she runs away.
  • Movie Superheroes Wear Black: Lampshaded. And while it isn't the first recorded instance of this, it's certainly the Trope Codifier and is generally what people immediately think of when this trope comes up. Notably, a short clip is on the DVD in which Hugh Jackman runs around the set in a comic-accurate Wolverine costume, and absolutely nobody is taking it seriously. The movie costumes still contain some subtle nods to the comics. Wolvie's outfit has yellow highlights, and Storm's has a cape and white highlights.
  • Mythology Gag:
    • When Wolverine questions the team's uniform, Cyclops sarcastically asks if he would rather dress in a yellow spandex (Wolverine's suit in comic books is yellow with blue ornaments).
    • The scene where Wolverine saves Rogue's life by allowing her to absorb his healing factor is a nod to Uncanny X-Men #173, where the same thing happened after Rogue was mortally wounded while taking a blast meant for Mariko.
  • Named by the Adaptation: Rogue's name wasn't revealed in the comics yet, so the movie calls her Marie. The comics later revealed it to be 'Anna Marie'.
  • Neck Lift: Sabretooth does this to Storm and Wolverine.
  • Never Trust a Trailer: Trailers and promos show the mutated Kelly's head out of the water, which viewers assumed was some other mutant.
  • 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.
  • Nobody Here but Us Statues: When the X-Men enter the museum at Liberty Island, Mystique disguises herself as a statue to hide. Helps that she's a Voluntary Shapeshifter.
  • No Body Left Behind: Senator Kelly's enforced mutation kills him when his body starts to melt and eventually entirely explodes into water leaving only a puddle. Mystique gets away with impersonating him as the heroes have no evidence of his death to expose her with.
  • No-Holds-Barred Contest: The film has an example in the cage fight that introduces Wolverine, again toyed with a little:
    Promoter: Whatever you do, don't hit him in the balls.
    Fighter: I thought you said anything goes.
    Promoter: Anything goes, but he'll take it personal.
  • No Ontological Inertia: When Wolverine's powers of healing are drained by Rogue, he ends up regaining every injury he's suffered over the course of the last two days.
  • The Nose Knows: If you listen closely, you can hear Logan's sniff when Mystique (disguised as Storm) approached him.
  • Not My Driver: Mystique and Toad kidnap Senator Kelly by piloting his helicopter to Magneto's island. Somewhat justified, as Mystique can shapeshift to look like anyone at all; she murders and impersonates one of the senator's aides.
  • Not Wearing Tights: Lampshaded and played semi-straight, which has the characters wearing dark-color body armor-suits. Wolverine (newly recruited) comments on the outlandishness of the outfits, to which Cyclops jokingly asks, "Would you prefer yellow spandex?" In reference to the early uniforms of the X-Men comic book (and main color of most of Wolverine's comic book outfits.)
  • Objectshifting: Mystique shapeshifts into a scale model of the Statue of Liberty before ambushing the X-Men in Wolverine's form, only being given away by her eyes briefly flashing yellow as the group walk past her. Incidentally, this is the only time in the films that she uses her powers to disguise herself as an inanimate object, and the other films imply that she can only disguise herself as another person.
  • Oh, Crap!: Senator Kelly when his assistant Henry Guyrich turns into Mystique.
  • One-Book Author: Alex Burton's brief cameo as Pyro was his only acting role. This may have something to do with some unfortunate circumstances involving Bryan Singer and his associates.
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping:
    • Hugh Jackman slips into Australian the first time he says, "Storm" (just before "What do they call you? 'Wheels'?"). And also in the truck, right after Rogue tells him that he should buckle up. And again when he says to Jean "Couldn't wait to get my shirt off again, could you?"
    • Anna Paquin wavers between a general American accent with some southern pronunciations in there. At this point in time she still hadn't shaken off her natural New Zealand dialect.
    • Halle Berry attempts a hint of an African accent for Storm. The slippage does get justified retroactively with X-Men: Apocalypse confirming that Storm originally is from Africa and her accent is fading from years in America. Halle Berry drops it completely by the time of the sequel.
    • Done intentionally with Magneto. Ian McKellen uses a mix of English and American accents, presumably to reflect that Erik is not naturally American. He mentions coming to America in 1949, which would explain why his accent is a bit ambiguous.
  • Opening Monologue: "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."
  • Organic Bra: Mystique's nipples and genitalia are covered by natural scales.
  • Orphaned Punchline: The infamous "toad hit by lightning" line is actually one, as the only remnant of Joss Whedon's Running Gag of him spending the film bragging about things toads can do.
  • Out-of-Character Alert: For the audience at least, "Bobby's" stern demeanour when he tells Rogue that she should go is at odds with his introduction as a Nice Guy. As it turns out, Mystique had impersonated him.
  • Parental Substitute: Scott invokes this while Professor X is in a coma.
    "You taught me everything in my life that was ever worth knowing."
  • People Puppets: Professor X briefly takes control of Toad and Sabretooth and attempts to rescue Rogue from Magneto.
  • Phlebotinum Bomb: During the climax of the film, Magneto tries to use a weapon that is supposed to turn normal humans into Mutants, but will actually kill them.
  • Plot Tailored to the Party: To stop the machine, they needed both Storm's power and Jean Grey's finer control to get Wolverine up to the torch, Wolverine's claws to land and to break the machine, his healing to bring Rogue back from near-death, and Cyclops' long-range Eye Beams as a back-up plan.
  • Poke in the Third Eye: Mystique sabotages Cerebro to knock out Professor X next time he goes to use it.
  • Powered by a Forsaken Child: The film has the machine that turns ordinary people into mutants powered by Magneto—but using it weakens the power source (likely killing him if he uses it on full power), so he forcibly has the power-stealing mutant Rogue absorb him and uses her to power the machine.
    • In the original draft for the movie, Magneto actually wanted to use Wolverine instead as a sort-of living antenna to amplify his powers, apparently due to his Adamantium skeleton.
  • Power High: An inversion is evidenced.
    Rogue: Does it hurt when [your claws] come out?
    Wolverine: Every time.
  • Pre-Asskicking One-Liner: Sabretooth ambushes Storm and has her by the neck. He says he wants to hear her try to scream... She responds with a lightning bolt.
  • Pretty Boy: Bobby's dainty facial features quickly communicate to the audience that he's a good-hearted person. Although he was only a minor character here, viewers were able to tell right away that "the cute guy" is sincere when trying to befriend Rogue.
  • Product Placement: When Wolverine orders a beer, the Albertan bartender gives him a Molson Export.
  • The Promise: 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.
  • Puberty Superpower/Traumatic Superpower Awakening: Dr. Jean Grey invokes this during her speech as the Senate hearing.
    "These mutations manifest at puberty, and are often triggered by periods of heightened emotional stress."
  • Pull the I.V.: Wolverine wakes up at the medical room of the X-Men base and promptly rips out the needles. Doesn't bleed thanks to his hyper regeneration.
  • Punched Across the Room: Sabretooth is sent across a hall when hit by Storm's lightning. During the white house attack Nightcrawler manages to kick, punch and tail throw several secret service agents across the room.
  • Punch Parry: Wolverine does this in a cage match, on purpose no less. Justified because he has an adamantium skeleton, so instead of bone meeting bone, it's more like bone meets a solid wall. The contender is every bit as injured as he should be.
  • The Quiet One: The Brotherhood members almost never speak. Mystique is silent but for one line early on, except when she's disguised. It's quite effective and adds to her, well, mystique. Sabretooth has four lines, Toad has three.
  • Radiation-Immune Mutants: Magneto's machine triggers mutation in normal humans but has no effect on mutants. Somewhat Justified in that it's implied to activate the dormant X-factor gene —in mutants said gene is already active.
  • "The Reason You Suck" Speech:
    • Magneto gives it when he's planning on using a dangerous device to turn the world leaders into mutants with Rogue, who will be the source but also be sacrificed.
      Magneto: Why do none of you understand what I'm trying to do? Those people down there—they control our fate and the fate of every other mutant! Well, soon our fate will be theirs.
    • And with Charles...
      Magneto: Still unwilling to make sacrifices. That's what makes you weak.
    • And Wolverine gives it right back to Magneto after the latter says that Rogue is a necessary sacrifice:
      Woverine: You're so full of shit! If you were really so righteous, it'd be you in that thing.
  • Red Herring: Magneto looking 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.
  • Remake Cameo: The truck driver who gives Rogue a lift in the beginning is played by George Buza, the voice of Beast on X-Men: The Animated Series.
  • Retcon: The Professor states that he had met Magneto when he was 17. X-Men: First Class shows that their first meeting took place when they were in their late twenties/early thirties. Justified, as the films of First Class’ timeline are actually reboots rather than the prequels they were originally intended to be.
  • Roofless Renovation: Cyclops accidentally destroys the roof of the train station with his optical blasts. When he later chides Wolverine for something else, Wolverine counters "I'm not the one who gave the train station a new sunroof!"
  • Rule of Sexy: In the comics, Mystique wears clothing even when she's in her natural form. Her movie counterpart, however, is stark naked.
  • The Runaway: Marie a.k.a. Rogue runs away from home after her power manifests itself while kissing her boyfriend, causing him to have a seizure and fall into a coma for three weeks. Its implied to be a common among mutants who find themselves ostracized by their own families. (Paralleling the experience of many gay and lesbian teenagers)
  • Seeing Through Another's Eyes: Xavier uses his telepathy to experience Senator Kelly's memory of being exposed to Magneto's machine.
  • Shapeshifter Swan Song: Mystique does this when being stabbed by Wolverine.
  • Ship Tease: Logan and Jean, mostly on his part. Also Rogue and Logan, mostly on hers, which despite its iffy undertone is generally considered the stronger ship. More ambiguously, Magneto and Mystique, whose physical intimacy is on display during many of the scenes they share.
  • Shirtless Scene: Wolverine has a few of them. He even lampshades this when he goes for a CAT scan and asks Jean, "Couldn't wait to get my shirt off again?"
  • Shut Up, Hannibal!:
    Magneto: Why do none of you understand what I'm trying to do? Those people down there, they control our fate and the fate of every other mutant! Well, soon our fate will be theirs.
    Wolverine: You're so fulla shit! If you were really so righteous, it'd be you in that thing.
  • Sigil Spam: A more subtle version was done. Not so much the logo, but X's were put everywhere they could, particularly the underground doors. Magneto, by contrast, had a lot of "O"s everywhere.
  • Significant Wardrobe Shift: Senator Kelly losing his glasses coincides with Break the Haughty, and his suit becomes far messier. He also loses the suit around the time he becomes 100% sympathetic.
  • Smart People Play Chess: Xavier and Magneto discuss the future of human-mutant relations over a chess game. And subverted in real life. Everyone on the set naturally assumed that the erudite Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart knew how to play chess, but neither of them did. As Stewart explained, he was always too busy with his career. They had to be taught by a world champion; Stewart said it was "like learning to drive with Michael Schumacher."
  • So Much for Stealth: Wolverine setting off the metal detector.
  • Spectacular Spinning: The beams of Magneto's mutant-making machine rotate pretty fast.
  • Spot the Impostor: The film has Mystique pulling that trick, too. However, Wolverine can smell the difference between Mystique and Storm, so he doesn't fall for it. Later, Cyclops asks Wolverine to confirm he is the real thing:
    Wolverine: You're a dick.
    Cyclops: Okay.
  • Staring Kid: The boy on the beach stabbing the jellyfish stares at the mutated Senator Kelly when he emerges from the water and his gill slits disappear into his back. Of course, nearly everyone else on the beach stares too (including Stan Lee in his usual cameo appearance).
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Fed up with the others' arguing, Logan declares he'll go out and find Rogue himself.
    Scott: How?
    Logan: The traditional way: look!
  • Stay with Me Until I Die: Storm does this for the artificially mutated Senator Kelly.
  • A Storm Is Coming: Said by a security guard as the X-Men, including Storm, fly past hidden by fog.
  • Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard: After Professor X tells Wolverine about the X-Men and their mission to protect the humans who hate and fear them, then tells him several of the team's code names:
    Wolverine: What do they call you? "Wheels"? This is the stupidest thing I've ever heard.
  • Superhero Movie Villains Die: The film has Toad fried by lightning and Sabretooth blown out of the Statue of Liberty (though the latter probably survived due to his regeneration abilities). Averted at the end with Mystique; despite being impaled by Wolverine's claws, a medical team arrives and finds that a shapeshifted Mystique still has a pulse. Magneto is arrested as well.
  • Superhero School: Fun fact the movie established Charles' academy as an actual school (and not a front) and X-Men as the teachers. Downplayed in that the school's purpose isn't to raise superheroes - many students are just there to learn, free of prejudice and fear.
  • Superhero Team Uniform: In contrast to their comic book counterparts, who have a variety of colorful costumes, the movie X-Men all wear relatively matching black leather suits.
  • Super Registration Act: As expected, the film features a sub-plot in which a senator tries to get a mutant registration act. It fails but the threat of such an act hangs over the characters' heads for the rest of the series.
  • Super Strength: Sabretooth has multiple displays of superhuman strength in this movie, like throwing Logan through a tree with enough force to break it in half, then using the broken half of the tree like a baseball bat to hit Logan, casually slapping an unfortunate bystander across the room, neck-lifting Storm and Wolverine, and then hoisting and throwing the latter, especially impressive considering Wolverine's metal skeleton.
  • Tainted Veins:
    • Anyone Rogue directly touches gets these when she drains them of their life force.
    • Senator Kelly gets them before he dies.
  • "Take That!" Kiss: Wolverine fights Mystique whilst she's disguised as himself. The audience knows which character is which when Mystique-as-Wolverine mockingly purses her lips and makes a kissy noise at the real Wolverine.
  • There Are No Rules: Variant at the cage match:
    Promoter: Whatever you do, don't hit him in the balls.
    Fighter: I thought you said anything goes.
    Promoter: Anything goes, but he'll take it personal.
  • Traitor Shot: After "Bobby" 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.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Magneto tries to invoke a sympathy version of this by turning all the world leaders into mutants, it being less "I'm going to make humanity my bitch!" and more "I'd better pull back on the anti-mutant rhetoric and policies since I'm one now."
  • Trust Password: After being fooled by Mystique one too many times, Cyclops demands that Wolverine prove he is who he says he is. Wolverine's response: "You're a dick." It works.
  • Two Shots from Behind the Bar: When Logan threatened a customer with his claws, the bartender quickly aimed a shotgun point blank at his head. He promptly sliced the shotgun in half, demonstrating why you should never bring a gun to a clawfight.
  • Uncle Pennybags: 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.
  • Unflinching Walk: Storm, quietly advancing on Toad.
  • Wake Up Fighting: Wolverine accidentally does this to Rogue; he suffers from nightmares, and when he wakes up, he instinctively stabs her in the chest.
  • Walk on Water: When various locations and children at the school are being displayed as Xavier is giving Wolverine the tour, one is shown running (not-superspeed) horizontally across a tadpole pond.
  • Waving Signs Around: The film had a group of anti-mutant protesters, including one waving the ridiculously awesome placard "Send the mutants to the Moon forever."
  • Weaponized Landmark: Magneto hid his mutation inducing device inside the torch of the Statue of Liberty.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist:
    • Senator Kelly’s desire to introduce a Mutant Registration Act is born out of fear for others, and given that one of his aides has been killed and is being impersonated by Mystique, such fear isn't entirely unfounded.
    • Magneto. His plan is actually rather benevolent and would finally end the division between Mutants and the rest of Mankind, while sacrificing only Rogue to make it work. It's a good plan, it's just a shame his machine doesn't work!
  • Wham Line: Wolverine and Rogue have been chased and attacked several times by Magneto's band of mutants. The X-Men come to the conclusion that Magneto's after Wolverine, possibly due to his self-regeneration abilities. Then Magneto corners the pair in a train station and has Wolvie completely at his mercy...
    Wolverine: What do you want from me?
    Magneto: You? Whoever said we wanted you? (turns to look at Rogue)
  • When Things Spin, Science Happens: Magneto's mutant making machine is a very strong example. The spinning really seems to be an integral part of its operation. And it's designed to be operated by moving the wheels around with magnetic powers apparently. Sort of makes one wonder if Magneto could have skipped kidnapping Rogue if he'd just installed some kind of motor in the thing.
  • Why Won't You Die?: As Storm flies out of the elevator shaft, Toad complains "Don't you people ever die?" (in a possible reference to how Death Is Cheap in the comics).
  • Would Hit a Girl:
    • Magneto places Rogue into his machine, knowing full well that she will die from its effects.
    • Considering that Mystique is trying to kill Wolverine, he fights her as viciously as he would any man.
    • Toad has no qualms attacking Jean Grey and Storm.
    • Sabretooth wanted to cause Storm enough pain so that she would scream, but he failed twice.
  • You Are What You Hate: Enforced. Magneto's crew mutates Senator Kelly, the US government's biggest backer of mutant suppression. Although we don't really get too good a gauge of how he feels about it, since he dies as a result not too long after.
  • "You!" Exclamation: During the climax, when Magneto traps the heroes in the Statue Of Liberty, he greets them with "Ah, my brothers!"... then casts a glare at Wolverine and snarls, "...and you."
  • You Keep Telling Yourself That: When Magneto is making his final speech to the heroes about how the turn-everyone-into-a-mutant-beam is going to bring peace to the world and is worth the sacrifice, Wolverine is not impressed. He quips that if Magneto really believed everything he was saying, he would have just used himself to power the doomsday apparatus rather than Rogue.

Magneto: The war is still coming, Charles, and I intend to fight it, by any means necessary.
Professor X: And I will always be there, old friend.

Video Example(s):


Toad Struck by Lightning

Storm delivers the greatest pre-mortem one liner in all movie history!

How well does it match the trope?

5 (7 votes)

Example of:

Main / PreMortemOneLiner

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