Audience-Coloring Adaptation: While the source material is well-known, the movies have had a major impact on how general audiences picture the X-Men. Many people are likely to picture Rogue as a timid teenager who steals other people's superpowers, and they're likely believe that Charles Xavier is a kindly old British schoolmaster, that Magneto is a grey-haired old man named "Erik Lehnsherr", that Wolverine is a Tall, Dark, and Handsome loner, and that Mystique is Magneto's loyal female minion.note In the comics, Rogue is a sexy and confident former supervillain who could fly and punch through walls for most of her history, Charles Xavier is an American political activist with a strong manipulative streak, Magneto is a young and muscular white-haired man named "Max Eisenhardt" ("Erik Lehnsherr" is one of his many aliases), Wolverine is a scruffy-looking loner who's often the butt of jokes for his short stature, and Mystique is a treacherous and slippery spy and assassin who led her own supervillain team for most of her history.
Base-Breaking Character: Mystique in the prequel films, largely because of how they put her through Adaptational Heroism. While some see it as an empathetic progression, others see it as a betrayal of the character's villainous legacy with some accusing the studio on trying to capitalize on Jennifer Lawrence's star power. It should be noted that fans were more accepting of Mystique's more heroic characterization in First Class and Days of Future Past, as she became a Fallen Hero in the former and served as the Big Bad in the latter. It was only in Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix that fans became divided largely because of how she became a full blown hero instead of a Nominal Hero or sympathetic Anti-Villain.
A second Dork Age arrived with the main series in the latter half of the 2010s with X-Men: Apocalypse and Dark Phoenix, both of which underperformed significantly at the box office, were panned by critics, and were divisive with fans. However, this only applies to the main series, whereas the spin-offs (both Deadpoolmovies and Logan) are held in high regard. It remains to be seen where The New Mutants falls.
Ensemble Dark Horse: In the late 2010s, several noted reviewers — particularly Lindsay Ellis and Unshaved Mouse have admitted to finding Rebecca Romijn to be one of the unsung heroes of the franchise. Both their reviews noted that she didn't get enough credit for her performance as Mystique in the original trilogy (all while under extensive makeup). At least part of this has to do with Jennifer Lawrence replacing her in the prequel films, at which point her character got a significant increase in screentime.
Prior to the merger, fans of the latter hated how X-Men films were still being made by a separate studio from Marvel Studios and were very vocal in their desires 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 from the source material). Meanwhile, fans of the X-Men franchise accused the MCU of being formulaic, simplistic and kid-friendly, while also claiming that Disney would be unwilling or unable to pull off the more mature themes and darker themes that are central to the mutant's oppressed minority narrative. Another common argument is that Disney would never have green-lit R-rated films such as Deadpool (2016) 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.
Post-merger, the rivalry was softened by both film franchises being under one roof, but at the same time worsened by the prospect of Disney rebooting the X-Men franchise and/or no longer putting out experimental R-rated fare such as Deadpool or Logan, thereby potentially causing the X-Men films to lose their identity. These concerns were at least partially addressed by Bob Iger who stated shortly after completing the Disney-Fox merger that Disney still has an "opportunity" for R-rated Marvel brands, Deadpool among them.
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 polarizing 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 accused the films of acting like they were 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 have become increasingly less forgivable in the post-Marvel Cinematic Universe superhero movie landscape, as the MCU helped bring about a Genre Turning Point by making movies that fully embraced their comic book roots.
The X-Men films were always criticized for their blatant overuse ofWolverine, but it didn't really start to get out of hand until X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which are universally cited as the lowest points of the series. In the first movie, although Rogue served as an Audience Surrogate, most of the movie was still shown through Logan's eyes, and the big climax basically amounted to the other heroes throwing Wolverine at Magneto's doomsday device and letting him fight Mystique and Sabretooth one-on-one. And in the second film, Jean and Nightcrawler both got notable arcs, but much of the plot was still dominated by Wolverine uncovering his past with Cyclops and Professor Xavier spending most of the movie imprisoned in the Big Bad's fortress. However, many fans were willing to forgive Wolverine's greater screentime because Hugh Jackman was still a new actor, Wolverine is considered the most popular and most well known of the X-Men characters, and it was the first time anyone saw the character on screen. Moreover, the first two films still managed to balance out his screentime with other characters who were driving the plot. In the third film? Rogue vanishes after deciding to take the cure, Cyclops and Professor Xavier are killed off anticlimactically, there are extended scenes involving Wolverine taking on Magneto's army singlehandedly, and Jean barely seems to remember that she was in love with Scott years before she met Logan. By the time they cut out the middleman and gave Wolverine his own spinoff, they barely had anything interesting left to do with the character, and critics trashed the movie for forgetting to put in any memorable characters who weren't named "Logan".
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 flavor and it made sense to ground Professor X and Magneto's rivalry in a historical context and settingnote Namely Young Magneto as a Nazi Hunter made sense in a decade or so after World War II and the ongoing Cold War produced a good backdrop for his and Charles' alliance and falling out on both a narrative and thematic level, and likewise, the use of the Cold War and Bay of Pigs as background did not overwhelm the superhero story at the center. However, the films that followed, namely Days of Future Past and Apocalypse are set in The '70s and The '80s respectively, and the films and the stories they tell have very little narrative and aesthetic reason to fit in those times and places. 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 HeelFace Revolving Door), which makes what was supposed to be a soft-reboot for the series into a 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 and audience acclaim for their Broad Strokes approach.
Fans of these films seem to get on pretty well with fans of the DC Extended Universeof all things due to the shared rivalry with the MCU and both franchises taking a more serious and grounded approach to their source material and struggling to remain unique against the lighthearted and more fantastical MCU approach. That said, the DCEU has started taking a lighter approach as well.
MCU fans have a much healthier relationship with fans of Deadpool than the other Marvel movies made by FOX, mostly due to how a comics-faithful, R-rated Deadpool movie would be incompatible with the (relatively) family-friendly Disney-owned MCU films. It doesn't hurt that Deadpool made a couple of friendly nods towards the MCU itself, has been praised by a number of the MCU's actors and directors, and even got approval and help from Kevin Feige himself.
Likewise, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine has earned the respect of pretty much everyone (the MCU fandom included) in spite of never wearing a comics-accurate costume. The great praise his swan song in the role received cemented this. This is so much so that there are fan calls to bring him into the MCU now that Disney has completed its acquisition of Fox.
Heartwarming in Hindsight: Seeing Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as old friends, even if they have long since become enemies, counts as this since they became best friends after working on these films together.
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.
Magnificent Bastard: Magneto, real name Erik Lehnsherr, is a Holocaust survivor who believes mutants will suffer the same injustices unless they strike first to establish mutant superiority. Using his charisma and promises of freedom and acceptance to rally like-minded mutants to his side, Magneto forms the Brotherhood of Mutants with the goal of seeking mutant dominance over the world through any means necessary, even if he must cause the mass death or forced mutation of multiple humans. Yet he is calm, affable, and soft-spoken, regarding Charles Xavier as an old friend despite their ideological differences, and willing to work with the X-men against threats to all mutantkind when they arise. Between his careful plotting, his powerful mutant abilities, and his willingness to go as far as he must to ensure mutantkind's safety from humans, Magneto repeatedly demonstrates himself the most complex and competent foe Xavier and the X-men would ever face.
Memetic Badass: Quicksilver, especially when compared to the MCU version.
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: With the rise of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, the opinion that Marvel Studios could make a better X-Men movie than 20th Century Fox increasingly gained traction with some. However, of the threefilmfranchises that Marvel Studios did not initially own, the X-Men movies (except forX-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 is capable of doing right by these charactersnote Marvel Studios re-acquired the film rights to Spider-Man in February 2015 via sharing with Sony, leaving the only two properties that they don't own at Fox.. This all changed when Disney acquired Fox's assets in December 2017, leading to debates on how much of the films should be carried by the creative teams of the MCU and/or the pre-existing X-Men movies.
Overshadowed by Controversy: The series' reputation got tainted during the beginning days of the #MeToo and "Time's Up" movement when the franchise's best-known director, Bryan Singer, was accused of sexual misconduct by several actors (many of whom were underage at the time on top of that). This culminated in a boiling point in 2017 where Singer, along with The Last Stand director Brett Ratner and Deadpool actor TJ Miller, became very prominent examples of the Weinstein Effect for acts of sexual abuse and violence they had committed.
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 few qualms about casting unknown actors or actors who had never headlined a blockbuster before, knowing that the property will sell itself 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 like Batman 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 convincingly been shown in movies before.
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: 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. And, of course, the "Sweet Dreams" scene with Quicksilver.
Dark Phoenix has the space rescue which ends with Jean Grey absorbing the Phoenix Force and the attack on the train.
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.
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.
Later on, in the same vein, 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 it is 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.
In Logan, the humans have found a way to stop future mutants from being naturally born by neutralizing the X-gene in the human population with GMO food.
This likely would have happened in the solo Gambit movie, with the title character 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. The film languished in Development Hell, but eventually was shelved.
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 Ambiguously Brown (being olive skinned and light enough to appear somewhat white under some shades). 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.