This is a crash course in the entire X-Men series and its storylines. This is an article for anyone who wants to jog their memory or wants to watch every X-Men movie but lack context. Here's your guide: you can read this and parade around like you've seen every X-Men movie. I present to you X-Men: All the Movies in order of their stories and timelines.
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Oh, and if this article doesn't answer all your questions, leave me a comment or a message on FB chat and I'll give you the answer..You can find other explanations of movies using the search option at the top of the site.
X-Men Series -> All X-Men Movies -> X-Men Timeline
Here's a hands-on video explanation of the X-Men timelines.
What is X-Men Cinematic Universe or X-Men Cinematic Universe?
Well, when they decided to make an X-Men movie, 20th Century Fox licensed the Marvel characters that were the core of the X-Men comic book series. The films, therefore, can only use the main characters of the X-Men universe. However, Marvel comics have stories involving the X-Men, Avengers, Fantastic Four, Spider-Man, etc all rolled into one story. Movies can't do that because each production company has signed separate contracts with Marvel for their characters. Avengers, for example, is licensed by Walt Disney Studios. Spiderman was originally licensed by Columbia Pictures. As the two new Amazing Spiderman films fared poorly, the license was transferred to Walt Disney Studios. This means that Spider-Man can now appear in the Avengers Cinematic Universe, but not in the X-Men Cinematic Universe.
Deadpool is also licensed by 20th Century Fox and therefore they choose to merge with the X-Men.
Who are the X-Men?
Mutants are another step in the natural evolution of humanity. Some of these mutations are obvious, others are latent. Humans with obvious natural mutations tend to be rejected by society for being deformed. A group of powerful mutants form the X-Men under the leadership of Charles Xavier (Professor X), the bald man in a wheelchair. The X-Men fight for peace and equality between humanity and mutants. His archrival is Magneto, who believes that mutants should rule the world and not humanity. Magneto's team is called the Brotherhood.
X-Men: All parts in release order?
- X-Men (2000): Directed by Bryan Singer
- X2 (2003): Directed by Bryan Singer
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): Directed by Brett Ratner
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): Directed by Gavin Hood
- X-Men: First Class (2011): Directed by Matthew Vaughn
- Wolverine (2013): Directed by James Mangold
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Directed by Bryan Singer
- Deadpool (2016): Directed by Tim Miller
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016): Directed by Bryan Singer
- Logan (2017): Directed by James Mangold
- Deadpool 2 (2018): Directed by David Leitch
- X-Men Black Phoenix (2019): Directed by Simon Kinberg
X-Men Everywhere: Order of History in the X-Men Movies?
Let's go through all the parts of the X-Men in the order of their stories. I've mentioned all the major mutants you need to know about in each of the movies.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009): Directed by Gavin Hood
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the first chronological film in the history of the X-Men series. The film focuses on the origin story of the character Wolverine (Logan played by Hugh Jackman). Wolverine is a mutant with healing powers. He heals at a very high rate. Sabretooth (Victor played by Liev Schreiber) is shown as his brother. The two team up and serve various armies. Eventually, they are recruited by a man named Stryker (played by Danny Huston), who assembles a team of special assassins to search for a rare metal called Adamantium. The property of this metal is that, once molded into its solid state, it cannot be destroyed. Wade Wilson aka Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) is also part of that team. You can ignore his special abilities in this movie. This movie played the Deadpool character wrong. The Deadpool movie gets it right. Victor kills Wolverine's girl. To get revenge on Victor, Wolverine agrees to a procedure to bond Adamantium to his endoskeleton. This is the Weapon X program run by Stryker. All Stryker wants is to get a sample of Wolverine, post the procedure and get rid of him. Wolverine escapes and discovers that his girlfriend was not dead. It was primarily an act to get Wolverine to agree to the procedure. He eventually teams up with Sabretooth to take down Stryker's operation. The film ends with Wolverine being shot in the head by Stryker with an Adamantium bullet. He loses most of his memories. The film ends there.
Additional mutants to know about:
Gambit (Taylor Kitsch) who helps Wolverine in this movie. You can convert potential energy into kinetic energy.
X-Men: First Class (2011): Directed by Matthew Vaughn
This film takes us into the lives of a young Charles Xavier and a man who calls himself Erik Lehnsherr. Charles grows up with a girl named Raven. Charles is a telepath (one who can read and control the mind) and is played by James McAvoy. Raven is a shapeshifter and is played by Jennifer Lawrence. Erik can control all metals and is played by Michael Fassbender. The main antagonist is the powerful mutant Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon), who can absorb and channel kinetic energy. When Erik is young, Shaw kills his parents to unleash his mutant powers. Erik seeks revenge. Many years later she meets Charles. Together they assemble their team of mutants and call them the X-Men. They meet Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), but he asks them to have sex. Shaw, along with his team of mutants, wants to cause a war between the US and the USSR to wipe out the human race.
Shaw owns a helmet that prevents anyone from telepathically accessing his mind. Capturing Emma (a mutant on Shaw's side), they discover Shaw's plans and go to stop him. Shaw becomes extremely powerful by absorbing nuclear radiation. Erik manages to remove the helmet. When this happens, Charles is able to control Shaw. Erik uses the helmet and kills Shaw and completes his revenge (against Charles' advice). The US and USSR realize that mutants have conspired against each other and mutants have become a common enemy. Charles loses his legs at the end of the film due to a stray bullet from Erik, an accident. Shaw's mutants join Erik to form the Brotherhood. Erik also believes that all humans must perish. Raven/Mystique also joins Erik. Erik takes the name Magneto.
Additional mutants to know about:
Emma Frost (January Jones), who is telepathic and can take the form of a diamond. He is with Shaw and later bonds with Magneto. The powerful and intelligent Beast (Nicholas Hoult), is one of the important members of the X-Men.
X-Men (2000): Directed by Bryan Singer
This was the first X-Men movie to be released in the X-Men series. Many years after First Class, Charles (played by Patrick Stewart) is now the teacher at a school for mutants, hence Professor X. The X-Men have become quite the team. They encounter Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and a mutant named Rogue (Anna Paquin) whose touch can rob other mutants of their powers. Magneto's (played by Ian McKellen) brotherhood of mutants has also grown, and he plans to turn the entire group of participants into the meeting of world leaders. Magneto has a machine that can do this. While you turn it on for the first time, it becomes very weak because of this. He uses Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) to find Rogue, kidnaps her, and plans to use Rogue to power the Liberty Island machine. Rogue's skill will increase the machine, but also kill. The X-Men land on Liberty Island and thwart Magneto's plan. Magneto is held captive in a prison made entirely of plastic. Wolverine tries to go in search of his past and recover fragments of his memories.
Additional mutants to know about:
Men X: Storm (Halle Berry) who can control the weather, Jean Gray (Famke Janssen) who has telekinetic and telepathic abilities, Cyclops (James Marsden) who can shoot energy blasts from his eyes.
The Brotherhood: Sabretooth (Tyler Mane) who has superhuman strength and healing powers.
X2 (2003) X-Men United: Directed by Bryan Singer
X2 is about a common enemy: Stryker (Brian Cox). He's the same guy who gives Wolverine the claws. Stryker finally has a mutant son: Jason, who has the power of illusions. Stryker approaches Professor X (Patrick Stewart) to "fix" him. X is unable to help and Stryker's wife ends up killing herself. Bottom line: Stryker hates mutants and intends to kill them all. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is now part of the X-Men. Cyclops (James Marsden) and Wolverine have tension between them because they both like Jean Gray (Famke Janssen). Jean likes Cyclops. In this movie, Jean is slowly unable to control her powers. Stryker tortures Magneto (McKellen) in his plastic prison for information on the location of the X-Men. Some of the X-Men are captured, the rest escape. Stryker uses his son to control Professor X and uses him to track down all the mutants in the world using brains and kill them. Magneto escapes with the help of Mystique (Rebecca Romijn) and the X-Men unite to stop Stryker. As the X-Men attempt to depart in their plane, the engines fail to start. Jean realizes that she is the one causing the electrical failure. The climax occurs at a dam that breaks and water gushes out. Jean telekinetically takes full control of the jet, stops the water around her, and uses Professor X to bid Cyclops goodbye and let her go. The jet remains airborne, but the water destroys Jean.
Additional mutants to know about:
Men X: Iceman (Bobby played by Shawn Ashmore) can control and manifest ice, Pyro (Aaron Stanford) who can control fire, not manifest it, hence his lighter. Piro joins theFraternityat the end of this movie. Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) who has the power of teleportation.
Other :Lady Deathstrike (Kelly Hu), who has Wolverine-like healing powers and Adamantium claws, is under Stryker's control in this film.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006): Directed by Brett Ratner
In this X-Men movie, scientists at Alcatraz find a cure for mutation using a mutated boy named Jimmy. Jimmy has the power to undo the genetic mutation of mutants close to him. Beast (portrayed by Kelsey Grammer) is now the Mutant Affairs secretary. The Brotherhood led by Magneto (Ian McKellen) is upset by the concept of a "cure" for mutation. They decide to shut down the operation and kill Jimmy. Mourning Jean, Cyclops (James Marsden) heads to Alkali Lake, where he is surprised to see Jean (Famke Janssen). This is not Jean, this is Phoenix, her alternate personality. Water never destroyed Jean's body, it is powerful enough to create a telekinetic force field around her. But it also released her alternate personality that was kept in a cage by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) all these years. Phoenix kills Cyclops. Both Magneto and Professor X try to get to Jean and get her to come for their own reasons. Phoenix destroys Professor X and Magneto takes her with him. The rest of the movie is about the Brotherhood wanting to kill Jimmy and the X-Men trying to protect him. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) distracts Magneto while Beast injects him with the "cure". Magneto loses his mutation. Phoenix unleashes all of her fury on everyone as she is now pure rage and completely out of control. She starts to destroy everything and everyone around her. While Jean likes Cyclops, Phoenix likes Wolverine, so she lets him get close. Also, Wolverine's healing power prevents him from dying. Wolverine stabs her, killing Jean and Phoenix. The mutants are finally accepted, and Beast is named Ambassador to the United States. Rogue considers healing normal. The film ends with Magneto regaining some of his power, showing that the cure is not permanent. Professor X transfers his consciousness into a comatose body and it is shown that he is not dead either.
Additional mutants to know about:
Men X: Shadow Cat (Ellen Page), who can enter walls, Angel (Ben Foster), who has wings and can fly. Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), who can turn into steel.
Fraternity: Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones) who cannot be stopped when he gains strength, Callisto (Dania Ramirez) who has the power of speed and can sense mutant powers, Multiple Man (Eric Dane) who can duplicate himself multiple times. Kid Omega (Ken Leung), who grows spikes. Arclight (Omahyra Mota), who has the power to generate shockwaves with her palms. Psylocke (Meiling Melançon), who in this film can teleport into shadowy areas.
Wolverine (2013): Directed by James Mangold
Frankly, you can skip this X-Men movie for a lot of reasons. You can stop seeing him, you can stop knowing him. I could stop writing about it. But I will quickly mention why all the jumps. The story is about Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who travels to Japan. None of the characters in this movie connect to the other movies in any way. The film's antagonist is Ichiro Yashida (played by Haruhiko Yamanouchi), an officer who is saved by Wolverine during the atomic bombing of Nagasaki. The greedy Ichiro eventually grows old planning to take Wolverine's healing power. He makes an adamantium suit (why does everyone have access to adamantium?) and calls it the Silver Samurai. The entire premise of the film is pointless. Wolverine randomly gets caught in someone else's battle and loses his healing power for a while. The fight sequences are not good. The characters and other mutants are not interesting. Overall, this was a disaster for the X-Men series. In fact, the Wolverine comics based in Japan are quite amazing, for example: Ogun, who guides him in martial arts, Itsu, his first wife, and the mysterious character Romulus. But a lot of that happens before he meets the X-Men or gets his adamantium. I think they just needed an excuse to bridge the gap between X-Men The Last Stand and X-Men Days Of Future Past. The film ends with Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) meeting Wolverine and telling him that there is a great threat to mutants. They don't explain how Professor X gets his body back.Here is a one line explanation of this movie:Wolverine 2013 Explained
Additional mutants to know about:
DO NOT BOTHER YOURSELF!
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014): Directed by Bryan Singer
|Barry's Time Travel Review Score|
This movie in the X-Men series ties together the characters from the first three X-Men movies (X-Men, X2, and X-Men: The Last Stand) and the prequel's origin story (X-Men: First Class). And it was well done! It's the sum of the entire cast, young and old, brought together in one epic story and battle. The film is about an event that leads to the creation of machines called Sentinels that can destroy mutants. After Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Professor X (Patrick Stewart) meet Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), they take him back with them. Wolverine, who does not age due to his healing, sends his mind back to his younger self. The point in time he is sent back to is after the events of X-Men First Class, but before the Adamantium was put into him. They send him back to stop an event that triggers the search for mutants. In the past, Mistique (Jennifer Lawrence) ends up killing Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage), after which she is captured and her adaptive genes are used to create the Sentinels. They send Wolverine to stop this event so the Sentinels will never be punished and the destruction of mutants can be avoided.
Young Professor X (James McAvoy) has given up on the X-Men and remains on the sidelines. The younger Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is in prison. Wolverine rallies them to stop Mistique's murder. But things get out of hand and his blood is recovered at the scene. Work on Sentinels continues. There are many things that happen in this movie. While younger mutants are at work, older versions of themselves are being killed and disarmed by Sentinels in the future. It all comes to a grand finale when Mistique is given a second chance to defeat Trask, and this time, Professor X manages to talk him out of it. Magneto decides to kill the humans himself, but is stopped by Mistique. Seeing that there are also good mutants, the Sentinel program is thrown out and the future is rewritten.
Wolverine's consciousness of the future is no longer tied to the past. But the future has been rewritten, and therefore awareness of it occupies the mind of the gluttonous future of the alternate future, the one where there are no Sentinels. In that universe, they show Cyclops and Jean Gray still alive. This means that many of the events of X2 and X-Men Last Stand have also been rewritten. More importantly, The Wolverine (2013) did not take place in this new future. Look, I said you could skip this movie. So Wolverine meets Professor X and they have a heart to heart talk about the world that is this future.
Additional mutants to know about:
Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who has the power to operate at supersonic speeds. Blink (Fan Bingbing), who can create portals for teleportation.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016): Directed by Tim Miller
This movie starts right after the events at the White House in Days of Future Past. It was the most anticipated film in the X-Men series. The film is about Apocalypse (played by Oscar Isaac), who is the first mutant. For generations, Apocalypse transferred his consciousness from one body to another to continue living. Every time he passes into another body, he acquires that body's powers. Over generations, Apocalypse has acquired a variety of powers and is superpowered, far more powerful than the other mutants we know and love. The story is also set in a new universe. Remember how the events of Days of Future Past changed the future to create a new timeline with Jean Gray and Cyclops still alive? This story takes place in that altered timeline.
The story begins shortly after Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) saves the day and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) goes into exile. Charles (James McAvoy) runs the school with Beast (Nicholas Hoult). The story introduces young mutants Jean Gray (played by Sophie Turner of Game of Thrones) and a young Cyclops (played by Tye Sheridan). The film also features a young Storm (played by Alexandra Shipp) and a mutant named Psylocke (played by Olivia Munn). Psylocke wields telekinetic weapons and is the only one sporting and wearing the costume straight from the comics. A young Nightcrawler is played by Kodi Smit-McPhee and Evan Peters returns as Quicksilver. Archangel is played by Ben Hardy.
Apocalypse convinces Storm, Angel, Psylocke and Magneto to join him and destroy the world and cleanse it so that only the strong survive. Professor X and his X-Men stop the Apocalypse. Here are more details about this movie:X-Men: Apocalypse Explained
X-Men Black Phoenix (2019): Directed by Simon Kinberg
The X-Men movie Dark Phoenix is another train wreck that picks up after the events of X-Men Apocalypse and is an alternate timeline version of what we saw in The Last Stand. The film centers on Jean Gray and her mental abilities, which caused her mother's death when she was a child. In the past, Professor Xavier erected a mental barrier to protect Jean from her traumatic past.
On a rescue mission, Jean is attacked and possessed by the phoenix force. Over time, he begins to lose control of his powers and breaks through his mental barrier to reminisce about his past. She loses control and injures many of the X-Men and kills Mystique. Beast joins forces with Magneto and the Brotherhood to defeat Jean.
Enter Vuk, the leader of a race called the D'Bari, who want to kill Jean and face the phoenix. In the end, Jean kills Vuk, disintegrating in the process. Bringing the X-Men film series to a disastrous end.
Deadpool (2016): Directed by Tim Miller
This film is not connected to the X-Men series as such. But Deadpool now belongs to the Cinematic Universe. As his introduction in Wolverine was poorly done, they made an early edit of the film centered on Wade Wilson (Ryan Reynolds), who is suffering from cancer. He enrolls in a program to cure cancer with unconventional methods. The program (originally supposed to be Weapon X) turns out to be an experiment and completely messes Wade up. However, his cancer is cured, but it leaves him looking like a dried avocado. He also gains powers of regeneration and agility. Wade adopts the name Deadpool and seeks revenge. The only crossover between this and the X-Men is the character Colossus (voiced by Stefan Kapicic) who helps Deadpool on his mission. More on Deadpool here –Deadpool (2016): movie vs comics.
Deadpool 2 (2018): Directed by David Leitch
This movie follows right after Deadpool 1. We have Cable, a time traveler, who went back in time to kill a kid named Russell Collins. Russell grows up to become the evil Firefist and kills Cable's family; if Russell died as a child, Cable's family would be safe in the future. Collins plans to kill the abusive director of the orphanage he grew up in. This first death leads him down the path of evil. Deadpool convinces Cable to give up and give him the chance to stop Collins from killing. Long story short, Deadpool sacrifices himself to save Collins and that changes the future. Cable sacrifices his last load to travel back to the future with his family and save Deadpool. The film features an excellent cameo from the youngest cast of the X-Men series.
Additional mutants to know about:
Domino, who has the power of good luck, yes, that is a power.
Logan (2017): Directed by James Mangold
This fantastic film is a strong, solid comeback for Mangold after the earlier Wolverine debacle. Logan is the best film in the entire X-Men series. The film takes place in the same timeline as X-Men: Apocalypse, many years in the future. Logan is old now, and so is Charles Xavier. Charles' mind has also been affected by mental illness and he is considered a national threat. All the mutants in the world are now dead as the x gene is kicking back. This is also the reason why Wolverine now ages and his wounds don't heal very well. It is said later in the movie that a modified corn syrup causes the x gene to die. The film introduces us to a young mutant in need of protection. Her name is Laura (X-23), she was genetically engineered from Wolverine's DNA. Logan and Charles help bring Laura to the Canadian border in North Dakota. In the process, Charles dies. Wolverine manages to break through and unites Laura with the other mutant children. In the end, Logan dies from his injuries as the children cross the Canadian border. This is probably the best-made movie in the entire X-Men series. Here is a more detailed article explaining the film:logan explained.
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Barry is a technologist who helps startups create successful products. His love for movies and production led him to write his well-received movie review and explanatory articles to help everyone better appreciate movies. He is regularly available for a chat conversation on his website and consults storyboards from time to time.
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