Superhero movies have been among the most popular in the world for the past few decades, and the X-Men franchise has played an enormous part in making that happen.
Along with Blade (1998) and Spider-Man (2002), X-Men (2000) takes credit for helping to spawn the modern generation of superhero movies that are so prominent in modern popular culture.
In this piece, we'll take you through all the movies in the X-Men franchise. We'll list the entries by release date and the chronological order in which you should watch them.
By Release Date
- X-Men (2000)
- X2 (2003)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
- X-Men: First Class (2011)
- The Wolverine (2013)
- X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
- Deadpool (2016)
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
- Logan (2017)
- Deadpool 2 (2018)
- Dark Phoenix (2019)
- The New Mutants (2020)
- Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)
In Chronological Order
1. X-Men: First Class (2011, directed by Matthew Vaughn)
X-Men: First Class is the fifth installment in the X-Men franchise. It introduces a new, younger cast and is a prequel to the original movies. It stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Rose Byrne, and Kevin Bacon.
Taking place mainly in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis, the plot focuses on the relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, AKA Magneto. They combat Sebastien Shaw and his Hellfire Club, go their separate ways, and form the X-Men and Brotherhood of Mutants, respectively.
It's one of the best movies in the franchise, with energetic acting, stylish direction, and a great story aided by a brilliant script.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014, directed by Bryan Singer)
The seventh movie in the X-Men series is X-Men: Days of Future Past. Again, it stars the younger cast, but given the nature of the film, they're alongside the older actors too. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, and Peter Dinklage appear.
Most of the action takes place in 1973, but the time-jumping plot also includes a story in 2023. The story sees Wolverine having his 2023 consciousness sent back to 1973 to stop Bolivar Trask from creating indestructible mutant-hunting Sentinels using Mystique's blood.
Only one X-Men movie is better than Days of Future Past. It combines the series' best elements and brings together its biggest stars, and it's a visual feast and an action-packed romp.
3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009, directed by Gavin Hood)
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the fourth movie in the X-Men franchise and its first spin-off movie. It stars Hugh Jackman, Liev Schreiber, Danny Huston, Dominic Monaghan, and Ryan Reynolds.
The story begins in 1845 when the young James Howlett's anxiety activates his mutation, but most of it occurs in 1979. It chronicles Wolverine's time as a member of Team X, the bonding of his skeleton with adamantium, and his relationship with his half-brother Victor Creed, AKA Sabretooth.
Despite Jackman's best efforts and decent chemistry with Schreiber, it's a poor movie. It's very clichéd, dull, and, ultimately, unsatisfying.
4. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016, directed by Bryan Singer)
The ninth movie in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: Apocalypse, stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Rose Byrne, Sophie Turner, Olivia Munn, and Oscar Isaac.
Although it starts in 3600 BC, this movie's primary story occurs in 1983, when the ancient mutant Apocalypse gets inadvertently awakened. The young adult team of X-Men tries to stop him and his mutant team of Horsemen from wiping out modern civilization and creating a new world in his image.
The cast gives some excellent performances in X-Men: Apocalypse, but the messy action and eponymous cookie-cutter villain make it one of the franchise's weaker installments.
5. Dark Phoenix (2019, directed by Simon Kinberg)
Dark Phoenix is the twelfth installment in the X-Men movie franchise and, notably, the first one in which Hugh Jackman didn't appear. It's the final movie with the younger X-Men team and stars James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Sophie Turner, and Jessica Chastain.
Set in 1992, it tells how Jean Grey became the Phoenix. A cosmic force enhances her psionic powers, which makes her mentally unstable, and various parties – including extraterrestrials – seek to control her.
It's the worst movie in the X-Men franchise and the second attempt at adapting the Phoenix comic book arc with even worse results. The actors look disinterested, and the plot and dialogue are woeful.
6. X-Men (2000, directed by Bryan Singer)
The movie that started it all features a brilliant ensemble cast, including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Anna Paquin, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Tyler Mane, and Bruce Davison.
Its plot focuses on Wolverine and Rogue as they find themselves as the focal points of a conflict between Charles Xavier's X-Men and Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutants, who have very different intentions for the pair. It takes place around the year 2000.
X-Men is a seminal movie that remains one of the franchise's best. It's action-packed, brilliantly acted, perfectly paced, and faithful to the comic books.
7. X2: X-Men United (2003, directed by Bryan Singer)
The second installment in the X-Men franchise, X2 X-Men United, sees the original cast returning, including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and Ian McKellen, alongside newcomers Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, and Kelly Hu.
It takes place around 2003, and its plot focuses on Colonel William Stryker leading an assault on Professor Xavier's school, so he can build his version of the mutant-tracking computer Cerebro, then destroy every mutant on Earth to keep humanity safe from them.
X2 is a rare example of a sequel improving on the original movie. It's incredibly ambitious and grander in scale than X-Men, is well-performed, has an airtight script, and is the movie in which Jackman came into his own as Wolverine.
8. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006, directed by Brett Ratner)
X-Men: The Last Stand is the third movie in the X-Men franchise. Again, it stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and the original older cast.
Its plot centers on a “mutant cure,” resulting in severe repercussions among the mutant and human communities and the resurrection of the deceased Jean Grey, who unleashes a powerful, dark force. 2006 is when it takes place.
This first attempt at adapting the Phoenix comic book arc is better than Dark Phoenix, but it could be much better. It's got great action and some adept acting performances, but it's lacking in emotional weight and feels particularly underwhelming compared to its 2003 predecessor.
9. The Wolverine (2013, directed by James Mangold)
The Wolverine is the sixth installment in the X-Men series. It stars High Jackman, Rila Fukushima, Tao Okamoto, Hiroyuki Sanada, Will Yun Lee, and Famke Janssen.
After an opening scene in 1945, the rest of the movie occurs in 2013. The plot centers around Wolverine in Japan attempting to cope with Jean Grey's death. However, he finds himself battling an old acquaintance while stripped of his healing powers.
It tells a wonderfully dark story that's well-paced and adeptly acted. Jackman is excellent, and The Wolverine is a quality film that doesn't quite reach the standards of the best ones in the franchise.
10. Deadpool (2016, directed by Tim Miller)
Deadpool is a spin-off of the X-Men movies and the eighth installment in the franchise overall. It stars Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Morena Baccarin, Gina Carano, and Ed Skrein.
The plot centers on Wade Wilson becoming the antihero Deadpool and hunting the man who severely disfigured him and gave him mutant abilities after promising to heal his terminal cancer. 2016 is when it takes place.
It's a funny, fast-paced, subversive movie with Reynolds at his charming and hilarious best. Deadpool isn't a film for children, as it's violent and features some foul language, but adults (read “big kids”) should love it.
11. The New Mutants (2020, directed by Josh Boone)
The New Mutants is an X-Men spin-off movie and the thirteenth and final installment in the Fox franchise before the rights reverted to Marvel. It has some horror elements and stars Blu Hunt, Anya Taylor-Joy, Maisie Williams, Charlie Heaton, and Alice Braga.
The movie's events happen in 2017, and its plot revolves around a group of young mutants who fight to save themselves from various threats while being held in a secret facility.
Dark Phoenix is the only movie poorer than New Mutants in the franchise. Sadly, it wastes its talented young cast by being highly unmemorable. It feels like something exciting is building, but it ultimately goes out with a whimper.
12. Deadpool 2 (2018, directed by David Leitch)
The eleventh movie in the X-Men franchise, Deadpool 2, is a sequel to Deadpool. It stars Ryan Reynolds, T.J. Miller, Josh Brolin, Morena Baccarin, Julian Dennison, and Zazie Beetz.
In this one, which takes place in 2018, Deadpool forms the superhero team X-Force to protect a young mutant with pyrokinetic abilities from the time-traveling soldier Cable.
Although it's sometimes a little too meta, Deadpool 2 is highly entertaining, great fun, a little dark at times, and teeming with one-liners. Reynolds is great again in the eponymous role and aided by an even stronger cast than in the first movie.
13. Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022, directed by Sam Raimi)
Although it's not officially part of the X-Men franchise, Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness – the 28th movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – features a cameo from Patrick Stewart as a variant of Charles Xavier, signaling the start of the merging of the MCU and X-Men series. It stars Benedict Cumberbatch, Elizabeth Olsen, Benedict Wong, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Xochitl Gomez, and Rachel McAdams.
In the movie, which takes place in 2025, Doctor Strange must protect America Chavez, a teenager capable of traveling the multiverse, from Wanda Maximoff, AKA the Scarlet Witch, who wants to use her powers to find her children.
It's a weird and off-the-wall film with a distinct Sam Raimi feel. It adeptly juggles many elements and brilliantly mixes comedy, action, horror, and drama. It also introduces the X-Men and Fantastic Four to the MCU (sort of) as a bonus.
14. Logan (2017, directed by James Mangold)
Logan is the tenth movie in the X-Men franchise and the final installment in the Wolverine trilogy. It stars Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Richard E. Grant, Boyd Holbrook, Stephen Merchant, and Dafne Keen.
This one takes place in 2029 and follows an aged Wolverine and a gravely ill Charles Xavier defending a young mutant called Laura from the nefarious Reavers led by Donald Pierce and Zander Rice.
It's an R-rated drama, the most adult X-Men movie, and the best movie in the franchise. Jackman's shunning at the Academy Awards was a shock, given his excellent performance. The film is gritty, thoughtful, and hard-hitting, and it's arguably the best superhero movie ever made.
This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.
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