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Home > Blog > May 2014 > Friday Five: A to Z X-Men

It's Memorial Day weekend once again, the official start of summer, and with it movie blockbuster season.

Godzilla may have stomped and crushed the competition last week (pun intended!), but this weekend one of the more anticipated films of the year will fill multiplexes with mutants.



X-Men Days Of Future Past is probably one of my favorite X-Men storylines: it's set in a dystopian future, has a cavalcade of costumed characters from across the Marvel universe, cool robots, and lots of mind-bending time travel!

Created by legendary X-Men writer/artist team of Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin, Days of Future Past has the X-Men trying to stop the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (led by Mystique) from killing anti-mutant political figure Senator Robert Kelly. This pivotal event creates a separate timeline in which the X-Men fail to stop the political assassination, and as a result, mutant-kind is hunted, imprisoned, and exterminated by robots called Sentinels. Kitty Pride travels back in time to warn the present day X-Men, who ultimately stop the assassination (though the two timelines both remain in existence).

Sound confusing? No worries, here's some more in-depth X-history to help keep track of all of those alternate X-realities.

This newest X-movie will attempt to tie together all of the previous films and their respective casts (and we can only hope they finally let Storm really kick some ass like she does in the comics!) but some things have changed from the original comic book for the film adaptation (for better or worse). With a stellar cast and over 20 fan favorite mutants featured throughout including Wolverine, Professor X, Mystique, Magneto, Bishop, Beast, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Quicksilver, Storm, Rogue, Colossus, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath, Havok, Toad, Link, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and the creator of the iconic Sentinels, Dr. Bolivar Trask (played in the movie by Peter Dinklage!), I can only hope this film will be epic and not a bloated mess (I'm looking at you X-Men: The Last Stand!) For a look at all of the mutants in the movie, check out all Empire magazine's X-Men cast covers.

Now, to get ready for Days of Future Past, let's take a look back through the past X-Men films in this week's "Friday Five".*

X-Men X-Men (2000)

The first X-Men movie is one of the most important films in this series and in movie history as a whole, if for only ushering in the idea and look of the modern comic book movie for the 21st century. Yes, there are some definite flaws with this movie (the CGI is somewhat laughable to look at now), but overall it sets up the whole Marvel movie universe (2 whole years before Spidey and even earlier than Iron Man). We get the requisite origin story, but it's not been-there-done-that boring like most, mainly because we are seeing all the different X-Men learn about their powers, their problems as societal outcasts, and their coming together as a team under Professor's X's tutelage.
Best parts: Magneto's back story, Wolverine and Rogue, and Professor X and Cerebro.


X2: X-Men United X2: X-Men United (2003)

A really solid movie through and through, delving deeper into the lives of Wolverine, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Professor X, plus they introduce Nightcrawler (played perfectly by Alan Cumming)! A crazed government agent named William Stryker discovers Professor X's secret school and Cerebro and aims to take out the perceived mutant nuisance. The X-Men will have to form an uneasy alliance with the recently broken out of jail Magneto to stop Stryker and rescue Professor X and the rest of the X-Men.
Best parts: Call outs and inspiration straight from the comics page taken from Wolverine: Weapon X and The Uncanny X-Men's "The Phoenix Saga" storylines.

X-Men: The Last Stand X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)

This movie has a lot going on: it combines two important and popular X-Men storylines (Dark Phoenix saga from Claremont's legendary run and Gifted from Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men story arc), messes with a lot of character continuity, and is generally a let's-throw-everything-we-can-on-screen-and-see-what-happens debacle. Honestly, the only good thing about this movie is Kelsey Grammer as Beast / Dr. McCoy. The main plot point is the creation of a cure to treat mutations. The X-Men are terrified by it and Magneto is just plain pissed about it. Lot's of fighting and action, but not much really happens, except for a lot of unnecessary character demise.
Best parts: not much : /

X-Men: First Class X-Men: First Class (2011)

This is easily my favorite film in the series. It has the best cast, best focused storyline, and I like that it is set in the 1960s when The X-Men were actually first introduced into comicdom by Jack Kirby and Stan Lee. In 1962, the United States government enlists the help of those with superhuman abilities (they hadn't begun to call them "mutants" yet) to stop the beginning of World War III. Kevin Bacon turns in a great performance as Sebastian Shaw, leader of the Hellfire Club (which also includes Mad Men's January Jones as Emma Frost), with the melding of real world 1960s history and politics with comic book fantasy.
Best parts: great Wolverine cameo, friendship of young Professor X (with hair!) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence's portrayal of Mystique, cool yellow and blue costumes (just like in the comics!).


The Wolverine The Wolverine (2013)

Stylized visuals and exotic locales populate this film and turn it into the best depiction of Wolverine to date. Set in Japan and loosely based on Frank Miller and Chris Claremont's mini-series from 1982, Wolverine is summoned to by an old acquaintance (a Japanese soldier whose life he saved in World War II), on the promise that he can be cured of his mutant healing factor. Cue to a movie with a vulnerable Wolverine for a change!
Best parts: Lots of samurai swordsmanship, amazingly choreographed nighttime ninja sequence in a small village, over the top robot fight at end of movie with The Silver Samurai, and great after credits scene with Professor X and Magneto that sets up Days of Future Past.

*I didn't mention—let alone review—X-Men Origins: Wolverine, as the film is barely watchable. Trust me, just read a Wolverine comic, Bub! [SNIKT!]

Browse the search topic "X-Men" in our online catalog for more mutant-powered graphic novels, cartoons, and movies from our collections!

Tags: Friday Five, Recommendations, film, graphic novels

Fan Illustrated Poster by N8MA http://n8ma.deviantart.com
Fan Illustrated Poster by N8MA http://n8ma.deviantart.com
X-Men Days of Future Past cast
X-Men Days of Future Past cast
Covers to Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142, the issues that make up the bulk of Days of Future Past storyline
Covers to Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142, the issues that make up the bulk of Days of Future Past storyline
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