|X-Men (film series)|
2006 DVD box set
|Directed by||Bryan Singer
(X-Men, X-2 , First Class)
(X-Men: The Last Stand)
(X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
|Produced by||Lauren Shuler Donner
|Written by||David Hayter
(X2, X-Men: The Last Stand)
(X-Men: The Last Stand)
(X-Men Origins: Wolverine)
|Distributed by||20th Century Fox|
|Gross revenue||$1.565 billion|
The X-Men film series is a series of superhero films based on the fictional Marvel Comics team of the same name. The films star an ensemble cast, focusing on Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, as he is drawn into the conflict between Professor Xavier and Magneto, who have opposing views on humanity's relationship with mutants: Xavier believes humanity and mutants can coexist, but Magneto believes a war is coming, and intends to fight. The films also developed subplots based on the comics' Weapon X and Dark Phoenix storylines.
20th Century Fox earned the film rights to the characters in 1994, and after numerous drafts, Bryan Singer was hired to direct X-Men and returned for X2. He left a potential third and fourth film to direct Superman Returns, leaving Brett Ratner to direct X-Men: The Last Stand. Critics praised Singer's films for their dark, realistic tone, and subtexts dealing with discrimination and intolerance, but Ratner's film was met with mixed reviews. Nonetheless, each film outgrossed the last, and Fox is developing spin-off prequels. The X-Men films are also attributed as leading to a reemergence of superhero films in the 2000s, such as the Spider-Man film series.
In 1994, 20th Century Fox and producer Lauren Shuler Donner bought the film rights to the X-Men. Andrew Kevin Walker was hired to write, and James Cameron expressed interest in directing. Bryan Singer signed on to direct in July 1996. Though not a fan of the comic, he was fascinated by the analogies of prejudice and discrimination offered by it. John Logan, Joss Whedon, Ed Solomon, Christopher McQuarrie and David Hayter wrote the script, with Hayter receiving sole credit. Filming took place from September 22, 1999 to March 3, 2000 in Toronto.
The first X-Men film introduced Wolverine and Rogue into the conflict between Professor Xavier's X-Men, and the Brotherhood of Mutants, led by Magneto. Magneto intends to mutate world leaders at a United Nations summit with a machine he has built, to bring about acceptance of mutantkind, but Xavier realizes this forced mutation will only result in their deaths.
Fox hired David Hayter and Zak Penn to write their own scripts for the sequel which Singer would pick, with an aim to release the film in December 2002. The story was inspired by X-Men: God Loves, Man Kills, though the character of Stryker was changed from a reverend to a colonel. Michael Dougherty and Dan Harris were hired to re-write the script in February 2002, writing around 26 drafts and 150 on set. Production began on June 17, 2002 in Vancouver and wrapped by November, with the release moved to May 1, 2003.
In the film, Colonel William Stryker brainwashes and questions the imprisoned Magneto about Professor Xavier's mutant-locating machine, Cerebro. Stryker attacks the X-Mansion, and brainwashes Xavier into locating every mutant on the planet to kill them. The X-Men must team up with the Brotherhood and prevent Stryker's worldwide genocide.
Bryan Singer wanted to shoot the third film back-to-back with a fourth. On July 16, 2004, he left to direct Superman Returns, having only completed a third of a treatment focusing on Phoenix, and introducing Emma Frost, a role intended for Sigourney Weaver. In addition, Singer also wanted to showcase more characterizations of Rogue, Iceman and Pyro. Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn were hired the following month, and a studio executive read Joss Whedon's Astonishing X-Men story "Gifted", featuring a mutant cure, suggested it be the primary story. Matthew Vaughn came on board as director in February 2005, but left due to the rushed production schedule. Brett Ratner took over in June, and filming began on August 2, 2005.
A pharmaceutical company has developed an antidote to the mutant gene, provoking controversy in the mutant community. Magneto declares war on the humans and retrieves his own weapon: the telekinetic and telepathic Phoenix, who is the resurrected former X-Man, Jean Grey. After Phoenix kills Cyclops and Xavier, a final battle between the X-Men and the Brotherhood ensues, and Wolverine must accept that in order to save Jean from her second personality, he will have to kill her. This along with Wolverine can only be described as utter garbage, awful script, terrible story, lazy directing, people need to lose there jobs for this diatribe.
Each X-Men film was more expensive than the last, with larger salaries and more spectacular visual effects. Fox chose the "divide and conquer" route for the franchise with multiple spin-off prequels, known as the X-Men Origins series focusing on Wolverine, Magneto, the young X-Men, while director David O. Russell expressed interest in a film about Emma Frost.
As for a sequel, producer Lauren Shuler Donner reported in August 2006 that renegotiations would be required to continue the primary film series. Newer cast members were signed, while the older cast members, including Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Famke Janssen, and Anna Paquin, were not. Berry, James Marsden, and Patrick Stewart have expressed interest in returning, and Bryan Singer was approached once more to direct, but he was busy. However, as of July 2007, there was no script for a fourth film, and none was in the works. Later in the month, however, Kevin Feige, president of production in Marvel Studios said that another X-Men film was possible. Donner admitted, "There is forty years worth of stories. I’ve always wanted to do Days of Future Past and there are just really a lot of stories yet to be told." Donner declared that Gambit is one of her favorite X-Men characters, and a film for him would be considered depending on the success of Wolverine, and Shawn Ashmore stated that he is still contracted for another film featuring Iceman. Tyler Mane and Ray Park have both expressed interest in reprising their roles from X-Men (Sabretooth and Toad respectively) in future films.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was directed by Gavin Hood and again stars Jackman as Wolverine. It is a prequel focusing on the character and his time with Team X, before and shortly after his skeleton was bonded with the indestructible metal adamantium. The film reveals Sabretooth/Victor Creed (Liev Schreiber) to be his half brother. David Benioff began writing the film in October 2004, and unlike the other films it was shot in Australia and New Zealand. The film also introduces Gambit (Taylor Kitsch), Emma Frost (Tahyna Tozzi) and Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds) to the franchise.
At a Fox Blu-Ray press event in Beverly Hills in September 2009, Lauren Shuler Donner stated that she is currently "cooking up plans for" an X-Men 4. However she stressed that it has yet to be pitched to the studio.
X-Men: First Class is intended to be about the young Cyclops, Jean, Beast, Storm and others who attended Xavier's school with them. Zak Penn revealed he was offered to direct the spin-off in 2007, which he explained, "The original idea was to have me do a young X-Men spin-off, a spin-off of the young X-Men characters. But someone came up with a pretty interesting idea [...] it was this guy who worked with me named Mike Chamoy, he worked a lot with me on X3. He came up with how to do a young X-Men movie which is not what you'd expect." Penn later compared the idea to the comic book series X-Men: First Class, and in July 2008, Fox filed the title X-Men: First Class with Production Weekly. In May 2008, Josh Schwartz joined the project. Lauren Shuler Donner and Simon Kinberg will produce. First Class will be greenlighted depending on the success of Magneto.
Bryan Singer later signed on to direct "X-Men: First Class" in December 2009, returning to the series that he started with X-Men and X2: X-Men United. Singer was quoted as saying, "[t]his is the formative years of Xavier and Magneto, and the formation of the school and where their relationship took a wrong turn ... [t]here is a romantic element, and some of the mutants from 'X-Men' will figure into the plot, though I don't want to say which ones. There will be a lot of new mutants and a great villain." Jamie Moss, the writer behind the 2008 Keanu Reeves movie Street Kings, has also come on board to pen a new screenplay for X-Men: First Class.
On May 5, 2009, 4 days after the release of X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a spin-off for Ryan Reynolds' character Deadpool was greenlit, with Reynolds reprising his role and Lauren Shuler Donner producing. In an interview with Empire, Donner stated that she wants the Deadpool film to ignore the character in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, "because this guy talks, obviously, and to muzzle him would be insane." She also confirmed that Deadpool will have the attributes that the character has in the comics, such as breaking the fourth wall.
In December 2004 20th Century Fox hired screenwriter Sheldon Turner to draft a spin-off X-Men film, and he chose to write Magneto, pitching it as "The Pianist meets X-Men." In April 2007 David S. Goyer was hired to direct. Turner said the script was set from 1939 to 1955, and it follows Magneto trying to survive in Auschwitz. He meets Xavier, a young soldier, during the liberation of the camp. He hunts down the Nazi war criminals who tortured him, and this lust for vengeance turns him and Xavier into enemies.
In May 2006, Ian McKellen said he would reprise the role using the computer-generated facelift applied to him in the prologue of X-Men: The Last Stand. Lauren Shuler Donner stated that the film would need McKellen to anchor the story, which would take place in flashbacks. With Goyer's hiring in 2007, it was said actors in their twenties would play the characters. McKellen reiterated his hope to open and close the film in July 2008.
The film was planned to shoot in Australia for a 2009 release, but it was delayed by the 2007-2008 Writers Guild of America strike. In April 2008, concept art, including one of a younger Beast, was being designed. In June 2008 the X-Men Origins prefix also applied to Wolverine was confirmed, and the project was seeking approval to film in Washington, D.C. By December 2008, Goyer said filming would begin if Wolverine was successful. The story was moved forward to 1961, and involves Xavier and Magneto battling a villain.
However, in October 2009, Ian McKellen confirmed that he will not be reprising his role as Magneto, citing his age as a barrier. X-Men's producer Lauren Shuler Donner recently stated that the movie may never be made. In an October 2009 interview with Empire, Donner claimed that "the studio has a wealth of potential stories, and they have to stand back and decide which ones to make. And Magneto, I think, is at the back of the queue. Maybe it'll get made in five years - who knows?"
Shortly after X-Men Origins: Wolverine's release, a sequel was green-lit. The film will likely be set in Japan, as hinted in its predecessor. At the 2009 Teen Choice Awards, Jackman stated that the sequel will take place in Japan.
In August 2009 Christopher McQuarrie was hired to write the script. McQuarrie was a writer on the first X-Men film, but voluntarily took his name off the movie when the final version was more in line with David Hayter’s script than his.
In January 2010, at the People's Choice Awards, Jackman stated that the film will start shooting sometime in 2011.
|Film||Release date||Box office revenue||Box office ranking||Budget||Reference|
|Worldwide||United States||United States||Foreign||Worldwide||All time United States||All time worldwide|
|X-Men||August 2000||July 14, 2000||$157,299,717||$138,950,336||$296,339,527||#166||#222||$75,000,000|||
|X2: X-Men United||May 1, 2003||May 2, 2003||$214,949,694||$192,607,919||$407,711,549||#79
|X-Men: The Last Stand||May 25, 2006||May 26, 2006||$234,362,462||$224,893,546||$459,359,555||#58
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||May 1, 2009||May 1, 2009||$179,883,157||$193,179,412||$373,062,569||#125||#133||$150,000,000|||
Each of the films set opening records in the United States: X-Men had the highest July opening yet, while X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand earned the fourth highest opening weekends yet. All of these records have since been surpassed. X-Men: The Last Stand and X2 rank as the seventh and eighth most successful superhero films, while X-Men is thirteenth. The third, second and first films are the fifth, sixth and seventh most successful Marvel Comics adaptations, as well as overall the seventh, eighth and fifteenth most successful comic book adaptations. It is Marvel's second most successful film series after the Spider-Man films.
|Film||Rotten Tomatoes||Metacritic||Yahoo! Movies|
|Overall||Cream of the Crop|
|X-Men||81% (144 reviews)||61% (31 reviews)||64% (33 reviews)|
|X2: X-Men United||88% (219 reviews)||82% (39 reviews)||68% (38 reviews)||B (15 reviews)|
|X-Men: The Last Stand||56% (222 reviews)||50% (40 reviews)||58% (38 reviews)||B- (15 reviews)|
|X-Men Origins: Wolverine||37% (239 reviews)||14% (37 reviews)||43% (36 reviews)||C+ (13 reviews)|
Wesley Morris of the Boston Globe praised the X-Men films as "more than a cash-guzzling wham-bang Hollywood franchise... these three movies sport philosophy, ideas, a telethon-load of causes, and a highly elastic us-versus-them allegory." Morris praised X-Men: The Last Stand for "put[ting] the heroes of a mighty summer blockbuster in a rare mortal position. Realism at this time of year? How unorthodox!" Roger Ebert gave the films good reviews, but criticized them because "there are just plain too many mutants, and their powers are so various and ill-matched that it's hard to keep them all on the same canvas." Mick LaSalle of the San Francisco Chronicle, criticized the films' themes, saying "The pretensions take the form of the central metaphor that compares mutants to people of extraordinary, groundbreaking talent. That metaphor is bogus... The vision at the heart of X-Men - of a golden Utopia in which humans live side by side with mutants - is absurd."
The first two films were highly praised due to their cerebral tone, but when director Bryan Singer left, many criticized his successor Brett Ratner. Colin Colvert of the Star Tribune felt "Bryan Singer's sensitivity to [the discrimination themes] made the first two X-Men films surprisingly resonant and soulful for comic-based summer extravaganzas... Singer is adept at juggling large casts of three-dimensional characters, Ratner makes shallow, unimaginative bang-ups." James Berardinelli felt, "X-Men: The Last Stand isn't as taut or satisfying as X-Men 2, but it's better constructed and better paced than the original X-Men. The differences in quality between the three are minor, however; despite the change in directors, there seems to be a single vision." David Denby of The New Yorker praised "the liquid beauty and the poetic fantasy of Singer’s work", but called Ratner's film "a crude synthesizer of comedy and action tropes."
The X-Men films received good reviews from fans of the comic books, but there was criticism of the large cast, and the limited screentime for all of them. Richard George of IGN praised the depictions of Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto, Jean Grey, Storm, William Stryker, Mystique, Beast and Nightcrawler. However, George felt many of the younger X-Men characters, such as Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, and Kitty Pryde were "adjectiveless teenager[s]", and was disappointed by Cyclops' characterization. He observed the filmmakers were "big fans of silent henchmen", due to the small roles of the various villainous mutants; such as Lady Deathstrike. George felt that the success of X-Men "paved the way for other hits like the Spider-Man series, Fantastic Four, V for Vendetta and Singer's own adaptation of Superman." Spider-Man director Sam Raimi said he was a fan of the series, particularly Singer's films. Film historian Kim Newman also tonally compared Batman Begins to Singer's films.
On June 1, 2000, Marvel published a comic book prequel to X-Men, titled X-Men: Beginnings, revealing the backstories of Magneto, Rogue and Wolverine. There was also an adaptation of the film. Marvel also released an adaptation of X2, which also contained prequels detailing Nightcrawler's backstory and Wolverine's time searching for Alkali Lake. Del Rey Books also published novelizations of the three films. The latter two were written by Chris Claremont. In 2006, X-Men: The Official Game was released, which was set between X2 and X-Men: The Last Stand.