X

"Fight the future."
"Fight the future."
THE X-FILES (12)
D: Rob Bowman
20th Century Fox/Ten Thirteen (Chris Carter & Daniel Sackheim)
US 1998
120 mins
 
Science Fiction
 
W: Chris Carter [based on characters from the TV series]
DP: Ward Russell
Ed: Stephen Mark
Mus: Mark Snow
 
David Duchovny (Fox Mulder), Gillian Anderson (Dana Scully), Martin Landau (Alvin Kurtzwell), Armin Mueller-Stahl (Conrad Strughold), Blythe Danner (Jana Cassidy)
 
Big screen version of the TV series with a plodding story which wouldn't have even been good enough for the original series.
FBI agents Mulder & Scully go through the motions as they solve an alien conspiracy responsible for a bomb blast, but it's ridiculously forgettable on its own merits.
It may appeal more to die hard fans of the TV show, but it certainly isn't a good advertisement for it.
4/10

"Trust a few. Fear the rest."
"Trust a few. Fear the rest."
X-MEN (12)
D: Bryan Singer
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Donner's Co./Bad Hat Harry (Lauren Shuler-Donner & Ralph Winter)
US 2000
104 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: David Hayter [based on the Marvel comic characters created by Stan Lee]
DP: Newton Thomas Sigel
Ed: Steven Rosenblum, Kevin Stitt & John Wright
Mus: Michael Kamen
PD: John Myhre
Cos: Louise Mingenbach

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Prof. Charles Xavier), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Ian McKellen (Magneto), James Marsden (Cyclops), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Tyler Mane (Sabretooth), Ray Park (Toad), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique)

Big screen version of the Marvel comic books and cartoons which was a massive box office smash and gave birth to a new generation of comic book movies.
It's a good story to introduce those unfamiliar with the characters. Set in the near future, where some humans have developed into mutants with various superhuman powers.  Whilst one group of the mutants attempt for supremacy, the X-men battle to save humanity.
The casting is generally excellent, with Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen standouts, but Halle Berry is atrociously miscast.  The screenplay also features some rather ropey dialogue which the better actors get away with (Berry does not).
The franchise itself is greater than the individual film, but this is as good an introduction as could have been expected.
7/10

"The time has come for those who are different to become united."
"The time has come for those who are different to become united."
X2: X-MEN UNITED (12)
D: Bryan Singer
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Donner's Co./Bad Hat Harry (Lauren Shuler-Donner & Ralph Winter)
US 2002
134 mins
 
Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy
 
W: Michael Dougherty & Dan Harris [based on the Marvel comic characters created by Stan Lee]
DP: Newton Thomas Sigel
Ed: John Ottman & Elliot Graham
Mus: John Ottman
PD: Guy Hendrix Dyas
 
Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Patrick Stewart (Prof. Charles Xavier), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Ian McKellen (Magneto), James Marsden (Cyclops), Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique), Brian Cox (William Stryker), Alan Cumming (Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler), Shawn Ashmore (Bobby Drake / Iceman)
 
A sequel which, blow-for-blow, is better than the first movie, with more action scenes and bigger, better visual effects.
The villainous Magneto escapes from inprisonment and he and his cohorts unite with the X-Men to battle a force which trying to exterminate all mutants.
All the performances are as good as they were in the first movie and even Halle Berry is an improvement, dropping the ridiculous accent and getting better dialogue.
It does have some flaws, but it's arguably the best film of the entire series.
7/10
 

"Whose side will you be on?"
"Whose side will you be on?"
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND (12)
D: Brett Ratner
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Donner's Co./Bad Hat Harry (Lauren Shuler-Donner, Avi Arad & Ralph Winter)
US/UK 2006
104 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn [based on the Marvel comic characters created by Stan Lee]
DP: Dante Spinotti
Ed: Mark Helfrich, Mark Goldblatt & Julia Wong
Mus: John Powell
PD: Edward Verreaux

Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Halle Berry (Storm), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey / Phoenix), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Kelsey Grammer (Beast), James Marsden (Cyclops), Rebecca Romijn-Stamos (Mystique), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Vinnie Jones (Juggernaut), Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Ben Foster (Angel)

The weakest of the original trilogy, in which the mutants face extinction after a 'cure' is found which removes the mutants of their superhuman powers.
Meanwhile, Jean Grey returns as the more powerful Phoenix, a mutant with more powers than any other, and Magneto hatches a plan to use her to save his kind.
It was always going to be a tough ask to continue the trilogy following X2, but this film has some fundamental flaws, one of which was switching directors (Bryan Singer was directing Superman Returns at the time).
It also kills off some important characters, which don't go down well with ardent fans of the original comic book series.
Apparently, a condition of Halle Berry's return was that she got top billing in the credits, despite having marginally less screentime than others in the cast. Egotistical bitch!
5/10

X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE (12)
D: Gavin Hood
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Donner's Co. (Lauren Shuler-Donner, Ralph Winter, Hugh Jackman & John Palermo)
US 2009
102 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: David Benioff & Skip Woods [based on the Marvel comic characters created by Stan Lee]
DP: Donald M. McAlpine
Ed: Nicolas DeToth & Megan Gill
Mus: Harry Gregson-Williams
PD: Barry Robison
Cos: Louise Mingenbach

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), Liev Shreiber (Victor Creed), Danny Huston (William Stryker), Taylor Kitsch (Gambit), Lynn Collins (Silverfox), Ryan Reynolds (Wade Wilson), Will.I.Am (John Wraith)

As the title would suggest; an origin story of the mutant Wolverine, the main protagonist of the X-men movies.

The weakest by far of all the series up to this point. Hugh Jackman aside, the rest of the cast are quite poor and there's no real build up of story like there should be for an origin film. Gambit is introduced to the franchise for no particular reason and Wade Wilson's Deadpool character is baffling changed into a hybrid of mutants with every imaginable power. Unlikely to please the fans.

I'm not gonna beat up on this film like die hard fans of the X-Men franchise, it does have a lot of entertaining moments and some well crafted set pieces. All the other movies are better though.

4/10

"Witness the moment that will change our world."
"Witness the moment that will change our world."
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS (12)
D: Matthew Vaughn
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Donner's Co./Bad Hat Harry (Lauren Shuler-Donner, Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg & Gregory Goodman)
US/UK 2011
126 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: Ashley Edward Miller, Zack Stentz, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn [based on the Marvel comic characters created by Stan Lee]
DP: John Mathieson
Ed: Lee Smith & Eddie Hamilton
Mus: Henry Jackman
PD: Chris Seagers
Cos: Sammy Sheldon

James McAvoy (Charles Xavier / Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Rose Byrne (Moira MacTaggart), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkhölme / Mystique), January Jones (Emma Frost), Kevin Bacon (Sebastian Shaw), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), Jason Flemyng (Azazel)

An origin story on how the X-Men came to be, going even more in depth than the original 2000 film. 

A seemingly immortal mutant is responsible for the 1962 Cuban missile crisis and Professor Charles Xavier is hired by the US government to assemble a force capable of stopping him.

A vast improvement on the previous X-Men movie (The Last Stand) and the misguided origins solo project, although it lacks Wolverine (albeit in a brief but hilarious cameo) it portrays the origins of other main characters well. James McAvoy & Michael Fassbender perfect choices for young Professor X & Magneto.

All in all, it has to be said that X-Men: First Class is in fact, first class.

7/10

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (12)
D: Bryan Singer
20th Century Fox/Marvel/Bad Hat Harry (Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler-Donner, Simon Kinberg & Hutch Parker)
US 2014
131 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn [based on the comic "Days Of Future Past" by Chris Claremont & John Byrne]
DP: Newton Thomas Sigel
Ed: John Ottman
Mus: John Ottman

Hugh Jackman (Logan / Wolverine), James McAvoy (Prof. Charles Xavier / Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkhölme / Mystique), Peter Dinklage (Bolivar Trask), Patrick Stewart (Older Professor X), Halle Berry (Orora Monroe / Storm), Ian McKellen (Older Magneto), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat), Anna Paquin (Marie / Rogue)

This fifth X-Men movie (not counting the Wolverine solo projects) does a great job of tying the original trilogy in with 2011's X-Men: First Class whilst also sticking a middle finger up to the disappointing ending of X-Men: The Last Stand.
Facing extinction after being pursued by robots programmed to eliminate them, the last of the mutant superheroes have one final option, sending Wolverine back in time to events just after the previous film to stop the inventor of the machines (Peter Dinklage) from being assassinated by Mystique, which in turn set about a chain reaction to make the robots more deadly.
The team once again make the mistake of allying themselves with Magneto, who, of course, isn't on the same page as the superhero cadre, setting up an exciting final battle on the White House lawn with some superb visual effects.
The film does make a bit of a mess with the dynamics of time travel but remains an entertaining sequel to the series. Not quite as good or action packed as its predecessor or X2, but great fun for fans of the superhero genre.
7/10

"Only the strong will survive."
"Only the strong will survive."
X-MEN: APOCALYPSE (12)
D: Bryan Singer
20th Century Fox/Marvel/TSG/Bad Hat Harry (Lauren Shuler-Donner, Simon Kinberg, Bryan Singer & Hutch Parker)
US 2016
144 mins

Science Fiction/Adventure/Fantasy

W: Simon Kinberg [based on characters created by Stan Lee & Jack Kirby]
DP: Newton Thomas Sigel
Ed: John Ottman & Michael Louis Hill
Mus: John Ottman

James McAvoy (Prof. Charles Xavier / Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Raven Darkhölme / Mystique), Oscar Isaac (En Sabar Nuhr / Apocalypse), Nicholas Hoult (Hank McCoy / Beast), Evan Peters (Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver), Tye Sheridan (Scott Summers / Cyclops), Sophie Turner (Jean Grey), Rose Byrne (Moira McTaggart), Olivia Munn (Psylocke), Kodi Smit-McPhee (Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler), Alexandra Shipp (Storm)

X-Men: The Last Stand was the third film of the original trilogy and by far the weakest, while X-Men: Apocalypse, the third film of the reboot trilogy shares the same pattern.
The central villain in this film, born in ancient times and understood to be the first mutant is resurrected and wages war on both humans and those he deems weaker and, utilising his gift to augment the abilities of other mutants, abducts Professor Charles Xavier in order to carry out his plan.
The film spends far too long with the introduction of characters, including origin stories for Jean Grey, Cyclops, Nightcrawler and the villain himself which takes up the first half of the movie, it also reintroduces the character of Moira McTaggart, who hasn't aged a day since 1962 which the script dismissed with lazy writing.
Quicksilver is also brought into the fold halfway through the movie with a scene which completely mirrors the previous film, The Days Of Future Past, and Wolverine makes yet another (pointless) cameo role.
Fans of comic book movies will be satisfied with the final act, where the big battle between good and evil takes place, but anyone with decent knowledge of the X-Men characters will find the final showdown completely predictable.
The majority of the actors are well cast, but Oscar Isaac doesn't suit the clichéd villain and the Apocalypse makeup isn't particularly convincing
A middling entry to a successful franchise, but this is really for die-hard fans only.
5/10