This Is The Right Order To Watch Every X-Men Movie - Looper (2024)


ByThompson Smith/

As of this moment, the future of the X-Men in cinema remains a matter of ambiguity.

Aside from Evan Peters' brief and bizarre return to the role of Quicksilver in WandaVision,the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has given us very little indication when we can expect the on-screen return of Professor Charles Xavier's students, or Magneto's brotherhood of mutant civil rights militants.

Maybe that's okay.

After all, we've already had 13 feature length, live action tales set in the same shared universe that booted up with X-Menin 2000. The Twentieth Century Fox (TCF) version of theX-Men remained among the premiere comic book-based film franchises until the historic and slightly terrifying Disney-Fox merger of 2019. As of the corporate buyout, the movie rights to the X-Men are henceforth owned and operated by Marvel Studios.

Twenty one years is a long time. A person could conceivably be 18 years old, and have been unavailable to see the first X-Men movie in theaters due to not being born yet.

Let's theorize that person is an aspiring superhero film historian; let's further theorize they want to learn more about TCF's X-Men, but isn't sure where to start, or where to precede from after starting. If you're that person, buddy, have we got a list for you...

1. X-Men (2000)

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20th Century Studios

So, let's start with the beginning.

It seems like a completely insane thing to think about now, but in the year 2000, nobody in Hollywood had any idea if superhero movies could still be a thing.

Iron Man (2008) and The Dark Knight (2008) were both a ways down the temporal road. Joel Schumacher's Batman & Robin(1997) had been a massive Cats (2019)-sized flop, but it didn't quite kneecap the genre as much as some critics and commentators made it seem.The crimson-soaked, grimdark and R-rated Blade— a stark contrast to the kid-friendly environs ofBatman & Robin —would be a surprise success for New Line Cinema a year later. So it's probably no coincidence that brightly-colored spandex got swapped out for Matrix-style black leather, and smirking one-liners were replaced by no-nonsense 'tudes inX-Men (2000).

A critical and respectablefinancial success, X-Menpushed PG-13 superheroes back into the realm of viable Hollywood properties; introduced audiences to a dashing Aussie by the name of Hugh Jackman as official squad badass Wolverine; and established Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magneto the franchise-defining frenemies of the TCF era. As far as how well X-Menholds up in 2021, your mileage may vary, but it does the indisputably important job of setting groundwork forthe many, many more Marvel-based movies to come.

2. X2: X-Men United (2003)

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20th Century Studios

If X-Menmade us believe in the possibility of mutants in movies, a mind-controlled Nightcrawler attacking the White House at the onset of X2ensured they stuck around for a while.

With a mandate to broaden the scope of the series and introduce new elements from the comics, X2could've easily crumbled under the pressure of providing satisfactory arcs for about 13 characters, while furthering the larger narrative, and justifying a sequel.Asolid critical consensus indicates X2 more-or-less hits all those marks, plus it surpassed the box office of its predecessor.

The story is essentially an adaptation of Chris Claremont and Brent Anderson'sGod Loves, Man Kills(1982) with its religious elements removed, merged with elements from Wolverine's origin— specifically, his time as an involuntary agent of the nefarious Weapon X black ops organization.

X2 isn't without its faults. As is the case withX-Men, the story leans heavily on Wolverine at the expense of establishing a real sense of ensemble. Without the flight and super strength she wields in the comics, Anna Paquin's Rogue is sadly reduced to a damsel in distress. Butaccording to the much-lower standards we held comic book movies to in 2003, X2 is a flippin' revelation.

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

If you set out to tackle the original cinematic X-Men, watching the first three in chronological order should give you a sense for the wildly inconsistent quality that eventually defines the entire series.Plus, it'll keep you from getting confused too early in the process.

Due to some well-publicizedmishandling of staffing and deadline-related matters, X-Men: The Last Standgoes down in superhero movie history as TCF's first botched attempt to adapt Chris Claremont and John Byrne's indispensable late-'70s/early-'80s X-Men epic, TheDark Phoenix Saga.

In The Last Stand, characters and themes introduced in the first two films rush directly into a wall and go "splat." But perhaps dismissing it as an unmitigated clustermuck isn't telling the whole story?Critics at the timedidn't hate it as much as they probably should have, and its box office pullbeatX2. The Last Standalso marks the first appearance of Elliot Page as Kate Pryde, who returned to the role years later in Days of Future Past, a much better movie.

4. X-Men: First Class (2011)

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20th Century Studios

So in a series with just as many misfires as genuinely stellar entries, should quality influence your watching order? We would suggest that, if you care to maximize your mutant-related enjoyment, it probably doesn't hurt to disregard chronology in the interest of keeping morale high. Trust us following up The Last StandwithX-Men Origins: Wolverine will bum you out.

That's why after The Last Stand, we recommend jumping ahead a few years in our time, but back a handful of decades of in-story time. Directed by Matthew Vaughn,First Classrebooted Charles Xavier and Erik "Magneto" Lensherr as twentysomethings starting their superhero/activist careers in the 1960s. The fresh setting worked terrifically for creating a sense of distance between this film and the two aforementioned X-wrecks still fresh in audience minds at the time.

This isn't the old X-Men. This is an entirely new X-Men...from the past.

First Classmarks James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender's first outings as Professor X and Magneto, as well as Jennifer Lawrence's inaugural occasion with the role of Mystique; previously associated with Rebecca Romijn in the original trilogy. Today, it's the third-best reviewed out of TCF's entire X-Men run, even if its box office return is nothing special compared to the rest of the batch. It also contains what might be the best usage of a PG-13 film's one allowed f-bomb ever.

At the time, it was the first X-Men cinematic demonstration since X2 that didn't leave fans walking away with a ton to gripe about...except maybe for January Jones's depressingly icy delivery of Emma Frost.

5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)

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20th Century Studios

Liev Schreiber makes a remarkably twisted and devious Sabretooth; and for Gambit fans, this is the goodly grifter's lone movie appearance in the form of Friday Night Lights actor Taylor Kitsch. Apart from that, there's not a ton of redemptive value to X-Men Origins: Wolverine.It took an even bigger critical beating than The Last Stand, even while making slightly more money than First Class, which hardly seems fair.

Ironically, Origins'longest-lasting and most important contribution to the superhero movie genre is only tangentially connected to Hugh Jackman's Wolverine. Ryan Reynolds plays a version of Deadpool that departs wildly from the comics-accurate iteration appearing in the pair of Deadpool films released years later.

According to Reynolds, he knew from the beginning that sewing Deadpool's mouth shut and giving him laser eyes were both bad calls.

"I was already attached to the Deadpool movie,"he explains to EW in a 2016 piece."We hadn't at that point written a script yet. [Origins] came along and it was sort of like, 'Play Deadpool in this movie or we'll get someone else to.'

"I just said, 'I'll do it, but it's the wrong version. Deadpool isn't correct in it.'"

6. The Wolverine (2013)

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20th Century Studios

The Wolverinefeels like an outlier in the grand scheme of TCF's X-Men. These films tend to lean hard towards either polarities of beloved or loathed, whereas The Wolverineis widely considered pretty okay, entirely passable, and mostly not bad.

Released in real world time between First Class and Days of Future Past,it's without question part of the franchise's process of building itself back to prominence after Last Stand and Origins, as demonstrated by the cautious-but basically-encouraging reviews. While not the most memorable or significant X-Men movie on its own merits, The Wolverine accomplishes at least two vitally-important tasks it rehabs Hugh Jackman's unkillable Canadian anti-hero as a solo brand, as we can see from a box office run thatcame out ahead of First Class; and it teams Jackman up with Girl, Interrupted(1999) director James Mangold for the first time.

So, in the respect that The Wolverine repairs a top-tier comic book IP after damage done by a miserable prior film, and sets the table for one of the best films in the entire genre, it's kind of like TCF X-Men's answer to Batman Begins.

7. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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20th Century Studios

The Hunger Games and Silver Linings Playbookboth hit theaters the year after First Class.So if you wonder why Mystique goes from a comparatively secondary character to a headliner on the level of Wolverine, Magneto, and Professor X, it's because Jennifer Lawrence's star caught fire pun intended for reasons unrelated to X-Men.

However, Raven Darkholme's expanded presence partially explains why Days of Future Past became the second-best reviewed installment of the series and thebiggest financial successof any movie with the phrase "X-Men" in the title. The focus on Mystique a ruthless, secretly-righteous freedom fighter gives X-Men movies a merciful breather from Wolverine's tough dude with baggage and the endless back-and-forth moralizing between Xavier and Magneto. Days of Future Pastalso conjures up the original Evan Peters slow-motion Quicksilver-doin'-stuff scene; a device that wowed audiences in 2014 and, perhaps, felt a little redundant when they did it again in the next movie.

With regard to the storylines across the entire X-Men series, Days of Future Past contains its fair share of good news. The bad news is that some longtime fans might advise a newcomer to simply watchLoganand the two Deadpool films after this one — because from here on down in our list, everything with the phrase "X-Men" or "Mutants" in the title gets rough.

8. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)

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20th Century Studios

When the producers behind a movie wind up apologizing for it, well, that doesn't portend well for future viewings, does it?

From a distance, we can speculate that some of the primary members of the X-Men creative team were burned out after 15 plus years, and/or dragged down by their own long-festering personal scandals. TCF probably should've brought in fresh blood afterDays of Future Past,although maybe we can't blame them for assuming the film's architects could handle the job they did 13 years prior.

Apocalypse attempts many of the same basic tasks as X2; it introduces a few new characters, several new actors taking on the roles of established characters, and cranks the stakes up to a literal apocalypse. But unlike X2, it mostly gives up on juggling its many components and just turns into a film in which stuff blows up.

The promotional material heavily featured Olivia Munn as Psylocke, a curious decision considering her incredibly limited screen time. We can guess that someone thought putting Psylocke on posters would sell more tickets, hence the discrepancy. However, despite working on multiple prior X-Men films, the director and writer had no idea who Psylocke is, which might be why they had such a hard time writing any dialogue for her.

Also, Apocalypsesets its action in the 1980s, meaning this is the movie where certain characters clearly haven't aged during the 20 years that supposedly passed between the events of this film and First Class.

9. Deadpool (2016)

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20th Century Studios

After Wolverine: Origins fell off a cliff, Ryan Reynolds and director Tim Miller famously became determined to make sure this Deadpool movie definitely didn't suck. Fans and critics validated their efforts, and to top it all off, Deadpoolout-earned every other R-Rated movie and every other X-Men movie in existence as of 2016.

Deadpool! It's really violent! It's full of swears! Deadpool listens to Salt-N-Pepa before he brutally kills evil henchmen! And it came out during 2016; a rough year for a lot of reasons, but certainly a rough year for superhero movies. As irony mandates, the world needed a fun, light-hearted, and ultimately wholesome superhero adventure like Deadpoolto brighten our skies after the depressing, over-serious, and deeply-cynical slog ofBatman V. Superman. You'd think Superman would star in the happy movie, and Deadpool would be in the sad one, but nope! It's the other way around.

And if you're in the midst of an X-Men binge watch that follows the order we've mapped out,Deadpoolmight also prove itself similarly crucial.If we ignore its many aesthetic and tonal departures and zero in on plot and story Deadpool'sa pretty typical, straightforward superhero movie...which might be a bad thing in some ways; but if you just sat through X-Men: Apocalypse, it might be the reset your brain requires.

10. The New Mutants (2020)

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20th Century Studios

Here's a rare case of a major studio project with a making-of story that would probably make a better movie than the actual movie.

The New Mutants began shooting in 2017, and thanks to release schedule delays, reshoots, a corporate merger, and a pandemic, it did not find its way into theaters until summer of 2020.

Was it worth the wait? Ah, well, let's say as far as its place within the TCF X-Men series, it's an inessential but amusing bit of trivia. Critics dismissed itas an uneven, poorly-plotted misstep, and COVID-19 pretty much negated any possibility that it could make back its production budget in theaters. Defenders of The New Mutants point to theoutstanding final showdown against The Demon Bear, plus it's got a bright cast and sharp characterizations...but most of us will admit it probably wasn't edited as carefully as it could've been.

At least we can always wax hypothetical, and wonder if director and authentic comics nerd Josh Boone might've had better luck if TCF itself wasn't going kablooey behind the scenes by the end of the 2010s.

11. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

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20th Century Studios

When you take a step back and look at the totality of TCF X-Men,from a certain perspective, the conception of Dark Phoenix makes sense.

The events ofDays of Future Pastremoved afew of the films that failed to click from the in-story timeline.Originsbotched Deadpool, but that was ultimately fine; because later on, Deadpool got to be the right kind of Deadpool in his own movie. So if The Last StandfumbledThe Dark PhoenixSaga oft-cited as the most famous X-Men story in the history of the characters doesn't a do-over make sense?

Perhaps writer-director Simon Kinberg's heart was in the right place. But it appears you can only remake what's essentially the same movie so many times before, as THR speculates, "franchise fatigue" sets in. Perhaps, like The New Mutants,Dark Phoenix could've lived up to its ambitions if fate hadn't conspired to eliminate its movie studio, or if they hadn't had to change the entire third act so as to not seem like aCaptain Marvelimitator. But now that we have the power of hindsight, we can definitely say you should ignore the chronological release order, because this isn't the note upon which you want to end any X-Men movie marathon.

12. Logan (2017)

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20th Century Studios

Wolverine is the main character in the first entry of the TCF X-Men saga;he's where it should've ended. And since we're designing our own chronological order, that's exactly where it's going to end.


In director James Mangold's masterful meditation on long-running action characters and the superhero genre itself, an aging Wolverine and Professor Xavier — played once again by Patrick Stewart — escort a distinctly-familiar fugitive mutant girl across country to a safe haven. It melds the R-rated bloody brutality and willingness to drop F-bombs of Deadpool with an emotional complexity and character definition to which the other X-Men films don't come close. It feels like a western, if Clint Eastwood had razor sharp claws. Somehow the darkest film in the franchise also has the biggest addition to the most disembowelments and dismemberments.

Loganresides in a class of transcendent superhero movies that includesThe Dark Knightand Into The Spider-Verse (2018),and that's not just ussaying so.

13. Deadpool 2 (2018)

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But why should we end with a downer? Especially when Deadpool 2 makes explicit references to the events of Logan — particularly the ending. Ergo, we can't putDeadpool 2 in front of Logan without spoiling the bejesus out of Logan;which is unfortunate, asthe latter certainly provides a more climatic wrap up for this generation of onscreen X-Men.

In superhero movie tradition, Deadpool 2 takes the elements of the first installment, squeezes in a whole bunch of additional stuff from the comics, and adds a new layer of time travel to its overarching narrative. It's a traditional sci-fi/action franchise sequel at its core, with zany, gooey globs of anti-traditionalism covering up its fundamental familiarity. Like the first Deadpool, boy does it ever give that wheel an interesting new paint job.It got slightly better reviews than its predecessor, made slightly less money; and perhaps most significantly, it led to Deadpool becoming the only character from TCF X-Men we think we might see on-screen next to Spider-Man and/or Rocket Raccoon and/or Captain Marvel in the foreseeable future.

Some fans might even tell you it's got the best post-credits scene since Nick Fury's premiere in Iron Man; it's a point we would not argue.

This Is The Right Order To Watch Every X-Men Movie - Looper (2024)


What order should I watch the X-Men and Wolverine movies in? ›

X-Men Movies in Release Order
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X-2 (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)
May 16, 2024

Should I watch X-Men movies in chronological order or release order? ›

If you're new to the X-Men movie franchise, you can choose to start with First Class and make your way through the timeline chronologically. However, if you want to experience the films how they were originally released to audiences, you'll want to start with X-Men (2000) where the series officially began.

How to watch X-Men correctly? ›

Chronological order:
  1. X-Men: First Class. ...
  2. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) (bulk of the film takes place before the events of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and after X-Men: First Class)
  3. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
  4. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
  5. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)
  6. X-Men (2000)
  7. X2: X-Men United (2003)
Jan 11, 2024

What comes after X-Men last stand? ›

The Wolverine (2013)

Set after the events of X-Men: The Last Stand, the film features Wolverine heading to Japan for a reunion with a soldier named Ichiro Yashida whose life he saved years before. Wolverine must defend the man's granddaughter Mariko Yashida from all manner of ninja and yakuza assassins.

How does the X-Men timeline work? ›

The Original X-Men Movie Timeline Runs From 8,000 BC To 2023

This timeline includes anything set before the divergence in X-Men: Days of Future Past, including the whole of X-Men: First Class, the first X-Men trilogy, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine.

What order should I watch the X Files movies in? ›

  • Watch The X-Files, seasons 1 – 5.
  • The first X-Files movie, simply titled X-Files, but now often referred to as X-Files: Fight the Future, takes place in-between seasons 5 and 6.
  • Watch season 6.
  • Start Season 7. ...
  • Watch Season 8.
  • Start Season 9. ...
  • Watch the second film, titled X-Files: I Want to Believe.
Jan 25, 2016

Who was the first mutant? ›

Namor. Namor is commonly referred to as "Marvel's first mutant." He may not be as old as ancients like Selene and Apocalypse, but he does have the distinction of being the first mutant character to actually appear in a comic book (1939's Marvel Comics #1, to be specific).

Should I watch X Men Origins Wolverine before first class? ›

Much of Origins: Wolverine takes place after First Class, but since Wolverine only appears for a few seconds in that film, if we're following his story particularly, it make more sense to tell his origin story first, then flash back, as it were, to see how Professor X formed his school before returning to Wolverine's ...

How is Wolverine alive in Deadpool 3? ›

It is due to the device Wolverine is alive in this movie while also staying dead in Logan.

How old is Wolverine? ›

According to X-Men Origins : Wolverine, James Howlett was born in 1832. That sets his age at a grand old 197 years in this last movie. However, this is his physical age. Mentally and emotionally, he's much older.

How to watch X-Men movies in order on Quora Reddit? ›

You can follow this sequence.
  1. X men origin Wolverine, 2009 film.
  2. X men First Class, 2011 film.
  3. X Men, 2000 film.
  4. X 2, 2003 film.
  5. X men The last Stand, 2006 film.
  6. The Wolverine, 2013 film.
  7. X men Days of future Past, 2014 film.
  8. X men Apocalypse, coming this year.
Apr 25, 2016

Is it better to watch X-Men in chronological order or order of release? ›

Best for: Our recommended viewing experience. By watching the X-Men movies in release order, newcomers get to experience the stories as everyone else did, plus it's simply much easier than attempting to make any kind of sense of the time-traveling and parallel universes.

What order does the X-Men trilogy go in? ›

How to watch the X-Men movies in order: by release date
  • X-Men (2000)
  • X2: X-Men United (US title) / X-Men 2 (UK title) (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)
Mar 22, 2024

How old was Logan in X-Men Last Stand? ›

At nearly 200 years old, Logan is finally starts to look his age since his healing abilities are slowing down, making his youth more temporary and his wounds more permanent. Logan spends his days caring for the ailing Professor X, whose powerful mind has become ill and dangerous.

Where does the Wolverine fit in the X Men timeline? ›

X-Men Origins: Wolverine focused on his early days before meeting the X-Men. The Wolverine took place in contemporary times, and dealt with the fallout of the events seen in the original X-Men trilogy. Logan took place in 2029, and (SPOILERS) ends with the death of Wolverine.

Should I watch Wolverine before X-Men? ›

Doing so would mean watching the X-Men original trilogy, then the prequel series, then the Wolverine movies, and finally Deadpool 1 & 2 and The New Mutants.

What comes before Wolverine and the X Men? ›

Pre-First Class: X-Men, X-2: X-Men United, X-3, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, The Wolverine, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Logan. Post-First Class: X-Men First Class, X-Men Days of Future Past, X-Men: Apocalypse, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Deadpool, Deadpool 2.

Is Logan in the same timeline as the X Men movies? ›

That effectively confirms that Logan takes place in its own timeline, separate from the events of the other X-Men films. It also opens the door to plenty of other cameos from X-Men characters who were believed dead not only in the upcoming Deadpool sequel but also in other MCU projects, including Avengers: Secret Wars.


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