1. Wolverine joins the X-Men (X-Men, 2000)
We’re in the near future, where genetic mutations have led to a minority of the population being born with supernatural powers. (Sounds cool, right?).
Mutant Wolverine/Logan hangs out on the roads of Alberta, Canada. (Yeah, everyone has two names in this. Sorry.) He heals rapidly and has retractable blades in his fists. Yes, they look painful. Also worth noting: He’s got a wicked haircut.
He’s picked up by Professor X/Charles Xavier, who runs a school for gifted children (i.e., mutants), and a team of mutant superheroes called the X-Men. They have a secret base and a stealth plane and everything. Nonetheless, Wolverine is pretty dubious about the whole thing - especially the cheesy costumes.
2. Stopping Magneto’s Evil and Misguided Plan to turn all Humans into Mutants (X-Men, 2000)
But hey, it’s not all fun and games. Politicians are looking to pass an act to force mutants to register with the government. Magneto/Erik, who can manipulate metal, is not amused. His experience in a concentration camp during WWII has left him wary of state intervention. Who said X-Men wasn’t deep?
Though, to be fair, Magneto’s methods aren’t so great. His plan? To create a machine which turns humans into mutants. That way, everyone likes mutants, right? Um, no.
He’s helped by long-time associate and shape-shifter Mystique/Raven.
Thankfully, the X-Men team (Storm/Ororo, Phoenix/Jean Grey and Cyclops/Scott, alongside Wolverine) put an end to his nonsense.
3. Stopping Colonel William Stryker's Evil and Misguided Plan to kill all Mutants (X2, 2003)
Wolverine has a bit of a problem with his memory. He woke up fifteen years ago not knowing who he was, or remembering anything from his past.
It was all the work of the devilish Colonel William Stryker (a human), who was experimenting on him. Stryker really, really doesn’t like mutants. And in X2, he’s come back to kidnap and drug Charles Xavier to try to force him to kill all mutants with his telepathic powers.
Without their leader, the X-Men are forced to team up with Magneto and Mystique.
And it works! Though at the last minute, Magneto goes against the script and tries to get Charles Xavier to kill all humans instead. Really not cool.
His attempt is foiled, but Jean Grey sacrifices herself to save everyone else. Wolverine and Cyclops both had a bit of a crush on her, so they’re totally heartbroken and stare wistfully into the distance. A lot.
4. Deciding how to feel about the ‘cure’ for mutations (X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006)
In X-Men: The Last Stand, a company discovers a ‘cure’ for the mutant gene. Any mutant can now be turned human, permanently, with a simple injection.
Is that a good thing? A bad thing? A bit of both? The X-Men can’t really decide. And fair enough, it’s a tough one. Some mutants want to have normal lives. Others are happy just as they are.
You don’t need to guess who hates the idea though: Yup, it’s Magneto. He recruits other mutants to mount an attack on the lab offering the cure.
5. Stopping the rise of the Dark Phoenix (X-Men: The Last Stand, 2006)
Being an X-Men involves a lot of stopping bad stuff.
Remember how Jean Grey died to save everyone else in the last film? Well, she didn’t. Instead, she mutated further and is now controlled by a different personality called the Dark Phoenix. It’s really creepy.
The Dark Phoenix kills Cyclops (!) then Charles Xavier (!!), and then, for good measure, teams up with Magneto to stop the mutant cure from being handed out.
In the battle against #TeamMagneto, Wolverine manages to defeat Jean at last. Meanwhile, Magneto himself is injected with the cure, and loses all his powers. It makes him super grumpy.
6. Finding out who Wolverine Is (X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 2009)
It’s time at last to find out where our favourite X-Man comes from. From 1845 onwards, Wolverine and his brother Sabretooth/Victor (also a mutant) fight in lots of wars (neither of them age) - until William Stryker recruits them in the 1970s for a special mutant army team. Yes, that’s the bad guy from X2.
It’s fun hanging out with other mutants - until Wolverine realises that Stryker is actually not such a nice guy and then takes off.
Sabretooth is disappointed, so he kills Wolverine’s girlfriend Kayla. In order to get revenge, Wolverine allows Stryker to reinforce his skeleton with the super strong metal adamantium. But then it turns out that Victor, Stryker and Kayla were working together - they just wanted to test the metal on Wolverine.
Wolverine manages to escape, but gets shot with an adamantium bullet, which makes him forget everything.
7. Assembling the X-Men (X-Men: First Class, 2011)
This is where the X-Men prequels begin.
X-Men: First Class is set in the 1960s. Charles Xavier, Mystique and Magneto (who back in the day, was an alright guy) team up against the evil Klaus Schmidt/Sebastian Shaw to foil his plan of starting a WWIII by means of the Cuban Missile Crisis.
After the fight (which obvs, they win), Xavier and Magneto’s friendship crumbles. Xavier wants mutants and humans to live peacefully side-by-side. Magneto doesn’t agree, and Mystique joins his ranks.
8. Wolverine gets over his heartbreak (The Wolverine, 2013)
Back in the present day, Wolverine is nursing his grief (over Jean’s death in The Last Stand) by camping out in the forest and not shaving. That is until his old friend Ichirō Yashida, who is on his deathbed, invites him to Japan. This doesn’t really make sense because they met in 1945 and Wolverine can’t remember that far back, but okay. We’ll go with it.
It turns out his friend wasn’t so nice after all - he wants Wolverine to transfer his healing power to him. Wolverine says no, but Yashida tries to steal it anyway. That doesn’t work out too well. For Yashida, we mean.
9. (Not) explaining why everyone is alive and well again (The Wolverine, 2013)
We’re still in the present day. Charles Xavier is no longer with us and Magneto has lost his powers, right? That’s what happened.
Wrong. Magneto can use his ability again (that cure in The Last Stand didn’t work so well after all) and Charles Xavier is um, not dead. We’re not sure why, but we see them both in the post-credits scene of The Wolverine, warning Logan that dark forces are at bay.
10. Reversing the End of the World (X-Men: Days of Future Past, 2014)
In the present day, the world is being obliterated by Sentinels, a weapon system which adapts to mutants as it fights them. The X-Men and Magneto decide to send Wolverine’s consciousness back to 1973 to prevent the weapons from ever being created.
Upon arrival, Wolverine enlists the help of the younger Charles Xavier, who is having a bit of an early mid-life crisis, and of the younger Magneto. Together, they manage to put a stop to the development of the weapons programme. This mainly involves preventing Mystique from doing mischief.
When Wolverine wakes up in the present day again (now in an alternative timeline, because he’s changed the past, right?) everyone’s alive and well: Jean Grey, Cyclops, Charles Xavier, along with the rest of the crew.
11. Convincing Deadpool to join the ranks (Deadpool, 2016)
Okay, this is a spinoff, but Deadpool is firmly part of the X-Men series. In this one, our hero enlists two mutants to help him take revenge on the man who experimented on him and kidnapped his girlfriend. We love Deadpool’s irreverent style and how he pokes fun at the rest of the series. Will he join the team, as promised? We look forward to finding out.
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