The X-Men characters are some of the most recognizable characters in comic book and film history. The films were largely responsible for the wave of superhero movies in the early 2000s that has continued to flourish. It’s likely that without the first X-Men movie, directed by Bryan Singer, the genre would look completely different today. But, since the X-Men universe hasn’t been as coherent as other cinematic universes, there are the occasional timeline plot holes that crop up. The problems mainly started to show when Fox began producing the prequel series of films.
With a whole new set of actors portraying the popular characters in their younger days, the continuity began to fall apart in places. Whilst some of these problems aren’t hugely glaring — they’re noticeable enough to be very annoying. It’s a shame since we’ve seen how good the X-Men franchise can be. Just look at the critical acclaim received by Deadpool and Logan. Although fans loved them for different reasons, the pair of films proved that Fox’s superhero team can have riveting adventures. With multiple versions of characters, several retcons and alternate timelines — the franchise has been anything but simple. Here are 15 things wrong with the X-Men movies that we all choose to ignore.
15. HOW OLD IS CYCLOPS AGAIN?
Yes, X-Men Origins: Wolverine was awful and not just for the titular character. Cyclops plays a minor part in the film, and it involves Sabretooth kidnapping the young mutant when he’s in high school. His powers are even sampled and given to Wade Wilson as the film’s (awful) version of Deadpool. But his age doesn’t really match up to the main trilogy.
If it takes place in the ‘70s, and Cyclops is a teenager, he should’ve been pushing 40 during the first X-Men film. Except, James Marsden was 27 when portraying the hero. Most recently, Tye Sheridan plays Scott Summers in Apocalypse and his age matches up closer to the Origins performance rather than the first X-Men films. It seems like the minds behind Origins didn’t quite think their choices through. To quote Deadpool, these timelines are so confusing.
14. WILLIAM STRYKER’S SEVERAL APPEARANCES
The X-Men franchise established early on in X2 that William Stryker had a hand in creating Wolverine, being the one who recruited him into the Weapon X program and bonding his skeleton with the adamantium. Brian Cox plays the menacing colonel in X2, but during X-Men: Origins, Danny Huston plays Stryker. Origins is set in the ‘70s, whilst X2 is set in the ‘not too distant future’.
But Huston is actually closer to Brian Cox’s age, and it gets even more confusing when a much younger actor plays Stryker during Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. Does this mean that X-Men: Origins is completely separate from the main X-Men continuity? Or does it just mean that they couldn’t decide which version of Stryker to stick with?
13. EVERYTHING ABOUT MYSTIQUE
So we know that William Stryker brought Wolverine into the Weapon X program, that’s for certain. Origins saw Logan enter the program willingly. But at the end of Days of Future Past — Mystique is in disguise as Stryker, kidnapping Wolverine. And although she could have freed Logan, we find out during Apocalypse that he still ended up in the program.
There’s no explanation whether she just took him straight to Weapon X with the rest of the military, or if something else happens in that space of time — we just have to fill in the gaps ourselves. It’s a shame because it’s a genuinely interesting ending to the film that just isn’t paid off. Plus, it could explain more of the chemistry between Logan and Mystique in later films.
12. TWO EMMA FROSTS
In the comics, Emma Frost, aka The White Queen, is an incredibly powerful telepath who can manipulate people to do her bidding. She’s been involved with the Hellfire Club and even become part of the X-Men. Part of her powers lets her skin become a hardened diamond. But there are two mutants in the X-Men films that show off this power.
First, in Origins, as Kayla’s sister, credited as “Emma”. However, Lauren Shuler Donner stated that the real version of the character appears in First Class. And although the First Class version seems to be closer to the comics (scantily clad appearance and everything), it’s obvious that Origins attempted to use the character first, and when going into the other prequels, they decided to retcon the idea.
11. THE BOLIVAR TRASKS
Aside from the fact that there are two different people playing Bolivar Trask in the X-Men franchise, Trask’s actions in the films seem to be radically different and confusing. During The Last Stand, Trask is a part of the military’s operation to capture Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. But during Days of Future Past, Bolivar is an inventor who creates robots to counteract the “mutant threat” including Magneto.
These Sentinels are built using no metal components, using only plastic. Given that it takes place in the ‘70s, how likely is it a scientist could build weaponized highly advance robots without using any metal? He’s then arrested at the end of the film, so how did he end up working with the military in The Last Stand?
10. PROFESSOR X’S DISABILITY
Origins is full of missteps and awkward character choices — another one of those is what they do with Professor X. He makes an appearance at the end of the film, rescuing all the mutants from the facility on Three Mile Island. It’s great that Patrick Stewart has a cameo, and it’s even fine that he’s walking, but when we get to First Class, we learn that Charles lost the use of his legs during the Cuban Missile Crisis as Magneto deflects a bullet fired by Moira.
Yes, we get that the film wanted to create tension and dramatic effect by showing Charles’ origin, but it’s as if the producers hadn’t watched the previous instalments and wondered how the audience and critics would feel about their choice.
9. PSYLOCKE IS POINTLESS
For fans going into X-Men: Apocalypse, Psylocke appearing as one of the villains of the movie was an exciting prospect. Seeing a live action Psylocke partnered with Apocalypse is something we never thought we’d see. So why doesn’t she fight more in the film? We see her have a couple of small fights in the climax of the film and that’s about it.
She doesn’t decide to join the rest of the X-Men in the final fight against the big bad, simply deciding to walk away. Why? If she believes in Apocalypse’s motives enough to fight with him and not join the X-Men, surely she’s allied with him enough to help fight when it really matters? There’s no explanation behind her motives at the end or whether we’ll see her in a bigger role in a future film. Disappointing.
8. HOW APOCALYPSE CONNECTS TO LOGAN…OR DOESN’T
X-Men: Apocalypse features a brilliant cameo from Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in a primal, animalistic state after the Weapon X program bonded him with adamantium. Logan ripped many soldiers to shreds and took plenty of hits himself — but this only put him in berserk mode.
At the end of the film, after the credits, men in black suits come and take samples of Logan’s blood left in the facility, sealing them away in a briefcase marked ‘Essex Corp’. This was meant to tease Mister Sinister appearing in a future X-Men film. But the film makers decided to scrap that idea and explain that this was the blood used to create Laura, aka X-23. Don’t get us wrong, we love Logan, but it seems like they backtracked on one idea simply to accommodate another Wolverine instalment.
7. THE CURIOUS CASE OF MOIRA MACTAGGERT
A key character during First Class, Moira MacTaggert was an agent in the CIA working with Charles Xavier and Hank McCoy to create the team of mutants to combat the missile crisis and Magneto. She’s also the romantic interest for Professor X, that is until he wipes her mind with a kiss of course. Who said romance was dead? She appears in Apocalypse and Charles continues a relationship with her.
He also restores the memories that he had supposedly wiped from her mind. That’s all well and good until you remember that Moira also appeared in The Last Stand looking relatively young and also, not as a CIA agent but as a geneticist. She’s also present when Charles wakes up in another man’s body…because obviously.
6. THOSE COMICS IN LOGAN
Okay, don’t go into a berserker rage like Wolverine, but we’re about to criticize Logan. Part of the story sees Laura hold onto an “X-Men” comic that leads her to Eden, a supposed safe place for mutants. It even has the right co-ordinates for the location as part of the comic book’s artwork. Logan tells Laura that half of it is fake and it all didn’t happen like that.
He says that as he’s flicking past all the costumes and the team saving each other in the story. Except, that’s exactly what happened. The X-Men were a team, they all wore costumes and on frequent occasion — they saved each other. Yes, Wolverine is a bitter and cynical man by this point, but is he also so lazy that he doesn’t want to see if the rest of it is true?
5. PROFESSOR X GETS HIS BODY BACK
This is one of the most annoying instances of a plot hole that we’ve ever seen. So towards the climax of The Last Stand, Professor X is disintegrated by Jean Grey when she loses control of her powers. It’s a heartbreaking scene for everyone involved — and since the character was a father figure to most of his students, it really hit home for audiences.
That was until the end of The Wolverine where he appeared to Wolverine in his original body. What? We know he transferred his brain into a comatose man, but the chances of him looking exactly the same are very thin. Unless this man was an identical twin — we don’t buy it. It takes the emotional scene from The Last Stand and rips it to shreds.
4. WOLVERINE’S MIND
So at the end of Origins, Wolverine is shot in the head by Stryker with adamantium bullets, and although it doesn’t kill him, it wipes his memories. Okay, fine. But when Wolverine is the one chosen to go back in time during Days of Future Past because his healing factor will help him survive the process — this brings up a question or two.
How is it that his mind can continuously heal then why didn’t the rest of his memories come back to him after Origins? Aside from that, we’re shown he has some atomic history during World War II in The Wolverine. Part of the story is that he vividly remembers being burnt alive by the atomic bomb. How can he remember those events taking place even though his mind was wiped by an adamantium bullet? That’s just silly.
The machine that allows Professor X to find any mutant in the world by expanding his telepathic powers is shown often in the X-Men franchise. It’s explained that the reason why Magneto wears that shiny helmet is so that Charles can’t read is mind or find him. But here’s an idea. Charles and the rest of the X-Men are well aware of the mutants that Magneto travels with.
In fact, Charles grew up with one of them (in the prequel films), he and Mystique were practically siblings. So why doesn’t he look for Mystique when trying to find the Master of Magnetism? It just seems like a logical step that the movies never seem to include given that Professor X is meant to be of genius intellect.
2. EVERYTHING ABOUT MYSTIQUE PART 2
Yes, we know that Jennifer Lawrence is one of the most popular actresses on the planet at the moment. Yes, we know you loved her in The Hunger Games. No, Mystique is not meant to be a hero. There are some comics that portray her in as an anti-hero, but primarily she’s a villain. They even make a plot point out of her planning an assassination of Bolivar Trask during Days of Future Past.
But at the end of Apocalypse she’s shown to be joining the team, giving a speech to the rest of the students about being an X-Man and becoming a hero, which seems hypocritical bearing in mind that she’s already killed people by this point. The writers putting her in a heroic role feels like an excuse to include more of Jennifer Lawrence in the current movies.
1. WOLVERINE’S CLAWS
Wolverine is one of the coolest characters in comic books. His metal claws and animal-like nature just struck a chord with many fans. A powerful moment during The Wolverine saw his adamantium claws cut off by the Silver Samurai, revealing his bone claws that regenerate, but the metal doesn’t. Okay, that’s kind of cool. Until the next film where his adamantium claws are back to normal with no explanation as to how they came back.
Sure, we can make all the assumptions about Magneto pulling the metal over his claws again. But it was never confirmed, and we just had to come up with our own conclusion. It’s an example of very lazy storytelling, and for a film about one of the most popular superheroes — that’s disappointing. It’s a good job Logan was heartbreakingly great.
Did we ignore any other X-Men movie plot holes? Let us know in the comments!
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