15 Baffling Questions Raised By The X-Men Movies
Despite common Hollywood logic saying that it's due for about three complete reboots by now, the X-Men series (started in 2000, basically the Middle Ages) has chugged along with the same interconnected universe. But unlike the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which had the strong leadership of its producers to prevent it from crumbling into a pile of plot holes, the X-Men series has been held together by duct tape and hope. As a result, over the course of 19 years and 11 movies, we've built up a pile of weird, unanswerable questions due to a total lack of continuity from one film to the next. For example ...
Does Mystique Age At All?
Of course, Mystique can make herself look whatever age she wants, but does she actually age? And if so, does her natural blue form ever show it? In First Class, she's played by a 20-year-old Jennifer Lawrence. And in X-Men, which takes place a few decades later, her blue form is played by ... a 28-year-old Rebecca Romijn.
Will she die of old age some day, still looking like a runway model? Does she feel pressured by society to subtly use her powers to keep even her blue self looking under 30 forever? Does a naturally aging Magneto ever worry that she apparently feels the need to keep up this facade even when she's alone with him in private?
Why Doesn't Professor X Already Know Wolverine In The First Film?
Look, I know that the original X-Men would be pretty alienating to non-comic fans if it was just a montage of the mutants talking about how they used to be friends and go to Denny's together, but are now mortal enemies. And I know that it's tough to go back and watch the original when the sequels have clumsily retrofitted it with tons of backstory. But the writers of X-Men: First Class want us to believe that Xavier researched and traveled around the world to find Wolverine, even though they're complete strangers in the first X-Men.
This is what I'm talking about when I say that the franchise lacked strong, consistent leadership. It's like if Captain Marvel included a scene in which Iron Man and Captain America play putt-putt, but are still supposed to not recognize each other in the first Avengers.
And Why Doesn't Sabretooth Recognize Him?
In the first X-Men, Sabretooth (basically Wolverine if he took his gimmick more literally) is played by former pro wrestler and future Michael Myers Tyler Mane. He doesn't really talk much, but you'd think he'd be able to at least sputter a "Hey, it's you! The half-brother I hung out with for, like, a century!" when he meets up with Logan, as had been retroactively established in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
Since Wolverine lost his memory at the end of Origins, it makes sense that he doesn't immediately start the family reunion. And I understand that even if he knew who Sabretooth was, he'd need some time to adjust, because Tyler Mane is about six inches taller and has about 30 pounds more fur than the guy who played his character in Origins, Liev Schreiber. But Sabretooth didn't lose his memory, so the blood feud should be more intense than "You gotta fight this guy, Wolverine, because you both have similar melee tactics." It's almost as if the makers of the prequel didn't bother watching the original to make sure they didn't break continuity. Were they assuming that we wouldn't ever go back and watch it either?
Why Doesn't Cyclops Ever Mention His Older Brother?
The X-Men prequel series introduces Cyclops' older brother Havok (spelled with a "k," because Mortal Kombat logic dictates that it's kooler that way). He's in First Class, Days Of Future Past, and Apocalypse, which means he exists in both the timeline of the original trilogy and whatever happens after the past got all mussed up in Days Of Future Past. He dies in Apocalypse, leaving his little brother Cyclops alone to, umm, shoot lasers mournfully in the night or something.
But wait, this would mean that since he doesn't show up in the original trilogy, he'd have died earlier in that timeline too, right? Why doesn't Cyclops ever mention this? But more importantly, can't Cyclops catch a break? Maybe that's why he's so mad at everyone -- not because Wolverine is flirting with his girlfriend, but because he can't exist in a universe without his older brother dying horribly.
Just How Old Is William Stryker?
William Stryker is the self-serious asshole who leads the Weapon X program, which created both Wolverine and Less-Good Deadpool. He's the main villain in X2, storming Xavier's school and being played by a surprisingly spry Brain Cox. And I say "surprisingly" not because Brian Cox isn't a nimble theater imp, but because his character is old as hell. See, in Origins, which mostly takes place in 1979, he's played by a 47-year-old Danny Huston. This would make him, fuck, somewhere in his 70s in X2.
But then again, in Days Of Future Past, where the past past (as opposed to the future past) is 1973, Stryker is played by Josh Helman, who was in his late 20s at the time. So that would put him in his 50s around X2. That's a 20-year difference, and while to younger people, both ages probably seem amazingly, unknowably old, the body does A LOT of dying between 55 and 75.
Why Was The Cure From The Last Stand So Useless?
A big plot point in The Last Stand is that there's now a cure for the mutant gene. You can get an injection, and suddenly your blue fur is gone! But it turns out the effects are temporary, which kind of defeats the whole point. Rogue gets the cure, but in the future (past) section of Days Of Future Past, which happens in the same timeline, she has her powers back.
Hell, at the end of The Last Stand, Magneto, who has lost his powers, seems to already be making a recovery. Did scientists not test the cure to see if it would last longer than a few days? It's not really a cure as much as it's a vacation from your lasers.
Does The Wolverine Still Matter Anymore?
One of the main plot points of The Wolverine is that Logan is sad. He's still dealing with the events of The Last Stand, where, to save humanity, he had to stab his love Jean Grey to death. He still sees her in visions and stuff, which is superhero movie shorthand for "This MEANS something." But in Days Of Future Past, where the timeline is altered so that The Last Stand never happens and Jean Grey lives, does The Wolverine still happen?
I know that we made a big deal about DOFP wiping Last Stand from the series, but did it also eliminate The Wolverine, an actual decent movie that happened right before it? Or is it still there, but lacking the Jean Grey emotional core? Is it just Wolverine happily fighting samurai robots? I mean, I'd still watch it, but I just thought I'd ask.
What Happened To Wolverine's Partner From The Wolverine?
After Wolverine defeats the Silver Samurai, he decides to leave Japan. Yukio, the woman who's been saving his ass the whole movie, goes with him and appoints herself his bodyguard. They fly off into the sunset, presumably to punch all around the globe.
But then in the mid-credits scene, Logan returns to the U.S. Yukio-less. She never shows up in any of the other main X-Men films (though a different version of her is in Deadpool 2). So I guess she ... died? She probably didn't return to Japan, since her whole family was revealed to be evil and were slain, but no one ever even hints that she might be anything other than six feet under.
When Did Xavier Come Back To Life?
Jean Grey, now wielding a power that 1) She can't really control, and 2) Makes her eeeeevil, disintegrates Professor X in The Last Stand. It's a sad scene that's juxtaposed with a rad one where Wolverine gets his " Save Bandit!" moment when Juggernaut tosses him into the ceiling, only for him to fall through a different part of the ceiling. But enough about the one moment that makes The Last Stand worth watching. How does Xavier come back to life, presumably in the same body by the time The Wolverine and Days Of Future Past happen?
At the end of The Wolverine, Xavier shows back up looking like his old self, with all of his atoms intact and everything. This is weird, considering that at the end of The Last Stand, he'd transferred his consciousness into a different body. Did he get plastic surgery to look like his old self? Did he hold up a picture of Captain Picard to a surgeon and say, "This. Specifically THIS"?
He says to Wolverine "You're not the only one with gifts," and it's meant to be a neat callback to the first film, but it doesn't mean anything. They're all mutants. They all have gifts! Why not just say, "Well, I can't die!" and save yourself from all the questions that you know you're gonna get from Hugh Jackman on the plane ride home?
Why Is Wolverine So Surprised To Have Bone Claws Again?
In The Wolverine, Logan gets his metal claws broken off. He then regenerates his bone claws, because he's awesome. But when he gets sent back in time in Days Of Future Past (and his consciousness goes into his pre-metal, pre-Weapon X body), he has a little "Huh?" moment when he extends his bone claws for the first time.
Did he not get used to having bone claws between Wolverine and DOFP? Speaking of which, what was up with him having his metal claws back before he time-traveled? Who did that for him? My only guess is Magneto, but I can't imagine Wolverine being happy with the dude that spent the original X-Men trilogy tossing him around now performing intensive surgery on him.
How Does Mystique Do Such A Terrible Job Of Saving Wolverine?
At the end of the "past" portion of Days Of Future Past, Wolverine is discovered by William Stryker, hinting that he's gonna have to go through the torturous Weapon X program no matter what timeline he's in. But then Stryker's eyes flash yellow, a sign that it's secretly Mystique under all that dude. She's gonna save him! Even the director said that this continued Mystique's arc of helping people. But if that's the case, why is she so bad at it?
After all, in Apocalypse, Wolverine is being tortured by the real Stryker anyway. Did she save Wolverine, only to then somehow just kinda lose him at the mail? Why is every important twist in this franchise rendered meaningless by the next movie?
Did Magneto Die In Days Of Future Past?
Ian McKellen plays an older, even sadder Magneto in Days Of Future Past, one who now regrets his past squabbles with Xavier and teams up with him for the greater mutant good. But he gets hit by some Sentinel shrapnel and apparently dies offscreen. Not a great sendoff for the most accomplished actor the franchise has ever nabbed.
But wait, he doesn't show up in the alternate future created in DOFP either, nor is he in Logan. So did he kick the bucket before the events of those two things too? Did Sir Ian McKellen get killed offscreen twice in the same goddamn movie? Since he was never asked to come back to the series, I guess he was. Get it together, X-Men.
When Did X-Men Comics Become So Popular?
In Logan, set in a time after most of the X-Men have died off, we see that the X-Men weren't just a secretive team of people with special powers; they were also the heroes of a popular comic book series! And yeah, this brings up themes about how we create legends and how life and pop culture inevitably intertwine, but it also raises a question: When was this a thing?
When did the X-Men's lives get outed to the extent that a whole comic book series was being written about them (a series that Logan implies is partially true)? I don't doubt that they'd become popular characters, seeing as their magnificent, explodey exploits go public at the end of every movie, and kids would eat that shit up. I just wonder when. After the big brawl in Washington, D.C. inDays Of Future Past? In the six years betweenDOFP's alternateLast Stand-less 2023 and 2029'sLogan? If it's in that last era, I'm envious of how well their comic book industry is doing.
Is The Premise Of Logan Actually Bullshit?
The setup of Logan is that no new mutants have been born in the last 25 years. Logan takes place in 2029, which means that none were born after 2004. But the alternate 2023 future created by Days Of Future Past (which Logan supposedly follows) says otherwise, as there are plenty of kids and preteens walking around Xavier's school. Maybe Logan is just all on its lonesome in yet another alternate timeline? Or maybe all mutants have a Mystique thing going on, where they look nine when they're actually 19?
Why Is It Like This?
Why, at the beginning of the third film, The Last Stand, do things seem to start falling apart? Well, I do have answers for that, as you'll find that the two films that most fuck over the timeline (The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine) didn't exactly have smooth conceptions.
See, less than a year before The Last Stand was supposed to come out, the director got replaced during pre-production. This came after the writers had battled the producers over what the main plot points of the movie were even supposed to be, and considering that 20th Century Fox was already planning on Origins: Wolverine, they had to work around what ( and who) the producers wanted to put in that movie.
However, despite it being so important that it messed up an entirely different movie, no one had a handle on Origins either. Its screenplay wasn't even finished by the time they started filming, and there was a battle between the director and the studio over the themes of the movie. Also, the reason that Deadpool feels like such a half-assed inclusion is that he's basically there due to his own spinoff failing to launch. Problems got so bad that they literally had to fly in famed director of Superman and Lethal Weapon (and husband to the producer) Richard Donner to settle tensions and make sure that the director didn't get replaced.
So if you're wondering why Days Of Future Past was so eager to eliminate two whole movies from the series' timeline, it's because 1) They were terrible and just confused things, and 2) Not even the people working behind the scenes wanted to remember that shit. Never forget, kids: Making a cinematic universe that doesn't devolve into nonsense is really hard.
Daniel Dockery is a writer and editor for Cracked. He has a Twitter and a very solid, very perfect ranking of the X-Men films.
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