The X-Men Movies in Order: How to Watch Them By Release Date

15 May 2024

Few franchises are as confusing as the X-Men franchise, but that doesn’t take away from how amazing the movies are (most of them anyway).

The series has been going on since 2000, and most of their movies aren’t numbered, so it can be hard to know where to start or what entry comes next. So, to help with that, here are the X-men movies in order of release date.

P.S. This list will only cover the core X-Men movies to make it less confusing for beginners. This means that only the movies that drive the main plot further will be included. So, the Deadpool movies, the New Mutants, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and Logan won’t be included.

The X-Men Movies in Order

  1. X-Men
  2. X2
  3. X-Men: The Last Stand
  4. X-Men: First Class
  5. The Wolverine
  6. X-Men: Days of Future Past
  7. X-Men Apocalypse
  8. Dark Phoenix

1. X-Men (2000)

The X-Men had been popular for decades, especially in the 90s, and it culminated with them getting their first Hollywood movie in 2000. It starred a fairly unknown Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and seasoned acting veterans Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan as Professor Xavier and Magneto.

Through fate, the lonely wanderer Wolverine finds himself joining the X-Men and becoming a reluctant hero. There, he’ll team up with other heroes such as Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey.

2. X2 (2003)

Mutant distrust is at an all-time high after a mutant attacks the White House, and unfortunately, the X-Men are caught in the crossfire. The main person leading the crusade against mutants is Colonel William Stryker, and he won’t stop until they’re all dead and buried. Separated and with their backs against the wall, the X-Men will have to turn to an old foe if they want to take down Stryker.

But even though he hates mutants, Stryker seemingly has a past with them, specifically, with Wolverine. As the X-Men and Magneto work together to take down the Colonel, Wolverine has his own side mission: to discover how he and Stryker are connected.

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

News breaks out that there is a serum that can take away one’s mutant powers, which, of course, catches the attention of all mutants, including Professor Xavier and his school of mutants, and Magneto and his Brotherhood of Mutants. Although the serum is optional for any mutant who wants it, Magneto and his Brotherhood are certain that this is only the beginning. That in the near future, mutants will be forced to take it.

Lines are drawn within the mutant community, and they go to war with each other. In the middle of all this is a mutant child. He has the power to take away other mutants’ powers, and it was because of him that the serum was able to be made. As long as he’s alive, the serum will always be available, and so the X-Men take a last stand to protect him against Magneto.

4. X-Men: First Class (2011)

Although we had seen the X-Men in three different movies before, we still didn’t know a ton about them such as how they were formed, why, and how Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr came to know each other. Well, X-Men: First Class answers all of those questions and some that you didn't even know you had.

The first iteration of the X-Men come together to take down former Nazi Sebastian Shaw as he pulls the strings of the U.S. and the Soviet Union. His ultimate goal is for both countries to wage nuclear war against one another. Charles, Erik, and their rag-tag team of mutants do everything they can to stop him.

5. The Wolverine (2013)

You might be wondering why the first and third Wolverine movies aren’t included on this list but the second one in the trilogy is. I know; it’s kind of a confusing thing to do. However, the other two movies can be watched in a vacuum; they give more insight into the Wolverine character, but they don’t necessarily have much to do with the X-Men team itself.

The Wolverine movie is special in that it directly deals with the aftermath of X-Men: The Last Stand. And on top of that, it leads right into Days of Future Past.

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

The past and present clash in Days of Future Past.

After everything they have fought for, the X-Men have failed, and their worst nightmare has come true. Mutants are persecuted, hunted down, and killed by robots called sentinels. It is a grim, apocalyptic time, but not all is lost. They have one shot to make things right, and the only man right for the job is Wolverine.

He gets sent back in time to the 70s to stop the sentinels from ever being created. There, he’ll meet up with the younger versions of Professor Xavier, Magneto, Beast, and more as they fight to prevent that ugly future from happening.

7. X-Men Apocalypse (2016)

The X-Men have saved the world from the Sentinels, but a new threat emerges. Maybe new isn’t the right word considering this person is from ancient Egypt. We’re talking about Apocalypse, one of the first mutants ever. He has awakened in the present, but he’s disappointed in the modern world and plans to restructure it in his image.

It’s up to the X-Men to stop him, and who’s a part of the line-up? It’s a mix between veterans such as Beast and Raven along with newcomers Jean Grey, Cyclops, and Quicksilver.

8. X-Men: Dark Phoenix (2019)

Jean Grey has always been one of the strongest X-Men, so it’s a good thing she’s on our side. However, after a mission goes awry, she awakens the Phoenix Force within her. With Jean becoming even stronger than she already was, it’s up to the X-Men to not only protect her from herself but from others such as Magneto.

Technically, this isn’t the final film in the franchise as The New Mutants was released a year later, but that could be watched in a vacuum. Dark Phoenix can be considered the true ending to Fox’s X-Men film series.

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