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Watch X-Men mutate itself from film to film as we look deeper into its genetics.

They are supposed to protect us, but we’re undoubtedly in the middle of a superhero attack at the moment. Film upon film is released to huge box office figures, but the whole ‘epidemic’ started with X-Men, in 2000. It wasn’t the first comic book film to ever grace cinemas, it wasn’t even the first comic book film to do well at the box office, but a new era of cool, commercially friendly superheroes was born with Bryan Singer at the helm. The film had takings of almost $300m globally and turned Hugh Jackman, a relatively unknown musical theatre actor, into a megastar. Three years later, a sequel was produced that surpassed its predecessor with a whopping $400m takings globally. Both films had been received well by critics and audiences and the non-farcical superhero film was presented to the film world as viable new moneymaker. The third film, The Last Stand, followed in 2006 and again beat its predecessors by taking over $450m globally. The film itself however was panned by critics and with a trilogy story arch somewhat complete the series and its main cast was left for the foreseeable future.

Instead, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, a spin off about the title character was released in 2009. The loss of reputation from the last instalment and lack of original cast members made this harder to sell to audiences which saw a diminished but still impressive taking of around $375m. Quickly on its heels in 2011 was a partial reboot of the original films in X-Men: First Class. The films focused on the early years of assembling the X-Men team with a new, young, fresh-faced cast playing the well-known characters. This was received extremely well by critics, but despite that the film generated just over $350m. That’s certainly not to be sniffed at, but it isn’t the growing income 20th Century Fox would have hoped for. In 2013 a second film based on the lead character of almost every X-Men film was released titled The Wolverine and this finally smashed the $400m barrier once again for the series taking a comfortable $414m globally. With the series strengthening and X-Men: Days of Future Past being anticipated by comic book, science fiction and action fans alike, the film looks set to continue this particular series trend of success.

In regard to stats, overall deaths increase from film to film with 3 (X-Men), 22 (X-Men 2), 26 (The Last Stand), 28 (Origins), 40 (First Class), until The Wolverine which dips the franchise down to 21, the second lowest to this point. This could be explained by a lack of obvious evil character murdering people left, right and center, unlike as Sabretooth did in Origins. First Class brings the death count much lower, to 6, but with everyone working together for most of the film, and the main villain, Sebastian Shaw keeping his distance until the end, there’s not much opportunity for a whole lot of deaths. Days of Future Past increases this slightly to 13, which is surprisingly in some ways, as the future war zone could have provided much bigger gruesome scenes, but chose to scale things down and focus on the earlier-set story which had very little serious head to head fighting.

The two main mutants, Professor X and Magneto, have their own competing superpowers (controlling metal and mind powers) and these are shown to change dramatically depending on the film. In the original trilogy of films Professor X is shown to use his mind powers 2, 3, and 3 times, and this can be put down to his screen time being used for his main role, as a mentor and leader to the X-Men. Neither he nor Magneto play a part in Origins or The Wolverine, leaving First Class to demonstrate his growing abilities 14 times as a young man. Days of Future Past sees Professor X shy away from his abilities for the majority of the film, and instead deal with an inner turmoil, and this causes us to witness only 6 uses of his power. This is still more than any other X-Men film, with the exception of First Class, and positions Professor X in more of an action role than seen in the original trilogy.

Magneto is in some ways the exact opposite, as he demonstrates his powers at almost every opportunity in the original trilogy, with a count of 14, 6 and 37 despite less screen time than the latter films. X-Men 2’s dip of 6 counts could be put down to his time spent in jail where he was unable to use his powers at all. The latter films see him develop much more as a character, so despite much more screen time the counts for First Class and Days of Future Past are 26 and 12.

The amount of times a goodie kills someone against how many times a baddie kills someone is shockingly different with goodies managing an overall franchise kill count of 46 compared to a whopping baddie kill count 110. A lack of faceless-henchman on the baddie side meant only real characters could die by the powers of the good guys whereas the baddies happily kill soldiers, guards and politicians throughout most of the films. Having said that, First Class claims an incredible 49 of the baddie kills and shows that the big action blockbuster meant business at providing strong villains.

The X-Men franchise continues on as an enduring part of the superhero selection, and with its recent First Class reinvention and potentially endless spin-off character films this franchise likely has more life in it than most. What’s uncertain is whether the films can keep to the mostly (I’m looking at you, The Last Stand) high standards of the franchise so far. With spin-offs being directed and lead by new people the films will become less dynamic and could start to lose their quality. If that wasn’t a problem, the fact that we’ve had four X-Men films in five years (2009-2014) and counting, the need for these films could become saturated. With all that said, Days of Future Past was a fantastic next part, and as a seventh film in the franchise gives me high hopes for the coming years. Long live X-Men!

What we learnt from...


Don’t mess with a skinhead, especially if they’re a Professor
A helmet and a cape can really help your badass look
The mass genocide of mutants and humans are both wrong
Too much iron in the blood can kill
Diplomats can be blue, and they can still kick ass
Repressing the thoughts of the most powerful being on the planet is a good move
You should never have to change for anyone else. Be who you are.
Don’t ever trust scientists
Metal beats bone
Always follow your instincts
Killing someone you love is a tough break
Wolverine is the only interesting character to validate spin off movies… apparently
Having your bones covered in indestructible metal isn’t the worst thing that can happen
Never ever open your heart to anyone if you’re immortal or have people who may want you dead.
Don’t save people during a nuclear attack, they may not be kind to you in the future
If immortal, be careful whom you sleep with. Your good friend's granddaughter will look hot eventually…
Blue is beautiful. So are scales.
Quicksilver will take his time, because his time is so much longer than yours.
The Pentagon only has about 8 guards.
Sleep > mind powers > nightmares