Today In Superhero Movie History: The First X-MEN Movie Arrived In Theaters Twenty Years Ago

Today In Superhero Movie History: The First X-MEN Movie Arrived In Theaters Twenty Years Ago

2020 marks the 20th anniversary of X-Men, and it was two decades ago today that the Marvel movie first arrived in theaters. Here, we take a look at its legacy, and how it changed the superhero genre...

X-Men was released in theaters on July 14th, 2000, and it's fair to say that the movie served as a game-changer for the superhero genre. While Blade beat it to the punch, it was Bryan Singer's take on superheroes which made Hollywood sit up and realise that there was money to be made from comic book characters, and it deserves at least some of the credit for why Spider-Man finally got to swing on to the big screen.

Released to positive reviews (it holds a score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes, a website which didn't actually exist when X-Men was released) and an eventual box office haul of $296.3 million, it was a hit for 20th Century Fox, and created a new franchise which lasted right up until last year. 

Attempts to bring these characters to theaters had been made since 1984, and the script underwent rewrite after rewrite. Singer boarded the project in 1996, and further changes to the screenplay led to characters like Beast and Nightcrawler being scrapped at the last minute to address the studio's budget concerns. Hugh Jackman, meanwhile, was cast three weeks into filming after Dougray Scott dropped out to star in the Mission: Impossible sequel (a decision we're sure he regrets). During shooting, X-Men's impressive ensemble was banned from reading comic books, and Jackman has since said the cast treated them as contraband so they could get some insight into their respective characters. In terms of faithfulness to the source material, Singer's movie wasn't perfect, but it did get a lot right, and took a great deal of inspiration from the stellar animated series. 

For the most part, it was a fun ride, and whether it was the team's battle with Magneto at the top of the Statue of Liberty or Logan's budding friendship with Rogue, the heroes and villains are what really made X-Men shine (even if the likes of Sabretooth and Iceman were largely wasted). 

Since its release, there have been two sequels, a spinoff, a prequel, another spinoff, an "inbetweenquel," more prequels, and even a couple of Deadpool movies. The final fate of these heroes was even addressed in Logan, and while the franchise went out with a whimper thanks to Dark Phoenix, the rights to these characters are now in the hands of Marvel Studios. That's somewhat ironic considering it was X-Men where Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige got his start as an associate producer due to his knowledge of the source material.

Singer's legacy, however, isn't quite as easy to talk about as a series of damning allegations claiming he used his status as a filmmaker to abuse young boys has seemingly led to him being blacklisted in Hollywood.

Regardless, X-Men was definitely a game-changer, and it's easy to see why it's fondly remembered by a lot of fans two decades on. However, it's hard to escape the feeling that we won't get to see a truly astonishing take on these uncanny heroes and villains until they enter the Marvel Cinematic Universe... 

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