X-Men Plot Synopsis
X-Men depicts a world where an unknown number of people have evolved into mutants. Their possession of superhuman powers have caused humanity to distrust them, leading to a political bill being passed in Congress.
Runaways Wolverine and Rogue are thrust into the middle of this conflict, as two distinctly different Mutant groups remain fractured over how best to rationale with humanity. Xavier’s X-Men and Magneto’s Brotherhood of Mutants threaten to clash and if that happens, who will come out on top?
Why does Magneto hate humanity?
Eric Lehnsherr has seen the worst in humanity, having lived through Nazi-occupied Poland in 1944, where we start our movie. During this excellent introduction, we see a young Eric separated from his parents at the entrance into Auschwitz concentration camp.
With them marched on to their death, Eric’s powers manifest and he’s restrained by four men who struggle to contain his power. With twisted, gnarled metal gates, it not only symbolizes the cruel, twisted nature of the Nazis, it also foreshadows what’s to come later on in the movie.
Fast forward to present day (or 2000 in this case) and humanity is still “fearing what it doesn’t understand”. Specifically, this comes in the form of US Senator Robert Kelly, who wants to pass a Mutant Registration Act. This would essentially force all mutants into revealing their identities and abilities.
Much like the stamps in Auschwitz and other concentration camps, Eric sees this as another method of controlling and branding them all like cattle, and decides to form his Brotherhood to fight back.
What is Magneto’s plan?
Magneto’s plan is actually pretty clever when you think over the logistics of what he’s trying to do. With Robert Kelly running the show, he’s the orchestrator for a big UN Summit due to go ahead in the near future.
All the big leaders will be there, intending to vote on a litany of different issues, including global warming and that aforementioned Mutant Registration Act.
Eric intends to use a special machine to project out a shockwave that forces humans to take on mutant genes, effectively “speeding up evolution” and bringing more “brothers” to Eric’s cause. He intends to hit the most powerful people on the planet with this shockwave, turning them all to his cause in one fell swoop.
What happens to the senator? Does he die?
Magneto uses the talents of shape-shifting mutant Mystique to dupe the senator into willingly flying over to his base of operations, on a secluded island off the main coast.
With Kelly knocked out, tied up and left to the mercy of Magneto, Eric tests his mutant-turning machine on the Senator as an experiment.
In his cell, the Senator’s powers manifest, changing his physical state to liquid. After escaping (much to Magneto’s disdain) he washes up on shore, where he ironically heads over to Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted, looking for help. However, he dies as the cells in his body reject the mutation.
What does Magneto want with Rogue?
Early on in the movie we meet Rogue, who has the power to take people’s lifeforce just by touching them. On the run, she ends up in Canada where she stumbles upon Wolverine (Logan), a hardened mutant fighting in cage matches to make ends meet.
Eventually the pair cross paths and end up at Xavier’s school. Although sceptical to begin with, Logan soon realizes that Xavier genuinely wants to help people and stops Rogue from running away, following an earlier incident where she took his life-force to heal her wounds.
Anyway, Magneto appears and takes Rogue, intending to use her to power up his machine. Given using this machine with Kelly nearly killed Magneto, Logan and the others realize Magneto is going to transfer his powers to Rogue, killing her but seeing his plan through all the same.
Do the X-Men manage to save the day?
With Charles Xavier out of commission thanks to Mystique sabotaging Cerebro, Storm, Cyclops and Wolverine all show up at Liberty Island to stop Magneto and his cronies. Storm kills Toad, Magneto’s associate, while Wolverine kills Sabretooth. He also leaves Mystique for dead too after outsmarting her in the main lobby.
Wolverine confronts and distracts Magneto while Cyclops manages to blast him down, allowing Logan to stop the machine, which has already started to work. Thankfully destroys it just before the shockwave hits the island. Unfortunately, Rogue is in a rough way and she’s left unconscious.
Does Rogue die?
With all hope lost, Logan removes his glove and touches Rogue’s face, holding her tight and intending to transfer his powers across to her. As we saw earlier in the movie, this had been foreshadowed through her healing a fatal stab wound (caused by Wolverine himself.)
Rogue regains consciousness, uses Wolverine’s healing abilities and manages to rejuvenate herself. However, it also puts Wolverine into a coma. Rogue survives, while Logan eventually awakens at Charles’ School several days later.
Does Wolverine get the answers he’s seeking?
Throughout the film, we see Wolverine wrestling with the ghosts of his past. Specifically, we see flashes the experiments that were conducted on him.
His entire body has been grafted with adamantium, a nearly indestructible metal. This is something we learn more about in X-Men 2 but for now, Wolverine is given the coordinates for an abandoned military installation in Canada which could well hold the answers he sees.
Wolverine takes Scott’s motorcycle – a recurring joke in the movie – and takes off after saying goodbye to Rogue. He leaves her his dog-tags though. That’s a pretty symbolic act, given the first thing Rogue asks him about in the movie is his time in the military, sparking up a conversation through this.
How does X-Men set up X-2? How does the film end?
X-Men ends with Mystique escaping from Liberty Island and impersonating Senator Kelly. He tells the audience he’s done a 180 on his ideas around mutant reform, and apologizes to the masses. The X-Men realize pretty quickly that this is Mystique, and that this fight is not over yet.
However, Magneto is imprisoned in a carefully constructed plastic prison, where he’s visited by Xavier. Magneto warns that he’ll escape one day, scoffing at Xavier’s continued pursuit of hope. Xavier promises to fight him every step before leaving.
Interestingly, there’s also a moment earlier in the movie that hints toward key points of X-2’s plot as well. Not only the events involving Wolverine’s past but when Kelly mentions a mutant “that’s so powerful they can control your thoughts” many would allude that this was a direct reference to Charles Xavier.
However, in X-2 we learn that there are far more deadly enemies out there that can wield this power. But that’s a discussion for the next movie!
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