The X-Men film series consists of superhero films based on the Marvel Comics superhero team of the same name. The films star an ensemble cast, focusing on Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who is drawn into the conflict between Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart & James McAvoy) and Magneto (Ian McKellen & Michael Fassbender), who have opposing views on humanity's relationship with mutants. Xavier believes humanity and mutants can coexist, but Magneto believes that mutants are destined to rule humanity. The films also developed subplots based on the comics' Weapon X and Dark Phoenix storylines. 20th Century Fox earned the film rights to the characters in 1994, and after numerous drafts, Bryan Singer was hired to direct X-Men (2000) and returned for X2 (2003). He left a potential third and fourth film to direct Superman Returns, leaving Brett Ratner to direct X-Men: The Last Stand (2006). Critics praised Singer's films for their dark, realistic tone, and subtexts dealing with discrimination and intolerance, but Ratner's film was met with mixed reviews. Nonetheless, each film outgrossed its predecessor, and Fox developed two separate prequel trilogies. The first focuses on the violent past of Wolverine and currently consists of X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) and the upcoming stand-alone sequel The Wolverine (2013). The second trilogy focuses on the origins of the two teams: the X-Men and the Brotherhood of Mutants, launching with X-Men: First Class (2011) and set to continue with X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014). The X-Men films contributed to a reemergence of superhero films in the 2000s.
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