I had heard that they wrote Cyclops' death scene AFTER he signed on to Superman, and he was just contractually obligated to do it. Which is shitty. Almost as shitty as rushing X3 into production to beat Superman to the punch despite a completely compromised product.
Anyway, as a HUGE X-Men fan, the movies really did a number on me. The first one was... ok. I loved how they got real actors to play Xavier and Magneto, giving that conflict some serious weight. The plot, involving that super mutant-transforming machine, just doesn't make a whole lot of sense and seems like a poor mix for the series' grounded approach, but the stuff with Senator Kelly transforming, and then melting, seems eerie and very sci-fi-ish - wish future comic book adaptations took notes from this and tried to embrace their sci-fi origins, instead of establishing a boring superhero template.
Second one had some fantastic set pieces, and Cox was great, but I had become increasingly bummed that they had eliminated the colorful ethnicity of the characters. McKellan's Magneto seemed less like a German Jew and more like a British Mastermind, while Pyro's Aussie roots were scrubbed in favor of the antagonistic character arc (good move, probably) and Colossus just became Generic Action Strongman (boo). Add to that the complete avoidance of Storm's roots (and Berry's apathetic performance), and I just thought that, while the economy of the movie is impressive, they removed a lot of the most interesting aspects of the characters to make it work. Not a great adaptation. Near-great movie, though. And Wolverine's fight against the soldiers was IMPRESSIVE.
Third one? Borderline ghastly. A big fuck you to Cyclops, who interests me not only because of his innate struggle to live up to Xavier's ideals but also because, within the mythos, he's a pivotal legacy character. And then they had to turn Wolverine into a den mother, which, honorably, completes a character arc within the films, but also just makes him less interesting and more Standard Issue Action Hero. The third movie also finally FIRMLY puts me in Magneto's camp - I mean, the government is weaponizing a mutant "cure." Yeah, I think you kinda need to seriously fight back in that case. I just think it's such a punk move that the X-Men are so anti-cure, and then at the end they USE it on Magneto. How "heroic." I mean, once Magneto shows up at that dinky rec center where the mutants are meeting (which I thought was somewhat plausible, as far as Morlock-type mutants upset with the government) and he's like, No ink shall ever touch this skin again, and talks about how genocides just HAPPEN without warning, then he has a real viewpoint compared to the X-Men. Politically, I am PRO-Magneto.
It's too bad that third one has to be so misogynist. In addition to Mystique selling out the Brotherhood (with the president pointlessly saying "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned"), there's Rogue feeling the need to change herself simply because Iceman is straying with Kitty (nice message to the girls in the audience) and Storm's righteous indignation about the cure being sublimated as she is denied a chance to lead the X-Men into battle, despite having seniority over Wolverine. And that's neglecting the idea that the action just BLOWS. The wirework is awful. The staging is messy and the fights almost do nothing to advance the plot. And for the sake of practicality, the final battle (which goes from day to night within seconds) features six X-Men against Magneto, the Master of Magnetism, and two of them are metal-based. What exactly is stopping Magneto from flinging 33% of his enemy into the water and being done with them? This is a question I feel the first two films doesn't make you ask. Oh, and the person who decided to put Colossus and Juggernaut in the same movie and NOT have them fight? Someone deserves to have their butt nightfucked.
Wolverine, though... appallingly bad. I was one of the roaches who watched the workprint, but I tried to be fair about it, and I said that most of the film was unfinished, and that, despite a terrible story and nonsensical plot developments, things could be fixed. Then I saw it in the theater and was STUNNED about how much of the workprint WAS finished. Just an awful, idea-less, incompetent, poorly-acted movie. Nearly every scene has a moment (or four) that just makes you slap your forehead that an adult thought it was a good, or even PASSABLE idea. There had to be more than a few elements of this film brought into our reality out of SPITE. Perhaps towards the audience. Perhaps towards Bryan Singer. Towards Hugh Jackman? Just fucking AWFUL.
That was far too much said about these movies.