Watchmen

  • Directors: Zack Snyder
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder
  • Writers: David Hayter, Alex Tse, Dave Gibbons, Alan Moore
  • Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie

The story takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed heros fight crime in America, originally in response to a rise in masked and costumed gangs and criminals. In the 1930s and ’40s, some of the vigilantes formed a group called the Minutemen to “finish what the law couldn’t.” Of the eight Minutemen, three died violently, one disappeared, and one was committed to an asylum. Decades later, a second generation of “superheroes” attempts to form a similar team called the Watchmen. Various historical events are shown to have been altered by the existence of superheroes, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. The American victory in Vietnam, due to the intervention of the godlike being Doctor Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon’s third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980s, however, the Watchmen have been outlawed by Congress after an outpouring of anti-vigilante sentiment in the country, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have escalated the Cold War with threats of nuclear attack.

By 1985, only three Watchmen remain active: the Comedian and Doctor Manhattan, both of whom act with government sanction, and the masked vigilante Rorschach, who refuses to retire and remains active illegally. Investigating the murder of government agent Edward Blake, Rorschach discovers that Blake was the Comedian, and concludes that someone may be trying to eliminate the Watchmen. He attempts to warn his retired comrades—his former partner Daniel Dreiberg (Nite Owl), the emotionally detached Dr. Jonathan Osterman (Doctor Manhattan), and Dr. Manhattan’s lover Laurie Jupiter (the Silk Spectre). Dreiberg is skeptical, but nonetheless relates the hypothesis to billionaire Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), who dismisses it.

With the end of the Cold War and the uniting of humanity, Jupiter and Dreiberg return to New York City as it’s being rebuilt to begin a new life together. The film closes with a newspaper editor in New York complaining of having nothing worthwhile to print because of the worldwide peace. He tells a young employee that he may print whatever he likes from a collection of crank mailings, among which lies Rorschach’s journal.

Tales of the Black Freighter

  • Directors: Zack Snyder
  • Producers: Lawrence Gordon, Lloyd Levin, Deborah Snyder
  • Writers: David Hayter, Alex Tse, Dave Gibbons, Alan Moore
  • Genres: Animation, Short, Horror
  • Actors: Malin Akerman, Billy Crudup, Matthew Goode, Carla Gugino, Jackie Earle Haley, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Patrick Wilson, Matt Frewer, Stephen McHattie

The story takes place in an alternate timeline in which masked, costumed vigilantes fight crime in America, originally in response to a rise in masked and costumed gangs and criminals. In the 1930s and ’40s, the vigilantes formed a group called the Minutemen to “finish what the law couldn’t.” Of the eight Minutemen, three died violently, one disappeared, and one was committed to an asylum. Decades later, a second generation of “superheroes” attempts to form a similar team called the Watchmen. Various historical events are shown to have been altered by the existence of superheroes, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy and the Vietnam War. The American victory in Vietnam, due to the intervention of the godlike being Doctor Manhattan, leads to Richard Nixon’s third term as President following the repeal of term limits in the United States. By the 1980s, however, the Watchmen have been outlawed by Congress after an outpouring of anti-vigilante sentiment in the country, and tensions between the United States and the Soviet Union have escalated the Cold War with threats of nuclear attack.

By 1985, only three Watchmen remain active: the Comedian and Doctor Manhattan, both of whom act with government sanction, and the masked vigilante Rorschach, who refuses to retire and remains active illegally. Investigating the murder of government agent Edward Blake, Rorschach discovers that Blake was the Comedian, and concludes that someone may be trying to eliminate the Watchmen. He attempts to warn his retired comrades—his former partner Daniel Dreiberg (Nite Owl), the emotionally detached Dr. Jonathan Osterman (Doctor Manhattan), and Dr. Manhattan’s lover Laurie Jupiter (the Silk Spectre). Dreiberg is skeptical, but nonetheless relates the hypothesis to billionaire Adrian Veidt (Ozymandias), who dismisses it.

With the end of the Cold War and the uniting of humanity, Jupiter and Dreiberg return to New York City as it’s being rebuilt to begin a new life together. The film closes with a newspaper editor in New York complaining of having nothing worthwhile to print because of the worldwide peace. He tells a young employee that he may print whatever he likes from a collection of crank mailings, among which lies Rorschach’s journal.

X2

  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Producers: Tom DeSanto, Avi Arad, Bryan Singer, Ralph Winter, Lauren Shuler Donner
  • Writers: Screenplay, Michael Dougherty, Dan Harris, David Hayter, Story, David Hayter, Bryan Singer, Zak Penn, Comic Book, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Famke Janssen, Brian Cox, Alan Cumming, Anna Paquin, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, James Marsden

Nightcrawler, a teleporting mutant, attempts to assassinate the President in the White House, but he fails and escapes. Wolverine reappears after discovering nothing at Alkali Lake, while Storm and Jean find Nightcrawler with the help of Professor Xavier and Cerebro. Cyclops and Professor X visit Magneto in his plastic prison to see if he had any part in the attack on the President. Reading Magneto’s mind, Professor X discovers that a covert government operative, William Stryker, has been extracting information from Magneto. A trap is sprung and Cyclops and Professor X are captured by Stryker and his assistant Yuriko Oyama. A military raid of the X-Mansion begins, with the soldiers sedating every student they find; some escape, while Wolverine finds Stryker, but is unable to find anything about his past.

Impersonating Senator Robert Kelly and Yuriko, Mystique gains information about Magneto’s prison and provides a means for him to escape. Wolverine, along with Rogue, Iceman and Pyro, heads to Iceman’s home in Boston. After a 9-1-1 call by Bobby’s brother Ronnie, the police arrive just as the group is about to leave, ensuing into a dispute with Pyro. The X-Jet arrives to pick them all up, and the X-Men team with Magneto and Mystique. Magneto has learned Stryker orchestrated the attack on the President and has been experimenting on mutants, using a drug injected directly into the back of the neck to control them. Jean reads Nightcrawler’s mind and determines that Stryker’s base is located at Alkali Lake, inside the dam. He has also stolen enough equipment from Xavier’s own Cerebro unit to build a second Cerebro, with which he plans to kill all the world’s mutants.

Mystique, disguised as Stryker, uses Jason to convince Professor X to kill all humans. Magneto and Mystique use Stryker’s helicopter to escape Alkali Lake, chaining Stryker to concrete rubble, and are also joined by Pyro. Meanwhile, Nightcrawler teleports Storm inside of Cerebro, where she frees the Professor from his telepathic illusion. A malfunction aboard the X-Jet prevents it from taking off, and the dam finally bursts. The flood gets stronger, drowning Stryker. Jean leaves the jet and creates a telekinetic wall in order to stop the wave, and at the same time raises the jet above the flood waters; all the while surrounded by a corona of fire. Jean activates the X-Jet’s primary engines, before releasing the torrent of water down on herself. The X-Men are able to supply the President with files from Stryker’s private offices, and Professor X warns him that humans and mutants must work together to build peace, or they will destroy each other through war. The film ends with a voiceover by Jean Grey on the process of evolution (a speech originally made by Professor Xavier in the introduction of the first film). The camera floats over Alkali Lake, showing a vague shape of a Phoenix in the lake.

X Men

  • Directors: Bryan Singer
  • Producers: Lauren Shuler Donner, Ralph Winter, Richard Donner, Avi Arad, Stan Lee, Tom DeSanto
  • Writers: Screenplay, David Hayter, Story, Tom DeSanto, Bryan Singer, Comic Book, Stan Lee, Jack Kirby
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi, Thriller
  • Actors: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Anna Paquin, Famke Janssen, Bruce Davison, James Marsden, Halle Berry, Rebecca Romijn, Ray Park, Tyler Mane

In Congress, Senator Robert Kelly attempts to pass a “Mutant Registration Act”, which would force mutants to publicly reveal their identities and abilities. Magneto begins his plans to level the playing field between mutants and humans. Meanwhile, a girl named Rogue runs away from her home in Meridian, Mississippi. She meets Wolverine in Canada. Suddenly, both of them are attacked by Sabretooth, a mutant and associate of Magneto. Cyclops and Storm arrive and save Wolverine and Rogue and bring them to the X-Mansion. Professor Charles Xavier runs the facility, and leader of a group of mutants who are trying to seek peace with the human race, educate young mutants in the responsible use of their powers, and stop Magneto from starting a war with humanity.

Senator Kelly is abducted by Mystique and Toad, and brought to Magneto, who tests a machine on Kelly that artificially induces mutation. Kelly manages to escape imprisonment with his new abilities. After an accident causes Rogue to use her powers on Wolverine, she is convinced by Mystique (disguised as Bobby Drake, a boy who Rogue begins to romance) that Xavier is angry with her and that she should leave the school. Xavier uses Cerebro to locate Rogue at a train station. Mystique infiltrates Cerebro and sabotages the machine. Wolverine convinces Rogue to stay with Xavier. A fight ensues with Wolverine, Cyclops and Storm against Magneto, Toad and Sabretooth. Rogue is taken by Magneto. Senator Kelly arrives at Xavier’s school, but dissolves into a puddle of water when his mutation becomes unstable.

Wolverine returns, and Cyclops, with Jean’s help, blasts Sabretooth out of the statue. With Jean stabilizing him, Storm uses her abilities to send Wolverine to the top of Magneto’s machine. With time running out, Wolverine attempts to stop the machine and save Rogue, but Magneto, now having regained some of his strength, halts Wolverine’s claws. Cyclops manages to find a clean shot, wounding Magneto and allowing Wolverine to destroy the machine. Placing his hand to her face, Wolverine succeeds in transferring his regenerative abilities to a dying Rogue. Professor Xavier recovers from his coma, and the group learns that Mystique is still alive when they see her impersonating Senator Kelly on a news broadcast. Xavier visits Magneto in his plastic prison cell, and the two play chess. Magneto warns his friend that he will continue his fight, to which Xavier promises that he (and the X-Men) will always be there to stop him.