While the Marvel Cinematic Universe and The Dark Knight are often credited as most heavily influencing the popular rise of superhero films, the X-Men movies deserve a lot of credit as well. The 2000 live-action X-Men film kick-started the many live-action superhero and mutant stories that would follow on the big screen and on television. The films have captured a variety of tones and stories over the years, from the original live-action trilogy, to the prequel story that began with X-Men: First Class, to the more mature movies like Logan and Deadpool.
The X-Men movies have achieved a great deal, but so has the television series of The Gifted, a modern-day story about mutants that is separate from the films. The Gifted exceeded many expectations in its two season run so far and has become a welcome addition to the story of mutants and their struggles. Both the X-Men films and The Gifted are strong in their own ways, yet The Gifted has even managed to surpass the films in some respects.
10 A Less Convoluted Timeline
It's no secret that the X-Men movies have a messy timeline. By changing the future and undoing events from some of the other films, the ending of Days of Future Past made the timeline even messier. There is no such issue on The Gifted where the story takes place in a universe separate from the movies and so far has had an easy to follow timeline. The second season's cliffhanger featuring Blink emerging from a portal in a seemingly apocalyptic future could mess with the timeline moving forward, but as of now it's certainly been smoother than the movies.
9 Doing Blink Justice
Blink is a fascinating character in many of the X-Men comics, yet she has been barely featured in the movies. She was among the mutant survivors making their last stand against the Sentinels in Days of Future Past, but the film didn't really dive into her character and mostly just showed her using her powers against the Sentinels. By making Blink one of its core characters and showing her development as a leader and with her abilities, The Gifted has done Blink justice in a way the movies have not thus far. Her journey has been one of the most rewarding to experience on The Gifted, especially concerning her connection to the Morlocks in the second season.
8 Mutant Siblings
While the X-Men movies have featured siblings like Cyclops and Havok, they haven't truly explored the unique bond of mutant siblings. The Gifted, on the other hand, placed mutant siblings at the forefront of their show, exploring the intimate, inspiring, and at times frightening connectivity that binds these kinds of mutants together. This is true of the Strucker twins and their ability to become Fenris, a manifestation of their gifts that can be equally empowering and devastating. Lauren and Andy struggle with their identities as individuals and together. The Gifted also explores the unique bond of mutant siblings with the Frost sisters, a formidable trio so closely connected, yet not without their own struggles with identities.
7 Magneto's Daughter
Both The Gifted and the X-Men films introduce a daughter of the legendary mutant Magneto. The television series makes the daughter a fascinating leading character while the movies took away the daughter's life almost immediately after introducing her. Of course, Lorna Dane/Polaris is a star of The Gifted, managing to with her fascinating journey from mutant underground leader, to a believer in the Inner Circle and Reeva Payge's dream of a mutant homeland, to a mutant underground spy working to undermine Reeva's monstrous schemes.
Along the way she also tore a plane out of the sky, became a mother, and even came to terms with the complicated legacy and identity as a daughter of Magneto, a father she never met but realized always cared for her from afar. Magneto has a daughter in X-Men: Apocalypse, but very shortly after audiences meet her and she's shown to have powers, she loses her life in order to further Magneto's story.
6 More Of The Human Perspective
The X-Men movies have done a wonderful job showing the world from a rich variety of mutant perspectives. They have not been as strong at showing from a human perspective what it's like to live in a world with mutants, as characters like Moira MacTaggert never worked as well as intended. The Gifted has provided more opportunity to explore that human perspective with characters who are both deeply pro-mutant and anti-mutant. Fans have seen the human Caitlin Strucker become one of the bravest and most resourceful allies for the mutant underground while one of their constant enemies is the human Jace Turner, both in his stints with Sentinel Services and the Purifiers.
5 More Diversity
While there is diversity in the X-Men films, many of them are still largely dominated by white male actors. That is not the case on The Gifted where along with a prominent number of women, the main cast features actors of Asian, Hispanic, Native American, African-American, and Caymanian-American descent.
Diversity is important in general, but it's particularly important in a story about mutants, characters who were created as an analogy of individuals who are ostracized and struggling to find acceptance because of their differences.
4 A Blessing And A Curse
With the exception of a character like Rogue whose powers can so easily harm the people around her, the X-Men movies often portray mutant abilities as a blessing and gift. While The Gifted certainly highlights the positives of mutant abilities, such existence is shown to be equally a blessing and a curse. The narrative form of a television series lends itself better to depicting the ongoing and daily challenges of being a mutant, especially in a world that is so openly hostile towards them. This is true for a number of characters who've done heroic deeds and come to understand themselves, yet have also endured inner torture or been forced into committing terrible actions as a result of their abilities.
3 How Media Influences Perception Of Mutants
The second season of The Gifted tackled the fascinating issue of how media could influence public perception in a world of mutants. The character of Benedict Ryan was introduced as a popular television pundit whose vehemently anti-mutant views helped turn most of the human public even more firmly against mutants. The influence of media became much more nuanced, though, as it was revealed that Ryan was secretly leading the mutant hate group known as the Purifiers while also following the orders of the mutant Reeva Payge. On the surface Ryan's words and actions were all about hating mutants, but it was actually about furthering Reeva's agenda to form a mutant homeland separate from a human homeland. Exploring the influence and complex agenda of media isn't something the X-Men films have explored much so far, something The Gifted did with great success.
2 Permanent Loss Of Home Base
The X-mansion has come under attack a number of times in the X-Men films, including when it was even destroyed in Apocalypse. No matter the severity of the attacks or destruction, though, the X-mansion is always rebuilt and made safe again. The Gifted forced its character to permanently lose their home base in the finale of the first season. The mutant underground headquarters in Atlanta served as the home base for the characters in that first season, but the Strucker twins destroyed it as part of the plan to save the mutant underground and manipulate Sentinel Services into believing the underground was destroyed for good. The permanent destruction of their home base made the mutant underground even more vulnerable as they faced new challenges in the second season.
1 The Daily Effects Of Discrimination
Mutants facing discrimination is not unique to The Gifted, but the television series does do an excellent job showcasing the struggle of facing discrimination on a daily basis. Discrimination created big bads like William Stryker in the X-Men movies. The Gifted makes mutant discrimination feel even more real with the daily things, from a landlord calling the authorities because he fears his mutant tenants, to a popular television pundit like Benedict Ryan spewing mutant hatred, to a medical clinic that's sympathetic to mutants being attacked by a hate group like the Purifiers. Discrimination is sadly about the daily struggle of existing just because of one's identity being hated by others, and it's a tragic reality The Gifted captures all too well.
What else does The Gifted do better than the X-Men movies? Sound off in the comments below!