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SPOILERS (Highlight to read)
The powerful mutant En Sabah Nur rules ancient Egypt until he is betrayed by his worshippers, who entomb him alive. En Sabah Nur's four lieutenants die preserving him.
Awakening in 1983, and believing that without his presence humanity has lost its way, En Sabah Nur decides to destroy the world and remake it. He recruits Cairo pickpocket Ororo Munroe, who can control weather, and upgrades her power.
In Poland, the metal-controlling mutant Erik Lehnsherr lives with his wife and young daughter, Nina. When authorities attempt to capture him, his family is accidentally killed and he retaliates by murdering all the policemen. En Sabah Nur later approaches the disheartened Erik and takes him to Auschwitz, where Erik's power first manifested. Erik destroys the camp and joins En Sabah Nur.
In East Berlin, shape-shifting mutant Raven investigates an underground fight club and discovers mutant champion Angel, who possesses a pair of large feathered wings on his back, and Kurt Wagner, who can teleport. Raven rescues Kurt and employs the services of black marketeer Caliban to safely transport him to the US. En Sabah Nur recruits Caliban's enforcer Psylocke, who leads him to Angel. En Sabah Nur enhances both their powers, transforming Angel's wings into metal.
Alex Summers takes his teenage younger brother Scott, whose own mutation for shooting optic beams is manifesting, to Professor Charles Xavier's educational institute in Westchester County, New York, where Xavier and Hank McCoy will teach him how to control his abilities. Scott meets the telepathic and telekinetic Jean Grey, and the two develop an attraction. Raven brings Kurt to the institute, and informs Xavier about Magneto as she learned about his attack in Caliban's hideout. En Sabah Nur's powers cause disturbances around the world, leading Xavier and Alex to consult with CIA agent Moira MacTaggert, who has been researching the legend of Nur.
En Sabah Nur hacks into Xavier's mind while Xavier is using the mutant-locating computer Cerebro, and co-opts Xavier's powers to force all global superpowers to launch Earth's entire nuclear arsenal into space to prevent interference. En Sabah Nur and his lieutenants arrive at the mansion and kidnap Xavier. Attempting to stop them, Alex accidentally causes an explosion that destroys the mansion. Peter Maximoff – having learned that he is Erik's son, and hoping that Xavier can help to find him – arrives in time to use his super-speed to evacuate the students from the mansion, but Alex is presumed dead as he was closest to the blast. Colonel William Stryker's forces subsequently arrest Hank, Raven, Peter, and Moira, and take them to a military facility for interrogation. Scott, Jean and Kurt covertly follow and liberate their comrades with help from Stryker's brainwashed experiment Weapon X, whose mind Jean partially restores.
At En Sabah Nur's behest, Erik uses his powers to control Earth's magnetic poles, causing widespread destruction across the planet and mass casualties. Following a telepathic distress call secretly sent by Xavier to Jean, the others arrive in Cairo to battle En Sabah Nur and his lieutenants. They rescue the professor before En Sabah's consciousness is transferred to his body, but Xavier loses his hair as the process was nearing completion. Angel is defeated in the battle. Erik and Ororo are convinced to turn on En Sabah, keeping him occupied while Xavier fights him in the astral plane. Finally, Xavier pleads Jean to unleash the full might of her powers and she appears to destroy En Sabah Nur. In the ensuing chaos, Psylocke flees from the destruction.
In the aftermath, Xavier restores Moira's memories of him. Erik and Jean help reconstruct the school, but Erik turns down Xavier's offer to stay and help teach. Under Raven's tutelage, Scott, Jean, Hank, Ororo, Kurt, and Peter become the new X-Men and train for the battles ahead.
In a post-credits scene, the Weapon X facility is visited by suited men retrieving data on Stryker's mutant research, including an X-Ray and a blood sample marked "Weapon X", on behalf of the Essex Corporation.