The X-Men films are unique among all the superhero franchises. This is, first and foremost, due to the fact that this is the longest running superhero franchise. Back in 2000, when the first X-Men movie came out, superhero movies were scarce. Flash-forward to today (2017), things are vastly different.
Back then, only popular heroes like Superman, Batman and Spider-man got big screen adaptations but nowadays even more obscure heroes like Ant-Man, Doctor Strange, and the Guardians of the Galaxy get to have their moment in the sun. It is a testament to the enduring appeal of Marvel’s mutant family that even in today’s crowded superhero movie landscape, they remain relevant. The X-Men franchise does this by doing what no other superhero franchise has done yet–evolve.
So, in honor of Hugh Jackman and Sir Patrick Stewart’s final outing as Wolverine and Professor X, respectively, I thought I’d rank all ten of the X-films (so far)!
#10: X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Hugh Jackman’s first solo movie as the iconic character was, for me, the messiest film in the franchise which is sad because there are a lot of good elements in it. Hugh Jackman’s in fine form, as always. Liev Schreiber does great work as Sabretooth. Ryan Reynolds is fun as Wade Wilson, though this film butchers Deadpool (Thankfully, we all know that the studio would get him right the second time around).
The montage at the beginning of the film, showing Logan and Victor participating in all the world wars, was fantastic. And it really is a shame that the rest of the film couldn’t be as epic as those first few minutes.
#9: X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
While I don’t necessarily think that Apocalypse is a bad movie, it is a very forgettable one. I’ve seen the movie twice and even as I rack my brain, I can’t remember much about it apart from a few great moments that stood out for me–like (spoiler alert!) Magneto’s wife and child being killed, Quicksilver’s funny slow motion scene (that seemed to only be there because of how much people liked the similar scene that happened in Days of Future Past and not because it was actually needed in the movie), and Logan’s brief (bloody, badass) cameo.
Anyway, the X-kids are pretty cool but they didn’t get enough to do. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender continue to be excellent as Professor X and Magneto while Jennifer Lawrence sort of seemed bored as Mystique. I’d just skip re-watching this one on my next X-Men marathon.
#8: X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Most X-Men fans hate this one because of how it handled classic comic book storylines like the Dark Phoenix saga and the Mutant Cure… but I enjoyed it as its own thing. It is a very entertaining though overstuffed movie.
I do think that it fails at giving justice to some of its main characters. Jean Grey, despite being at the center of the main plot, was not given any agency as a character. She spent the entire movie being manipulated and used by the other characters and, in the end, she didn’t even get to sacrifice her own life, instead Logan killed her to save the others… which really is a shame because Jean Grey in the comics and the various animated series was always shown as a smart, capable hero in her own right. Rogue and Mystique also had their powers taken away. And Cyclops was unceremoniously killed off.
So… yeah. This movie had problems.
#7: The Wolverine (2013)
Wolverine’s second solo outing was a lot better than the first. Unlike the first solo movie, The Wolverine had a much tighter plot, interesting themes, and some more dynamic supporting characters like Mariko, Yukio, and Yashida. My biggest complaint about this movie is that the first 2/3rds of the movie were excellent and the last act felt like it came from a different movie altogether.
#6: X-Men (2000)
As far as first installments go, the first film in the X-Men franchise is a solid, cerebral take on Marvel’s mutant heroes. It does a good job of setting the tone for future films, introducing the characters and the world they inhabit, and it does a magnificent job of hammering home its themes about prejudice and discrimination.
The only reason I put this on the lower end of the list is because some of the next movies were able to expand on and improve all the themes and plots set up in this first one.
#5: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Though many fans believe this to be the best X-Men movie, I’ve decided to place it at fifth. Now, don’t get me wrong… Days of Future Past is super fun and enjoyable. The time travel plot was used well. And, for a movie which was (let’s be real here) only really made in order to fix the continuity errors in the previous films, it’s pretty great! It’s definitely the most comic book-y X-Men film (aside from Deadpool).
BUT… and this is my personal opinion, the scenes set in the future were pretty boring and didn’t really hold up to the fun scenes set in the past. Also, why did they waste Ian McKellen in this movie??? He didn’t do anything. As a matter of fact, none of the future mutants, aside from Wolverine and Professor X, really contributed to the main plot… which is just a waste of so much potential.
#4: X2: X-Men United (2003)
Of all the X-films, I’d say X2 is my favorite. There are just so many excellent moments in this one like Magneto’s escape from his plastic prison, Nightcrawler’s attack in the White House, Jean Grey’s sacrifice… The cast was wonderful, the story was thematically-rich (although similar in many ways to the first one), and the action sequences were top-notch.
#3: Deadpool (2016)
Deadpool is definitely the most unique film in the franchise. Unlike the other X-films which are all serious and moody, Deadpool doesn’t take itself seriously AT ALL. It is very funny, irreverent and FRESH. This movie’s willingness to poke fun at the very franchise it is housed in is part of its appeal (“I’m taking you to the professor!” “McAvoy or Stewart? These timelines are so confusing!”). Its other secret weapon is Ryan Reynolds’ awesome performance. Definitely looking forward to the sequel!
#2: X-Men: First Class (2011)
In my personal opinion, of all the X-Men films, First Class was the one that was most able to capture the feel of the original comic books and the ’80s animated series.
Here are the reasons why I loved it: Well, first of all, I’m a sucker for origin stories, so seeing how Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, Beast, and the rest of the gang came to be the way they were in the first three movies was, for me, a sight to behold. Second, it was very well-paced, largely fun and greatly entertaining. Third, it is also helped me to forget the rather dull Wolverine and Last Stand movies. Lastly, where else will you be able to watch a young Charles Xavier using his mutant power to hit on girls or young Magneto hunting down Nazis? This movie is awesome, is what I’m saying.
#1: Logan (2017)
I don’t want to spoil anything since this movie just recently came out… but I will say that this is definitely the best movie in the X-Men franchise and probably one of the best superhero movies. It has a very mature and grounded plot, and the dark tone works well for the character of Wolverine.
Go see the movie! GO SEE IT RIGHT NOW!!!
Well, there you have it… My rankings of all ten X-Men movies so far! Do you agree? Disagree? Please feel free to tell me what you think! BYE!