We all know the Marvel Cinematic Universe does a great job tying stories into each other, and making great movies filled with so many characters. It’s not easy, but they pulled it off. However, there are many times people forget that the X-Men film series still exists out there. This franchise even made Hugh Jackman a worldwide superstar with his iconic performance as the badass Wolverine. The X-Men movie rights were owned by 20th century Fox until we found out that the X-Men and Fantastic Four have now been purchased by Disney, and even CEO Bob Iger plans to incorporate these characters in their cinematic universe. That aside, we’re still about to get upcoming installments such as Deadpool 2, X-Men: Dark Phoenix and The New Mutants before these characters might show up next in the Avengers. They’ve been making a lot of installments, of which some are good, mediocre, and just downright terrible. While it is unfortunate that Fox decided to delay two films that they had planned to release this year, we ranked all the X-Men movies from worst to best before Deadpool 2 hits theatres next month. So on that note, here is our ranking of all the installments from the series.
10. X-Men: Origins Wolverine
Anyone will say that this is undeniably the worst film ever in the X-Men movie franchise. Even Hugh Jackman will admit that making this movie was also a huge disappointment for him as he felt like it didn’t do a good job showcasing the Wolverine character. It not only ruined the titular character himself, but also Deadpool who wasn’t anything like he was in the comic books. Thank god, Ryan Reynolds redeemed the Merc with a Mouth with a much better spin-off. The worst part is that it’s just stupid and boring, and let’s not forget about the terrible CGI claws. The bathroom scene where Wolverine is testing out his adamantium claws is just painful to look at especially when you keep noticing the awful CGI. At least, Hugh Jackman made much better standalone sequels with the character that just make this installment obsolete. It had one job which was to set up more origin stories for other X-Men characters, and yet it failed at that as well. If there’s one phrase to ultimately describe this disappointing mess, it would most definitely be ‘wasted potential.’
9. X-Men: The Last Stand
After Bryan Singer left the original X-Men trilogy in order to direct Superman Returns, we knew that was a bad sign. Who do we get? Well it’s Brett Ratner… It loses the dark tone and themes that Singer was setting up for the franchise, and he just makes it a mindless action movie with too many characters, unnecessary death scenes and cringeworthy humor at times. The Phoenix Saga is one of the most well-known storylines in the comic books, but it didn’t do it justice. However, you can’t deny that the filmmakers tried to portray the dilemma of mutants giving up their mutant powers with the help of a cure was interesting. It was not well executed, but it was a good concept. Kelsey Grammer’s performance as Hank McCoy/Beast was one of the best parts of The Last Stand, even Ellen Page’s casting as Kitty Pride was a great choice. The acting itself is worth praising, but the rest of the movie just feels uninspired and rushed. Funny enough, they put Angel/Warren Worthington wearing his X-Men suit in the official poster, but he didn’t do anything for the plot besides saving his father from falling.
8. X-Men: Apocalypse
Many people thought this film was going to be great after Bryan Singer came back to direct after the critically acclaimed X-Men: Days of Future Past. Well it currently has an aggregate score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes, so it shows how divisive this film was among critics. Many fans complained that the story was adding nothing new to the franchise, and that the final act was not so memorable. But for us, the film is quite enjoyable, and it does a good job introducing to the audience younger versions of the X-Men members such as Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Nightcrawler. The entire cast, except Jennifer Lawrence who was clearly phoning it in, completely makes their characters their very own thanks to their fantastic performances. Michael Fassbender’s Magneto arc is the most interesting part in the entire movie, and it’s quite sad. While the film itself does have some pacing issues and some characters are completely misused in the story, it’s still a fun popcorn flick that may or not satisfy you after watching First Class and Days of Future Past.
7. The Wolverine
After the disastrous X-Men Origins: Wolverine completely butchered the main protagonist’s backstory, James Mangold decided to direct a solid standalone spin-off titled The Wolverine that does the character of Wolverine justice. Instead of having unnecessary mutant supporting characters that we don’t care about, it just focuses on Logan being down on his luck. It just wants to be a Wolverine-centric film rather than being another X-Men movie. Based on Frank Miller and Chris Claremont’s Wolverine series that take place in Japan, the film’s story heavily takes inspiration from those limited edited comic book issues. What’s really impressive about The Wolverine is that even if it’s rated PG-13, it’s still willing to be a mature film thanks to its tone and action scenes. There’s also the unrated cut that’s available on home media, and it makes the movie a lot better. While the final act is disappointingly a little mediocre with the CGI-heavy Silver Samurai, the rest of the film completely makes up for it. If you were undeniably disappointed by Origins: Wolverine, hopefully The Wolverine will fill your void if you’re a huge fan of this character. Hugh Jackman’s performance alone is worth seeing.
When the first X-Men installment came out in theatres, it was actually revolutionizing the superhero genre years ago. In a world where we had the 1994 Fantastic 4, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Batman & Robin, those monstrosities almost killed the genre. But with Bryan Singer acting as director, he managed to bring us all an entertaining and thoughtful film about mutants dealing with prejudice and hatred from citizens. It’s weird to find out that when they first announced Hugh Jackman as Wolverine back then, the actor faced an enormous amount of backlash from hardcore fans saying he was too tall for the role. At the time, Jackman was most known for being in broadways but ever since then, he’s been playing the same character for over a decade. It also showcases amazing performances from both Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart as the villainous Magneto and the wise Professor X. It has fun action, great characters and interesting themes that might resonate with the audience. Can’t believe it’s been 18 years since X-Men was released in movie theatres everywhere.
5. X2: X-Men United
In the original X-Men trilogy, X2: X-Men United is arguably the best one. It improves on everything the previous installment did by having better action sequences and introducing us to new great characters such as the scene-stealing Nightcrawler (Alan Cumming) and the sinister William Stryker (Brian Cox). When the X-Men and the Brotherhood of mutants team up to take down their common enemy, it’s so awesome to see them all together in some scenes. One scene that has Bobby Drake/Iceman revealing that he’s been a mutant all along in front of his parents is so well executed. Also, the fight between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike is one of the best and memorable action scenes in the entire franchise. When a movie has too many characters, it can become jarring, but luckily Bryan Singer manages to balance everything out and try to give each mutant some development. While it is unfortunate that Singer didn’t come back to direct The Last Stand, we will still remember the epicness that was X2: X-Men United. This is definitely one of the best superhero sequels out there.
4. X-Men: First Class
When Origins: Wolverine almost killed off the entire X-Men movie universe, Matthew Vaughn saved it by directing and writing an amazing spin-off/prequel film to the first trilogy titled X-Men: First Class. While Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are fantastic in their roles as Magneto and Professor X, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender also do a great job playing the younger versions of these characters. These two actors have great chemistry with each other, and they perfectly build up the complex relationship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr. You see their different ideologies, which adds a lot of layers to the story. It does have some noticeable continuity errors, but it feels like Vaughn didn’t really care about that problem and just wanted to set up a new trilogy that gets rid of both Origins: Wolverine and The Last Stand. Let’s not forget Kevin Bacon as the evil Sebastian Shaw, and he’s definitely one of the best villains in the franchise. Vaughn really brought back the series on course with First Class with its great characters and action scenes. Hugh Jackman also has a cameo in this movie, and it’s that good.
This movie not only inspired other studios to make R-rated comic book films, but it also serves as a great apology for giving us the crappiest version of Deadpool from Origins: Wolverine. Listen Hollywood! Never shut the mouth of the Merc with a Mouth… Luckily, this film does deliver and gives you everything you want especially if you’re a big Deadpool fan. Fox allowed the movie to be greenlit the moment people loved the test footage that was mysteriously leaked online at San Diego Comic-Con. Ryan Reynolds perfectly nails the character with his witty and humorous dialogue. He doesn’t hold anything back, and he just has a lot of fun with the role. You know a movie is good when the actor has no problem making fun of his career with the help of meta-humor. That Green Lantern joke will never go away. Deadpool isn’t the only memorable character, as Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead also add a lot to the movie. It’s sad that Tim Miller isn’t directing the sequel, however we will always remember for what he did to make this character awesome again.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
After First Class revitalized the series, Days of Future Past changed it for the better as well. Combining both the cast of the First Class and the original trilogies, they all had time to shine. When it goes back and forth from the past and the future, it’s all well balanced without ever losing its focus on the narrative. Not only is it entertaining to watch, but it’s also quite emotional at times. It’s a very character-driven story especially for James McAvoy’s Charles Xavier, and you totally understand where he’s coming from as a damaged man who lost everything. This is Bryan Singer’s best X-Men movie he has ever made in his filmmaking career after X2: X-Men United. Days of Future Past was also ambitious enough to erase the timeline from the original trilogy while still respecting what the other installments did. It’s not easy for a movie to change the entire course of its universe, but Bryan Singer was courageous enough to do it. It now completely negates the events from the worst X-Men movies, which allows them to continue the series with new ideas and stories.
Logan is not just easily the best Wolverine movie we ever got, but it’s also one of the best comic book movies ever. It’s rare for a movie that is categorized in the superhero genre that doesn’t feel like your typical comic book movie. It has a gritty and dark western feel which makes this a very personal and effective character-driven story about a damaged man fed up with his life and just being at his lowest low in life. Thanks to Deadpool’s success, Logan was also allowed to be R-rated. It has gruesome and brutal action sequences that actually show Wolverine having blood on his claws. But Dafne Keen’s phenomenal performance as Laura is one of the highlights in the entire film. After seeing her in this movie, you would also agree that she deserves her own spin-off. For being such an emotional and memorable swan song to one of the most iconic comic book characters of all time, it most definitely deserves to be known as the best X-Men movie ever. We will never forget you, Hugh Jackman.