by Kyle Arango
The X-Men franchise is finally coming to an end, at least for now until Marvel reboots it a decade from now. This used to be Marvel’s most popular group of characters and now the culture has changed. So which film in the franchise is best or worst? How many good movies are there really? Let’s find out the definitive ranking.
12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This is the type of movie that makes you scratch your head and wonder how this got approved. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was supposed to be the film that put new life into the franchise and instead, it made it worse. It is edited poorly, has singers in acting roles, and has effects that aren’t finished and look cartoonish. Hugh Jackman does what he can, but even he feels like he is making another movie. Let’s not forget that they sewed Deadpool’s mouth shut and even Ryan Reynolds hates this movie.
11. X-Men: The Last Stand
Now we get to the movie that completely brought down the franchise in X-Men: The Last Stand. This was going to be the big ending to the trilogy that fans had waited for, by integrating a storyline beloved in the comics and bringing our characters to a satisfying conclusion. Instead, it feels like a mish mash of parts thrown together that throws away those characters and is just a miserable experience. Directed by one of the most despised people in Hollywood, Brett Ratner, he just furthered why he shouldn’t be working in films and the movie suffered.
10. X-Men: Apocalypse
Up next is the film that might be the most disappointing in this franchise in X-Men Apocalypse. The two films preceding this were so good (more on that later) so coming into this, we were all excited for a solid trilogy. Unfortunately, that did not happen. The villain played by Oscar Isaac was supposed to be this huge threat and instead became a generic villain we see in every bad superhero film. Our main characters go through the same arc they went through already and the new characters become unnecessary. There are good scenes involving Magneto and Quicksilver, but besides that there is nothing redeeming about this film.
9. The Wolverine
The next film on this list is probably the most forgettable one in this franchise in The Wolverine. They give it a second attempt at making a solid Wolverine film and while they improve, there is nothing to truly praise. The first two acts are ok, but the third act just smothers the rest of the film in pure nonsense that nobody cares about. There’s not much left to say about this film because nobody cares about it although James Mangold redeemed himself later on.
8. Deadpool 2
Up next is yet another disappointing film in Deadpool 2. Deadpool 2 suffers from what many follow-ups suffer from, sequelitis. It is a disease that plagues sequels by making everything bigger and more complicated. What happens here, is the film just becomes annoying. The schtick that worked for this wonderful character in the original just became repetitive and the jokes fell flat. Some of the new characters are nice, but they feel forced, such as Josh Brolin as Cable. With Deadpool moving to Disney, there should be a rich supply of jokes, hopefully it ends the trilogy well.
7. Dark Phoenix
Next, we have the most recent and final entry into this franchise in Dark Phoenix. This film has a multitude of problems, including a rushed third act that leaves character arcs unfinished, but it is still fun. Is the villain terrible? Yeah, and what they do to Quicksilver is dirty, but this film does have genuine enjoyment in it. The action is awesome, and it is always fun to see these actors in these roles, people might be disappointed but with how low expectations were going in, this film was a surprise. If you are a fan of this new iteration of the characters, you’ll enjoy this film.
6. X2: X-Men United
X2: X-Men United, while a bad title, is surprisingly an enjoyable film. I know some people put this as a top three film in this franchise, but for me it is a little boring. It drags its feet in the middle and some characters are just there because they were there in the first and couldn’t be written out. We all know the story from this original trilogy though, it is the Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto show and everyone is just along for the ride. Most of the other X-Men are sidelined with occasional cool moments such as Nightcrawler who has great opening scene. Besides that, this film is kind of a snooze, but not without its attributes.
Starting out the top five, is the film that started it all, the original X-Men. Released in 2000, people did not know what to expect from this film. Superhero movies were looked down upon when this was released but this film made itself standout. They cast many unfamiliar actors, including Hugh Jackman and made them stars from this film. While it doesn’t hold up as well upon rewatch and the effects are understandably outdated, it still has an enjoyable story and what it did for the genre in general makes it top five worthy.
4. X-Men: First Class
At number four, we have the film that really saved this franchise; X-Men: First Class. They decided to go prequel by making all the characters younger and showing us how they all came to meet, and that is what makes this film enjoyable. Matthew Vaughn came in and completely revitalized the franchise by casting terrific actors as characters we already know and making the story feel both real and grounded. McAvoy and Fassbender are awesome as Professor X and Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence was actually excited about this franchise. They do some cool characters dirty, but this film is a ton of fun and very rewatchable.
Number three is the film that used to be number one for me; Deadpool. When I first saw this film, I thought it was genius. While it is still smart and the character is completely different from what we have seen, the film is not very rewatchable. With every viewing, the jokes lose steam and you just don’t laugh anymore. Some of them still work and the fourth wall breaking is awesome, but the film as a whole is not as good as I remember. Ryan Reynolds is perfect as the lead character and made it his own. His charisma is what carries this film and the sequel to being as successful as they are.
Now I know many people expected this film to be number one, and it is certainly a valid argument, but Logan narrowly misses out on the top spot. Logan took the world by storm in 2017 by taking the character of Wolverine and making him a worn-down old man. Patrick Stewart also returned and gave a performance that was Oscar-worthy. Many people consider this film to be one of the best superhero movies ever, but for me it has a flaw that keeps it from that discussion. This film relishes in its own violence and goes over the top just for the sake of it in moments. While Hugh Jackman sells it and goes all out for his final outing in this role, the film falls just short for me.
- X-Men: Days of Future Past
The best film in the X-Men franchise is X-Men: Days of Future Past. This film has everything that made other films great and more. They combined the cast of both the original trilogy and the new trilogy and told a story that was both smart and fun. It has deeper things on its mind with real consequences and it also feels like it could take place in this reality. Saying John F. Kennedy is a mutant was a particularly great touch. The sentinels destroying everyone is harrowing but they combine it with fun scenes like the Quicksilver one that make it feel balanced. It gave the franchise hope by resetting the timeline and making the series feel new again.
Well there it is, the DEFINITIVE ranking of every X-Men film. While you may have different opinions, this is the only true list and it cannot be argued. With that being said, we would still like to see your list and see how close to perfection you are. Now that this franchise has concluded, the future for this brand has to be exciting.