I love the X-Men. I love the comics and their parallels between mutants and blacks during the civil rights movement in the 1960s. I love the movies and their parallels between mutants and the modern issue of being “in the closet” as well as “being different” or “socially awkward” . This post will mainly focus on the cinematic adaptation X-Men and will feature a ranked list (with images and gifs of course) of my favorite X-Men movies from worst (spoiler alert its Origins) to best. Just before the release of X-Men: Apocalypse, take a journey with me from Xavier’s School of Talented Youngsters, to the X-jet, and through the countless continuity errors as we venture through my ranked list of X-Men movies!
8. X-Men Origins: Wolverine [Gavin Hood/2009]
Sorry. No gifs, no image found. This is not an X-Men film.
7. X-Men: The Last Stand [Brett Ratner/2006]
This was a decent movie but it did not live up to expectations. Some argue that the story did not do justice to the fan-favorite “Dark Phoenix” arc of the X-Men, and I can’t help but agree. The movie does earn its respect visually with special effects, as shown in the gif and image above, that were excellent for its time and even as I write this in 2016.
6. X-Men [Bryan Singer/2000]
After Joel Schumacher’s failed attempt at Batman in the mid and late 1990s, X-Men (2000) promised comic book fans that justice could be served to the genre on the big screen. X-Men is the reason why I am eligible to write this list; its what started it all. In 2016, it may seem a little cheesy in comparison to the superhero films we have now but X-Men is the movie which certainly helped superhero movies become the mega-blockbusters they are today.
5. The Wolverine [James Mangold/2013]
The Wolverine proved that the eponymous character could have a decent movie with him as the protagonist. This movie continued with one of the later X-Men movies styles of creating stories about mutantkind in times, eras and events of historical value. The opening which graphically shows the nuking of Nagasaki Japan during WWII certainly emphasized on this late X-Men thematic style. Japanese culture is well used in this movie allowing for a battle between Logan and the Yakuza, unique chase sequences and even an interesting adaptation of the Silver Samurai. In addition, The Wolverine possibly features the best post-credit scene in any X-Men or Marvel Studios film to date which created a subtle yet clear set up for Days of Future Past.
4. X2 [Bryan Singer/2003]
Here is where the list gets difficult. X-Men: 2, X-men: United, or as I (and others) call it X2, is awesome. Bryan Singer upped his game in this direct sequel to X-Men and it did not disappoint. Today, the script and fighting scenes may seem a bit cheesy but X2 was the sole X-Men film which focused heavily on the issue of being different and a social outcast through the struggle of being a mutant. The scene where Bobby (Iceman), for example, tells his parents that he is a mutant is a clear reference of a boy discussing his sexuality with his parents, a common issue both in the early 2000s and today.
3. Deadpool [Tim Miller/2016]
I am not a huge Deapool fan but was quite excited when I heard that this film was confirmed for an early 2016 release. In fact, I was an avid follower of the production of this movie ever since the leaked test footage. Deadpool was witty, fun, action-packed, gory and fast paced movie that did justice to the long awaited adaptation of the merc with the mouth (X-Men Origins: Wolverine does not count). The non-linear narrative of Deadpool and Ryan Reynold’s perfect embodiment of the character is why I rank Deadpool at #3.
2. X-Men: First Class [Matthew Vaughn/2011]
After the bombshell that was Origins, everyone thought that the X-Men franchise was done for. I credit Matthew Vaughn (Kick Ass and Kingsman) in saving the franchise, rejuvenating the storytelling of superhero movies and starting the beginning of the saga’s continuity errors. First Class pays plenty homage to the comics of the original X-Men (as shown with the yellow jumpsuits) and gives fans a younger adaptation of Erik and Charles played by Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy respectively. As well as the versions of fan-favorite Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Havoc (Lucas Till) that proved to be great co-stars.
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past [Bryan Singer/2014]
Without a doubt this is my favorite X-Men movie. With Bryan Singer back as captain, this movie did not disappoint in its adaptation of one of the most beloved X-Men stories. The old crew was reunited with a new crew, bridges (through time and space) were drawn to unite the new crew with the old, new crew and at the end (spoiler) we got see a new old crew! DoFP has the best special effects in the entire series, the action sequences were great, justice was done to Quicksilver (one of my favorites), the sentinels (past and future) were both scary and awesome, and the writers at least tried to cover up the continuity errors! Nonetheless, bringing Singer back was the best choice they could have made and I am more than excited to see where he goes with X-Men: Apocalypse. My only hope is that its better than DoFP!