As we approach the Apocalypse in the X-Men universe, I decided to take a look back and rank the previous eight X-films from best to worst. Has Fox given fans what they really wanted so far? How do the X-Men films stack up against each other? I will try to answer these questions to the best of my abilities and based on my knowledge and opinions. Let’s get this thing going with what I believe to be not only the best X-Film ever made, but possibly a top three in comic book films ever made.
Directed by Tim Miller and starring Ryan Reynolds as the Merc with a Mouth, this film is easily the number one choice to be at the top of the list. It embodied the character we all know and love from the comics so much. It had a really good story, lots of action and, of course, the fourth wall breaking which was done beautifully. The passion by the filmmakers and of course the star helped to make this movie the 2nd highest grossing R-rated film of all time. It was truly loved by fans all across the world and many of them went to see this movie more than once. Far and away, this movie tops my list of X-films.
I have this movie second on the list of X-films because without it, we don’t get the franchise we know and love today. This is where it all began with Bryan Singer directing his first of four X-Men films to date. This film introduced us all to the world of mutants, with the likes of: Patrick Stewart as Professor Charles Xavier; Ian McKellen as Magento; and the man who would become one of the biggest focal points of the entire X-Universe, Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine. The movie was a fun ride from start to finish with some strong action sequences centered around a story line that is almost as old as time: discrimination.
Third on my list of X-films is the second solo outing of the man they call The Wolverine. Hugh Jackman has reprised the character of Logan for all but one of the X-Men films to date. This movie really felt to me like I was reading an old Wolverine comic. We were introduced to one of Wolverine’s greatest love interests: Mariko; also we were introduced to one of his greatest foes: Silver Samurai. If you love Wolverine comics, you will love all the action in this one. The only thing I felt missing from this movie was the line: “I am the best there is at what I do, but what I do isn’t very nice”. Logan deals with a lot in this movie and we are taken down that journey with him. The action sequences are fun, the story is strong and James Mangold tried his best to make us all forget that first Wolverine solo film.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST
I know a lot of people might have this movie higher on their list, but for me I have it ranked fourth. There were really great things about this movie, but other things bothered me. First, Bryan Singer returned to the director’s chair for the first time since X2: X-Men United. Second, the cast of the First Class movie by Matthew Vaughn and most of the original cast from Bryan’s first stint directing an X-film were brought together in one movie. This film was trying to do justice to one of the most iconic stories in the X-Men comics. Many people love the scene of Quicksilver running around in slow motion to the song “Time in a Bottle”. While that scene is a wonderful display of cinematic beauty, I felt the character itself was very weak. I felt there were some flaws I couldn’t get past like Beast choosing when he is a blue fur ball, the serum to make Xavier walk and lose his powers and finally the inclusion of Quicksilver at all. I believe Fox decided to use Quicksilver for the simple reason that Joss Whedon at the time had announced his intention to use Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
X2: X-MEN UNITED
Fifth on my list is the second film to be directed by Bryan Singer in the X-Men universe. There are many people who would again rank this higher, but for me the potential was never reached with this film. There were so many elements that looked good, but then didn’t lead anywhere. While we all know hindsight is 20/20, the fact remains that this movie tried to set things up that just weren’t going to work. Part of the problem was that there were budget concerns and a few script re-writes. I enjoyed the movie, and welcomed some of the new mutants to the fold that were introduced, but I felt there was always something lacking, something just out of reach.
X-MEN: FIRST CLASS
The rebooted X-Men universe introduced us to younger versions of Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lensherr (Magneto). I went into this film with some contempt as a comic fan as the “First Class” in the comic book was: Beast, Jean Grey, Cyclops, Angel and Iceman. However, after seeing the film I admitted it was a well done mutant film and maybe could have done well with a name change. Very enjoyable and entertaining, once again giving us new mutants to see and setting up the future of the franchise.
X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE
I know some would say this is probably the worst X-Film, but to me it is just slightly above that. There were definitely issues with it, most notably the way they handled Wade Wilson’s turn into Deadpool. There were many who thought this could be the end of any solo films, and for a while it was. I wanted to like this movie more as a Wolverine fan, but I would have to wait four years to get a good Wolverine film. As this was an origin story, it felt poorly put together and even more poorly executed. It was definitely a disappointment to many people.
X-MEN: THE LAST STAND
Last on my list is almost appropriately called: The Last Stand. It almost was. Brett Ratner came in to take over the helm from Bryan Singer and gave the fans a movie that was almost unilaterally disappointing. While X-Men Origins: Wolverine failed in many aspects, it really felt that this movie failed on all accounts. The story was weak, the action felt stagnant and the overall tone of the film just didn’t live up to what we had come to expect from the X-Men movies. Some say it was fatigue, I felt like it was a lack of direction.
So there it is; my list of X-Men films from best to worst. Of course, this all just my own opinion and we are all entitled to our own opinion. How would you rank the eight movies we have seen so far?
[Words by: Ray Provenchar]