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Ranking The X-Men Films From Worst To Best

With X-Men Apocalypse hitting our screens and bringing an end to the new X-Men trilogy, I thought it’d be fun to rank the X-Men films from worst to best. I’m sure some of my choices will be controversial, the internet is the perfect place to share opinions, right? Some will hopefully agree with my rankings and some will almost certainly disagree, so let’s get into it and decipher what the best X-Men film ever is. Spoilers abound!

Cultured Vultures spoilers

9. X-Men Origins: Wolverine

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Was there going to be any other choice at rock bottom? The first solo outing for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was met with anger and frustration from critics and fans. The words “cash grab” were being said prior to the release of this film. Unfortunately, they were proved right.

The story follows Logan from his early mutant origins, teaming up with and eventually turning against his stupidly retconned brother Victor/Sabretooth. This also involves Logan gaining a love interest (who dies but doesn’t really), being recruited into the Weapon X Programme by William Stryker and then fighting Deadp… erm, some other medical experiment gone wrong.

Which brings us to the most infuriating moment of the film. The inclusion of Wade Wilson in the film initially had comic fans grinning with excitement. Fans of the character Deadpool were eager to see the Merc with the Mouth brought to the big screen. That’s right – mouth. Which makes the decision to sew his mouth shut all the more baffling.

Fox would later make it up to Wade with the raging success of Deadpool this year, however they still have a lot more making up to do after we had to sit through this garbage.


8. X-Men: The Last Stand

Jean Grey
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After Bryan Singer was offered the chance to direct the reboot of Superman, he jumped ship and declined to return for a third X outing. This left us with Brett Ratner to take the helm. Now I know this film has its fans, but overall, we expected a lot from the trilogy finale.

The extremely disappointing death of Cyclops in the opening credits left fans fearing the worst. Admirably, they tried to take on the Dark Phoenix storyline, which only added to the disappointment when we realised how poorly told it is.

While it certainly has its moments of spectacle, the Magneto bridge scene for example, spectacle without the substance of the previous films is very noticeable. Overall, you can have fun with this film if you want to turn your brain off for a bit, but after the heights of the other films on our list, this entry pales in comparison.


7. X-Men

More X-Men
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Prior to Sony hitting it big with the release of Spider-Man, this was the film that really set the foundation for the comic book domination we see in theaters today. Fox decided to take a chance and see if the world was ready for the X Men, or more importantly, if the world was ready for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine.

From this one film, Fox would discover a new superstar in the form of Jackman and begin to build the rest of the franchise around him. Who could blame them? Jackman is fantastic in the role and the character of Wolverine is of course supremely popular with comic fans. With the release of the movie, he was now a pop culture icon outside of the comic community.

Bryan Singer had managed to please the critics, and more amazingly, win die hard fans over to the film. The audiences wanted more of this world and they certainly wanted more of Wolverine. This would of course not always be the best course of action for Fox to follow. But the good far outweighs the bad of Origins.


6. X2

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Remember when I said I’m sure not everyone will agree with my list? Still regarded as the best X-Men movie by many, this is certainly a beloved entry in the franchise. This film again follows the story of Wolverine trying to regain the memories of his past.

This leads to the introduction of the brilliant Brian Cox as William Stryker, the creator of the Weapon X Programme which gave Wolverine his adamantium skeleton. Although the focus is on Wolverine, we get fantastic story beats from Magneto, Professor X and the mesmerising Mystique.

The scene in which she takes out a whole host of Stryker’s soldiers is worth the price of admission alone. The film builds on the promise of the original perfectly by giving us more depth from our characters and upping the stakes of what they are fighting for. It’s purely a matter of preference for me as to why this entry isn’t higher on the list. I am just connected and had a lot more fun with the other films.


5. The Wolverine

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This time they got it right, so right. The fact that Hugh Jackman became a lot more involved with proceedings probably helped a great deal. He’d already seen the character get exploited, he wasn’t going to let it happen again.

The plot of the film draws inspiration from comic storylines in which Wolverine travels to Japan and discovers the ways of the Samurai. The film opens spectacularly with the bombing of Hiroshima and Wolverine surviving the blast thanks to his healing factor. He also manages to save a soldier while he’s doing it.

This leads to said soldier seeking Wolverine out years later and asking him for the chance to become immortal. Wolverine refuses, leading to his healing factor being nullified and going on the run with the now (supposedly) dead soldier’s granddaughter.

We get a more vulnerable side to Wolverine this time and not just in the physical sense. This shows something his enemies have never been able to do, break him. We get a Wolverine haunted by his violent past and the loss of his love, Jean Grey. Although the final act isn’t as original as I would have liked, it still provides some twists and turns to cap off a great film.


4. Deadpool


A big thank you to whoever ‘leaked’ that test footage. When that hit the web everyone lost their minds over the prospect of seeing Deadpool on the big screen. Ryan Reynolds had effectively been trying to get this film made for the last decade, a role many believed he was born to play, and he didn’t disappoint. Deadpool brings the funny, the action, the hot chick and a British villain as the credits brilliantly state. We follow the transformation of Wade Wilson from a horny, witty and rude mercenary to a horny, witty and rude mercenary with a messed up face.

Okay, there’s a little more to it than that, but at the end of day Deadpool was awesome! Another example of a studio not knowing they have gold sitting right in front of them, the power of the fans made this film happen and hopefully this will pave the way for more rated R films.

Let’s face it, we all need a bit of toilet humour now and again. The market is flooded by PG-13 rated comic book films at the moment. This was a welcome escape into a more creatively freeing world of comic book movies.


3. Apocalypse

X-Men Apocalupse
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Now this is a tricky one. After seeing the film last weekend, I’ve thought long and hard about where this would go on the list. I know the critics have had their negative thoughts on the film, but I really enjoyed it.

The chemistry among our new generation of X-Men, or old depending on the timeline definition, is as engaging as ever. Oscar Isaac as Apocalypse does extremely well in what could have been a very restrictive suit and blue make-up.

Unsurprisingly, the film focuses on the holy trinity of characters in the franchise: Magneto, Professor X and Mystique. All three characters excel again in their respective roles, with Magneto particularly embarking on the most intriguing arc.

A film that pokes fun at itself with lines like ‘the third one is always the worst’ is more than happy to bring the funny as well as the fan service. Oh, and if you loved that Quicksilver scene in Days Of Future Past, this one will not disappoint. In fact, it might be even better than the kitchen scene.


2. Days Of Future Past

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After the brilliance of First Class, expectations were sky high for DOFP. Added to this was the return of fan favourite Bryan Singer to the X-Men franchise. Oh, and if that wasn’t enough, we also get to have the original X-Men cast interact with the new kids on the block.

Wolverine heads back in time to try and prevent the rise of the Sentinels from destroying Mutants. He has to bring Charles Xavier back from breaking point along with the ever untrustworthy Magneto.

The acting in this film is brilliant all round and when we get Stewart talking to McAvoy it doesn’t get much better than that. With everything culminating in a fatal decision for one our main characters the journey getting there is a hell of a ride.


1. First Class

X-Men First Class
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Was there ever any doubt about this? Well there wasn’t for me anyway. After the fan splitting X-Men 3 it was time for Fox to reboot. Early press and marketing material for this film was not impressive to say the least.

Everyone was expecting this film to completely fail, which probably contributed to it not being a great success financially. What an amazing surprise it turned out to be. Giving Michael Fassbender the freedom to dominate the screen, McAvoy seamlessly stepping into the shoes or sitting in the chair of Professor X and Lawrence increasing her ever growing reputation as one of the best actresses around.

A great script by the team of Michael Vaughn and Jane Goldman, the pair managed to show us new and dare I say it…cooler sides of our favourite characters. Fassbender steals the show in what is a career making performance.

If this film didn’t work we wouldn’t have the rest of the trilogy to enjoy.

So there it is, that’s my list of the X-Men movies from worst to best. I hope you enjoyed it and please let me know if you agree or disagree.


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