This blog post is a bit delayed, but it’s been crazy in the last couple of weeks. Anyway, now that I’ve gone through all the live action X-Men movies, including the TV movie Generation X, it’s time to rank all of them in order of my personal preference. Like with my Disney list a few months ago, I refuse to say this is any kind of definitive list. Personally I find self-descript “definitive lists” arrogant, as if their author claims their list is the only one that matters when it’s really just about opinion. So that’s why I’m not calling this a ranked list.
And if the recently announced Disney and Fox deal is allowed to go through, then this will also be a list of all the pre-Disney era X-Men movies in order of personal preference. I’m not all that worried about Disney acquiring the movies since I wouldn’t call any of them amazing anyway, but I do hope that they allow James Mangold’s X-23 movie to go through. Anyway, let’s get started. Here is a list of all the live action movies from my favourite comic franchise.
Updated in December 2018 to add Deadpool 2 to the list.
There are only two things I like about this movie. Hugh Jackman’s performance as Wolverine, and Liev Schreiber’s performance as Sabretooth. Everything else about this movie is a disaster. There’s an overuse of terrible CGI effects. The story makes less and less sense the more you analyze it. Oh, and they butchered Deadpool as well, delaying the solo Deadpool movie for almost a decade because of the bad reception.
Unlike Origins: Wolverine, this movie isn’t completely unsalvageable. Wolverine’s fight in the forest is kind of fun, it’s nice to see Kitty Pryde get a decent portrayal and role in the movie, and Magneto is awesome as usual. But this movie is an overstuffed mess and a complete waste of potential. There are so many plot holes that you could almost drive a truck through them. The number of alterations they made to characters’ powers and excessively killing them off is unforgivable. That about sums it up.
The only thing remarkable about this movie is the trippy special effects work. Apart from that, this movie is only worth watching if you’re a huge X-Men fan with morbid curiosity. That or if you want to host a bad movie night.
There is more to like about this movie than The Last Stand, in fact I’ve rewatched a couple times, but it suffers from the exact same core problem. Wasted potential.
This movie got the franchise started, sure, but I always found the plot a bit lacking. The special effects weren’t even that great when it first released, it’s clear that the creators didn’t understand all that much about the franchise yet, and it just hasn’t aged all that well. But I am thankful that this movie exists.
I both love and loathe this movie. On the one hand, it’s a lot of fun. The way it ties the plot into historic events is genius, and the character focus on Xavier, Magneto, Beast and Mystique works very well. On the other hand, the rest of the cast feels completely wasted. Emma Frost’s performance is very wooden. Also, this movie feels kind of racist since of the only two non-white characters, one is unceremoniously killed off and the other turns bad for no apparent reason. That and Azazel is in the movie – a character introduced in what is quite possibly the worst X-Men story of all-time.
This is the first X-Men movie I ever saw, and I still enjoy it quite a bit to this day. It’s a major part of why I’m an X-Men fan in the first place. It manages to balance a very large cast while giving most of them some great character moments, the plot feels big, and the action is great. Most of my complaints are either minor nitpicks or “what if” questions. That said, Cyclops is still wasted as a character, and Nightcrawler’s portrayal, while good in the context of the movie, feels a bit off. While this movie is fine, it started the trend of the movie franchise relying too much on Wolverine.
If we’re talking about the theatrical cut, I would bounce this back behind First Class. The Unleashed cut is basically an R-rated version. It also explains side characters’ motivations better, gives us an actual Wolverine vs. ninja fight, and the pacing works better. It still suffers from the silly robot boss fight at the end, which I’m pretty sure only happened because of some sort of studio interference.
My favourite of the team X-Men movies so far. It faithfully adapts the original classic, while expanding on the story as necessary to fit the length of a full movie. Quicksilver’s scene is pure awesomeness. The action is great. The character work, continued from First Class, works brilliantly. My only notable complaints are regarding Beast turning into blue hulk-light and a couple unnecessary cameos of minor characters only from terrible comics.
These next three movies are the only X-Men movies I can’t think of any major complaints for. Deadpool 1 and 2 are actually very close for me, but what makes the first Deadpool win out over 2 is that it feels fresher, whereas there are moments in Deadpool 2 that feel a bit too similar to the first, most notably the climax that hits on almost every beat the first movie does. That said, the action is bigger and more ambitious, and Cable and Domino are both welcome additions to the core cast.
Deadpool 1, 2 and Logan are all made for full-on adult audiences, and they’re all the better for it. Deadpool is very entertaining, but it’s also downright horrific when it tries to be. It’s tonally all over the place in a way that actually serves both the story and the character. That alone is very impressive.
All I’m going to say about this one is that if it doesn’t receive at least a couple Oscar nominations, it’ll be a travesty and I’m forever done with the Academy Awards. It’s that good.