With Dark Phoenix out now, the 20th Century Fox X-Men movie universe is officially over. It was one of the first superhero movie universes and helped pave the way for those that came later. So we’re taking a look through the twelve officially released movies and ranking them from worst to best. Before I start, I have to give an honorable mention to the still unreleased New Mutants. The trailer we got gave me hope, but that was October 2017. Since then the film has had its release date pushed back several times, and is currently set for release in April 2020.
12. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
I mean, this one is obvious, right? The movie speaks for itself, but I will say it has two things going for it, Liev Schreiber and Ryan Reynolds. And even then they still managed to ruin Deadpool as played by Deadpool.
11. The Wolverine
I don’t think this is too bad of a movie. I remember enjoying it when I saw it. But that’s the thing, in looking into all of the FoX-Men movies, I completely forgot that this one existed. The best part of it? Probably the small cameo of a comic-accurate Wolverine costume. But even then, that’s an alternate ending.
10. X-Men: The Last Stand
The first attempt at the Dark Phoenix storyline, but covered up with a story about a cure for mutants. Had they stopped making X-Men movies with this one, it wouldn’t have been a high note but still a respectable ending to the would-be trilogy. Notable for having Kelsey Grammer as Beast, because that is someone who should not be playing Beast.
9. Deadpool 2
At this point I don’t think any of the remaining movies are bad, it’s more just personal preference. I like Deadpool 2, but I think it tried to capture the same magic of the original Deadpool and fell short. Josh Brolin and Zazie Beetz are great as Cable and Domino, respectively. The whole X-Force scene had me dying. But ultimately it didn’t have too much impact for me.
8. X-Men: Apocalypse
The worst of the James McAvoy era of X-Men films. I think it still holds up, honestly. Yeah, Apocalypse looks like Ivan Ooze. Yeah, they killed off Havok and Angel. But you know what else we got? There’s a cool Quicksilver scene, and a comic-accurate looking Psylocke and Jubilee.
This is maybe the one I have the most trouble ranking. This movie should hold a special place in comic book movie history. It helped usher in the superhero movie boom and was maybe the first one that was a decent movie, and not Howard the Duck. But at the same time, it still happened back when black leather was all the rage for superheroes.
6. Dark Phoenix
This movie, man. I feel like I’m the only person who actually likes it. I’m sure I’m not, but it feels like it. It’s not the best, clearly, it’s only number six on my list. But I think it has some stuff going for it. There’s a good team dynamic going with the X-Men team in the movie. Professor X acts like an ass, which he kind of is. The climax is, honestly, my favorite fight scene in any X-Men movie. Sophie Turner was flat in Apocalypse, and she’s a little flat in here. But where Jean Grey is in the story, it fits. Sure, some dialogue is cringy, and there’s one scene in particular that is supposed to be serious but had me laughing. But ultimately I think this is a nice send off for the X-Men franchise. It’s representative of every other film. It’s got it’s cool fight scenes, unintentionally goofy moments, and is ultimately a C+ movie, which is what I’d rank the franchise as a whole.
What Origins: Wolverine took away from us, Deadpool gave us tenfold. There’s good comedy, good fight scenes, some heartfelt moments. My biggest problem with this movie is less anything to do with the movie and more with the general overload of Deadpool in general.
4. X2: X-Men United
That opening Nightcrawler scene is pretty hard to beat (Dark Phoenix totally beat it though). But this is easily the best of the original trilogy of X-Men films. Plus, it expands the cast of characters to include Iceman, Pyro, Colossus, Nightcrawler and Lady Deathstrike. They also didn’t overdo the tease for the Phoenix powers, unlike Apocalypse.
3. X-Men: First Class
I love the bromance between James McAvoy’s Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. I love that they didn’t go with some of the more name brand mutants, opting instead to use Havok, Banshee, and Darwin. Freaking Darwin. The background of the story set against the Cuban Missile Crisis is fantastic. January Jones as Emma Frost is flat, but if that’s the worst part of the movie, then I’m okay with it.
I know that not everyone will agree with this being ranked #2, but it’s my number two. It’s an emotional sendoff for Hugh Jackman, who’s been playing the character for forever. One of my favorite comic characters, X-23, is in it. Although it’s not really the X-23 I’d prefer. It’s one of the few movies I’ve cried at. But that’s why I put it at the #2 spot. This is undoubtedly a good, almost perfect movie. But I can’t just sit down and casually watch it on my day off. It’s an emotional drain on me. Plus, I know it’s a movie literally called Logan, but I don’t like how they just swept the rest of the X-Men and mutants under the rug.
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
This is the best X-Men film. It bridges the pre-McAvoy era and the post-McAvoy era beautifully in a superhero time travel story. It takes a, at that point, six-movies-deep film franchise and gives it the best soft reboot. You get your Wolverine action, and even though he’s the main character his presence isn’t overwhelming. The climax instead focuses on the friendship between Charles Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique. There’s some kind of comic accurate Sentinels. We get, McAvoy, Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page and that’s not even all of them! It bridges the old and the new, and while the follow-up movies didn’t really deliver, at the time they seemed primed for all the success in the world. And to top it all off, I don’t think anyone was expecting that first Quicksilver scene. I watch it at least once a week on YouTube. It’s one of the best scenes in any movie, superhero or comic based, or not. I don’t think any X-Men film gets better than this one.