1. X-Men: First Class
Kick-Ass Director Matthew Vaughn had a huge breakout with the genesis of Marvel’s favorite superhero team – X-MEN. In the early 1960s, Charles and Erik join forces with the CIA to save humanity. We are able to explore the dynamics between each character far more than we ever have. It delivers all the best key elements that make the X-Men universe worth exploring. An emotional and entertaining movie that transcends the comic book genre and evolves into a Cold War thriller.
The film pays respectful, yet subtle homage to the 2000 film and perfectly casts Young Professor Xavier and Young Magneto. James Mcavoy and Michael Fassbender create electric chemistry for their roles. Kevin Bacon nails the sinister nazi doctor experimenting on mutant children and is responsible for the death of Erik’s mother. Nicholas Hoult’s Beast transformation is a crowd-pleaser. Jennifer Lawrence, Zoe Kravitz, and more shine as the first members joining the team. The movie sets up a great foundation for the future of the mutant franchise.
2.) X-Men: Days of Future Past
Near to absolute perfection. Without the success of First Class, you wouldn’t have the worldwide phenomena that is Days of Future Past. Matthew Vaughn was supposed to direct his own trilogy but the studio wanted to rush ahead with this idea. Merging the older original cast and the young cast together was the best decision ever made for this franchise. It doesn’t serve as a passing of the torch, but rather a cleaning of the slate, and gives us a fresh start which leads you to believe both timelines can continue to exist.
In the 21st century, the Sentinels have evolved into highly efficient killing machines. With mutants facing extinction, Wolverine is sent back in time and rallies the X-Men of the past to help change a pivotal moment in history and save the future. The story flows organically and puts the mutants’ abilities on display. Quicksilver’s entire sequence breaking Erik out of the pentagon is a masterclass. The technology they used behind the scenes make it as realistic as possible. Young and Old Xaviers meeting across a point between space and time is an inspiring scene. By far the most exhilarating and sincere X-Men movie ever on the big screen.
Mark my words there will never be another film like this one ever again. The relationship between Wolverine and Professor Xavier gives closure not only to these characters but to the actual franchise as a whole. In the near future, a weary Logan cares for an ailing Professor Xavier at a remote outpost on the Mexican border. His plan to hide from the outside world tumbles apart when he meets a young mutant named Laura who was created in a lab using his own DNA. Logan must now protect Laura and outrun the evil forces that want to weaponize her.
Logan is a real western with enough blood and gore to redefine what a comic book movie can and should be. Hugh Jackman gives a career-best performance. Patrick Stewart is dedicated to the impaired broken man that became Xavier after nearly killing everyone he loved at the mansion and school. The incident is referred to over the radio and news as “The Westchester Incident”. The film did receive an Oscar nomination and went on to win awards for its screenplay and acting. Viewing this film in the Noir cut adds to the depth and emotional weight written in the script. Make no mistake, Logan earns the tears by the time the credits start to roll playing Johnny Cash. It’s the perfect goodbye to the most beloved actors and characters.
Rewind the clocks back to the year 2000. Comic book movies were not leaving a footprint in the industry. It seemed as if the technology, creativity, and passion were not there for the genre. Until X-Men premiered! The film instantly became a box office success. Grossing over $296.3 million worldwide, it received glowing reviews from critics citing its performances, story, and thematic depth. This movie is very important because it changed everything. If it wasn’t for Bryan Singer’s tremendous directing and careful casting of renowned actor Patrick Stewart as Professor Xavier – we wouldn’t have Spiderman, Fantastic 4, Ironman, or even The Avengers today!
In a world filled with hate and prejudice, mutants are feared by those who cannot accept their differences. The X-Men fight to protect a world that fears them. Locked in a battle with Magneto who believes humans and mutants should never coexist. The story serves as a parable for intolerance, xenophobia, and us-versus-them mentality themes that are still relevant today.
A breath of fresh air from what seemed to become a confusing franchise. Deadpool is a wild ride in the theater delivering a memorable addition to the overall genre. Quickly took the world by storm proving anything is possible for the universe. Ryan Reynolds had been dying to play Deadpool on film since 2003, so it was no surprise that he grabbed the role in the first solo spin-off for Wolverine. Everyone hates what they did to Wade Wilson in that movie, but nobody blames Reynolds for it. Not to mention Green Lantern being a complete letdown.
Tim Miller had never directed a feature film before, so it’s possible that Fox execs didn’t have faith. It’s not clear what reaction the studio had to the footage when it was delivered in 2012, but the film was dead in the water. Two years later, the footage leaked online, and Deadpool fans went insane. People speculate that it was Reynolds himself that leaked the footage. In an age where online petitions and viral videos could persuade corporate policy, Fox couldn’t keep Deadpool from embracing his destiny as a star. The studio gave the movie a green light and production finally began in 2015.
Superior as its predecessor. Like the first movie, it wraps everything up with incredible wirework and action scenes powered by special effects that are all the more impressive because Director Bryan Singer does not let them overwhelm the plot. Opening with Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler fighting an entire team of security guards at the White House and is still one of the best-choreographed fight scenes.
Former Army commander William Stryker holds the key to Wolverine’s past and the future of the X-Men. This threat re-ignites the call for a mutant registration act. Stryker starts a full-out assault on Professor Xavier’s mansion and school. After escaping his plastic cell, Magneto proposes a partnership with the X-Men to combat this enemy they have in common. There are problems while some of the expositional dialogue is heavy and clunky at times. However, it is still a thought-provoking and stylish movie. The Matrix may have better leather outfits and is more visually stunning, but as an overall deal, X2 is worthy to be part of the timeline.
7.) X-Men: Last Stand
Nobody will admit that last stand was their favorite X-Men movie. I’ll be the first to say that it’s underrated and didn’t get enough credit for giving us a mutant war in the final act. The conversations are interesting in certain moments such as when Beast would work through diplomacy to try and unite humans and mutants. Logan and Xavier argue over the moral decisions made against Jean and her mind, creating a dual personality that refers to itself as the Phoenix.
Although it’s not the greatest iteration of the Phoenix saga, it still has some incredibly memorable moments. Scott mourning Jean’s death is heartbreaking. Wolverine fighting in the woods gives us classic footage of the character. Magneto lifting the San Francisco bridge, Mystique losing her powers, and notably Xavier’s death the first time on screen all come to mind as well. It’s a short movie and cuts right to the point, which I appreciate. Brett Ratner stepped in to direct after Bryan Singer left the project in favor of developing Superman Returns. Singer stated that he “didn’t fully have X-Men 3 in my mind” in contrast to a fully formed idea for a Superman film and interest in joining that franchise. Unfortunately, this was a mistake on his part as nothing more came out of that Superman movie. Meanwhile, X-Men continues their large library of characters and stories that he could have taken ownership of.
8.) The Wolverine
For the most part, The Wolverine succeeds at being an improvement over the first solo outing for the metal-clawed superhero. The Wolverine is a fantastic collaboration between James Mangold and Hugh Jackman while Logan is the main act. The film picks up right after the last stand with Logan leaving the X-Men and everybody he loved behind to hide out in the mountains. Living through almost every war that existed, cursed to live what feels like forever. He is haunted by intense visions of Jean from beyond the dead blaming him for everything.
Lured to Japan, Wolverine finds himself in a shadow realm of yakuza and samurai. Pushed to his physical and emotional brink when he is forced to go on the run with a powerful industrialist’s daughter and is confronted for the first time with the prospect of death. Fans did not approve of the changes to the original comic designs for the Silver Samurai that was more of a blockbuster Pacific Rim rip-off. This is a movie that lets the character control the story and reminds you why you care so much about this franchise.
9.) Deadpool 2
An entertaining sequel that pushes its own limits, but is less cohesive than necessary. Everything that you got in the first film, double that. Sequels are really tricky though if you forget what made the first so special. It’s sad Tim Miller did not return to direct over creative differences and was replaced by John Wick director, David Leitch. While the first movie is a romantic parody the sequel desires to be a family sort of friendly movie by having Deadpool feel obligated to save a child.
The addition of the Mad Titan actor Josh Brolin as Cable was a good choice, however if only the story could have been focused on he and Wade. Zazie Beats being thrown into the mix was another good choice as Domino. It’s a flawless Reynold’s performance but not as funny as the first. A solid supporting cast and a story that has meat on it and some growth for the merc with the mouth. Feels as if the studio rushed the script out the door thinking it could not possibly fail. If it wasn’t for everybody bringing their game and poking fun at itself, this could have been a disaster of a sequel. Now that Disney owns the rights to Deadpool, we know Reynolds will return. However, when and how this occurs remains a mystery.
10.) X-Men: Apocalypse
You can imagine the level of excitement the fans had after learning Bryan Singer was returning to Direct the young cast and that we would potentially see a more comic accurate adaptation of the X-Men by introducing Cyclops who grows up to become the leader of the team.
Oscar Isaac took the role of Apocalypse seriously and was dedicated to the idea of working with an incredible cast. Unfortunately, it didn’t really turn out the way he would have hoped. The religious aspect of Apocalypse were compelling. When he refers to himself as the one true God, he gives great speeches about how the world has become corrupted. Erik losing his daughter and wife is sad, but it all happens so fast that it is difficult to be invested in his family. Refusal to commit to any sort of continuity for the overall franchise is disappointing as the movie trades all of that to rehash old plots, such as another Wolverine origin story that nobody asked for. Unfortunately for everyone involved, it’s one of the most forgettable movies.
11.) X-Men Origins: Wolverine
A terrible example of a studio banking on the best actor of their franchise. The X-Men doesn’t work with solo movies. What makes them so exciting is that everybody is a supporting character to each other. You get glimpses of somebody’s past or story, and that ambiguity makes it all more worth investing in because it leaves something to the imagination.
To make a wolverine movie without any real violence or brute makes for a boring movie. Wade Wilson was first introduced and was also censored from his inappropriate jokes, fourth-wall breaking, and gore. They took it too far when they sewed his mouth shut preventing him from speaking altogether. The only good thing that can be said about this is the opening title sequence is kind of cool as it sums up everything you need to know about Wolverine. Also, the brother rivalry between Wolverine and Sabertooth, who is played by Liev Schreiber and is an honorable standout.
12.) The New Mutants
The goal was to make the movie distinct, in the same vein as Logan and Deadpool, from the previous X-Men movies. At this point, there were concerns that Fox was dealing with a Fant4stic fiasco. Fox stressed that this situation would hopefully be better since the studio was working with Josh Boone on New Mutant reshoots as opposed to Josh Trank’s removal from Fant4stic. It was clear that the post-production was becoming more hectic than initially anticipated, including a new antagonist subplot.
There were plans for reshoots and although that was only based on speculation, it was reported by The Hollywood Reporter that these reshoots still hadn’t taken place as the movie was still in the hands of Josh Boone. It would seem the issue was caught up in both the actors’ busy schedules and the ongoing Fox merger. New mutants never had a chance to prove itself as the release date changed four times. You can tell it was meant to be really different from what was being produced. But after being passed down by countless Writers, Directors, and now the merging of two studios, there was no way this movie should’ve seen the light of day.
13.) Dark Phoenix
Everything you hate about X-Men rolled into one hot mess of a movie. I don’t recall if it was the X-Phone or Jennifer Lawrence shouting ‘X-Women’ but Xavier giving a speech about pens and good things are the worst dialogue in the history of writing. I quickly realized the score would never fade out as it was continuously playing throughout the entire movie. Whoever had the bright idea of adapting yet another Phoenix story should never work in the industry again.
The X-Men franchise limps to a conclusion with this lifeless entry that finds Director Simon Kinberg in way over his head. In a world where superhero movies are contributing a lot to the cinema, this franchise ran out of steam and could never recover from this embarrassing failure. Strangely enough, the reshot finale set on a military train is the film’s only engaging sequence, as Nightcrawler gets an excellent kill and Magneto bends metal. It’s not enough to make up for Jennifer Lawrence’s terrible Mystique makeup, clearly begging to be thrown out of this franchise.
This is the bottom of the barrel and the X-Men is ready for a well-deserved comeback. The silver lining to this is that now Fox is owned by Disney and Marvel will revamp the X-Men in the near future. For now, we can look forward to Patrick Stewart making his epic cameo in Doctor Strange, the Multiverse of Madness!
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Agents of Fandom on Spotify or Apple Podcasts! If you subscribe to Apple Podcasts, rate 5 stars, and leave us a nice review, you’ll be entered into one of our sporadic giveaways!