Now that Logan has been in theaters for a couple of weeks, we figured it’s a good time to take stock of all the films in the X-Men universe. Outside of the core X-Men series and the Wolverine spin-off films, the Marvel Comics universe at 20th Century Fox has expanded to include Deadpool, giving us 10 total films that all exist in the same world, and we collaboratively ranked them all.
To make this list, we had as many members of the /Film crew as possible submit their own personal ranking of each of the X-Men movies from one through ten. The film in the top spot was given 10 points, the second got 9 points and so on and so forth until the final movie got just a single point. What follows is the result of tabulating all of the points for each of the movies after looking at lists submitted by Peter Sciretta, Jacob Hall, Ethan Anderton, Jack Giroux, David Chen, Devindra Hardawar, Christopher Stipp, Ben Pearson, and Hoai-Tran Bui.
There were two clear runaways at the top, while the films that followed were a little more varied in their ranking among the team. However, there were no scruples about which were the worst three films in the entire series. While we all had different opinions about where those movies fell at the bottom of the list, none of them earned more than 3 points on any one of our lists.
Anyway, without further adieu, here’s /Film’s collaborative ranking of all the X-Men movies. Let’s start with the worst of them.
10. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (13 points)
It should come to no surprise to anyone with a single shred of respect for X-Men that this is the worst film in the entire franchise (it’s three points away from having the lowest score possible). While many had hoped this movie would give us the deep dive into Wolverine’s history that fans of the character wanted, all this did was drop a big steaming pile of garbage on not only our comic book movie dreams but also Hugh Jackman’s career.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine goes far back into Wolverine’s past, and while the dynamic between him and his brother Sabretooth (played by Liev Schreiber) might have been compelling in another movie, here it’s just hollow fodder to give Wolverine one of several lame villains to face throughout the movie. Sure, the opening credits that span decades are cool, and there are a couple of solid action sequences. But they’re all dwarfed by an abysmal script that turns Wolverine into a two-dimensional character who has a bunch of dumb one-liners, not to mention some of the most awful visual effects ever seen in a tentpole of this scale.
In addition to surrounding Wolverine with a lame team of allies (one of them was played by will.i.am of The Black Eyed Peas for crying out loud), X-Men Origins also gave him one abomination of an adversary in the form of a bastardized version of Deadpool. Why the hell would you bring the Merc with the Mouth to the big screen if you’re going to sew his mouth shut and make him look like Baraka from Mortal Kombat? The only good thing that came out of X-Men Origins: Wolverine is the fact that it gave Ryan Reynolds a fire to redeem Deadpool by bringing him to life in the way that fans deserved. But we’ll get to that later. (Written by Ethan Anderton)
9. X-Men: Apocalypse (19 points)
All due respect to Bryan Singer for kicking off this franchise, but Apocalypse is proof he should step back and let some new blood take a crack at the world of mutants. A bloated, uninspired follow-up to the well-regarded Days of Future Past, Apocalypse is perhaps best known for completely wasting Oscar Isaac in the villainous title role, burying the charismatic performer under pounds of makeup and asking him to wander around delivering bland lines about the need for a “better world.” What’s worse, Singer seems to have completely lost his touch with action sequences; where X2 and Days of Future Past are full of creative and energetic fight scenes, these are remarkably tired and lifeless. The exception, of course, is the standout Quicksilver slow-mo scene, which is bigger, longer, and more elaborate than the jailbreak in the previous film.
But one strong scene isn’t enough to justify the rest of this slog, which features stars Jennifer Lawrence and Michael Fassbender sleepwalking their way through now-familiar roles as Mystique and Magneto while the new new class (Tye Sheridan, Sophie Turner, Kodi Smit-McPhee) admirably attempt to keep the film afloat. And I haven’t even mentioned the forced and unnecessary Wolverine cameo that includes an uncomfortable moment with Turner’s Jean Grey, who’s young enough to be Hugh Jackman’s daughter here. By the time we get to the climax, with Magneto floating above Cairo destroying iconic monuments across the world for seemingly no reason other than meeting a CGI destruction quota, the film has long outed itself as a stale disappointment. (Written by Ben Pearson)
8. X-Men: The Last Stand (22 points)
After teasing the arrival of the Dark Phoenix at the end of X2: X-Men United (a scene that would have been a credits stinger in today’s world), X-Men: The Last Stand certainly had a lot to live up to. But with director Brett Ratner behind the camera, it doesn’t even come close to the quality that Bryan Singer brought to the previous movies.
The sequel starts interestingly enough, with a sequence that gives us a miraculously younger Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen visiting an adolescent Jean Grey. Then it quickly takes a sharp turn into terrible once we move forward in time to introduce the catalyst of the events to come, a “cure” for the mutant gene that has appeared in humans. Any subtlety that existed in this franchise goes completely out the window, both in narrative symbolism and in the acting department. Everyone seems to he hamming it up, making everything overly melodramatic, with the exception of Wolverine, who becomes nothing more than a walking one-liner machine until the movie makes a last ditch effort to make you feel something by having him kill Jean Grey.
Speaking of which, while it’s not quite as egregious as the treatment of Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the Dark Phoenix storyline is unbelievably mishandled, turning one of the most iconic comic book storylines ever into a boring blockbuster spectacle of CGI destruction and insignificant battles of mutants versus other lame mutants. One of those lame mutants, Juggernaut, is responsible for what might be the single-most atrocious moment in the entire series, a moment inspired by an online meme. You know exactly the moment I’m talking about. (Written by Ethan Anderton)