Every ‘X-Men’ movie ranked worst to best
After 17 years, Hugh Jackman will take his last bow as Wolverine (for now, anyway) along with Sir Patrick Stewart as the benevolent telepath Professor X in Logan. It’s been a long road for the two actors and the stars they’ve shared the screen with, from the core cast of the first three X-Men films to the First Class prequels and Wolverine standalone films.
That’s pretty emotional for an X-Men movie fan, so we decided to rank all the previous movies and to revel in the highs and lows of the series over almost two decades.
This ranking includes every live-action X-Men movie, except for Deadpool, which we can probably agree was kind of its own thing, and Logan, which you’ll have to see for yourself. Here’s how they rank, from worst to best:
8. The Wolverine (2013)
The Wolverine took Logan to Japan after the events of The Last Stand, but the absence of pretty much every mutant we’ve known made this a tough story to care about. Logan reconnects with Ichirō Yashida (Hiroyuki Sanada), who he saved from death in Nagasaki and who now wants Logan’s healing to postpone his own demise. Strangely, it was the first X-Men feature directed by James Mangold, whose followup work in Logan is a total knockout.
Best scene: Logan saves Yashida
7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
The first standalone Wolverine movie was enjoyable but forgettable. The best thing that can be said is it gave us Ryan Reynolds as Deadpool, and even that was botched — the Merc with the Mouth didn’t even have a mouth.
Best scene: The opening; Just how old is Logan? Centuries! And he has a brother (Liev Schrieber), with whom he stands throughout these opening credits while fighting in literally all the wars.
6. X-Men: Apocalypse (2016)
The much-hyped Apocalypse added names like Oscar Isaac and Sophie Turner to its impressive roster, but the plot is cluttered chaos that doesn’t fit in with the other films. Apocalypise (Isaac) also shares a lot of views with Ultron from The Avengers, which should have been a red flag from the beginning.
Best scene: Apocalypse’s origins as En Sabah Nur in ancient Egypt.
5. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
The Last Stand laid the teetering groundwork for 2007’s Spider-Man 3 as the first threequel to attempt to self-sabotage the franchise that feeds it. But X-Men could always rely on the performances of Jackman, Stewart and McKellen, who make this movie ache for the characters it often betrays. There’s some fabulously cliché dialogue (try to get through the scene of Angel and his father without predicting every millisecond) and gratuitous murder of characters we love, but it all worked out eight years later.
Best scene: Magneto moves the Golden Gate Bridge.
4. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
The brilliant First Class universe combined with the X-Men franchise of the early 2000s to bring us Days of Future Past, a mouthwatering ensemble with James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry — I could go on, but I shouldn’t.
Best scene: Quicksilver saves the day.
3. X-Men (2000)
In the not-so-distant future, humanity has evolved into a new subset of people with supernatural abilities. Among them are the wizened Professor X, a peaceful educator, and his radical "old friend" Magneto, whose band of powerful rogue allies want mutant superiority, not equality. And then there’s the Wolverine, a literal lone wolf who couldn’t give less of a shit about the politics of a couple old men until he ends up right at the center.
Best scene: Logan accidentally attacks Rogue (Anna Paquin), who uses her powers against him to save them both. It’s the first time we see how harmful her touch can be, and it shocks and humbles Logan.
2. X-Men: First Class (2011)
Rebooting X-Men was a risky idea (before reboots became tres chic), but rebooting it with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender was nothing short of commendable. Young Charles (McAvoy) and Eric (Fassbender) meet and take solace in the company of a fellow mutant leader, only to respectfully part ways due to ideological differences after curbing the Cuban Missile Crisis. Fassbender owns Magneto like he’s been playing him for lifetimes, and Kevin Bacon somehow pulls off the slimy villain Sebastian Shaw.
Best scene: The training montage is pretty cool, but it’s followed by one of the irresistible McAvoy/Fassbender scenes that make this movie, if you’ll pardon the pun, marvelous.
1. X2: X-Men United (2003)
X-Men was always full of political undertones, but X2 remains one of the most compelling examinations of the subtle differences among people who seem to be on the same side. The mutant minority, normally divided about how to gain acceptance in the wider world, unites against Colonel William Stryker, the man who surgically altered Logan’s skeleton and plans to wipe out all mutants permanently.
Best scene: Magneto escapes prison after Mystique injects his guard’s blood with an extra dose of iron.