Ranking the ‘X-Men’ Movies
Ever since last year’s Comic-Con panel, I have been practically counting down the days until X-Men: Days of Future Past came out. Save one or two movies, Days of Future Class is my most anticipated movie of the year. And as of today, we’re mere days away from seeing the next superhero flick.
Before last year’s The Wolverine, I did a comprehensive review of the entire X-Men film franchise. Since not much has changed since then, rather than re-assess the films, I thought it’d be best to simply rate them from worst to first.
Below is the order I’d rank them:
This list wasn’t easy to put together. However, putting X-Men Origins: Wolverine last on the list was very, very easy. The film is neither good, nor entertaining. Wolverine’s character is definitely one of the most interesting characters in the X-Men universe, but the writing, visuals, and overall execution of Origins ruined the initial plans for more character spin-offs. There’s no other place for this movie.
While Origins was an easy #6, the other Wolverine-centric spin-off (simply titled The Wolverine) was a tougher choice at #5. The main problem with The Wolverine was that it didn’t seem to really fit into the X-Men universe they’d spent so much time creating. While some would say this is a good thing (considering it is a spin-off and not a sequel), what separates this franchise is the universe. Therefore, getting away from that universe really hurts the individual films.
The third film in the franchise, X-Men: The Last Stand, mostly suffers from being in the aftermath of such a huge event that ended X2. It also suffers because as the third film in a trilogy, it is inherently compared to the two in front of it. In this case, both of those movies are spectacular. The Last Stand does have some really good parts (particularly what they do with Magneto at the end), but it seems to value action over story which is something Bryan Singer’s first two movies didn’t.
Tied for the lead according to Rotten Tomatoes for “best” X-Men film is X2: X-Men United. After a very successful original film (more on this later), X-Men United flipped the switch when it came to the conflict. Like the title insinuates, the X-Men are forced to come together in order to save their race. Some people have made parallels to racial prejudice and the civil rights movement to what the X-Men dealt with in their movies. This is best seen in X-Men United in my opinion.
Before X-Men: First Class, I wasn’t sure any prequel could actually work. Most prequels end up being merely serviceable without really adding a whole lot to the story. However, First Class is the exception that makes the rule because it perfectly (well, almost perfectly) fills in the gaps left behind after the original trilogy. It also made the films relevant again while injecting new blood (in the form of great actors like Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence) into the already talented franchise. For that, I can’t convince myself to move this movie any lower than second.
Like most franchises, it all starts with the beginning. Without a successful X-Men, there wouldn’t be the franchise we know and love today. Instead, X-Men succeeded in a way no other superhero movie really had. It single-handedly started the modern superhero boom that gave us successful franchises like The Dark Knight trilogy (which is sometimes misattributed as the catalyst) and Marvel’s The Avengers. Instead, X-Men was successful and we have almost endless possibilities when it comes to superpowers with an almost seemingly endless amount of ammo for just plain good storytelling. Since this is the start of a great franchise, I find the number one spot to be the only fitting spot for this movie.
Check out X-Men: Days of Future Past this coming Friday!
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