Over the last two weeks, we've been ranking the Marvel Cinematic Universe films according to both the composite scores and fan rankings. Because the lists were so different, we did two separate rankings. When it comes to looking at the films in the X-Men franchise, the job gets much easier. Both rankings systems give the exact same results. From top to bottom, the fans and critics completely agree on the placement of every X-Men film.
The ComicBook.com Composite is a proprietary algorithm that compiles ratings listed in the public domain by the major media services and user ratings from the ComicBook.com community, creating the industry's most comprehensive and unbiased movie ratings and rankings. The fan ratings, however, are exactly as you'd think. Fans can rank each movie on a scale of 1-5, and we take the average of those rankings.
This list includes all seven of the current films in the X-Men franchise. Apocalypse just got released, so we're not counting that one yet. We're also leaving Deadpool off of this list. It is technically part of the same universe as all of these films, but it hasn't exactly connected yet. I know that's part of the plan going forward, but we're gonna say it's a standalone film for this particular exercise. So, how did the current X-Men films stack up against each other? Let's take a look.
7. X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009)
Composite Score: 45.27 - Fan Rating: 2.37/5
I don't think this was a surprise to anyone. Sure it had a cool concept, and the thought of seeing a few members of the Weapon X program come together was pretty cool, but cool is not what we got. X-Men Origins: Wolverine was a complete failure all around.
Everybody loved Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, so it only made sense to give him is own origin story. This film, however, failed to match a single successful element of the existing X-Men trilogy. It started with a script that failed to provide interesting dialogue or a cohesive story, and took a direction that was completely opposite the one of the previous films. Some of the casting choices were great, but they chose to do nothing with them. Even the special effects and CGI were poor. From beginning to end, this movie was a disaster.
The worst part? The complete botching of the most beloved of X-Men characters of all time; Deadpool. The casting of Ryan Reynolds as the Merc was one everyone was instantly excited about. Fans knew he could play the role perfectly, and he was set to be the shining star of the film. The wit and sarcasm he could bring to the Mouth was unlike any other. So, what did they do? Of course, they sewed his mouth shut. What was the angle there? It just didn't make sense to take one of the only good things about a film and remove its best attribute. Reynolds and Jackman were both great choices for their roles, and I still think Liev Schrieber did a great job portraying Sabretooth. Outside of those three, the rest of the film seemed horribly miscast.
A disaster of a movie, we can at least thank Origins for one thing. The terrible handling of Deadpool made Ryan Reynolds fall even more in love with the character. Ever since the film premiered, Reynolds wanted to take on the role again, and give fans the Deadpool they deserved. After seven years of hard work and perseverance, we got what we had waited for. So, thank you X-Men Origins, for pissing off Ryan Reynolds.
6. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Composite Score: 55:81 - Fan Rating: 2.5/5
Critics were a bit kinder to this film than fans were. The composite score had The Last Stand a full ten points higher than Origins, while fans only rated it .13 higher. Even though they slightly disagreed on the overall quality of the film, they both thought The Last Stand was worse than five other movies in the franchise. Much like Sam Raimi's Spider-Man, the X-Men had a really good thing going after two films. Even more like Spider-Man, the third film is widely regarded as a critical flop, and the worst of the trilogy.
The biggest strike most people had against this movie was just the vast amount of moving parts. The film featured more comic book characters than any film had before, and it tried desperately to squeeze in bits of all of their stories. The first two films gave plenty of background to the situation at hand, but new director Brett Ratner came in and tried to make his own mark. Instead of further developing current characters, The Last Stand saw the introduction of mutants like Angel, Juggernaut, and Beast. It even made the bold decision not to invite Nightcrawler back, a choice that left most fans both baffled and angry. With all of these stories merging, it was nearly impossible to blend them into one cohesive plot.
The two great things about this film were its nod to the Dark Phoenix Saga, and the brilliant recasting of Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde. All of our favorite mutants played their roles well, but it just wasn't enough to save the film.
For those who still hold a grudge against The Last Stand for ruining, what could have been, the greatest comic trilogy of all time, you got your revenge. In Bryan Singer's return to the franchise, Days of Future Past, the entire time line of the X-Men franchise was altered. That ending scene where Logan showed back up at Xavier's School meant that everything in The Last Stand was wiped away. We get a new start with the modern day mutants, and the future looks much brighter.
5. The Wolverine (2013)
Composite Score: 67.92 - Fan Rating: 3.23/5
From here on out, critics and fans are much happier about the franchise. After the disappointment that was Wolverine's origin story, he received a much better sophomore outing. Coming in over ten composite points higher than X3, and almost another full fan point, The Wolverine lands at number five.
A departure from the rest of the X-Men franchise, The Wolverine took a look at Logan's exploration of his past. After being summoned to Japan, we get to watch Wolverine take on a lot of the Samurai culture that encompasses so many of his stories throughout the comics. In the other X-Men films, Logan's talents stand out as his own, with so many other powers and mutations across the board. The great part about The Wolverine is that we got to see his talents and powers match up to those like him. It was a warrior vs warrior action movie that gave us brilliant sequences of hand to hand combat. The combination of ancient fighting styles and Japanese culture brought a unique tone to the film, and fans appreciated the change of pace. For the most part.
It was great to see Logan in a film that was entirely his own, but it was also frustrating because we wanted to see some of the other mutants we'd grown to love. Even the introduction of another mutant would have been appreciated. Many of the other X-Men come in and out of Wolverine's story so often, it felt like we could have seen an X-23 or Daken enter the film. We got a little less X than we wanted, but more Wolverine than we ever thought we would get. At the end of the day, that's not so bad.
4. X-Men (2000)
Composite Score: 74.20 - Fan Rating: 3.55/5
Bryan Singer's X-Men changed the game when it comes to the super-hero genre. Until the year 2000, the only heroes we had really seen on the big screen were Batman and Superman. By this time, however, Batman had completely lost its way. The previous two films, Batman Forever and Batman & Robin, were critical failures. Superman hadn't been seen since 1987, and there wasn't any other franchise around bringing comics to life. In a time when no one was really making super hero films, Bryan Singer made one that would set the tone for the future of the genre, and spark the Great Hero Race that still dominates the box office today.
X-Men found a way to include many of its classic characters, and still give them each a great deal of screen time and characterization. We praised Civil War for its balance of each and every character, but X-Men did the same thing 16 years ago. From seeing Magneto's creation, to getting to know Logan as an anti-hero, to even seeing Xavier search the world from Cerebro; this film brought comic fans everything they had been waiting for. Not only did the movie give us glimpses of the individual parts, but it culminated in an epic climax that saw the entire X-Men team, united, saving humanity. That one brilliant scene in which each of the characters' powers were just as important as the others, set the tone for each and every super hero team-up after it.
X-Men, unlike any other film before it, managed to take the real issues of our world and apply them to heroes that we could look up to. The X-Men comics were created to show us that even social outcasts have a voice, and the film captured that perfectly. The depth of the story blended flawlessly with the light hearted tone of the film, and it set the standard for every movie that came after. Even though the franchises are owned by different properties, we wouldn't have the MCU today, had it not been for the brilliance of Bryan Singer's X-Men.
3. X2: X-Men United (2003)
Composite Score: 76.55 - Fan Rating: 3.59/5
Remember all of those nice things I said about X-Men in the last slide? X2 took all of the great parts of X-Men, and somehow found a way to improve on them. Highly regarded as one of the best super hero films of the 2000's, X2: X-Men United stops at number three on our list.
Set following the events of X-Men, X2 saw our favorite mutants team up with villains in order to stop the complete annihilation of every mutant on the planet. The battles got bigger and the stakes got higher, but the heart and soul of the film didn't change. Instead of selling out to become another common blockbuster, Bryan Singer found a way to make a true sequel to an already great film.
In addition to further developing Magneto, X2 did something most comic book films fail to accomplish; establish a real villain. William Stryker was only a man, but his characterization made him feel so much more menacing. The hate pouring from his heart made him into a villain we were able to fear on-screen, and that made our first look at the Weapon X program that much more terrifying.
In addition to bringing in William Stryker, the film also gave us one of our all-time favorite mutants, Nightcrawler. Brian Cummings' portrayal of the transporting mutant set the tone for the entire film in the very first scene. With the rest of the X-Men reprising their roles from the first film, it was easy to see why the ensemble worked so well on-screen together. By doing more than the original, and not doing too much like so many others, X2 struck a balance that fans have loved for years.
2. X-Men: First Class (2011)
Composite Score: 78.97 - Fan Rating: 3.74/5
Five years after the original trilogy had concluded, fans were concerned over how a reboot of the X-Men would go. How could you create better versions of Xavier and Magneto? By perfectly telling their origin story, and how they came to be mortal enemies, Matthew Vaughn left his mark on the X-Men franchise in a huge way. Coming in at number two in our rankings is X-Men: First Class.
Set in the early 1960's, we watched how Charles and Erik grew together as friends, and how they fell apart as foes. What made this tale truly brilliant was its casting of the main characters. James McAvoy brought a deep knowledge and humility to the role of Charles Xavier, setting him up to become the great man we had all come to love. Michael Fassbender brought a level of anger and passion to Magneto that even Sir Ian McKellan hadn't been able to achieve. The chemistry these two had on-screen lead to a rebirth of the franchise, and gave us a truly human story of two friends that each and every one of us can relate to. Jennifer Lawrence, Kevin Bacon, and Nicholas Hoult each brought their A-game, and made the film that much better. Seriously, the casting alone made this film incredible.
The action of the film set it apart from other superhero movies, by making it realistic and gritty. Much like Nolan did with the Batman franchise, Vaughn found a way to change the formula into a much more down-to-earth kind of film. Sure, these were still mutants, but it felt like they lived in our world; not a sci-fi epic. To top it all off, how perfect was that Wolverine cameo?
1. X-Men: Days of Future Past
Composite Score: 81.79 - Fan Rating: 3.80/5
Come on, did this really come as any surprise? Days of Future Past was a legendary tale of time travel and consequences that made even the purest of comic fans rejoice. Bryan Singer's return to the franchise resulted in his best work, as Days of Future Past tops our list.
By travelling into the past to see our mistakes, and travelling to the future to see our consequences, Days of Future Past brought a gigantic story much closer to home. Not only did the film take place in multiple time periods, but both pieces were blended together in perfect fashion. Each time something would happen in the past, it would change an outcome of the future. It was a glorious storytelling tactic, and it was mastered in this film.
One of the things that impressed me most was the way Wolverine was woven back into the story. After the story was teased in his solo film, Logan was brought in by a future version of Professor X, in order to go back in time and save their former selves. Since no one else's body could stand to be back in time for so long, Logan had to be the one to do it. We got to see him interact with our favorite characters of both the old films and First Class, and it was awesome. We also got a great look at Bishop and Sunspot, characters we hadn't had a chance to really see yet, as well as Dr. Trask and his army of Sentinels.
DoFP brought us some of the biggest action sequences to date, and they felt so real that we were on the edge of our seats for most of the film. We knew that each decision made by our heroes would result in a change of the X-Men we'd always known, so everything they did left us breathless. Days of Future Past was one of the best superhero films to date, and it will be hard to beat.
It may be hard to beat, but fans everywhere are hoping X-Men: Apocalypse can do just that. Wrapping up the story of Xavier and Magneto, this film promises to be the ultimate mutant showdown that we wished The Last Stand had been. The film opens in theaters across the country Friday, May 27. Will you be in line to see it this weekend? I know I will be.
What did you think of our X-Men rankings? Love them? Hate them? What's your favorite X-Men film? Let us know in the comments below!