The X-Men franchise is one of the more difficult comic book worlds to seamlessly transition to the screen. Mainly because there are a million characters, lots of intricate story arcs, and a lot of die-hard fans. Keeping the details straight between various histories can cause some major headaches. A lot of directors and writers have taken a crack at it, and given us a decent sample size now from which we can analyze. So embrace your inner comic geek and figure out which movies you think did it best. Here’s my two cents, from worst to best.
7. X-Men: The Last Stand
There hasn’t really been an all out “bad” X-Men movie. Sure some are definitely better than others, but Last Stand is pretty locked in near the bottom of the pile. Brent Ratner’s take on the third movie felt like it was leaning more towards a Michael Bay film than say a Christopher Nolan. More shiny stuff, less substance. Sure we got to see Kelsey Grammer, and Ellen Page introduced as Beast and Kitty Pryde, but overall there just wasn’t enough here to make me care. The death of some major characters also seemed to come a little too easy, considering the past skirmishes they had been a part of. All in all, this movie just didn’t quite go the distance.
Now a lot has changed in not only movies, but especially superhero movies since X-Men’s 2000 release. This movie was the basis for the series, and introduced the majority of the main characters that are still starring in the modern X-Men era of films. That said, it is definitely dated. Special effects aside, the plots are predictable, the characters one-sided, and the dialogue black and white. Still, without this film who knows where the franchise would be today, so for that, I won’t put it dead last.
5. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
This movie had a lot of good in it. We get to witness Wolverine’s adamantium injection for instance. Thank you Hugh Jackman for eating 20,000 chicken breasts because you looked freaking awesome during that scene. There was a also a lot of bad in this movie. For instance we get introduced to Deadpool, one of Marvel’s best characters in my opinion, only to be let down by a much tamer and goofy version. Yeah I get it, the “merc with a mouth” is difficult to translate to the PG-13 world, but what’s your excuse for his lame sword play and 90’s style wire work? The story gives us a glimpse at why Wolverine is who he is today, but it also jumps around and gets a little sidetracked at times. Overall, this movie had its fun moments, but was still far from perfect.
4. X2: X-Men United
X2 took the ground work laid by the first movie and ran with it full speed. They expanded upon the idea of the human vs mutant conflict, and actually delved deep into some emotional relationships that felt real. This was one of the first times that we actually saw what modern superhero movies today can do well, and that is create characters and situations that aren’t one-sided, that can be good and bad at the same time, and can make us feel a little conflicted over what side we are choosing. X2 is one of the reasons that this franchise is still around today.
3. The Wolverine
This movie is fairly separated from the rest of the films in the franchise as far as story arcs go. As the name would imply, we are focused for pretty much the whole movie on one character, instead of 5. Or 8. Or 13. This movie has a certain realness to it, and seems like it could be plausible part of history. (For a superhero movie that is) We again get to see that Wolverine has a heart, and its been broken a few times in his life. Other than being basically a giant piece of character development, the events of the movie itself don’t really effect the plot of the other movies that much. Nonetheless it is entertaining, shows us a side of some characters we otherwise would have only seen in a flashback somewhere, and the movie just looks freaking cool.
2. X-Men: Days of Future Past
The most recent installment of the franchise is held up to a high benchmark from is recent predecessors, and it hits the mark. It takes the interesting younger version of the characters introduced to us in First Class, and mixes them up with the older standard versions from the rest of the movies. Seeing both together really connects some dots as to how far certain characters have come, and what has driven them over the years. The cast is amazing, the effects are top notch, and it sets up the future of the franchise in a fantastic way by “resetting” some of the events of the past making it possible for some characters to return, that we may not have expected. Overall this is a great movie, and doesn’t let us down.
1. X-Men: First Class
In my opinion, this was the movie that cemented the franchise as a mainstay of the industry for years to come. The movies before this were entertaining, but dated, and since their release we had seen the likes of The Avengers, and The Dark Knight films which pretty much flipped the superhero movie industry on their head when it came to quality of writing, effects and overall cinematography. First Class was the first X-Men movie that I think stepped up its game to be included in the modern age of superhero movies. Plenty of movies have not adapted and have flopped horribly. (cough cough Green Lantern). First class gave us an origin story, which of course has been all the rage, but does it in a way that doesn’t feel like its taking us to kindergarten. The new casting is just perfect, and sets up the future of the franchise for many movies to come. This was a make or break moment for the franchise, and it not only jumped that hurdle, it flew over it.
Agree or disagree? Well talk amongst yourself and leave some comments if you like. Either way I think most people will agree that at least for now the franchise is headed in the right direction.