I love the X-Men Movies! Along with Godzilla, The Hunger Games, and The Dark Knight Trilogy (and a few others); the X-Men film series is one of my all time favourite movie production chains. It’s a series that has brought me tremendous viewing pleasure, and it ranks high in my collection. Whenever a new film has been released, it has become a high priority on my annual to do list; to go see said movie. Basically, I think these movies are Awesome!
Superhero movies have changed a lot over the last couple of decades, and right now they pretty much dominate the release schedule. But if you want to take an in-depth look into the history of the genre; then X-Men is a great place to start. When the first film was released in 2000, Superhero movies could have been considered a joke, as the most major releases of the time were Joel Schumacher‘s Batman movie output. Things began to change in the genre mainly thanks to Blade in 1998 and Spiderman in 2002, but don’t forget; the first X-Men movies were there too. What started out as a bet based on the successful X-Men Animated Series in the early 90’s, the X-Men film series became a colossal and major hit for 20th Century Fox in the release schedule, one that has now been going for over two decades! How many film series have started, been cancelled and rebooted during that time frame, and yet: X-Men just kept going. But, as they say; all good things usually have to come to an end!
This end was coming soon in many ways. The history of the series is long and prolific, but the format of Superhero movies has changed since the release of the first film in 2000. Back then, trilogies still ruled the format of large scale series; but now it’s all about the shared universe. Things have changed, and in recent years the film series has struggled on with some weaker releases than the titans of their peak. There are many other reasons too; such as Walt Disney buying out the competition; said competition also being the owner of the X-Men film rights.
But, like many dying beasts; the series did release a few other items, items which showed how it wasn’t going down without either; a fight, or a parting gift. So, in celebration of this magnificent film series, I have chosen my Top 10 favourite films to share with you all. Parts of the list were hard to choose, because; well, how do you separate one magnificent film from the other; and some positions may shock you; but as a fan, I crafted this list (and that introduction) with love and admiration. So don’t be too down or sad about the position of some of these films, because in many respects; the are all Awesome! Enjoy!
10. X-Men: Apocalypse – OK, now I did just say that all these films could be considered Awesome; but in making a long list, you will eventually run out of options. In that case then this film is more enjoyable at best! It’s a real shame in many respects given which film came before it, and also the great opportunity this film provided for the future of the series. But don’t let that detract too much, as there is still some level of good in it. It actually feels and looks like a much smaller movie in comparison to others in the series, it features a good if not great villain with one of the best lines in the history of cinema, and the nuclear launch scene is simply terrific. It’s an attempt which should be tried again as there is plenty of possibility and opportunity when Apocalypse is involved, but there is still plenty to enjoy within!
9. X-Men: The Last Stand – It’s somewhat ironic that some of the most recent releases in the series seem to push this one higher up in the rankings, but they do. X-Men: The Last Stand is a much shorter film in length compared to it’s predecessors, and it falls into trouble as it tries to tell too many stories at once. It tries to bulk this up and keep them on point by introducing several shocks, but it’s still a struggle with that time limit. However; as a full on action romp, it’s very enjoyable. The visual effects are top notch even by today’s standards, some of the drama is very heart string pulling, and the big finale is simply brilliant, plus the additional casting; featuring some mega stars from the comics and cartoons, while still being a bit hit and miss; still provides an electric excitement buzz!
8. X-Men (2000) – Where it all began, and in many ways; way too overlooked and forgotten. The first X-Men film features everything that fans would want, while still creating a great science fiction story, with a punch of action. It features great character introduction and development, along with some scenes and effects that audiences will find hard to forget. It’s a film which works great as an introduction to the series onto the big screen, but is also just a great film, plain and simple!
7. Logan – Hugh Jackman‘s final entry in the series didn’t necessarily leave with a bang, more just a really sad story! Focussing on not the Wolverine, but on the man who was the Wolverine, and how sad his life became after the extinction of the mutant race, and his attempts to carry on saving what he has left. Into this we see the arrival of X-23 (Dafne Keen), who was very much the animal of old that Logan used to be, and this changes the story as Logan tries to save this mutant with familiar powers from the dark forces that created her. It was a story that didn’t feature a great battle or tons of visual effects, but just showed the sad and long death of the most iconic of characters in the X-Men Universe. It’s powerful and really sad, but it does also have it’s happier moments, and acts as a great celebration of Hugh Jackman’s career as Wolverine!
6. X-Men: Days of Future Past – With the Marvel Cinematic Universe now starting to blossom, and with Christopher Nolan‘s Batman films out of the way, things were starting to look bleak for the future of the X-Men; but then 20th Century Fox released this monster! Days of Future Past is not simply a sequel, or any other generic superhero movie; it’s an epic! It tells a story over two separate timelines, bringing together cast from the old X-Men movies with the cast from the new. It tells the story of characters in the past trying to save the world from a bleak future. It features action, a terrific final battle, but also tells a very dramatic story of loss and personal freedom from the horrors of the characters own pasts. It is easily one of the greatest films of this genre hands down and should never be forgotten!
5. Deadpool 2 – The first Deadpool film was a massive success with; well everyone! So a sequel was definitely a must, and just like the first, it didn’t disappoint! Featuring the same adult based comedy that made the first film unique, Deadpool 2 carried on the tradition, whilst stabbing a knife in the back of all movies in the genre by making them all the butt of the joke, by telling a different kind of story! Featuring a great selection of classic X-Men characters backed up with a very personal story plus a film packed to the punch with a laugh every minute; Deadpool 2 didn’t lie in the shadow of the first, but sat right next to it on equal footing!
4. X-Men: First Class – Quite a few years had passed since the release of the last major X-Men film, and between then and this was, well easily one of the worst movies ever made! So First Class had a lot of making up to do! Set as a prequel to the original trilogy, this one set itself within the a major conflict and a major incident in history. Here this film acted as a new introduction to the series featuring an all new cast of familiar heroes, many of whom are now household names! First Class was a very personal story and featured many things that classic fans would enjoy as it touched on and recreated those incidents; but the major thing though was how it introduced them to the rest of the world, and how this would help set-up this prequel within the already set-up universe, but also how the main and basic storyline of the world of X-Men works. It’s a really enjoyable, and very dramatic entry in the series, and more than makes up for the lull!
3. The Wolverine – A few years ago, when I did a series of full scale reviews of the series, this one was a bit lower in my rankings; but then I realised how brilliant this film actually was. Set in an amazing country (that I one day dream of visiting!), The Wolverine tells the story of a down on his luck Wolverine (wait a minute, Logan was, never mind) who is drawn into another world as his past comes looking for him. He his then thrusted into an intense story as he is charged with looing after (again) someone, but most worrying of all, his healing powers have stopped working. It’s a convoluted story, but it just works. It features great casting with the addition of Tao Okamoto and Rila Fukushima, it has some great action scenes, a great grand finale, but tells a personal story of redemption in one’s self, which then helps tie up loose ends for two major films to come after it’s release. It’s perfectly fitted in the cannon, and then rightfully explodes onto the viewer creating a really amazing and satisfying experience!
2. Deadpool – Deadpool is one of the truly rare movies in the entire industry that can actually be considered Unique! This film basically came out of nowhere and did the entire opposite to nearly everything else on the market. It chose a very different but still very funny type of comedy, and told a very different kind of superhero story. It told one of a personal relationship which ultimately leads to a story of revenge and reconciliation, whilst continually poking the bear with constant jibes at it’s villain! It’s very silly in places, but also very violent, and very rude, but somehow all this wraps up into a wonderful and very funny bundle of joy, which is truly; unique!
1. X-Men 2 – X-Men 2 (or X2) was the first film in the series that I saw (due to being too young to see the first one when it was released), and I have loved it pretty much ever since. It features some of the classic tropes of the cartoons and comics, plus features some guest appearances by legends of the series, but in the end creates a film which you simply cannot forget. It has some very dark personal moments, some personal history, and some very ugly action scenes that will build a rage from within. You feel and experience things nearly all other superhero movies simply don’t touch upon, but only X-Men can as only X-Men features the story structure to allow those things to happen! You feel a dark sadness for these characters as they go through these things, and want to jump in and help. It continues on this bleak path of destruction with no positive end in sight; which ultimately is the dark reality of what you see (and what actually happens)! It’s a real rollercoaster of a film, which sets up a mystery with some positivity, but it gives you the purpose to feel for these characters when the bad things begin. But it’s not just that though, as the film benefits from some top notch music too, especially in the form of it’s epic opening theme, which ultimately is the cherry on the cake for what is not just the best X-Men movie, but possibly the best superhero movie to date!