The Top 5 X-Men Movies
Don’t panic. Yes, we must wait until 2019 to see Dark Phoenix. Quite why the delay has happened? Well, maybe it’s corporate politics? Awaiting confirmation on that Disney deal? But it’s frustrating. So, meantime: let’s look back before we look forward?
Marvel’s favourite team book has received some of the most generous cinematic treatments of any comic property. We’re going to look at the best X-Men movies that brought Xavier’s School for the Gifted to the silver screen.
Comic book properties don’t always translate well to the screen, but the X-Men movies have enjoyed more critical and commercial success than most. Thanks to the efforts of a revolving team of directorial and acting talents, there have been several memorable outing for mutant kind. We’re going to look at the best X-Men movies we’ve been lucky enough to enjoy so far.
Nb: in no particular order…;)
After the fairly disastrous solo outing that was Wolverine: Origins, Hugh Jackman got a chance to redeem the character with James Mangold, director of such varied films as Cop Land, Girl, Interrupted, Walk the Line and 3:10 to Yuma at the helm. Based on Frank Miller’s seminal arc that sees Wolverine coming to Japan, it reframes the adamantium-clad hero as a ronin in search of a cause. The result was an interesting meditation on what Wolverine holds dear, and how far he’s willing to go for a cause.
James Mangold reclaimed the reigns for what felt like Weapon X’s swansong, set far in the future with mutant kind on the brink of extinction, living in an arid dystopian United States where Logan is playing carer to an increasingly doddery Professor X who may well be losing his faculties with disastrous results on account of immanent dementia. So the pair set off on a road trip-cum western that features much mediation on aging and legacy. Whilst somewhat overlong and somewhat overrated in the canon of all X-Men movies, the film featured the most poignant performances of any of the X-Men movies, with Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman bringing the story arcs of their aging protagonists to an end with nuanced and textured efforts.
X-Men: First Class
Matthew Vaughn of Kick-Ass fame took the director’s chair for this prequel reboot, that proved to be a much-needed shot of youthful exuberance in the arm for a property that has, after all, always been a story about adolescence. The result was a punchy outing with a proto X-men team, with Michael Fassbender’s Magento and James McAvoy’s Professor X continuing the excellent work begun by their predecessors Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, respectively. The film is also notable as an early appearance by Jennifer Lawrence, who has since become one of the most bankable leading women to play free pokies of her generation.
The franchise’s original cinematic outing might not have been the harbinger for the revival of comic properties in the new millenium (that honour goes to 1998’s Blade). It was, however, for the time, one of the most accurate and effective superhero films made to date. Bryan Singer’s direction and David “Voice of Solid Snake” Hayter’s script hit all the keynotes of the comic, with great performances, solid writing and a very satisfying denouement on Ellis Island. It’s success helped pave the way for the current glut of comic book films like all online casinos that we find ourselves with today, but, more importantly, it was a damn good X-Men movie brought to life.
After having established the X-Men’s world in the first film, Singer and Hayter cut loose with the sequel. The result was the best X-Men movie to date, and one of the most comprehensive and satisfying comic book films in history. Colonel Stryker, the architect of Wolverine’s adamantium skeleton and blood and iron mutantphobe, brought to live by Brian Cox, set out to raze Xavier’s conciliatory efforts with military precision. From the very first set piece featuring a dazzlingly shot infiltration by Nightcrawler on the Oval Office, the film never lets up, cramming itself with fantastic action sequences and excellent interplay between the dovish and hawkish mutants, as Magneto and Xavier’s forces join in an uneasy alliance to safeguard the future of mutantkind. We’ll be lucky to see a better X-Men movie than this anytime soon.
Honourable Mention: Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. Both warrant a separate retrospective review.