New Mutants (opens in new tab) was our last goodbye to the X-Men as we know them. After two decades over at Fox, the Disney merger marks a farewell to this incarnation of Wolverine and the team. It’s inevitable that we’ll see the gang again one day in the Marvel Cinematic Universe – but it certainly won’t be like this.
With Fox's final take on the mutants now out, what better way to celebrate than to look back at every X-Men movie! We've had the unenviable task of ranking every single entry in the series, starting with the first X-Men and finishing with New Mutants. That's 20 years worth of movie-making.
Whether you agree or disagree with our ranking, we can all be certain that the X-Men have made a lasting impact when it comes to superheroes on the big screen. Here are all the X-Men movies ranked, from worst to best...
- How to watch the X-Men movies in order
- How to watch the Marvel movies in order
- The best superhero movies of all time
13. Dark Phoenix
Simon Kinberg’s redo of the Dark Pheonix Saga handed Sophie Turner the reigns to really kick it up a gear as Jean Grey. After coming into contact with the cosmic Pheonix Force, Jean now holds power like she's never known before and becomes a danger to everyone she loves. It's a much more intimate interpretation when compared to The Last Stand, and it clearly had potential.
Unfortunately, due to extensive reshoots and delays, the end result's underwhelming. Young Cyclops, Storm, and Nightcrawler are cast aside once again, and significant plots such as Magneto's island of Genosha are left unexplained. If the movie had come out before the news of the Disney/Fox merger, perhaps it would have had a chance, but instead, the X-Men fizzled out rather then left with a bang.
12. X-Men: Apocalypse
X-Men: Apocalypse had bags of potential, especially with Oscar Isaac as the eponymous villain. Yet, the movie fell flat. Criticised for its CGI-explosion of a finale, Apocalypse gave us a big bad from Ancient Egypt who wants to destroy Earth and rebuild it for the better. His four horseman include Olivia Munn's Psylocke, Alexandra Shipp's Storm, Ben Hardy's Angel, and Michael Fassbender's Magneto. The newbies get little in the way of character or development, but props to them for trying their best with what they had. We get another fun scene with Evan Peter's Quicksilver, and the Phoenix power is teased in Jean Grey, but Apocalypse largely favours spectacle over substance.
11. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Remember when they introduced Deadpool, aka The Merc with the Mouth, and then they sewed his mouth shut? Don't worry, we've tried to erase it from our memory too. If you ignore the mess they made with Deadpool and Gambit, Origins: Wolverine is a fun look back at Logan and how he came to be full of adamantium. Any time we get to spend with Jackman's Wolverine is a good time, but the movie just seemed a sad attempt at introducing some further iconic characters without any of the personality that made them so loveable to begin with. You heard it here first, GamesRadar+ will not accept another Gambit without the accent!
10. The New Mutants
After suffering a rocky road to the big screen (opens in new tab), Josh Boone's New Mutants offered a quieter X-Men Movie centring on five young mutants trapped in a sinister facility. Another Fox outing that went through endless delays and reshoots, to the extent where it became a joke beyond its control. Though it's clear that each of the new mutants really cared about this movie and where it could have gone.
Anya Taylor Joy's Magik was a rebellious highlight, and Maisie Williams' Rahne and Blu Hunt's Dani gave us a heart-warming LGBTQ+ relationship that was essentially the glue of the movie. In spite of this, New Mutants struggled to really take off, spending a little too much time setting up sequels that we'll never see. Here's hoping they bring Taylor Joy into the MCU...
9. Deadpool 2
In the long-awaited sequel to the 2016 hit, Ryan Reynold's Deadpool finds himself protecting a young mutant from the authorities and those looking to weaponise his abilities. The fourth-wall-breaking anti-hero forms a new superteam to protect Russell (Julian Dennison) from the time-travelling Cable (Josh Brolin), albeit the team doesn't last long.
Deadpool 2 didn't quite have the effortless wit that the first movie did, but it provided enough laughs to get fans excited about a third instalment and introduced the great Zazie Beetz as Domino. Although the X-Force is largely dead so the pair might have to find some replacements for the next movie.
8. The Wolverine
Wolverine fights Ninjas!!!! In The Wolverine, Logan visits Japan to see an old friend whose life he saved years before. But, of course, it's never that simple, and he soon gets dragged into a conspiracy and winds up fighting for his life.
Though the villains are a little lacking, director James Mangold showed his real understanding of the beloved mutant here before he got to try his hand once more in 2017's Logan. We see Logan tackle guilt and PTSD following the events of The Last Stand, and are reminded once more of his immense power and how he will never forget Jean Grey.
7. X-Men: The Last Stand
A bit controversial, we know, but The Last Stand isn't that bad guys! Yes, they tried to squeeze a little too much in with tackling the Dark Phoenix Saga and the mutant cure, but there was real heart in everything they tried to achieve. The Last Stand is one of the best examples of how Marvel's mutants act as an allegory for real-world prejudice.
When Worthington Labs announce a cure for the mutant gene, lines form around the block full of young mutants trying to avoid the hate and fear they suffer every day. But, as Storm says, "They can't cure us, because there is nothing wrong with us." On top of that, The Last Stand arguably has one of the best scores in the X-Men cinematic universe.
Fans had waited years for someone to do Deadpool justice and thankfully Ryan Reynolds did not disappoint. With crude humour and some tongue-in-cheek fourth-wall-breaking hijinks, there was a new kind of anti-hero on the block – one who wasn't afraid to make fun of the Wolverine.
Introducing Colossus and the Negasonic Teenage Warhead alongside a memorable soundtrack, Reynolds walked into the role like it was the one thing he was born to do. Though the sequel didn't quite match the first, we're sure we can expect more greatness from the quick-witted mercenary in the coming years.
5. X-Men: Days of Future Past
This is where it all got a little confusing, but at least it was epic. In Days of Future Past, various timelines are formed by Wolverine's actions when he goes back to the 70s in a bid to stop Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) from creating the mutant-annihilating Sentinals. Although Mystique had the same idea and wires quickly get crossed.
Young Charles Xavier meets old Charles Xavier and worlds collide in spectacular fashion. We also got to meet Evan Peter's fan-favourite Quicksilver in that iconic jailbreak scene! It's perhaps the most confident of the four 'young x-men' movies, and it was quite the cinematic event to see both casts together. For that, Days of Future Past is a worthy top-five contender.
4. X-Men: First Class
With plans to start a whole new trilogy showing the origin of Xavier's beloved X-Men, Guy Ritchie's First Class combined epic superhero training montages with the style of the swinging 60s. Showing fans how Charles and Eric (God-tier casting in James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) came to be friends (and then enemies) and revealing just how Charles ended up in the chair, First Class gave us a glimpse into the past and tied up various loose ends – while leaving the future wide open. No easy feat.
The movie that started it all. The Wolverine and Rogue get taken in by Professor X, who looks after a special school for mutants. However, not only are they hiding from the world around them, but also another group of disenfranchised mutants led by the Magneto. X-Men helped establish the modern superhero movie, following in the footsteps of Blade, and spawned this great franchise. The cast are all excellent, but Jackman as Wolverine is the real highlight. No wonder they gave him a spin-off trilogy...
2. X2: X-Men United
Improving on the original by focussing in on Wolverine's story while also expanding the battle between Professor X and Magneto. The sequel takes the X-Men in an even darker direction, showing the world that superhero movies could be serious before The Dark Knight and Batman Begins did. A shame that the phoenix that rises at the end didn't lead to a better movie, yet X2 stands as its own superhero masterpiece. The series wouldn't best this one until...
A moving western wrapped up in superhero clothing, James Mangold's Logan barely left a dry eye in the house. Set far in the future where no mutants have been born for over a decade, we find Logan taking care of a deteriorating Xavier somewhere along the Mexican border. When he's faced with a (sort of) daughter in the form of Dafne Keen's brilliant Laura/X23, Logan is finally forced to confront his own mortality and make peace with his past. This is a unique movie with a stunning score from Marco Beltrami – and there was no question it would take the number one spot.