It’s been a long time since the first X-Men film premiered; in fact, this week saw the 18th anniversary of the 2000 release of X-Men (directed by Bryan Singer), which revolutionized superheroes and comic book movies.
After X-Men, people started taking these films just a little more seriously, which led to the success of later films such as Spider-Man (directed by Sam Raimi) and ultimately the superhero films we have today, all because X-Men was able to present superheroes to a wider audience with a more serious tone than the otherwise frivolous, cartoony pieces to which they were accustomed.
To celebrate that, we’re taking a look back at the franchise and ranking the eleven films released so far according to the scores they received from critics. Since the views of critics don’t always reflect the opinions of the general audience, we’ll also be providing audience scores where available, just so you can compare and contrast. Now that that’s clear, let’s get started with the lowest ranked film in the franchise…
X-Men Origins: Wolverine – Average Score: 38.5
As many of you might already know, fans and critics alike took issue with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (directed by Gavin Hood) for a variety of reasons. As the title suggests, the film explored the origins of the franchise’s most popular character, Wolverine (played by Hugh Jackman) from his youth in the 19th century into his life as a mercenary, until finally showing us how he turned into that lone wanderer who met the X-Men. It also introduced a new iteration of Sabretooth (Liev Schreiber) and a universally hated version of Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds).
Critics such as Roger Ebert expressed disapproval of the film as it turned its titular character into a “story device for action sequences” and even those sequences left much to be desired as David Denby of the New Yorker pointed out when he wrote, “Alas, there’s nothing quite memorable here: much of the combat is just a whirl of movement photographed up close.” The film currently holds a critic score of 37% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 40.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine currently holds an audience score of 58% on Rotten Tomatoes.
X-Men: Apocalypse – Average Score: 50
Continuing the story of the X-Men in an altered timeline, X-Men: Apocalypse (directed by Bryan Singer) introduced arguably the most powerful mutant in the franchise to date, the titular Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac). The film saw the debut of new iterations of Cyclops (Tye Sheridan), Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) and Nightcrawler (Kodi Smit-McPhee) among others, all of which band together with the others to take down Apocalypse before he can destroy the world as we know it.
Critics were underwhelmed by the events and characters of the film. Many agree that Apocalypse himself was lacking as a villain and that there was far too much stuffed into the 2 hour film. Peter Travers, writing for Rolling Stone wrote, “Singer throws so much mutant at us that nothing sticks” which was a notion shared by many critics. Angelica Jade Bastien, writing for RogertEbert.com called X-Men: Apocalypse a “confused, bloated mess of a film. The film currently holds a critic score of 48% on Rotten Tomatoes and a Metacritic score of 52.
X-Men: Apocalypse currently holds an audience score of 66% on Rotten Tomatoes.
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