The X-Men franchise has given us some truly legendary heroes and villains that have helped shape popular culture and also paved the way for other series like the Marvel Cinematic Universe as we know it. It built a universe before cinematic universe building was a popular trend in Hollywood. Thanks to the prequel films like Origins: Wolverine, First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse -- X-Men fans have been given more and more of their favorite mutants in live action than ever before. Although some of the most iconic mutants have been recast for their younger selves, each film looks to introduce new characters to showcase their impressive powers.
And although some of these films haven’t been received very well critically, it’s hard to deny that the powers that the film makers show us are incredibly impressive even if the story might not be. But since there’s literally a whole school of mutants to choose from, it’s time to find the most powerful from Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters. Some of the entrants on the list have minor appearances across the franchise whilst others have their own film series. Here are 15 X-Men movie heroes ranked from weakest to most powerful.
Warren Worthington III first appeared in the final instalment of the original X-Men trilogy, The Last Stand. It was a harrowing introduction, as we’re shown a young boy hacking away at the growths from his shoulders that would eventually become his wings. And sure, he looked pretty cool. T
he scene in which he changes his mind about taking the cure was definitely effective.
We’re not denying that seeing him soar over the anti-cure/anti-mutant protestors was great. But he really didn’t have much to do in the film. Plus, he was beaten quite easily by Nightcrawler in X-Men: Apocalypse. He even gets one of his wings fried by the electric ring the pair are fighting inside. Sure, he becomes a little stronger once he transforms into Archangel, but overall, Warren Worthington III doesn’t match up to other characters.
15 KITTY PRYDE
She’s a fan favorite character and has her own film in development by Fox, Tim Miller and Brian Michael Bendis. But she’s not exactly the strongest character in the X-Men movie franchise. She was originally played by Sumela Kay and Katie Stuart in X-Men and X2. Ellen Page then took on the role during X-Men: The Last Stand as well as Days of Future Past.
She phases through walls and it’s cool, but she doesn’t have super strength or invulnerability. So although her powers might be cool, in live action she might not be able to hold her own against more powerful opponents. Just look at how badly shaken she was when Wolverine slashed her by accident during Days of Future Past. She’s still a great character though.
He might be one of Magneto’s children, and he might have two of the best scenes in the prequel X-Men films. Yes he can run at super speeds, as we saw in the slowed down, freeze-frame-like sequences in Days of Future Past and Apocalypse, but he’s very easy to put out of action.
He can push objects and people with a light touch and the speed will move them with incredible force.
But as we saw in Apocalypse, if a slightly more powerful being breaks his leg it immediately puts Quicksilver out of commission. He may be Magneto’s son (even if he decided not to tell him about it), but that doesn’t mean he’s more powerful than the rest of the X-Men, because that’s definitely not the case.
Hank McCoy is a powerful being, there’s no denying that. He’s athletically skilled due to his heightened abilities and is able to handle himself well in a fight. Sure, the furry look is iconic, but that’s not really where his true power lies. Whilst his powers define him, and are what makes him part of the X-Men, it’s his brain that’s his true defining characteristic and the one aspect of him that earns him a spot on this list.
In the majority of the stories he’s featured in, Hank is usually shown as a scientist, an academic or even a politician in the original X-Men trilogy. And although we do occasionally see him in combat, he flourishes when placed in a scientific setting as he’s inventing and designing gadgets, like the Blackbird for example.
He only briefly appears during X-Men: Days of Future Past, but Sunspot is a fiery character to say the least. And even though he wasn’t in the film long, it was great to see his powers showcased in some of the fight scenes at the beginning of the film. As the team are attempting to send Logan back in time, he fights off the Sentinels as they make their assault on the mutants’ base.
It’s here that we get to see the solar charged blasts that Sunspot can unleash on his enemies.
And to begin with, he manages to hold his own against the Sentinels working in tandem with the other mutants. But after a short while, the Sentinels adapt and break his neck. He’ll next appear in New Mutants, unless he's written out of it for some reason.
Shawn Ashmore portrays Bobby Drake throughout the original X-Men trilogy and then also in Days of Future Past as an older version of the mutant. And although we see a little of his powers to begin with, as the films progress his powers only grow, and by the time his fight with his former friend Pyro rolls around, Bobby is able to transform into full Iceman mode like his iconic look in the comics.
And during Days of Future Past we see him use his ice powers as a means of travelling. He forms ice slides to move quickly and can use his powers to shoot icy blasts at Sentinels. Even though he’s ultimately killed by the robots at the end of that fight, he’s still the most powerful he’s ever been, and it’s impressive to see.
10 NEGASONIC TEENAGE WARHEAD
The first Deadpool film was filled with fan favorite characters, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead quickly became many people’s favorite alongside the Merc with the Mouth. Played by Brianna Hildebrand as a moody teenager, she spends a lot of her screen time putting up with Deadpool’s foolery.
But by the time Deadpool, Colossus and Negasonic Teenage Warhead take the fight to Ajax, we see the full force of her powers get unleashed.
And she really lives up to the ‘Warhead’ mantle. She uses her explosive blasts to shoot Deadpool from the ground onto a helicarrier, and that’s one huge shot to make. She also helps Colossus beat Angel Dust (Gina Carano). We can’t wait to see what else she can do when she reappears in Deadpool 2.
Scott Summers is incredibly powerful, especially if he isn’t in full control of his optic blasts. We’re all familiar with the visor that allows him to control the intensity of the deadly wave of energy his eyes unleash. But he also wears ruby quartz glasses in everyday life so that he can just fit in normally around everyone.
But take away the stylish protective eye-wear, and Scott’s powers can be incredibly destructive. We simply have to look at the moments when his powers manifest during school in X-Men: Apocalypse and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Since he can’t control the waves of energy, his blasts cause so much damage to his surroundings. Luckily with some help he’s able to control them eventually. He even managed to hold his own (with a helping hand from Jean) during the finale of Apocalypse.
Taking cues from the Ultimate Marvel Universe, the older Summers brother, Alex was finally brought to the screen during X-Men: First Class, Days of Future Past and Apocalypse. During that initial prequel film audiences learnt that his powers were similar to Cyclops, except instead of his eyes -- it was his chest that erupted with a destructive beam.
So destructive in fact, that he was kept locked away in solitary confinement at the beginning of First Class.
Luckily for Alex (and the rest of the team), once he could control his powers he didn’t stick out as much as Cyclops does. But his blasts are that powerful that when Sebastian Shaw absorbed them and transferred the energy into Darwin, it killed him. And when his beam hits the jet engine in Apocalypse it ignites in a deadly wave, seemingly killing Alex.
Well he’s made out of an organic steel. So he’s pretty powerful just like that. But when Daniel Cudmore initially played Piotr Rasputin, he had a chiseled physique that simply transformed into his metallic form. And although the mutant was an imposing figure, he didn’t stand out in a crowd due to his height.
But compare that to the version of Colossus that appears in Deadpool, and he’s radically different. He’s a hulking figure who easily overpowers Deadpool in a fight as Wade breaks most of his limbs in rapid succession everytime he hits Colossus. Plus, there’s the fight with Angel Dust in which the two of them throw each other across the junkyard with their strength. We wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of Colossus.
Because obviously Wade Wilson was going to make it onto the list. Whilst he was terribly mistreated during X-Men Origins: Wolverine (sewing his mouth shut for example), Deadpool’s solo film starring Ryan Reynolds got everything about the fourth wall breaking character perfect. That also includes his skill set.
Whilst his martial arts prowess and Katana skills make him a force to be reckoned with, ultimately it’s his regenerative factor and his twisted personality that makes him incredibly powerful.
He’s a resilient mutant, who through his own tragic life finds humor in the sickest of things, but uses it to his advantage. But who else could survive being impaled through the chest, burnt alive and stabbed in the head? Wade W. Wilson of course. He’s really going to need that regenerative healing factor when Cable crashes onto our screens.
Laura is introduced during 2017’s Logan, and was created from Wolverine’s DNA. Whilst she’s a female clone of him, the film gives us a father/daughter relationship between the two that is quite honestly heartbreaking. But Laura is far more powerful than Logan is in the film, and that’s likely due to her young age.
During fights, she regenerates far quicker than he does, and she also seems to constantly be in berserker mode when fighting rather than strategically taking out her opponents. But added to the regenerative factor, she also has retractable blades that pop out from her feet that make her twice as deadly as Wolverine himself and she uses them to gain the upper hand against the Reavers. X-23 is not to be messed with.
He was already one of the world’s most iconic superheroes, and once Hugh Jackman popped his claws, he was one of the most famous characters ever -- and his skillset is pretty impressive.
Right from his introduction in X-Men all the way to heartbreaking ending of Logan, we see his sheer resilience even in the face of extreme pain.
He survived having layers of his body wiped away as Dark Phoenix took over in X-Men: The Last Stand, he withstood the force of a nuclear explosion at the beginning of The Wolverine, and he managed to hold his own against a younger clone of himself throughout Logan. He’s a vicious fighter, and his regenerative healing factor just makes him angrier once he’s recovered from whatever wound he’s just sustained. Wolverine is a raging beast, and we wouldn’t have him any other way.
Although she delivers one of the worst lines in the history of superhero movies (that one thing about a toad and lighting and whatever), Storm still has one of the most impressive and powerful power sets in all of comics and on film. With the ability to control the weather fully at her fingertips. With the ability to control weather, her powers can knock out almost anyone else on this list in a physical conflict.
Played by both Halle Berry in the present (or the past in terms of when the movies were made) and by Alexandra Shipp in X-Men: Apocalypse, Storm has been a constant force for Xavier or Apocalypse when it comes to throwing down with anyone who gets in their, and her, way.
2 PROFESSOR X
Professor Charles Xavier first came to life in live action thanks to the brilliant performance of the iconic Patrick Stewart. And although James McAvoy did a great job of giving us a younger, carefree Charles in the prequel films, he has nothing on the original performance.
The telepathic mutant has incredible psychic abilities that don’t just stop at mindreading.
He can manipulate a person to do what he wants, and make them forget they ever did it. Remember his uncanny ability to freeze entire rooms full of people and then allow them to carry on with their day without remembering what had just happened? He even managed to cheat death at the end of The Last Stand and was revived in an identical twin (as revealed in the DVD Commentary) to return at the end of The Wolverine.
1 JEAN GREY
She’s easily the most powerful heroic mutant that we come across during the entirety of the X-Men film franchise. Whilst Famke Janssen originally brought her to the screen in the first trilogy, Sophie Turner (Sansa Stark in Game of Thrones) has taken the role of a younger Jean in X-Men: Apocalypse and will later appear in Dark Phoenix.
She’s the most powerful telepath that Professor X and Magneto have ever found, so much so that Charles struggles to contain the intense force that initially lies dormant inside of Jean. But once it is unleashed during the end of X2, she becomes an otherworldly figure, with a nearly ethereal quality to her. It’s a dark personality inside her that is devastatingly powerful, as we saw when she obliterated Professor X. The only reason Wolverine could get close to her was his healing factor.