With Dark Phoenix (as well as the oft-delayed and forthcoming New Mutants), the X-Men universe as we know it, which debuted on big screens nearly 2o years ago, has presumably come to an end. The franchise has taken many forms, to varying degrees of success; nevertheless, throughout its highs and lows, it has cemented itself as the longest-running superhero franchise in history.
It's been a strange, inconsistent, compelling, and convoluted journey for the franchise, with intertwining films being confusingly connected to each other. As a result, we meet a diverse cast of mutants with powers ranging from the psychic to the destructive. These 10 heroes stand above the rest.
10 The Juggernaut
We've seen two wildly different versions of The Juggernaut thanks to Deadpool 2's loosely connected status to the X-Men universe. The first iteration can be found in Brett Ratner's oft-maligned X-Men: The Last Stand, in which the character was portrayed by Vinnie Jones as something of a parody of the character, complete with his utterance of, "I'm the Juggernaut, bitch!" Thankfully, this was not the only version we got, and Deadpool 2 gave us a better vision of the character.
The Juggernaut's power does not necessarily derive from mystical abilities or psychic prowess but as a physically ridiculous human being. He can ram through buildings, heal on command, and use his strength to make him a nearly-impossible character to defeat.
Mystique has been a mainstay of the franchise since its earliest days. First portrayed by Rebecca Romijn and then by Jennifer Lawrence, Mystique's strength of power will not necessarily make her a top-tier X-Men in terms of her ability to fight, but it will make catching her and being able to fight a difficult proposition.
Mystique can take the form of nearly anyone. She can walk like them, talk like them, and replicate even their smallest nuances. This makes her hard to catch if she is not on your side, and the cinematic X-Men have seen her from both sides. Her cunning wit and tactical use of this power not only make her one of the more unique mutants, but one of the hardest to keep up with.
Hugh Jackman, in many ways, has served as both the Nick Fury and the Tony Stark of the X-Men universe. From the series' inception, he was always a selling point, and before his send-off in 2017's Logan. The character's journey has seen its ups and downs, but Jackman's gravitas made him the poster-child for the franchise over 17 years, whether as the star or as a cameo appearance.
Wolverine's power at birth was his seemingly-eternal life, his super strength, and his ability to sprout his claws from beneath his skin. This was only made more powerful when the bone that made him still human was replaced with adamantium. Wolverine's journey is hard to arc and knowing which film connects to which can be a tiring task, but the X-Men Universe's wolverine's strength, ferocity, leadership, and humanity make him an indispensable member of the group.
We only got one film with X-23, but if Wolverine is among the most powerful X-Men, his scientific offspring has to be a step higher. Although she is just a child in Logan, her power is immediately discernible. Rather than a hindrance, Laura Kinney's small size provides a means to sneak around, move in and out of an enemy's path, and travel with an agility that is hard for grown fighters to adapt to.
Although the Disney Acquisition means we will likely never get another appearance of this version of X-23, X-23 will be able to use her abilities and experiences during her short time with Wolverine to guide the other mutant children to a promising future.
Cyclops is another original hero from the earliest X-Men films and although he has never been the absolute star of a film, his powers are a fascinating look at what it is like to be a mutant in this universe. Unlike some of the other heroes, Cyclops cannot always control his powers and the most recent series of films have captured this.
Although entirely different in his set of powers, which stem from his ability to shoot energy from his eyes, Cyclops is a character in the same vein as Bruce Banner. He has a power that can be beyond his control, making Scott both dangerous but potentially really useful. This internal struggle makes him fascinating while also establishing Scott as one of the most powerful beings in the universe.
Like Juggernaut, Deadpool was absolutely botched during his first appearance, although many liked Ryan Reynolds despite the terrible way that the character was used. After several years of rumors, internet campaigns, and teases from Reynolds himself, viewers got the Deadpool they wanted.
Although Deadpool is a mercenary who is nearly impossible to defeat, his biggest strength may come from a power that's both well-known but - in a weird way - also understated. Deadpool seems to exist in many different universes at once. It is true to both the comics and the films. In one scene, he may be with the other films' X-Men; however, in the next, he may acknowledge other universes (perhaps even in DC). This otherworldly presence helps him exist as something of a spiritual being as well as a powerful mercenary.
With the power of weather behind her, Storm's ability to bend nature makes her a valuable ally and an impossible adversary. First portrayed by Halle Berry in the original set of films, Storm was constantly used as the final, powerful jolt that was needed to tip a battle in the X-Men's favor.
We got a further glimpse of this in Days of Future's Past, but when Apocalypse came around, however, viewers got to see a younger, less controlled version of Storm. Like Cyclops, Storm requires control if she wants to use her powers to their fullest, but her intent can make her just as much a liability as she is an asset.
The entire series opens with an unsettling scene of Magneto, played wonderfully by both Ian McKellan and Michael Fassbender, being led into a concentration camp. Things quickly change when a tantrum leads to his magnetic powers wreaking havoc on the setting. This helps viewers understand the type of character they are going to see going forward.
At any time, Magneto can be a hero or a villain. It makes perfect sense that the two actors have both portrayed Macbeth because Magneto has a lot in common with your classic Shakespearean tragic hero. They quite literally have too much power, one that can result in madness, destruction, and chaos to their enemies Crucially, Magneto's will is impossible to destroy.
2 Professor X
Outside of Jackman's Wolverine, Patrick Stewart's Charles Xavier may be the highlight of the X-Men franchise, and James McAvoy's portrayal is a worthy follow-up. While Magneto is a ticking time bomb who can be a hero or villain at any moment, Xavier almost always has the best intentions, but it doesn't mean he can always be a do-gooder.
The extent of Professor X's powers is highlighted throughout the series. Hobbled by his paralysis, Charles has to rely on his mind. This makes him the perfect leader, as he can use his powers and his inventions to constantly be everywhere at once. As we learn in Logan, however, this psychic energy can be let loose for ill. As his mind begins to go, his powers inadvertently hurt the X-Men, their enemies, and innocent bystanders.
Although the initial portrayal of Phoenix proved somewhat short-lived, her place as the most powerful mutant cannot be denied, even if the portrayal we have gotten thus far seems incomplete. Jean Grey's psychic powers before she becomes Phoenix make her a perfect assistant for Dr. X, but when Phoenix takes over, she becomes something of a hodgepodge of other X-Men.
She is a Jekyll and Hyde type character, which makes her even more dangerous than the inconsistent Magneto. With Dark Phoenix currently in theatres, fans finally have a slightly more fleshed out version, even if the movie is not exactly doing great with critics. Having god-like power, an inability to control it and nobody who can relate make Phoenix an unmatched part of the X-Men universe.