The 6 best (and 5 worst) X-Men characters

Fans had a lot to say about the X-Men movie characters over the years. Which ones stood out for the right reasons, and who fell short of expectations?
Madame Tussauds New York To Launch A Wax Figure Of "Wolverine"
Madame Tussauds New York To Launch A Wax Figure Of "Wolverine" / Cindy Ord/GettyImages

Fox's X-Men movies were among the few superhero films in the early 2000s. While the comic book genre produced a number of major successes, it wasn't the reliable staple of cinema that it would become. Spider-Man, Superman, and Batman had their successes, but the X-Men were the wild cards, headlining their own successful franchise for almost two decades.

The X-Men movies featured a star-studded cast, including Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, and Kelsey Grammer (before welcoming the likes of Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence in subsequent prequel movies), and they were very popular with fans of the Marvel Comics. Being that it was the first live-action adaptation of these characters, it's easy to see why.

We met a lot of the X-Men characters throughout this time, but not all of them were well-received among fans, for various reasons. With that, let's dive into the very best and worst personalities that the Fox films gave us.


Storm was one of the core X-Men in the saga's original trilogy of movies, showcasing her power on the battlefield and her reliability as a leader in the mansion. In the prequel movies, she was initially one of Apocalypse's Four Horsemen before she found her true purpose as an X-Men.

While Storm wasn't given the attention that she deserved in the franchise, she was still one of the more consistent adaptations in it. Halle Berry showcased her potential in many of the character's scenes across those first three movies, grabbing our attention even in a reduced role. If anything, a spinoff focusing on just her would have been amazing.

Storm will forever be one of the most underappreciated aspects of the X-Men franchise but that doesn't take away from the fact that what we got was still very good. If only they had given Ororo Munroe the spotlight she deserved.

Verdict: BEST


There were two variations of Sabretooth in the X-Men movies but right now we're just going to talk about the first one. You know, the version that showed up in X-Men and was actually referred to as Sabretooth? It's okay if you don't remember him, because that is the biggest issue with the character.

Sabretooth is Wolverine's long-time archenemy; an old friend turned rival who has made it his life's mission to cause Logan nothing but misery. The X-Men movie franchise forsook all of that just to make him a mindless henchman for Magneto who looked nothing like his terrifying comic book counterpart.

The second variation of the character surfaced in X-Men Origins: Wolverine and was a much stronger portrayal. But as it was a completely different character who didn't actually go by Sabretooth (he used his real name Victor Creed), it's hard to consider him Sabretooth. Then again, it's hard to consider the real one Sabretooth, too.

Verdict: WORST

Jean Grey

Jean Grey was involved in a number of divisive storylines in the X-Men movies (most of which involved the two Phoenix adaptations) but that doesn't take away from the fact that she's one of the most engaging characters in the franchise. Though quiet and a tad reserved, Jean came to the forefront of the saga pretty quickly, both because of her psychic powers and her chemistry with Logan. Famke Janssen did a wonderful job of subtly capturing the nuances of Jean, paving the way for her powerhouse turn in The Last Stand.

The Jean we met in the prequels had more of a consistent focus but a lot of fans thought that she didn't really feel like Jean, and the Dark Phoenix movie destroyed much of what was good about her. So it was another series of highs and lows for the character there, too.

In spite of the rollercoaster journey that Jean Grey took us on, the potential was there and when it was realized, she was one of the franchise's most compelling characters.

Verdict: BEST

227_xb_8625_v1060_left.1092_R3 – Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) pauses during an epic, earth-shattering battle with Apocalypse. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox. /


I remember when I started watching the X-Men movies and was a little bit perplexed by Mystique. The character is one of the most beloved Marvel antiheroes/villains in the comics but none of that comes across in the movies.

In the original trilogy, she's little more than a henchwoman for Magneto, and even then, her role dries up after the first movie. While the prequel films gave her far more to do, this also undercuts her journey as it makes far less sense once you realize she once had bonds with the X-Men. That retroactive rewriting all feels a bit senseless as she doesn't really have any emotional depth in the original films.

It's all very eyebrow-raising with Mystique. She went from getting no focus to a lot of focus, and while the prequel movies definitely made a far better attempt at developing the character, it harmed her in the long run. And considering she's one of the most complex characters in comic book history, she deserved a more complex (or even coherent) live-action portrayal.

Verdict: WORST

af0212_pubstill_01_R – Ryan Reynolds stars as Deadpool in Twentieth Century Fox’s DEADPOOL 2. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox. /

Deadpool (the REAL one)

After the colossal failure of Fox's first attempt at Deadpool (we'll get that to that, don't worry), Ryan Reynolds returned to the role for a far superior storyline. All they had to do this time was follow the source material, and thankfully, they did it, bringing Deadpool to the big screen in 2016.

Wade Wilson is hilarious, infuriating, amazing, and also awful all at the same time, and the second version of the character nailed all of this with ease. Reynolds, whose talents were limited the first time around due to the fact that Deadpool couldn't speak, unleashed all of his wit, charm, and humor to give us a Deadpool that we had all been waiting for.

From his ridiculous talents in combat to his facepalm-inducing (and yet endearing) inability to take anything seriously, this is what Deadpool is all about - and we're very thankful he's on his way to the Marvel Cinematic Universe now, too.

Verdict: BEST


If you've watched X-Men: The Animated Series, you'll know how great a character Rogue is. She's a confident superhero with a larger-than-life personality (and a great sense of humor) that shines every time she swoops into action or steals somebody else's powers. It's because of this that you can't help but feel disappointed by the live-action interpretation of the character in the film series.

Don't get me wrong: The Rogue in the movies is a very likable character and Anna Paquin delivers a truly endearing performance, but the story served neither of them well. This wasn't the almighty Rogue from the source material. The most frustrating thing about that is that she easily could have been. It was fine to introduce her as the shy and nervous girl in 2000's X-Men but after that movie, she was relegated to a supporting role without any real focus after that. And that's the biggest issue with this unique version of Rogue; potential to be different without any of the development to make it matter.

Verdict: WORST

Professor Charles Xavier

The X-Men's founder, Charles Xavier is one of the most powerful mutants in the world. He's also an incredibly empathetic, kind, and benevolent man committed to bringing mutants and humans together. The X-Men themselves are part of that commitment, as his team of mutants protect everyone from danger.

The two versions of Professor X that we meet in the movies are commendable adaptations of the rich character. Patrick Stewart's is older, wiser (much like his comic book counterpart), as Charles commands respect and attention, imbuing his wisdom onto his fellow X-Men and vowing to use his gifts to help them. The younger iteration, played by James McAvoy, is more flawed but equally committed, pledging his allegiance to his fellow mutants and helping them via the X-Men.

Charles is a rich and layered character and that came across well in the X-Men movies. The original trilogy could have given him a bit more focus, but Stewart's commanding performance more than made up for that.

Verdict: BEST

Deadpool (X-Men Origins: Wolverine)

Don't worry, we're not talking about the actual movie-headlining Deadpool; just the awkward backdoor pilot version that completely misunderstood the character. Yeah, that one.

Ryan Reynolds was cast as the Merc With A Mouth for 2009's X-Men Origins: Wolverine but the movie thought it would be a good idea to remove his mouth. Sure, the weapon designed to kill mutants was a sight to behold... but he wasn't Deadpool.

Needless to say, everyone was unhappy with it, including Reynolds himself, who spearheaded Deadpool's more comic-accurate reintroduction in the 2016 movie. And the rest was history, thank goodness.

Verdict: WORST

akb_dtlra_stills_120415.089228 – Erik/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) has the power to manipulate magnetic fields. Photo Credit: Courtesy Twentieth Century Fox. /


We all love a good villain, and it doesn't get any better than Magneto. Erik Lehnsherr is one of the greatest baddies in all of Marvel Comics and that very quickly came across in Fox's X-Men saga - so much so that the franchise always found a way to bring him back .

The thing that makes Magneto such an interesting antagonist is that you can see his motivations at work; you understand why he feels forced to go to such extreme lengths because of how mankind continues to ostracize and oppress mutants. That, and his longtime friendship with Charles Xavier, come across well in the movies, helped in no small part by the chemistry between actor pairings Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart, and Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy.

Stewart and Fassbender bring to life different elements of the character, but both actors' captivating performances are complemented by the strong characterization - making Magneto one of the best movie villains the genre has ever seen.

Verdict: BEST


Oh Scott Summers, you deserved so much better.

Cyclops is a character that is notorious for being X-Men leader. While some love him, others find him annoying and a little bit arrogant. The reasoning behind both sides of the argument are fair, but Scott is a great character in the comic books, with strong motivations and great characterization. The same unfortunately can't be said for his cinematic adaptation.

James Marsden was more than convincing in the role and the history books will show that he made a great Cyclops, but the three movies that he appeared in gave him very little to do. As a result, the leader of the X-Men was little more than an underdeveloped guest star in a trilogy about his team, and without the development or exploration of his reasons for the way he leads, the character's annoying tendencies just makes him little more than, well, annoying.

The prequel movies fared a bit better as Tye Sheridan got to show off what he could do, but even then Cyclops never felt like Cyclops.

Verdict: WORST

LOGAN, Hugh Jackman as Wolverine
DF-04338 - Hugh Jackman stars as Logan in LOGAN. Photo Credit: Ben Rothstein. /


There was never any doubt that our favorite grumpy X-Men was going to find himself topping the "best" portion of this list. Not only was Logan the lead of the original X-Men trilogy (and the Days of Future Past crossover), he leads his own trilogy of Wolverine movies. All of that ensured he received the greatest character development of all the characters in the Fox X-Men universe.

Hugh Jackman is widely considered one of the greatest actors to ever play a comic book character and there is absolutely no question as to why. His gruff, rough-around-the-edges-but-with-a-heart-of-gold portrayal of the character captured Logan to perfection and the material he had to work with was pretty great too.

The claw-wielding mutant experienced quite a few highs and lows throughout his near-two-decade-tenure on the silver screen, but he never stopped gifting us with highs throughout that time. From his compelling backstory to the comic-accurate portrayal (sans yellow suit), Logan was easily the strongest character to come from the X-Men movies.

Verdict: BEST

Next. All 13 X-Men movies ranked from worst to best. All 13 X-Men movies ranked from worst to best. dark