With the release of X-Men: Days of Future Past this week, it’s time to take a look into the future past ourselves and name our all-time favourite movie X-Men.
And X-Women. Yeah, what’s up with that? An organisation dedicated to spreading equality and they botch their own name? Come on.
Mystique, or Raven Darkhölme, has been a mainstay of the X-Men movies, and with good cause, her shapeshifting abilities making her a wonderful character. Better when she’s in full-blown evil mould – Rebecca Romijn’s version is much more fun than Jennifer Lawrence’s – she’s bad, blue and out to hoodwink you. If you’re a goodie, that is.
9. Victor Creed
X-Men Origins: Wolverine is one of the worst superhero films out there – and I’ve seen The Amazing Spider-Man – but it has one redeeming feature. I’ll give you a clue: it isn’t Van Wilder: Deadpool Liaison. Thanks to Liev Schreiber’s Creed – or Sabretooth – the movie is actually almost watchable.
Just beating his half-brother to eighth spot is old Wolvie. I’ve spoken before of my Wolverine fatigue – how can you be cool if you turn up every five minutes? You see your family and friends all the time, and you don’t think any of them are cool, do you?
7. Lady Deathstrike
Great name, great character. Her job in X-Men 2, or X2: X-Men United (like they were a football team), is to keep quiet and beat up Wolverine. If only he did a bit more of that himself. Might make him more interesting.
Beast is one of the few X-Men to have two great movie incarnations – in the pretty terrible X-Men: The Last Stand, Kelsey Grammer retains some dignity, despite being a ball of blue fur. And Nicholas Hoult is the unsung hero of X-Men: First Class, his Beastie Boy a much-needed everyman figure for the audience to dig their own claws into.
Yeah, I can hear the groans from here. I will never understand why Cyclops gets such a bad rep. Perhaps it is because his character was treated so dreadfully in X-Men 3. Sometimes it’s hard for the Steady Eddie type to stand out in a superhero film full of smirking good guys and moustache-twirling bad guys, but James Marsden manages it as Cyclops. Marsden has other superhero form, as Lois Lane’s man-on-Earth in Superman Returns. In X-Men, what Cyclops saw in the duller than dull Jean Grey is anyone’s guess.
Two words: White. House.
3. Kitty Pryde
Everyone loves Kitty Pryde, aka Shadowcat, but sometimes everyone is right. She’s great and Ellen Page manages to make her great in the middle of the mushy mess that is X-Men: The Last Stand. Oh, there is one person who doesn’t like her: Vinny flipping Jones.
Now we get to the really bad guys. Come on, you didn’t think platitude-lover Professor X would make it? Or empty-headed weather girl Storm? Or Rogue, such a brilliant character in the comics and cartoons yet treated so shabbily in the movies? She’s meant to kick ass, dammit! One man who does kick ass is Magneto – he da man, able to squash Wolverine with a flick of his finger. It’s a wonder he hasn’t done it yet.
1. William Stryker
The best X-Men movie, as anyone who’s ever seen an X-Men movie knows, is X-Men 2. The reason it’s so great? Brian Cox. Scotland’s greatest ever actor – push off, Connery – is just as good in the first X-Men sequel as he was in the six other films he made that week. Yes, he’s in everything, but there isn’t one film that hasn’t been improved by having him in it. Even you, Match Point. William Stryker is tough enough and driven enough to take on all kinds of powerful mutants – Magneto and Prof X among them. Spurred on by the hatred within him for how he treated his own mutant son, Stryker’s methods or goals are far from admirable, but damn is he badass. The coolest X-Men cat around. And he isn’t even an X-Man.