9. X-Men: The Last Stand (2006)
Some say it’s the worst superhero film (other than Spider-Man 3… Obviously) to ever be released, and some say that it’s Brett Ratner’s perfect masterpiece of stupidity that’s very existence should be stricken from the records. Simply put: people hate it.
For a start, all of the good guys die, and what sort of superhero movie fan from pre-Nolan’s Batman wants to go and see the final piece of a franchise when all of the heroes you’ve invested so much time in just die at the end? Furthermore, the plot is obvious and the decisions the characters are written to make are nonsensical in the grand scheme of things.
There are, however, some fairly cool moments involving Ben Foster’s Angel and Ian McKellen’s Magneto (of course), as well as some interesting ideas underpinning the below-par execution, making the movie acceptable enough to not completely ruin the original trilogy. This one just didn’t sit well with loyal audiences and wasn’t nearly fun enough for casual audiences either.
8. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Because Brett Ratner had done such a terrible job of finishing his original trilogy with X-Men: The Last Stand, Bryan Singer returned to the X-Men franchise for Days of Future Past (2014) to issue a $200million apology to the loyal fans who’d been let down when he abandoned the franchise for failed DC movie venture Superman Returns after X2 in the early 2000s. The problem here was that the apology angle all seemed like PR spin for what was essentially a large reset switch for the X-Men universe, and felt less sincere and heartfelt than a dodged glance with a former spouse. Sure, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine going back in time to help out the younger and more fresh cast of the prequels was interesting enough, but it took barely any convincing for him to gain the trust of the mind-bendingly-intelligent Charles Xavier regarding his mission, and everything else in the movie felt equally as forced, far-fetched and/or convenient that even Jennifer Lawrence’s badassery as Mystique couldn’t put this beyond the number 8 position in this list. It was fun, sure, but nothing more; and we all expect something more from the X-Men, don’t we?
7. The Wolverine (2013)
The second standalone Wolverine film was a prequel to X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it felt like a new and fresh take on the much beloved Wolverine character. James Mangold’s telling of the story that took place largely in Japan wasn’t without its detractors who felt like the film became more formulaic as the picture went on, but the ways in which Wolverine was challenged felt more worthy of investment than its predecessor, and some of the visuals were stunning. Problems in development, such as a change of director (from Darren Aronofsky who was originally signed to the project to James Mangold who was also at the helm for Logan), inevitably led to issues that had the movie feeling far from from perfect, but hints of the magnificent Mangold & Jackman partnership remained present.
The Wolverine is largely forgettable and unassuming but still levels above the previous entries to this countdown, making it one of the X-Men movies that should be categorised as: The Actually Quite Good Ones.