The 10 Best ‘X-men’ Characters in Film
This Friday, X-men: First Class is hitting blu ray and DVD, and I fully plan to pick it up. So to hold my excitement to see that wonderful film again, I’m doing a list of the best characters from the movie franchise. The X-men movies are known for having some of the greatest performances and casting decisions in the superhero genre and even though they may not be “Oscar worthy”, they are definitely worthy of recognition. Here are the top 10 characters in the cinematic X-men universe.
Re-watch the opening scene of X2. Nightcrawler kicks some serious butt to open the sequel with one heck of a bang. Throughout the rest of the movie we get a lot of the gentler, spiritual side of Nightcrawler we see in the comics. Alan Cumming disappears under the blue s make-up and the character is brought to life flawlessly. Too bad Brett Ratner couldn’t find room for him in The Last Stand, considering he found room for EVERYONE else.
X2 took the focus off of Magneto for a movie for a man who could cause real damage to the mutant society. His plan? Rebuild Cerebro, kidnap Xavier, and use his disturbed mutant son to manipulate Xavier to concentrate hard enough to kill the entire mutant race. Oh, and he gave Wolverine his claws and erased his memory. Stryker isn’t afraid of crossing any moral lines in his quest to destroy mutants (attacking a school full of children? really?!), which is why he makes it onto this list.
In Bryan Singer’s two X-men movies, fans got a beautiful version of Jean. She was gentle and timid about her abilities. But she also proved to be the most powerful X-man at the end of X2 when she lifted the X-jet and saved the team from certain destruction. In that act she also made the ultimate sacrifice, at least until Brett Ratner butchered the Phoenix storyline in The Last Stand. Janssen was gorgeous and loveable as Jean, and she did what she could in the atrocity that is X-men 3.
Anyone got a problem watching January Jones strut around in her underwear for two hours? No? Didn’t think so. But this performance wasn’t all looks. Jones was perfectly cold as the ice queen and brought all of her terribleness from Mad Men‘s Betty Draper. She has so many great moments in First Class and hopefully she will return for the sequel as the ending implies.
Perhaps the only really brilliant decision made during the production of X-men: The Last Stand was casting Kelsey Grammer as Beast. He was certainly the highlight of the film and made for a surprisingly great superhero. Then we got Benjamin Walker in First Class who tried to cure himself and ended up turning himself blue. His scenes towards the end of the film were incredible and his chemistry with Jennifer Lawrence was a great aspect of that movie.
In the original X-men trilogy Mystique was mostly silent. She made up for that with several incredible action sequences. She is one of the only villains to ever go toe-to-toe with Wolverine and survive. Every line she is given in those films shows her struggle and the struggle of the mutant race as a whole. Then, in First Class, Jennifer Lawrence took over the role and made it completely her own. Mystique was a woman fighting for acceptance but she was never quiet about it. She even demonstrated her ability to government officials in a tense moment to make them believe in mutants. She is an incredible character with layers that even the biggest X-geek may not fully understand. People who have faced discrimination for who they are might though.
Before she was the star of True Blood, Anna Paquin was an X-man. Rogue has the unfortunate consequence of not being able to touch people because of her powers. Any physical contact with her skin could send a person to the hospital. Unlike Mystique who fights for her mutant rights by walking around naked in her true-blue form, Rogue wants to get rid of her abilities, another likely response from those who have been discriminated against. She has one of the most interesting subplots of The Last Stand as she goes to take the cure.
Way back in 2000 everyone cheered when Patrick Stewart had been cast as Xavier. He was perfect, not other word to describe it. I even enjoyed his death scene in The Last Stand. So this past June, one of the biggest accomplishments in First Class was McAvoy’s performance which both paid tribute to Stewart and made the character his very own.
McKellen owns every scene he is in as Magneto in the original trilogy. He is just as good in The Last Stand as he is in Singer’s two movies. His highlight moment from those three movies is obviously in X2 when he breaks out of his plastic prison cell. Last June, Michael Fassbender brilliantly played a younger version of the character and made his transformation into the full blown villain believable. Aside from Heath Ledger’s Joker, Magneto is the best comic book villain ever put on the screen.
Could it have been anyone else? From the first moment we see him in the original X-men, Broadway star Hugh Jackman disappeared and Wolverine emerged in all of his comic book glory. Some highlights include his banter with Cyclops, killing most of the soldiers who dared to enter the mansion, and a one-on-one fight with Deathstrike, a villain cut from the same cloth as Wolverine. He makes X-men Origins: Wolverine easier to watch. His cameo in First Class beats out every Stan Lee cameo ever. When it comes to movie superheroes, look no further, Wolverine is top dog.
So, those are my picks. Any other characters you would have liked to see make the list? Post in the comments section your suggestions! Plus look forward to owning X-men: First Class this Friday!
photo credit: http://www.screened.com/jean-grey/15-1113/