The X-Men went from being one of the hottest superhero franchises of all time to fans considering it a disappointment.
After the first two X-Men movies achieved critical acclaim and box office success, X-Men: The Last Stand caused the franchise to sputter, and X-Men Origins – Wolverine almost killed the entire franchise.
While the X-Men roared back to life with a solid relaunch in the form of prequels, fans lost interest as that storyline moved on.
By 2020, the last X-Men movie hit theaters with The New Mutants, ending the franchise once and for all.
After that, Marvel officially took over the X-Men following its purchase of Fox and will eventually relaunch the X-Men for a new generation.
With that said, looking back on the X-Men, only four of the 12 movies were certified rotten on Rotten Tomatoes; eight were rated at 70-percent or higher fresh, with three breaking 90-percent.
Here is a look at every X-Men movie, ranked by Rotten Tomatoes scores.
Dark Phoenix (2019) – 22%
The last movie of the X-Men prequels took the team into the ’90s and re-told a story that the original trilogy already told – The Dark Phoenix Saga.
The idea was that the original Dark Phoenix Saga in X-Men: The Last Stand was mostly panned, giving Fox a chance to do it right.
What resulted was a movie that critics panned, and the majority of the audience hated according to its Rotten Tomatoes score.
The movie had Jean Grey learn that her father was still alive, and Professor X lied to her about his fate. She went to find her father, and when the X-Men came to bring her home, she attacked them and law enforcement officers.
With the encouragement of an alien race invading Earth, Jean Grey grew more powerful, and it was up to her former teammates to stop her before she destroyed the planet.
New Mutants (2020) – 35%
The last Fox X-Men movie was New Mutants, which hit in 2020, arriving in theaters as soon as theaters began to reopen during the pandemic.
Although the movie was never as bad as people made it out to be, The New Mutants received mostly poor reviews.
Based on the Marvel Comics about the next generation of mutants training to become the next X-Men, the movie changed their history but loosely retold the Demon Bear story.
The original New Mutants from the comics were the ones in this group, but they were all held prisoner after they all developed their powers and caused tragedies of different types. When they learned their captives were not who they claimed, the kids fought for their survival.
X-Men Origins – Wolverine (2009) – 37%
While it isn’t ranked at the bottom of this list based on Rotten Tomatoes score, X-Men Origins – Wolverine is widely considered one of the worst superhero movies ever made.
There were some good things about the movie, including Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth and an opening with Wolverine working with a special ops team.
However, when someone started killing all the members of the special ops team years later and Wade Wilson had his mouth sewed shut and turned into a new weapon (rather than Deadpool), the entire movie went off the rails.
There were supposed to be multiple Origins movies, and this one’s failure ended that instantly.
X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) – 47%
The third movie in the X-Men prequels was X-Men: Apocalypse. This movie brought in one of the X-Men’s most famous villains and introduced his Horsemen of the Apocalypse.
The movie introduced a few new heroes, including Storm, Psylocke, and Angel, all as villains alongside Apocalypse. It also put Professor X up against the most dangerous opponent of his career to this point.
The action was fast-paced and good, but the movie never reached the level that a villain like Apocalypse deserved.
X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) – 57%
The original X-Men trilogy had Fox riding high, with the first two movies critically acclaimed and box office successes. However, Fox dropped the ball with X-Men: The Last Stand.
This third movie took two different storylines and tried to combine them into one movie, and that was a mistake.
The Dark Phoenix Saga is one of the X-Men’s most respected stories, and this movie shoehorned it into a movie about the mutant cure from Joss Whedon’s X-Men comic book run.
With both those storylines and the introduction of the Morlocks, there was too much going on, and none of the storylines received the time they deserved.
The Wolverine (2013) – 71%
X-Men Origins – Wolverine was a failure, and Fox knew it dropped the ball with its most popular character. They made up for it in 2013.
This was when Wolverine got his next solo movie. This time, acclaimed director James Mangold came in and turned in a great Wolverine movie.
The movie showed Wolverine going to Japan, which was the basis for Wolverine’s popular miniseries from the ’80s. It included him meeting both Silver Samurai and the woman he married in the comics.
It was Wolverine vs. Ninjas, and the movie gave fans exactly what they wanted.
X-Men (2000) – 82%
The first X-Men movie hit in 2000 and was responsible for proving that Marvel superheroes could carry movies to a high level of success.
Before this, the only Marvel releases that saw any success were the Blade movies. Everything else was low-budget movies like Punisher and Howard the Duck and failures like Captain America.
X-Men was good enough to convince Sony to make a Spider-Man movie and Universal to make a Hulk movie.
This first movie saw the X-Men already formed and had them find a new mutant named Rogue, scared and on the run. They also met and brought in Wolverine and then battled Magneto and his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants.
Deadpool 2 (2018) – 84%
In 2018, Deadpool was back for his second movie and kept things R-rated and raunchy.
It also presented the best version of Colossus ever brought to the big screen. This movie is also the one that introduced the mainstream movie audience to Cable and Domino.
The movie saw Deadpool go to jail for killing a bad guy, and there he met a young mutant teenager. When Cable showed up to kill the teenager, Deadpool escaped and decided to save the kid.
However, the kid teamed with Juggernaut and set out to kill a man, which would set up the destruction of the future for mutants.
X2: X-Men United (2003) – 85%
The second X-Men movie was the best of the original trilogy.
Titled X2: X-Men United, this was the X-Men movie that introduced the idea that the public hated and feared mutants, which opened up the idea a terrorist organization could form to capture mutants.
When this group, led by William Stryker, targeted the children attending Xavier’s school, Wolverine and the X-Men set out to stop him and save the students.
While the first X-Men movie was a good look at the mutant heroes in action, this second movie showed why mutants in Marvel Comics are important.
Deadpool (2016) – 85%
The first Deadpool movie arrived in 2016, thanks mostly to Ryan Reynolds never giving up on his dream of bringing the Merc with a Mouth to the big screen in a respectful manner.
Deadpool first appeared in X-Men Origins – Wolverine, and Ryan Reynolds played him there. He finally got a chance to do it right in this movie, which was a massive success.
This was a slight surprise, an R-rated superhero movie. The movie also brought in a great version of Colossus and allowed Ryan Reynolds to play to the audience, breaking the fourth wall as Deadpool did in the comics.
X-Men: First Class (2014) – 90%
When the X-Men returned with the prequels, it started in great style, even if the timeline never made sense.
The first movie, directed by Matthew Vaughn (Kingsman), this movie took the X-Men to the 1960s, where they just formed under a young Professor Xavier.
It also introduced a young Magneto, who was not yet a villain, and reimagined Mystique as a confidant of Professor X and Beast, and one of the original X-Men.
This movie took place during the Cuban Missile Crisis and saw the Hellfire Club trying to instigate things to their advantage. This ended up as one of three X-Men movies to break 90-percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes, even better than the original trilogy.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – 90%
While X-Men: First Class was the first movie that eclipsed the 90-percent fresh mark on Rotten Tomatoes, it ended up sharing that with the second prequel movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past.
While people point out the original trilogy and talk about how the prequels ruined the franchise, all three movies over 90-percent on Rotten Tomatoes were outside that original trilogy, and two were the prequels.
Matthew Vaughn has always said that Fox should have waited to make X-Men: Days of Future Past, and by rushing this one out, they didn’t set things up enough, and the movies that followed failed as a result.
However, standing on its own, X-Men: Days of Future Past was a huge success, bringing in the characters from the original trilogy and the prequels and uniting them by sending Wolverine back to the past to prevent the future where all mutants were hunted and destroyed.
Logan (2017) – 93%
The X-Men movie with the best Rotten Tomatoes score was easily Logan.
James Mangold returned after making The Wolverine and told the story of Old Man Logan while also introducing Laura Kinney, X-23.
This movie took place in the future, and by this time, all the X-Men were dead except for two – Wolverine and Professor Xavier. They teamed with another surviving mutant in Caliban and tried to survive.
However, when Wolverine discovered a young clone created with his DNA, he realized that Mr. Sinister’s corporation made several mutant clones and set out to save the children, despite realizing that he was slowly dying of adamantium poisoning.
This movie marked the end of the road for Wolverine, and Professor X and both men went out perfectly.