X-Men is arguably the first comic book film to really kick off the superhero craze in the early 2000s. Since then, there have been multiple sequels, a reboot, and several spinoffs exploring Charles Xavier and his gifted class of students. This article will only focus on the best characters that have been presented in the world of X-Men in movies. Movies like the Wolverine spinoffs, The New Mutants, and Deadpool will also be considered as they still take part in the X-Men universe even.
James “Logan” Howlett (Wolverine)
Honestly, this entry shouldn’t be much of a surprise. Out of all the mutants in the X-Men universe, Logan has received the most character development and while it’s definitely frustrating that so many mutants were pushed aside in favor of more screen time for the popular mutant, there’s no denying that the live-action films have gotten him right for the most part. The exploration of Logan’s backstory in X2: X-Men United help provide a much more nuanced look on the character; however, his final turn in Logan is the reason he’s such a compelling name in the X-Men world. Logan was gritty, brutal, raw, and quite depressing, but it was a masterclass of evolving the Logan character and his final adventure with Hugh Jackman as the mutant. Of course, Jackman was simply perfect for the role. Not only does he match the look of the character in the comics, but his body language and attitude were perfectly translated onscreen.
Charles Xavier (Professor X)
The leader of the X-Men has mostly been a side character in the live-action series, but the key thing about Charles Xavier is his relationship with Magneto. The live-action films did a great job exploring the friends-turned-enemies, mostly notably in the X-Men reboot. The dynamics between the two men are a match made in heaven as Magneto and Professor X clearly have different morals when it comes to their worldview; however, there are times when the two powerful mutants can come together. The sad state of Professor X in Logan finally deviated from the usual stories that tend to take place in the live-action films, and Patrick Stewart put on a superb performance as a broken man who has been beaten by the world and his psychic powers. Of course, this doesn’t mean that James McAvory didn’t fill the void of Professor X nicely as he brought a nice and fresh perspective on the classic comic book character.
Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto)
The rebooted X-Men series did a better job of exploring Erik Lehnsherr and we got a better understanding of just who Magneto is. As I previously stated with Wolverine, alot of mutants were unfairly pushed aside in the live-action adaptations, but Magneto was one of the few things that the movies got right and his relationship with Raven. The complexity of his character has always been fascinating, even though you understand all the anger and hurt that Magneto feels due to the death of his parents. It’s a shame that the films didn’t introduce Magneto’s kids earlier as it would’ve made the dynamic between him and Charles more interesting.
Wade Wilson (Deadpool)
I know, I’m technically cheating as Deadpool isn’t an official X-Men; however, he’s heavily in the world in both films thus Deadpool gets a pass for this list. After his disastrous introduction in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Ryan Reynolds thankfully made a great return to form in his first solo movie. What made Deadpool so great is that he was a breath of fresh air in the crowded world of superheroes back in 2016. The “Merc with the mouth” proudly lived up to his name and while his origin story wasn’t anything special, Deadpool’s antics and interactions with Dopinder, Colossus, and Negasonic Teenage Warhead have been the highlight of his two films. Plus, the fact that Deadpool is allowed to be a murderous, psycho goofball brings joy to all the long-time comic book fans.
Neena Thurman (Domino)
The comic book favorite made her live-action debut in Deadpool 2 and easily stole the show thanks to her unique luck ability and her interactions with Deadpool. Technically, Domino made somewhat of her debut in the Rogue Cut version of X-Men: Days of Future Past, but she wasn’t a core part of the X-Men canon during that film. Zazie Beetz perfectly captured the spirit of her comic book character and the writing did an excellent job showcasing her power without overexposing it. Smart, brave, and a little sassy, it would be cool if Domino got her own standalone film to truly allow her personality to shine, though just having her back for alleged Deadpool III is also good enough.