For better or for worse, 20th Century Fox’s X-Men movies have been the one mainstay in the comic book movie industry over the last fifteen years. While they have come under criticism for taking liberties with the source material, a few rank as some of the finest CBMs ever made – impressing through underlying themes of oppression and equality.
For my third and final entry in a ‘trilogy’ of comicbookmovie articles, I’ve decided to take a look at some of the best moments in our favourite mutant franchise – from the early promise of Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2 movies, to the period of inconsistency that followed his departure – which has since ended with the more recent higher quality releases of X-Men: First Class and X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
Anyway, without further ado, let’s have a look at my favourite moments from the X-Men franchise…
Don’t Get In My Way, X-Men
“We are the future, Charles, not them. They no longer matter.” – Magneto
Professor Xavier and Magneto’s friendship-turned-rivalry represents the core of the X-Men franchise, and has produced some of its best moments. This scene introduces the pair perfectly, as two mutant intellectuals with very different ideals – while paving the way for the inevitable war that lies ahead.
Wolverine’s Beserker Rage, X2: X-Men United
“You picked the wrong house, bub!” – Wolverine
This is a scene that’ll probably get into most of your own Top 10 lists – with great action and Hugh Jackman in explosive form. But perhaps what I love most about this moment is how it was foreshadowed in the first movie: when Xavier claimed to “feel a great swell of pity” for anyone who came to his school “looking for trouble”. He was so right.
Charles Xavier: Past & Future, X-Men: Days Of Future Past
“Charles, we need you to hope again.” – Professor X
If Michael Fassbender was the star of First Class, James McAvoy stole the limelight during the sequel. He was simply phenomenal as this new side of Xavier – one devoid of hope. Juxtapose that with the ever-impressive Patrick Stewart as the wise, inspiring Professor X we all know and love, and you’re guaranteed to have a corker of a scene.
The Merc With A Mouth, X-Men Origins: Wolverine
“Okay… People are dead.” – Wade Wilson
I liked Ryan Reynolds as Wade – almost as much as I hated “The Pool”. He was witty, charming and clearly psychopathic – nearly everything you’d expect from the Merc With A Mouth. While the CGI (like the rest of the movie) is horribly off, this ‘classically Deadpool’ mass-murder spree almost makes the film worth watching. Almost.
10) Logan Vs Shingen, The Wolverine
“What kind of a monster are you?” – Shingen
“The Wolverine.” – Logan
Hugh Jackman and James Mangold managed to top the X2 beserker moment with this incredibly intense sequence in 2013’s The Wolverine. While the film had its ups and downs, the tone was almost perfect – and the fight scenes that didn’t involve a giant robot were second to none. Here, Logan battles the movie’s best villain, Shingen, in a fast-paced and brutal fight to the death.
9) The Recruitment Montage, X-Men: First Class
“Go [frick] yourself.” – Logan
X-Men: First Class is my favourite X-Men film. While I loved X2 & Days Of Future Past, for me, no one got the tone, characters and story more correct than Matthew Vaughn did in his 2011 flick. While the movie had its fair share of drama and emotion, it was also a lot of fun – highlighted by this montage more than anything else. Meanwhile, that Wolvie cameo had me in stitches.
8) House Fire Fight, X2: X-Men United
“You know all those dangerous mutants you hear about on the news? I’m the worst one.” – Pyro
Arguably ‘the forgotten mutant’ of the original trilogy, Pyro was one of the standout characters of X2 and The Last Stand. His cocky act was entertaining, but there was always that element of the scared kid beneath all the bravado. Though he went on to show great chemistry alongside Magneto, this was the moment in which he truly burst onto the scene – producing a truly badass display of raw (fire)power.
7) The Brotherhood Begins, X-Men: First Class
“Erik, I believe?” – Emma Frost
“I prefer… Magneto.” – Erik Lensherr
I love Ian McKellan, but my favourite Magneto may well be Michael Fassbender. Broken and dangerous, his hateful anti-hero claimed all of the best moments in First Class. While the actual context of this scene still irks me a little (I don’t like the idea of Emma Frost in The Brotherhood), the execution was damn near perfect, and moment is made complete by Henry Jackman’s pulsating ‘Magneto’ theme in the background.
6) That Quicksilver Scene, X-Men: Days Of Future Past
“They say you can manipulate metal. My mom used to know a guy who could do that.” – Pietro Maximoff
This is a fan-favourite moment from Days Of Future Past, particularly on this site. I confess that I, like many of you, was pretty sceptical about Evan Peters’ Quicksilver coming in to this movie. However, it’s safe to say he and Bryan Singer proved us all wrong with this truly scintillating scene alone – bolstered by some impressive visuals filmed at a staggering 3600 frames-per-second.
5) Charles Is Paralyzed, X-Men: First Class
“I won’t, actually I… I can’t feel my legs… I can’t feel my legs…” – Charles Xavier
Oomph! Right in the feels. I love this scene, the pain, the sorrow, the regret… I guess I’m just a bit of a sadist right? In all seriousness James McAvoy’s acting here is superb – from convincing an emotional Erik they are not the same, to shockingly realising he can no longer move his legs. It’s an iconic moment, and one that has stuck with me since I first watched the film, three years ago.
4) Prison Chess, X-Men
“The war is still coming Charles, and I intend to fight it – by any means necessary.” – Magneto
“And I will always be there, old friend.” – Professor X
It’s P-Stew Vs. I-Mac, round 2! I feel like I’ve just ruined the moment there, sorry… This scene really showcases the complexity and longevity of Magneto & Professor X’s relationship. Both are natural leaders and intellectual equals, it’s obvious how they gravitated towards one another – but they have their clear differences too. If there’s one thing the FOX films got right, it’s the dynamic between these two legends.
3) That Nightcrawler Scene, X2: X-Men United
“My God…” – President McKenna
Nightcrawler’s badass one-man invasion of the White House is one of the greatest openings to a CBM ever. It’s still being talked about today! Containing some groundbreaking fight choreography and great visual effects, it’s makes for a fantastic action spectacle. It’s a shame we never saw any more of him, as he was arguably the standout character of X2.
2) Frankenstein’s Monster, X-Men: First Class
“Let’s just say I’m Frankenstein’s Monster. And I’m looking for my creator.” – Erik Lensherr
Throughout the series, Magneto has had a great many badass moments, but none rank higher than his brutal interrogation and execution of two Nazi’s in an Argentinian pub. Fassbender is truly frightening as the vindictive future Magneto, while Henry Jackman’s score again only makes the moment even more epic. The tension, the acting, the music, the quote – this scene has the lot.
1) The X-Men’s Final Stand, X-Men: Days Of Future Past
“All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles… to have a precious few of them back…” – Magneto
And so we come to it at last… No moment quite epitomises the X-Men series as much as this tear-jerking finale. Left with no hope of survival, they face their greatest enemy – the malevolence of mankind. The action is simply stunning, while there’s nothing more emotional than watching the likes of Storm, Iceman, Magneto and countless others fall in their final heroic stand against the brutal and terrifying Sentinels. Take a bow, Mr. Singer.
As a little bonus, I thought I’d list my favourite X-Men films in order too..
X-Men: First Class
X-Men: Days Of Future Past
X-Men: The Last Stand
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Sorry, couldn’t resist one little dig! 😉
Well, there you go guys! Those were my ten favourite moments from the X-Men franchise. On another note, this’ll probably the last of these I’ll do in a while, but I’ll be back with more stuff… I hope!
Anyway, d’you agree with these moments? Let me know your thoughts and choices in the comments!
Also, if you enjoyed my list, why not check out some of my other articles I’ve written over on CBM: