20th Century Fox churned out X-Men movies from 2000 all the way until last year, and while the first two were not a complete mess, there were choices made that forced X-Men fans to question the motivation behind certain decisions. As more X-films movies were added, more “what the…?” moments popped up. At least for this X-Men fan.

The X-Men were my introduction into the world of comics, and to this day, despite ups and downs in the narrative, the mutants hold a special place in my big nerd heart, which is why the 20th Century Fox movies upset me so much, especially how certain characters were shoved into the plot. While some casting choices are brilliant (Patrick Stewart IS Charles), others are a hot mess, and many characters were the equivalent of a cardboard cutout of their comic counterpart. The list of mishandled characters is long, but we’ve narrowed it down to 10 characters that definitely deserved better from Fox’s X-Men movies.

1. Rogue

Anna Paquin has fans, mainly from her time on True Blood. And while she’s snagged critical acclaim and even an Oscar, Paquin’s Rogue is lukewarm at best and fails to capture the essence of the character. Yes, she played a young, scared version and not the mutant powerhouse, but even as the films continued, Paquin spent more time looking surprised and scared than using sass and any type of strength, even to cover her own insecurities. We can’t blame the actress completely, of course. The writing and directing should also be held accountable. But it would be nice to have an Anna Marie with a little spunk.

2. Emma Frost

The version of Emma with the most screen time is in X-Men: First Class, and she was essentially a really hot set piece. January Jones looked the part, but a few times I was afraid someone might need to check her pulse for signs of life. Again, not blaming Jones completely as she’s at the whim of the script, but for a character as complicated as Emma Frost, to see her as a pretty henchman was sad.

3. Mystique

So in the X-Men movies’ first attempt at Mystique, she more or less said nothing and was an excuse to paint Rebecca Romijn blue and have her slink around naked. In the second version played by Jennifer Lawrence, she was barely Raven. Mystique is one of my favorite villains, emphasis on VILLAIN. At least in the early films, she was a bad guy. In First Class and forward, it very much felt like they couldn’t let her be the manipulative antagonist she should be because America’s Sweetheart played her. This point is further highlighted by how less blue she got as the series progressed.

4. Kitty Pryde

I love Elliot Page, and their version of Kitty Pryde should have been much more than it was. Earlier films — the first two X-films in which Kitty was played by two different actresses prior to Page’s casting, and X-Men: The Last Stand which placed Kitty in a slightly more prominent role — just didn’t do anything with the character (notice a theme), but the movie that placed her front and center was Days of Future Past. Unfortunately, front and center meant shouting at everyone with her hands on Logan’s head and using powers she shouldn’t have. Kitty phases. She’s not a psychic. With Charles sitting literally right there, why was Kitty sending anyone back in time?

5. Sabretooth

Another example of a major villain with a good backstory and depth becoming a mere henchman. When Liev Schrieber takes over the character from Tayler Mane, there is more weight and an actual character behind the feral mutant, but Sabretooth is psychotic and dangerous, and I never really felt that from either version.

6. Darwin

Darwin is a pretty powerful dude. His mutant power is he can evolve based on the circumstances around him, which means he can basically survive anywhere and in any situation. Underwater? Gills. Fire? Well, now he’s fireproof. Getting beaten by, oh, the Hulk? Well, when sapping gamma radiation to fight on Banner’s level didn’t work, he could now teleport outta there. Adaptive. Great in any fight. So why did Edi Gathegi’s Darwin get beat in First Class?

7. Jubilee

In the first set of films, Jubilee was basically an extra, with casual mentions here and there. In Apocalypse, Lana Condor takes on the pyrotechnic mutant and the most exciting thing about her place in the movie is her yellow jacket. The girl shoots freakin’ fireworks out of her hands and it’s still boring. No wonder she didn’t come back for Dark Phoenix.

8. Psylocke

Olivia Munn looks like Psylocke. And if the character was given any respect in the script, she would have been a bad-ass Betsy. Instead, she’s reduced to one of Apocalypse’s horsemen and spends most of her scenes looking on in awe at the crazy stuff En Sabah Nur can do. And just when you think you’re going to see a cool fight scene with her, it fizzles out.

9. Cyclops

I actually love James Marsden as Scott Summers. I think physically he works and his carriage and delivery remind me of the comic. The problem is Scott was shoved to the background in favor of the more popular Wolverine, who basically took over as the main reason for anything in nearly every film (Scott’s not alone, as Logan even steals Kitty’s thunder as the one to time hop in Days of Future Past). Instead of the complicated team leader, the Cyclops we get is a meek, confused, unsure man who wonders why Jean keeps ditching him for Logan.

10. Gambit

I can talk about how Taylor Kitsch’s Remy lacked any charisma. I can rant about how his power set was represented in a strange way. But honestly… can I get a mon ami? No?


  1. Thank you for this article, Ms. Destito… while I was thrilled to finally have the X-Men on the big screen with an actual budget, I quickly realized my “Spider-sense” tingeling. It got so bad, I refused to watch anything FoX-Men-related beyond Wolverine: Origins. Thank the heavens Mr. Feige has FINALLY assumed control!

  2. Yeah… …. … yeah …. … … yeah. This is one of those articles where I would try to give thoughtful benefit of the doubt counter arguments. But I really can’t. I think the analysis is on point.

  3. They f**ed up pretty much everyone except Wolverine, Magneto, and Professor Xavier. Jean and Scott were okay too. Other than that, they screwed a lot up.

  4. @Bill yes, they are. In terms of comic accuracy, Disney has minor and understandable changes. The entirety of the x-men lore, and every single character except deadpool is a far cry from their comic book representations. I’m terms of story connectivity, consistency, enjoyability, Disney has those locked down, too. Fox released 13 movies, maybe half were good to be generous. Disney released 23 films, with only 2 being kinda boring, yet still supportive of the entire project. Fox has mishandled my favorite property since day one. Disney has been doing an fantastic job. OH AND ABOUT FANTASTIC 4

  5. Magneto wasn’t well served in the prequel films. At least McKellan gave Erik some gravitas and menace. All we get from Fassbender are whiny tantrums and wavering loyalty (and accents)
    Not to mention Angel. They got nothing right about him. Nothing.
    Banshee. Garbage. Tyler Sheridan Cyclops, also garbage. Why the hell is Havok hula hooping?
    Nicolas Hoult’s Beast was an insult. It’s hard to feel the weight of a character’s tragic fate when he can take a serum to turn himself human.
    Psylocke was basically just cosplay.
    Mystique is a cold blooded mutant terrorist, not a symbol of whatever the hell she was in Apocalypse.
    Fox is the worst thing to happen to the X-Men.

  6. Echoing ‘Kitsunehi’: the direction and writing for Nightcrawler was tragically underwhelming. Bryan Singer reportedly saw Cabaret and adored Alan Cumming as the Emcee (seriously, watch any iteration of ‘Wilkommen’ and you can see why)… so why then was the character’s best scene – the opening of X2 – without any lines? Why was Kurt reduced to basically saying the lord’s prayer and repeating his title in the Munich Circus over and over again? Alan Cumming is a charismatic, fantastic actor, yet he was repeatedly sidelined in X2 and reduced to a teleportation device.

    in the prequels, Kodi Smit-Mcphee didn’t fare much better. Apocalypse, he starts off scared and frightened by everything, and spends the remainder of the film looking baffled with his mouth hanging open. Dark Phoenix he was once again a convenient device to get from one place to another (even as they clearly break the rule of ‘I can only teleport where I can see’, clearly established in X2 and Apocalypse). We got a minute of character development when he stabbed some people. Yay?

    Give us swashbuckling, dual-wielding swordsman ala the comics. If not that, how about one with an actual sense of humor like X-Men Evolution? Just no more of the ‘frightened blueberry’ aesthetic we’ve had twice now.

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