The X-Men movie franchise, kicking off with the titular movie of the same name in 2000, has been inconsistent to say the least. While they now appear to be headed in a direction favoured equally by fans and critics, it can be said that one half of the movies, barring X2 (2003) and ‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011), have been the studio’s attempts to find a direction, and the remaining half, course correction. Needless to say, the X-Men, including Professor X, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and others remain fan favourite characters. Although, what really makes the X-Men storylines work and stand out in my opinion, is the portrayal of the inner struggles of both hero and villain, the struggle to be accepted or to stand out, the struggle between compassion and rage towards the belligerent human race that has more often than not, tried to inflict harm upon these mutants.
The X-Men movies have their fair share of villains, ones that are pure evil, but the most engaging storylines come from conflicts between the X-Men and The Brotherhood. One side, proving to the world that not all mutants are the same. The second, becoming the monsters the world makes them out to be. Regardless, these conflicts have given us some loathsome villainy incarnations on screen, and some of them in a good way. Some, not so much. So, without further delay, here is the list of best X-Men villains. Again, the villains are ranked based on their movie incarnations only, general characterisation, and strength of their portrayals.
12. Deadpool/Wade Wilson
This one had been shut off for good. A complete misrepresentation of a beloved fan favourite character, Deadpool/Wade Wilson/Weapon XI made an unremarkable onscreen debut with ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’ (2009), as a “mutant killer” possessing the powers of multiple mutants. Needless to say, the experiment backfired horrendously, with the film facing backlash for meddling with a lot of other fan favourites (Gambit, Cyclops, Blob), doing more damage than good. Thankfully, we now have the same Ryan Reynolds playing “the merc with a mouth” in ‘Deadpool’ (2016) and its sequels in the future, being unabashedly crass and violent, dressed in red spandex, which is a LOT closer to the source material than this incarnation of the character.
11. Emma Frost
Emma Frost, a telepath also having abilities to shapeshift into diamond form, (making her resistant to the telepathy of other mutants) made her cinematic debut in ‘X-Men: First Class’ (2011), played by January Jones, as an accomplice to Sebastian Shaw and member of the Hellfire Club. She is a foremost foe of the X-Men in the comics initially, eventually siding with them and becoming their leader with Cyclops. In the film version though, she is revealed to be killed off during the events of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (2014). Her telepathic powers are said to rival those of the Professor himself; added to that her diamond form should make her a force to reckon with. Alas, she is reduced to merely a sultry sideshow to Shaw in the film. For a more accurate portrayal, I would recommend watching the animated series, ‘Wolverine and the X-Men’ (2009), but for the movie portrayal, this mutant occupies #11 on our list.