Time to pop out of those claws! As we round off the past 17 years of Hugh Jackman's tenure as Wolverine with the clawed centerpiece that is Logan, sadly, not every character can reach fan-favorite status like our titular Canadian or Dafne Keen’s Laura Kinney. As we reach the end of the road for James Howlett, let’s look back to the where it all began and Fox’s legacy of X-Men.
With bland backstory, convoluted origins, and general dire scripting, X-Men has given us some monstrously maligned mutants in its run of 10 feature films. When X-Men movies are good, they’re really good, and when they’re bad, they’re terrible. However, for every Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman, there is a Ryan Reynolds on X-Men Origins: Wolverine out there!
Given that people of a certain age hold the ‘90s X-Men: The Animated Series in the highest regard, and a rumored ‘90s feature film is somewhere on the horizon, who knows if Fox can rectify their “Mistakes of Future Past.”
From fried frogs in a storm to thick-headed henchmen, talking pincushions to frosty receptions, just who are The 15 Most Annoying Characters In The X-Men Franchise?
Portrayed by: Lana Condor
Appeared in: X-Men: Apocalypse
Where the Jubilee of X-Men: The Animated Series became a figurehead of the show, sadly, her transition into film has been anything but memorable. While she actually appeared in X-Men, X2, The Last Stand, and Apocalypse, there is only one of those performances that anyone will actually remember. Jubilee got some much-needed screen time when played by Lana Condor, but the girl who shoots fireworks from her body failed to have ignite a spark in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Apocalypse.
Jubilee from the comics is used to playing a sidekick role as the “mall rat,” but her Apocalypse performance was a little too chirpy, bordering on inane. Bear in mind that Condor’s performance was supposed to be longer, but due to time constraints, her part was drastically reduced. Even worse, she reportedly got burned by the pyrotechnics on her hands during filming, only to have her big scene using her powers cut from the theatrical release.
With the X-Men universe so up in the air at the moment, it is anyone’s guess whether Condor will return, but her Instagram stated that she would love to “hang soon." Someone, somewhere, must be able to get Jubilee right, so perhaps a revisit to the ‘90s could help her cause.
Portrayed by: Stephen Merchant
Appeared in: Logan
Oh Stephen Merchant, where did it all go wrong? Merchant's jarring performance as Caliban let down an otherwise near-perfect Logan. James Mangold got a lot of things right, but when selecting mutants for Wolverine’s swansong, Caliban was an odd choice that just got weirder. In a world so void of mutants, a Wolverine, Xavier, and Caliban road trip could’ve served like Three Men and a Baby, but instead he spent most of his time tottering around their bachelor pad or locked in a cage and recoiling from the light like a vampire. Tómas Lemarquis’ performance as the character wasn’t much better in Apocalypse, but at least the third-person-talking mutant had something a bit more otherworldly about him than Merchant's awkward portrayal.
The main gripe is that Merchant just played himself - sarcastically spitting wit at Hugh Jackman. Accents may only be a small part of a performance, but his Bristolian twang stuck out like a sore thumb in the dusty deserts of Mexico. In terms of hunting down Logan, reintroducing Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth to track down his old pal would’ve provided much more promise.
Portrayed by: Ben Foster
Appeared in: X-Men: The Last Stand
Despite being a huge part of the comics as an original member of the team, and even leading the X-Men at some points, Angel from X-Men: The Last Stand failed to take flight. After being cut from drafts of X-Men and X2, Warren Worthington III finally flew into action in a subdued performance by Ben Foster. Literally getting himself in a flap, Angel was an ineffective member of the group, seemingly only there so the film could show off some SFX. Despite being advertised as a huge part of Brett Ratner's threequel, none of Worthington’s playboy background was explored.
Spending most of his limited role topless, Angel just seemed like a way for Ben Foster to show off his abs, becoming the whiny pretty boy who was ashamed of his mutant heritage. In a more complex film, the idea of being ashamed of your powers could work as an allegory for repressed sexuality, but in an action film like The Last Stand, it just made him come across as a coward.
Along with other hastily-written introductions, Angel represents Fox thinking, "damn, who haven’t we included yet." The flying X-Man is simply there to serve as a plot device to move forward the idea of the mutant cure. Without it, would anyone have even noticed Angel’s absence?
Portrayed by: Anna Paquin
Appeared in: X-Men, X2, The Last Stand, Days of Future Past
All it took was a cheeky wink from Rogue to win over comic fans; however, with Anna Paquin’s introduction in 2000’s X-Men, Bryan Singer certainly had a very different idea for the Southern belle. Rogue’s entire personality was stripped back to make way for the timid runaway we got in the live-action films.
The Animated Series made one of the best couples ever with her and Gambit, but alas, the two were never to meet on our screens. What we were left with was her "frosty" romance with Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman, which was about as warm as his hands, and represented a cobbling together of superheroes to vaguely link to Rogue’s Ultimate Marvel lineage.
The problem with Rogue is that they completely messed with her origins, swapping out Shadowcat and Jubilee's relationships with Wolverine for Rogue. Similarly to Angel, her involvement in The Last Stand showed her willingness to ditch her mutant heritage for a “normal” life. Sure, Rogue may have had one of the worst mutant afflictions, but it was hard to have any sympathy for the moaning brat.
Paquin may have been “cool” with the fact that she was largely cut from Days of Future Past, but The Rogue Cut offered a lost chance to redeem the character.
11 Kid Omega/Quill
Portrayed by: Ken Leung
Appeared in: The Last Stand
The normally superb Ken Leung was reduced to a glorified pin cushion, adding to the multitude of sins from Brett Ratner’s The Last Stand. The third X-Men entry threw as many characters as it could onto our screens. The entire Omega Gang were nothing more than millennial street hoodlums, managing to ruin the characters of Callisto, Quill, Arclight, and Psylocke.
However, easily the worst of the bad bunch was Kid Omega/Quill. The film flip-flopped between who Leung’s character actually is, while it was later admitted on the commentary that Kid Omega, real name Quentin Quire, was actually a typo and Leung should actually be referred to as Quill.
Perhaps the only real action he had was by killing Shohreh Aghdashloo’s Dr. Kavita Rao - with a hug, of all things. Quill himself isn’t exactly a particularly powerful mutant; forcing someone to land on you to do any real damage does equal Class 5 fame. Leung was memorable for his sass, but that is nothing to write home about. Fortunately, Quill was irradiated by Jean Grey’s psychic blast. Unfortunately, he can’t be wiped from our minds.
Portrayed by: Svetlana Khodchenkova
Appeared in: The Wolverine
James Mangold’s first foray into the life of Logan was much-improved on Origins, however, it was nowhere near as good as his most recent entry. Case in point: Svetlana Khodchenkova’s dire Viper. Khodchenkova was superb in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, but her move into mutantville was as a laughable henchman.
Viper is essentially meant to be Captain America foil Lady Hydra; it seems that Mangold included her in The Wolverine just so that Fox could keep her away from the MCU. Viper was given all kinds of mutant powers that Lady Hydra doesn’t have, randomly moving the realism of The Wolverine into classic X-men territory.
Spitting acid like the Dilophosaurus from Jurassic Park and containing the poisonous knowledge of Batman’s Poison Ivy, Viper also spat some of the film’s worst dialogue. Jessica Biel was originally in the running for the role, however, it was unlikely to have made any difference. You could hear the subconscious cheer from the audience when Viper was hauled into an elevator shaft by her neck.
Taking a little-known character and elevating them to secondary antagonist level is always a risky move, and Viper’s bizarre powering-up just didn't work.
Portrayed by: Olivia Munn
Appeared in: Apocalypse
If you thought Meiling Melançon’s role in The Last Stand as Psylocke was a mutant mistake, wait until Olivia Munn's butchered role in 2016’s Apocalypse. Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer admit that Psylocke’s appearance as Apocalypse’s Horseman Pestilence was a late addition, and it showed. Although Munn underwent six hours of gymnastics, taekwondo, and sword training every day for three months, it seems like overkill for a character that actually got so little to do.
Apocalypse seemingly went back in time to its '80s setting, reducing Psylocke to little more than eye cand, as she stood in her PVC costume to scowl while the men did the talking. It is no surprise that her costume was made by a sex shop in L.A., further reiterating Psylocke's sexist portrayal.
Munn actually turned down the opportunity to portray Vanessa Carlysle in Deadpool to suit up as Psylocke. As one of the biggest fan-favorite mutants in X-Men, Psylocke’s appearance was a gut-punch to long-term X-Men aficionados. It is frustrating that someone who is basically a silent Darth Maul can be so irritating - the lack of any Psylocke background or her comic book legacy is a middle finger to the entire history of the X-Men.
Portrayed by: Ray Park
Appeared in: X-Men
The inclusion of Toad in any X-Men film was always going to be a slippery situation, while the spitting slimeball was one of the worst parts of Singer’s first film. Ray Park's dodgy British accent turned Toad into a cockney geezer, at odds with his York comic book origins.
Mortimer Toynbee was a hunchbacked outcast with learning difficulties, so admittedly, X-Men reinvented the character into a much more powerful member of The Brotherhood of Mutants; however, it also gave us a highly irritating character that we wanted to swat away like the flies he ate. Sadly, since 2000, the character has been drawn more in line with Park’s version, so clearly someone somewhere isn’t listening!
Toad snatches the prize for not only the most ridiculous X-Men franchise death, but one of the most ridiculous deaths in Hollywood history - being zapped by lightning atop the Statue of Liberty is definitely a memorable swan song.
We have seen Toad done better since. Evan Jonigkeit’s brief appearance in Days of Future Past was a less laughable portrayal - admittedly, he didn’t really do a lot, but maybe that is how Toad should be? As the man behind Darth Maul, Park is certainly a great stuntman, so perhaps he should stick to that.
Portrayed by: Taylor Kitsch
Appeared in: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
The first of many problems in X-Men Origins - the inclusion of a poker-faced Gambit - was one gamble that didn’t pay off. Another beloved character desecrated by Fox, Taylor Kitsch’s role in Origins was much worse than just a dodgy Cajun accent. In a film that was already overstuffed with heroes and villainse, the inclusion of Gambit felt like another forced addition just for the sake of it. Bearing in mind that Gambit was once ranked #4 on ComicsAlliance’s "50 Sexiest Male Characters in Comics," what was up with Kitsch’s greasy curtain-hair?
Any humor is lost under a flurry of cheesy scripting, while Gambit climbing walls with the aid of his magic sticks is frankly ludicrous. He literally had nothing to do for the rest of the film, except pop up at the end so Logan has someone to ironically ask, “What’s my name?” As previously mentioned, Remy LeBeau would’ve been much more at home alongside Rogue in the main series, where this performance was more like a preemptive Now You See Me.
While Kitsch’s performance can’t be blamed for the current state of affairs considering the “will he, won’t he” of a Gambit solo film, Channing Tatum’s recasting in the role speaks volumes.
Portrayed by: Oscar Isaac
Appeared in: X-Men: Apocalyspe
It was called long before the film was even released: the similarity between the titular villain of X-Men: Apocalypse and Mighty Morphin Power Rangers: The Movie’s Ivan Ooze. The camp comedy value didn’t end there either. Not to body shame, but Apocalypse blundered around the film like a bloated corpse, with about as much menace as the Ribena berry he was clearly modeled on.
Apparently to be a villain, all you have to do was talk in a deep voice and occasionally roar up into the sky. When you look at the heralded Apocalypse storyline from the pages of Marvel, it only serves to reiterate what went wrong with Oscar Isaac and Apocalypse.
In a series that has had such strong focal villains and teams around them, Apocalypse and his horsemen fall flat when compared to Magneto and his Brotherhood or Shaw and his Hellfire Club. Most annoyingly, Apocalypse doesn’t seem to have an actual motive; it seems he is happy just cruising around the desert with his four horsemen, including an underused Fassbender as Magneto.
Apocalypse may have been all-powerful, but that is no excusing the fact that at times he seemed simply bored with what was going on. Clearly, Isaac failed to pick up a copy of the comic books, which may have something to do with those giant foam hands he was wearing.
Portrayed by: Halle Berry
Appeared in: X-Men, X2, The Last Stand, Days of Future Past
There were four chances to get Storm right, but it seemed that, like Halle Berry’s haircut, Storm's entire personality changed with each film. Ororo Munroe is supposed to be a key member of the X-Men team, but we were left knowing as little about Storm 14 years after we first met her than we did from her first scene.
Annoyingly, it was always implied, but never acted upon, that Storm harbored some unrequited love for Logan - whether that was supposed to be explored, we will never know. She was relegated to a side character, even when leading the team after Xavier’s death in The Last Stand. What happened to the feminist powerhouse we knew from the comics?
Even Berry seemed to give up early on and stopped attempting Storm’s accent after the first film. However, that twang will be forever etched in our minds with the worst dialogue from any superhero film... ever: “Do you know what happens when a toad gets struck by lightning?”
Storm was buried alive alongside her dead parents and spent her childhood pickpocketing in Egypt; none of this was so much as mentioned during Berry’s tenure.Worshiped as a goddess, Storm should have been treated with the respect which she deserved instead of being an afterthought to every film.
Portrayed by: Ryan Reynolds
Appeared in: X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Wrong, so very, very, wrong. If it was supposed to be funny to take away the mouth of the “Merc with a Mouth,” the irony of Ryan Renolds' first Deadpool performance was lost on us all. All they had to do was stick him in a red and black ninja outfit, but oh no, Gavin Hood had to go reinventing again. Presumably, Wade joined Stryker’s program on a promise to help cure his cancer, but Origins never scratched the surface enough to reveal that. Wade Wilson was left as a one-dimensional character who was presumed dead, and brought back for a lame final act reveal.
Trying to be clever, Hood just stuck a roman numeral on Weapon X and hoped for the best - the results were to be as expected. Thankfully, Tim Miller showed how Deadpool can be done right, so it is jarring to see Reynold’s performance differ so vastly.
Deadpool of Origins was another case of “throw everything at it.” Even his name got screwed over, taking on the powers of “dead” mutants and “pooling” their abilities, which doesn't work, mainly because not all of them were dead. It was nowhere cool as the dead pool betting stakes from Miller’s film. To be honest, sewing Reynolds’ mouth shut was probably the best thing they could’ve done to save him from more embarrassment.
3 Emma Frost
Portrayed by: January Jones
Appeared in: X-Men: First Class
January Jones’ part in X-Men: First Class would’ve been bad enough in the likes of Origins, but when she served as leading lady alongside JLaw, the cracks began to show all too quickly. We could barely break through Emma’s diamond-tough exterior as January Jones demonstrated her limited acting range. We may have been used to Famke Janssen’s fiery female, but that is no excuse for an ice cold Emma Frost.
The previous incarnations on page and animation represented her as a sarcastic schemer who uses her sexuality as a weapon. Sadly, in First Class Frost was decidedly dumbed down. Frost was always supposed to be an unlikable villain, but the script seemed to provide us with that attribute inadvertently. There was no pizzazz, no chemistry with the other characters, and she just seemed to lie there as a sex symbol in her white fur collar.
It is no surprise that Singer killed Emma Frost off ahead of Days of Future Past.
Portrayed by: Vinnie Jones
Appeared in: X-Men: The Last Stand
In terms of muscle, the X-Men franchise got it wrong on two counts - Colossus and Juggernaut. Where Daniel Cudmore’s Colossus narrowly avoids this list due to his lack of speaking time, you can’t help but wish Juggernaut had met the same fate.
The Last Stand reduced him to just another Brotherhood of Mutants henchman, but Vinnie Jones took the part and blindly ran into battle with it. Largely remembered for his “I’m the Juggernaut, b----” line, Cain Marko and his entire history was paved over in favor of a ridiculous helmet and gladiator-esque leather outfit.
Marko of the comics is a complex character, who is actually the step-brother of Charles Xavier. There, he was transformed into an unstoppable force thanks to the Gem of Cyttorak, but alas, again family ties were swapped for brawn over brains. Juggernaut became one giant lug-head, void of any emotional development. Effectively spending the film’s runtime blundering around, smashing through walls, isn’t exactly memorable for the right reasons.
Jones himself would rather forget his time with Fox too; in 2008 he was arrested in South Dakota when a bar patron reportedly mocked his role by using Jones’ signature line - the actor responded with his fists. It could have been worse though, Jones wanted a spin-off and the surviving Juggernaut could’ve appeared in any of the other X-Men movies!
Portrayed by: Aaron Stanford
Appeared in: X2, X-Men: The Last Stand
Trying to preempt Game of Thrones, X-Men had its very own "Song of Ice and Fire" with Bobby Drake and John Allerdyce. However, where Iceman fared OK in terms of the films, Pyro was simply there as one big Zippo Lighter commercial. Though originally one of the good guys, his sociopathic tendencies quickly shone through as one of the least convincing villains of the franchise. His defecting to the Brotherhood of Mutants was all-too-quick and also sealed his fate as the most annoying X-Men character on our screens. With more ham than a backyard BBQ, what cops would really listen to his "You know those dangerous mutants you hear about on television,” speech without shooting this punk kid
His bravado may have worked better if they stuck to his Aussie roots from the comics, but they jarringly changed Allerdyce to just another grungy American teen. The cocky outcast even claimed in The Last Stand that he could’ve killed Xavier if Magneto let him. Good luck, kid - you couldn't even beat the snow cone machine!
Pyro of the comics played a huge part of the Days of Future Past storyline, but given the convoluted timeline, it is no surprise that the character was reduced to just two films. The biggest mistake made was ever putting Pyro on the side of Xavier. As an outright villain, he might've worked, but the faux-hero side just contained a lot of scowls and hissy fits.
Who do you think is the most annoying character in the X-Men films? Sound off in the comments below!