Renegade Cinema Staff Picks: Best X-Men Characters

X-Men: Days of Future PastPhoto: Alan Markfield
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The Best X-Men Characters

 

best X-Men

Rogue

James Cochrane: Mutants being an allegory of racism, Rogue is also dealt an even deeper blow because her powers insist she not physically interact with other Super Heroes. Contact with another human being would cause her to absorb, and sometimes remove memories and Super Powers from them means that not only is she singled out as being a mutie, she also can’t have any contact within the mutants themselves. What a sad existence she has had. Never allowed to touch another being else she might hurt them or worse. A tragic figure amidst an already tragic story.

 

best X-Men

Wolverine

Aidan Green: I’m not going to say Wolverine, because everyone does, but… Wolverine.

Aside from Batman and Spider-Man, I’d say Wolverine is one of the few perfect comic book characters ever created. Such a strange mixture of disparate elements to create one of history’s most brutally compelling fictional literary characters – he’s tough, but not invincible, hard but not impenetrable, and lives in the present but has one hell of a past. And it’s one hell of an origin story. Wolverine is and has always been my favorite part of X-Men-related content, because, I mean, come on – he’s the best there is at what he does. But what he does ain’t pretty.

Derek Ciapala: Wolverine. I’ve always been a fighter, and his no-nonsense style has always fit me well.

 

best X-Men

Mystique

Ruby Le Rouge: I will have to say Mystique. Not just because she’s badass (though she is), but because I can relate. As a child she was bullied and made fun of for what she looked like and what she was, making her want to be anyone else. Making her feel like she couldn’t just be herself. She’s a fantastic symbol of society’s need to force conformity,and teach us that to survive, you need to turn yourself into whoever those around you want the most. She became the ultimate chameleon. I was never very good at fitting in, I’m still not, but I can remember reading X-Men and wishing I could be like her.

 

best X-Men

Magneto

Caliber Winfield: Oh, in my heart it’s Wolverine, because he’s a small guy who isn’t stopped by anything [except my boy Frank Castle], doesn’t take an ounce of bullshit or give it, and he’s really hairy, something I relate to. But everyone will probably choose that, so for the sake of mixing things up…

Magneto in his 20’s & 30’s – I love X-Men First Class, and the part I can watch over and over and over again is when Magneto is dispatching Nazi. He’s so cool & suave, but at the same time absolutely brimming with rage. Plus, who doesn’t love watching Nazis get their fillings ripped out and killed by their own weapons? I want a Magneto solo film where all he does is hunt them down. As he gets older, I always argue with myself on who I’d agree with, Magneto or Professor X. I can’t help but be a misanthrope. I see what we do to each other, and what we do to those we deem “out of the ordinary”, and it sickens me. I could easily see one event causing me to completely lose my shit and want to wipe out everyone deemed “normal”, just like him. Of course, his one event was the mass genocide attempt of his people, so clearly he has a reason to feel the way he does.

Caleb Masters: X-men is such a rich universe with so many characters to love for so many different reasons. Wolverine, Bishop, Nightcrawler,Cable, Beast; the list goes on and on. They’re all really great, but my favorite has to none other than the master of magnetism himself, Magneto!

Magneto is undoubtably the most layered and complex character in the X-universe thanks to his dark past with the nature of humanity, his drive to protect those he loves, and his endlessly fascinating dynamic with his philosophical counterpart Professor X. He’s a genius with the power to lead the world to greatness and decides that peace would only be a temporary answer to the inevitable end of man kind. He doesn’t see himself as a murder, but just believes that mutants are ahead of the curb. His radical ideas and zealous approach would normally drive me insane, but in his case I completely sympathize and could almost defend his truly horrific methods to further the mutant cause. He’s one of the best villains of all time and easily one of the most well written characters in comics.

Shawn S. Lealos: There is something amazing about the character of Magneto. While most villains are thieves, murderers or other similar bad guys, Magneto is actually a very complex character. He is the perfect villain because, in his mind, he is the hero of his story. He was in the concentration camps and saw how humans treated those they deemed different. He knows that humans will never accept mutants as their equal – and he is right. While Charles is always looking for the way to convince the humans that they are equals, Magneto knows that many, if not most, will never accept that. Charles preaches peace and co-existence while Magneto preaches survival. Honestly, most of the time, Magneto has been proven right.

 

best X-Men

Cyclops

Derek Johns: Cyclops is quite possibly the most under appreciated X-Man there is. His job as leader of the X-Men may not be as glamorous as being Wolverine but that doesn’t mean he isn’t important. His teammates may not always agree with his decisions but they at the end of the day they still respect him and his leadership and I believe the team wouldn’t work nearly as well without him. As a matter of fact, for all of X-Men 3’s faults (of which there are many), the part I found to be the most unforgivable wasn’t just they killed him off but wasn’t even given the dignity of an on-screen death. In spite of all that however, Cyclops is still a fantastic and underrated character.

 

best X-Men

Gambit

Tony Beaulieu: Probably Gambit because he was my favorite from the cartoon series when I was a kid. The first series, none of that Evolution crap where he was a bad guy. I think I always just thought he looked cool. There’s something about headbands. He just has a really unique style that’s not defined by his powers, which I appreciate. Not something you see often in comics, especially the X universe. Like he infuses things with kinetic energy but has this unique New Oreans-inspired personality, complete with accent. So most people usually thing of the cards when they think of Gambit, not that his power is generating kinetic energy. Does that make sense?

John “D-Rock” Dotson: Gambit all the way! He still remains my favorite character and I’m pissed he hasn’t received the proper big screen treatment as of yet. Given the right actor, this exploding card throwing son-of-a-gun could be the most charismatic presence to the franchise. Yes, I’m even including Wolverine in this statement. Gambit has that New Orleans kick, as well as the sarcastic demeanor that I can relate to so much. His powers are quite unconventional and make for a mutant unlike any other. This guy can’t fly, turn invisible, or teleport. However, he can make sh*t blow up with his fingers. That’s a true New Orleans gangsta right here.

P.S. Good luck Channing Tatum!

best X-Men

Professor Xavier

Bethany Lewis: I’d have to say Professor Xavier, admittedly partly because I can’t resist anything Patrick Stewart does. But also because he’s a scientist who knows exactly what makes him and all the other mutants the way they are. He uses this knowledge, along with logic and diplomacy, to create alliances with the regular humans in order to forge a better future for everyone, human and mutant alike. And when this sometimes fails, he has awesome power that he wields with intelligence and restraint to protect those around him. He’s a teacher, not only of the responsible use of one’s power, but of everyday things that his mutant pupils would otherwise miss out on – things like literature, art, history, science, and math. He knows that these things matter for everyone, and that ultimately, knowledge is power.

 

best X-Men

Nightcrawler

Jesse Blume: I choose NIGHTCRAWLER as my favorite mutant. Like his mother Mystique, his mutations could very well be considered a curse. His skin is blue, his eyes are yellow, his teeth sport fangs, and the tail he was born with is forked. It would be easy to mistake him as a demon. But that’s how Kurt Wagner sees himself. Perhaps ironically, Kurt is a devout Catholic and one of the most loving and compassionate people you will ever meet. Instead of brooding over how people could and probably do see him, he approaches life with open arms and a smile on his face. He considers himself more of a dashing swashbuckler like Errol Flynn in lieu of some demon, and he is a fun-loving prankster as well. Professor Xavier himself said that Kurt was the student he taught the least, and learned the most from. His best friend, Wolverine, said that Kurt was the only person who always treated him like a man, and not some feral beast.

He may look like a demon, but he always chooses to fight on the side of the angels.

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About the Author

John "D-Rock" Dotson
is a film critic and film-maker from Dallas, Texas. He attended Midwestern State University where he received a Bachelor's in Business Administration in the field of Marketing. He's a huge lover of all things cinema... except The Last Airbender. Follow him on Twitter @DRockDot
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