Both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy have brought Professor X to life on the big screen, but which of the movies is ranked the highest by critics?
Charles Xavier, simply known in Marvel’s superhero world as ‘Professor X’, has to be one of the most beloved comic book characters of all time so it’s good that he’s had not just one but two great actors to portray him on the big screen.
Both Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy have impressed fans and critics alike with their performances as Professor X but that doesn’t mean that every movie that they’ve appeared in has been a hit. Here are all of the live-action movies that the character has appeared in, ranked by their scores on review aggregate site Metacritic.
11 X-Men Origins: Wolverine (40)
Professor X only appears very briefly at the end of the first solo Wolverine movie but, like many things from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, it stands out for all the wrong reasons.
Patrick Stewart’s Xavier returns in a slightly less than convincing de-aged form but the generally bad effects are part of what makes the movie somewhat of a so-bad-it’s-good favorite.
10 Dark Phoenix (43)
The most recent X-Men movie brought a somewhat unceremonious close to the second younger era of the superteam as the movie property was set to reshaped by Marvel Studios.
McAvoy, like many of the recurring cast, was at his weakest in the movie as a faltering Professor X and its unsatisfying payoff was reflected in the movie’s horrendous box office performance.
9 X-Men: Apocalypse (52)
The third movie of the younger X-Men timeline wasn’t received a whole lot better than Apocalypse and, while still not as resounding a flop at the box office as Dark Phoenix was, it was not a big hit for the franchise.
McAvoy returned as Professor X and finally makes his transformation into the baldheaded look that we all know and love but it became clear for many fans and critics that the mainline X-Men movies had little to no new tricks left.
8 X-Men: The Last Stand (58)
Though it fared better with critics than a number of movies that followed it, the third X-Men is often touted by fans as being the most hated in the franchise by quite a wide margin.
Part of this is due to how it handles the main characters and Professor X is just one of many who receives an abrupt cut off from the story, leading to an increasingly shrinking overburdened cast of main characters who can’t quite deliver enough impact on their own.
7 The Wolverine (63)
The second solo outing of Hugh Jackman’s titular hero, The Wolverine took the action to Japan for a post-Last Stand story filled with noir and Western genre elements that would be utilized to much greater effect in director James Mangold‘s follow-up, Logan.
Stewart’s Professor X only appears briefly in a surprise post-credits scene to set up the next X-Men movie but it was a welcome return for fans after the character’s disappointingly minor role in The Last Stand.
6 X-Men (64)
The first X-Men movie, though rarely given the credit for it, actually began the modern craze of superhero movies, with Sam Raimi‘s first Spider-Man movie following promptly and the rest, as they say, being history.
Patrick Stewart immediately stood out as one of the best casting choices of not only the movie but of the genre so far and his tête-à-têtes with Ian McKellen‘s Magneto proved that the two were a match made in movie heaven.
5 X-Men: First Class (65)
Just over a decade after the X-Men debuted on the big screen, a new team of actors reinvigorated interest in the franchise with younger versions of some of the main characters from the original movies.
Their first adventure, set during the height of the Cold War in the early 1960s, saw James McAvoy‘s take on Professor X create the foundations of his superteam and critics showed a similar level of enthusiasm to what was shown for the original movie.
4 Deadpool 2 (66)
The second solo movie of the popular Marvel jokester, Deadpool, was a similarly big success compared to the first movie and strengthened the character’s bonds to the X-Men universe.
McAvoy’s Professor X only appears very briefly for a gag cameo along with most of the new cast of X-Men actors and it mostly acts as a little teaser for the then-upcoming Dark Phoenix.
3 X2: X-Men United (68)
Though not the highest-rated X-Men movie among critics, X2: X-Men United is often touted as the best of the franchise by fans thanks to its pacy storytelling and character development.
Stewart’s Professor X gets separated from his students this time around and it forces the titular superteam to team up with old enemies for a high-stakes rescue mission.
2 X-Men: Days Of Future Past (75)
A return to the crowd-pleasing form seen in X-Men United, Days of Future Past was the second movie featuring the new cast of X-Men actors and used a classic time travel story to combine both halves of the timeline, allowing both McAvoy and Stewart to share the screen as Professor X.
Though the mainline X-Men movies would never achieve its level of success again, it kept the franchise alive for many more years and enabled successful spin-offs to emerge later.
1 Logan (77)
As Hugh Jackman brought his epic 17-year run as the hero Wolverine to a close with his third solo movie as the character, so too did Patrick Stewart deliver a final performance as Charles Xavier.
A gritty and emotional Neo-Western movie, Logan was not only quite a change of space for the X-Men franchise but quite a change of pace for the superhero genre in general, earning it an uncommon Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay.
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