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The most powerful X-Men ranked

The world of the X-Men is one in which super powers don't inspire as much as they threaten, regardless of the users' intentions. The mutants are feared by the world around them, but what exactly is it that people are afraid of? If the paranoid nightmares of every mutant-hater came to fruition and the X-Men turned on humanity, who would be the ones most worthy of human terror?

We've ranked the X-Men from the least to most powerful based solely on what we've seen in the films (since there are many discrepancies between comic books and movies). We're only looking at actual X-Men — mutants in the films who have been, at least at some point, on the side of the angels. There are a few we're skipping because we didn't see enough of them in the films to judge — for example, Yukio from Deadpool 2 or Sunspot and Warpath from X-Men: Days of Future Past — but we've done our best to rank the movie versions of these Marvel mutant heroes.

Caliban

Caliban, played by Tómas Lemarquis in 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse and Stephen Merchant in 2017's Logan, is an example of why we're keeping this just to the movie versions of the X-heroes. The Caliban of the comics began as one of the Morlocks — mutants living in abandoned subway tunnels below New York City — and while his skin color and mutant tracking abilities remain consistent between page and screen, that's about all that stayed the same. He proves to be capable of much more in the comics than simply tracking, even claiming a degree of super strength and for a time being one of Apocalypse's feared Horsemen.

The movie Caliban proves to not be particularly physically formidable, and his mutant tracking ability unfortunately winds up helping the bad guys of Logan. Though short on power, his sacrifice in Logan proves he has heroism and loyalty to spare. 

Angel

In the comics, not only was Warren Worthington III, a.k.a Angel, one of the founding X-Men, but his family's deep pockets had a lot to do with the mutants being able to fund matching uniforms, danger rooms, and space-age aircraft. In the films, unfortunately, he's been largely absent. He appears first in 2006's much-hated X-Men: The Last Stand played by Ben Foster, while Ben Hardy plays a more heavy metal version in Apocalypse

Being able to fly because of giant, angelic wings sprouting from your back would be nothing short of miraculous in the real world, but compared to the rest of the X-Men's abilities it's pretty tame. In the case of a battle with the Brotherhood, Angel could fly someone more useful into the fray. Or just… fly away very quickly. Which would be personally helpful to him, but wouldn't exactly contribute to the larger struggle.  

Of course, the Archangel version in Apocalypse boasted more power, but he was only ever a bad guy and isn't eligible for this particular list.

Beast

The Beast waited until The Last Stand for his big screen debut, when he was played by Kelsey Grammer. After the prequel X-Men: First Class was released and X-Men: Days of Future Past rebooted everything, the younger Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) became a much more consistent presence. 

Whether he's blue and fuzzy or looks more like your average Joe, Beast is strong, fast, and agile, with inherent speed and gymnastic skills. But while none of us would want to get him mad, he'd just bounce off of Colossus and Wolverine's claws could make him a gory blue rug. It's McCoy's brains, not his brawn, that makes him one of the most important X-Men. He couldn't do much to a Sentinel with his fists, but with a computer he could hack into it and make it do the Macarena if he wanted. 

Mystique

While Mystique's (Rebecca Romjin, later Jennifer Lawrence) ability to change her appearance may not be what you picture helping someone win a super-brawl, its power does show in another way. Specifically, it gives her political power. As early as the character's first film appearance in 2000's X-Men, she uses her ability to gain a position of power by disguising herself as the deceased Senator Kelly (Bruce Davison), where she's instrumental in getting the government to back off its hardnosed stance on mutants. She also uses her abilities to infiltrate a covert government facility as a faux William Stryker (Brian Cox), the lab of the Sentinels' inventor Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), and high-level peace negotiations as Vietnamese General Nhuan (Thai-Hoa Le). 

Disguising herself as a senator might not help her dropkick a Sentinel, but it gets Mystique access to another type of power mutants desperately need. 

Angel Salvadore

Played by Zoë Kravitz, Angel Salvadore's only living appearance is in First Class. Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) find her working as a stripper when they recruit her, and when it's time for sides to be chosen, her allegiance lies with the more extreme Magneto. With gossamer wings and saliva she can use as an explosive projectile, Angel isn't close to being one of the most powerful X-Men. However, just considering her potentially deadly spit, she's already got an advantage over the other Angel, who can just fly. 

Regardless, being more powerful than the other Angel doesn't prove powerful enough. When we learn what Bolivar Trask is up to in Days of Future Past, we see photographic evidence of the scientist's unethical experiments, including the cadavers of mutants Trask has experimented upon. Angel is one of Trask's victims, along with a number of other mutants we met in First Class

Banshee

Caleb Landry Jones' relatively short time as Sean Cassidy, a.k.a. the sonic hero Banshee, in First Class is noteworthy for an embarrassing lack of control. The Irishman's sonic blasts might be able to circumvent armor and super-tough skin, but Banshee isn't always great at wielding it. Thankfully, at the end of the film, he finally figures out how to use his sonic powers for flight, and so survives to the end credits. 

Whether it's because of his lack of control or not, Banshee is one of the unfortunate victims of Bolivar Trask's experiments whose deaths are mentioned as little more than a footnote in Days of Future Past. While his comic book counterpart is likewise deceased, the much older hero spent many years in and out of the X-Men, preferring leisure to superheroics but never backing down from an important fight.

Nightcrawler

Played first by Alan Cumming in 2003's X2: X-Men United and later by Kodi Smit-McPhee starting with Apocalypse, Nightcrawler is not someone you're going to have an easy time getting your hands on. The visually impressive opening sequence of X2 features the blue-skinned mutant using his teleportation powers, his acrobatic skill, and his devil-like tail to fight his way through the White House's Secret Service detail and just barely fail at assassinating the president.

Nightcrawler's teleportation abilities aren't without their limits. He needs to be able to know where he's going (he couldn't just, for example, teleport to the other side of a wall if he doesn't know what's there) and teleporting too far or with too many people along for the ride exhausts him quickly. But his powers offer great utility for the team, and make him a tough opponent to lay your hands on.

Negasonic Teenage Warhead

Negasonic Teenage Warhead's (Brianna Hildebrand) powers offer one of the biggest differences between the comics and the movies, so it may be that we haven't seen the full range of her abilities on screen. Regardless of what we've seen in 2016's Deadpool and its sequel, she's already a formidable member of the X-Men. Her powers are largely kinetic, allowing her to shield herself from harm — as she does when Rusty (Julian Dennison) attacks her in Deadpool 2 — or to send other objects or people flying.

Negasonic could be much higher on this list, but she only seems able to use her powers for brief bursts. They're effective, particularly in Deadpool, when twice she wails on Angel Dust (Gina Carano), despite the villain repeatedly humbling the super-strong Colossus (Stefan Kapicic). But just as her patience has its limits with Deadpool (Ryan Reynolds), Negasonic's powers have their limits as well. 

Blink

Blink (Fan Bingbing) is kind of like The Phantom Menace's Darth Maul (Ray Park) — she doesn't say a lot, but she's memorable for being a badass who looks the part. Her powers allow her to open portals that she and/or others can enter to instantly teleport. Unlike Nightcrawler, who must teleport himself when he uses his abilities, Blink can allow others to use her portals, and — as she does multiple times in Days of Future Past — stand in one spot while throwing portals open all around her. From what we see in her single film appearance, she doesn't tire nearly as quickly as Nightcrawler, either. 

Blink's arguably the most useful member of the X-Men in Days of Future Past when it comes to their direct confrontations with the Sentinels. Her portals save the X-Men's hash more than once, and she's one of the last X-Men to survive the final Sentinel assault before the reboot button gets hit.

Bishop

Like Blink, we don't hear a lot from Bishop (Omar Sy) in Days of Future Past, but his actions speak for him. We see enough of his abilities to infer that they function similarly to the comic book version — he absorbs energy and is able to redirect it at his opponents. We see him battling the Sentinels this way, and early in the film he has Sunspot (Adan Canto) blast him to give him a power boost. 

The very nature of Bishop's power makes him a powerful X-Man. How can you hurt someone who can just keep turning your attack back on you? As we eventually learn at the end of Days of Future Past, there is a way to do it — you fill him with so much power he can't contain it. Still, a single vulnerability doesn't make his powers any less impressive, or the mutant any less dangerous an adversary.

Wolverine

Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) has never been the most powerful of the X-Men, and he's never needed to be. Part of the character's very nature is that he can defeat much larger and more powerful opponents through sheer viciousness and tenacity.

But that doesn't mean Logan isn't powerful. Even before his bones were laced with an unbreakable metal, the mutant had deadly claws, a powerful healing factor that not only kept him safe from outward harm but extended his lifespan, and greater physical abilities like his hyper-sensitive sense of smell. If it weren't for the adamantium poisoning that weakens him in Logan, the hero could have potentially had an even longer life. We'll never know for sure, but from what we've seen, he could have possibly lived for centuries, long after the children he saves at the end of Logan have died natural deaths.

Laura, a.k.a. X-23

Laura (Dafne Keen) of Logan proves herself to be at least equal to her father in terms of power and ability, if not superior. You could argue we don't get a fair comparison in Logan because Laura is much younger and isn't suffering from the same adamantium poisoning that's eating away at Logan, but it doesn't take too much imagination once you remember Wolverine's other appearances. 

Laura, a.k.a. X-23, shares Logan's healing power, his adamantium-laced bones, his claws (with slightly different placing), and his viciousness when provoked. Presumably his daughter will have a life as unnaturally long as her father's. In at least one area, she's seen to be superior to Wolverine — while he's a pretty agile guy, he's got nothing on her in that department. If she goes back to school once she gets to Canada, she's going to own the gymnastics team.

Colossus

Colossus is one of the more problematic X-Men in terms of ranking, because we've seen two different versions with two vastly different power levels. To make things easier — with apologies to Daniel Cudmore of the earlier X-Men films — we're going to look at the most recent incarnation, the CGI-rendered Colossus voiced by Stefan Kapičić in Deadpool and its sequel.

Colossus isn't a very good fighter, mainly because he's just too nice of a guy and rarely gets ruthless enough to cut loose. But in terms of sheer might, he's one of the most powerful X-Men. From what we see during his fights with Angel Dust in Deadpool and Juggernaut in Deadpool 2, his strength is somewhere in the range of the MCU's Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and his metal skin makes him near-impossible to kill (which is good, because as bad a fighter as he is, he would've died long ago otherwise).

Iceman

Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) may not be the first X-Man you think of in terms of powerful heroes, but few members of the team have evolved in terms of power, ability, and versatility as much as Bobby Drake. 

We see little of his power in X-Men, but in X2 we see him use his ice powers for defense, as a weapon, and even as a kind of prophylactic film on his lips so he can kiss Rogue (Anna Paquin) without exposing himself to her powers. In The Last Stand duels with Pyro (Aaron Stanford), having learned to form a shield over his entire body. By Days of Future Past, he's zipping around on the ice slides familiar to fans of the comics or the old Spider-Man & His Amazing Friends cartoon. 

Ice might not be the most intimidating thing in the world, but there isn't much Bobby Drake can't do with it.

Darwin

As one of the shortest-lived X-Men — dying at the hands of Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon) in First Class — Darwin (Edi Gathegi) might seem strangely placed so high on this list, but his power is one of the most astounding in the history of the X-Men. It's just that he happens to step up to precisely the wrong dude in First Class.

Darwin's body evolves to whatever threatens him, giving him the ability he needs to survive depending on the situation. If he's underwater, he grows gills. If he's in a dark room and can't see anything, he'll develop night vision. If he's pushed out of a plane, he'll grow wings to fly or glide to safety. 

Clearly his powers have their limits, as they don't allow him to survive Sebastian Shaw's attack in First Class. Still, considering the nature of his powers could potentially give him access to any power, they're among the most versatile we've seen.

Rogue

Like Darwin, Rogue's spot on this list is earned with one word: potential. While she may not be the most powerful mutant, her ability to temporarily take the abilities of other mutants gives her the potential to be as powerful as any of them, at least for a time. Unlike Darwin, she doesn't have to wait for the right situation to arise for an ability to emerge. She just steals it. In X-Men, Rogue was the key to Magneto's (Ian McKellen) plan because her powers allowed her to take the Brotherhood leader's magnetic abilities and power a machine meant to turn the world's leaders into mutants.

A lot of superheroes suffer from their powers getting dialed down when they go from the panels to the big screen. That's not the case with Rogue. While in the comics skin-to-skin contact usually leads to nothing more serious than the victim (or volunteer) falling unconscious for a few minutes, in the films Rogue's touch is so traumatizing it can kill.

Deadpool

Yes, Deadpool was only an X-Men trainee for, like, five minutes. But if he was there long enough to defile the hand soap dispensers, then he was there long enough to make the list. 

It isn't Wade Wilson's martial arts, his sword play, or his mastery of firearms that nudges him so far up this list. Deadpool's healing factor boosts his durability way above that of Darwin (clearly) or even Wolverine (again, clearly). In the opening moments of Deadpool 2, we see Wade survive having his body blown to pieces. We see his detached head blown into the air. If he can survive having his head separated from his neck, that's even more impressive than when Juggernaut "makes a wish" with him later in the film. 

Judging by the movies, there may be nothing that can kill the Merc with a Mouth. Maybe the Disney/Fox acquisition, but that's about it. 

Kitty Pryde

It may be a surprise to see Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) so far up on the list. Kitty Pryde more powerful than Colossus? More powerful than Wolverine? Really?

Yes, really. Still, if it weren't for one of the films' most extreme deviations from the comics, Kitty wouldn't have made it quite so far.

In Days of Future Past, we learn that Kitty has learned to use her phasing powers to send people back in time into the place of younger versions of themselves. It's this new ability that allows her to send Wolverine back to the '70s to undo the events leading to mutants being hunted nearly to extinction. 

Granted, the explanation of how her power to phase evolved so drastically is shaky at best, but regardless, the power is there. So far, no one else in the X-Men's cinematic saga can lay claim to a time travel ability. 

Cyclops & Havok

It would be unfair and just plain wrong to say brothers Havok (Lucas Till) and Cyclops (James Marsden, later Tye Sheridan) are the same guy. But in terms of sheer power, their abilities have so far proven to be similar, which is why they share a space in our list.

Havok's blasts are made of plasma while Cyclops' are concussive, but both are powerful enough that the brothers struggle to control them. Scott's eyes deliver a constant stream of power and just a short, stray blast instantly demolishes the ceiling of a train station in X-Men. The fact that he can kill literally by looking at someone is a huge part of what makes Scott Summers an often overly cautious introvert. Meanwhile, it's Havok's power that Sebastian Shaw absorbs to kill the nearly unkillable Darwin in First Class

Neither brother has a masterful control over his power, but regardless, you do not want to be standing in its path.

Quicksilver

Like Rogue, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) enjoyed a power boost when he was first brought to the big screen in Days of Future Past. In both that film and its follow-up, Apocalypse, Quicksilver has key scenes focusing on his unbelievable speed, moving so fast he's able to change the course of speeding bullets with the tap of his finger. In Apocalypse, during the final battle against the villain, he's the first hero to do so much as lay a hand on the guy.

In 1984's Swamp Thing #24, Alan Moore (a couple of years before he would write Watchmen) wrote of "a man who moves so fast that his life is an endless gallery of statues." Moore was writing about the Flash, but ironically no movie scene has better expressed what Moore was talking about than Quicksilver's time-stopping scenes in the X-Men films.

Storm

If you asked someone which X-Men member they'd least want to make mad, Wolverine would probably be the first to spring to mind. But really, the X-hero you probably want to keep happy? That's Ororo Munroe (Halle Berry, later Alexandra Shipp), a.k.a. Storm.

When Storm first appears in X-Men, we don't quite get to see her cut loose. At her most extreme, she takes out Toad (Ray Park) with a lightning bolt. But in X2, we see exactly what can happen when you get her angry. 

When the X-Men's Blackbird is pursued by U.S. fighter jets, Storm summons multiple tornadoes to deal with the aggressive pilots. The scene is awe-inspiring, appearing as if the Blackbird has wandered into a strange alien world where the landscape is marked with nothing but one tornado after another. Wolverine could disembowel you, sure, but Storm could kill half the people in your state if she wanted to. Do not cut off Storm in traffic. Seriously.

Magneto

There are few adversaries in the X-mythos more dangerous than Magneto (Ian McKellen, later Michael Fassbender). His ability to manipulate metal speaks for itself. He can rip entire structures out of the Earth to lob at you. In The Last Stand, the Master of Magnetism lifts the entire Golden Gate Bridge out of the Earth and manipulates it with no more difficulty than Yoda mind-lifting Luke's X-Wing in The Empire Strikes Back. 

At the same time, he doesn't need huge landmarks to kill you. In X2, when Mystique seduces one of Magneto's prison guards and injects him with a small amount of liquid metal, Magneto extracts the stuff from the guard and — with no more metal than he can use to make three small spheres — escapes from prison and kills all the guards in the process.  

It's enough to make you wonder why the X-Men keep throwing people with metal skin like Colossus or metal-laced bones like Wolverine at the guy. 

Professor X

One common thread among the X-Men is that looks can be deceiving. Those who appear to be helpless are often the most dangerous of all. 

Professor X (Patrick Stewart, later James McAvoy) is not only one of the mightiest X-Men, he's one of the most powerful superheroes ever to appear on a movie screen. In the beginning of X2, when Pyro allows himself to be provoked into using his powers during a museum field trip, Xavier effortlessly freezes every last non-mutant in the museum in place. Later in the film, amplified by Cerebro, his powers come close to killing all non-mutants on Earth. Even in Logan, when the 90-year-old suffers from Alzheimer's Disease, he unintentionally incapacitates the population of Las Vegas with his psychic powers. The most surprising thing about Professor X is that there's anyone left on this list to come after him.

Phoenix

Phoenix (Famke Janssen, later Sophie Turner) is unquestionably the most powerful member of the X-Men. With access to both telepathic and telekinetic abilities, Jean Grey is already one of the most formidable mutant heroes. The Phoenix Force dials those powers well past eleven and gives her new powers besides. In The Last Stand, Phoenix murders Professor X and Cyclops by bloodlessly exploding their bodies. Cyclops' death happens off-screen, but Xavier's body shatters like a glass vase.

Until Dark Phoenix is released, it's difficult to say for sure just how powerful the new version will be. In the comics, she's as close to a god as you get without being from a place like Asgard. Judging by the Dark Phoenix trailer, which shows her surviving in the vacuum of space and easily slapping around the rest of the X-Men — including swatting Magneto away like a bug — we're confident in her spot at the top of this list.