James McAvoy explains where the X-Men movies went wrong

In a new interview, James McAvoy is keen to emphasize that he did enjoy making the X-Men movies, but thinks they should have stayed focused on Charles and Erik.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in X-Men

The X-Men movies have certainly been a mixed bag, to put it mildly, since the first one was released in 2000. But most people are generally agreed that First Class (2011) and Days of Future Past (2014) are two of the best in the whole franchise. And James McAvoy, who played a younger version of Charles Xavier in these two films, would agree.

The first X-Men trilogy was released between 2000-2006 starring Patrick Stewart as Charles Xavier and Ian McKellen as Magneto. Then in 2011, the prequel films began – with McAvoy as a younger version of Stewart, and Michael Fassbender as a young Erik Lensherr AKA Magneto.

In a new interview with GQ, McAvoy was keen to emphasize that he did enjoy making the X-Men films; “It was one of the most positive experiences I’ve had with a studio. I don’t really [see them as just] money gigs. Days of Future Past I think is one of the better films that I’ve been involved in.” It seems unlikely that he will play a future part in the X-Men now that they’ve been folded into the MCU, however.

He does have one note on the X-Men movies that he did make. “My biggest criticism of what we did throughout the four movies was that after the first movie, we didn’t take advantage of the relationship between [Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto], which really formed the backbone of the first film. So it was like, why did we just eject that massive weapon?”

McAvoy and Fassbender had amazing chemistry in their X-Men movies, and made the characters of Professor X and Magneto complicated, nuanced, and sympathetic. While Charles Xavier is traditionally seen as a hero, and Magneto a villain – both characters had lighter and darker sides to them, making things less black and white.

Now that the X-Men, Deadpool (including Hugh Jackman’s Logan), and the Fantastic Four are all potentially in the MCU – and in a world of multiple timelines and multiverses – things have the potential to get even more complicated.

While we wait to find out how it all pans out, check out our guide to the best superhero movies.