5. “X2: X-Men United” (2003)
Three years after “X-Men,” director Bryan Singer bestows unto us “X2: X-Men United,” a tour-de-force that improves on the first movie in every way. When Colonel Stryker wants to wipe out the entire mutant race—the guy has some complicated father-son issues—the mutants band together to fight back. Along the way, Wolverine, Mystique and their gifted friends are given depth and pathos on their journey of self-discovery. The film is a statement on the burden of super-heroism and the social consequences of growing up in a world where you don’t belong. “X2” is a perfect superhero film, with no shortage of unforgettable characters, stunts and mutant-on-mutant romance. And the claws-vs.-claws fight scene between Wolverine and Lady Deathstrike took three weeks to film. Worth every minute.
Best Scene: The opener, in which Nightcrawler goes on a White House ass-whooping rampage. It’s the best opening scene in a comic book movie, claws down. Also, shout-out to the equally-enjoyable “X-Men: First Class.” Both are must-see films.