James McAvoy Criticizes X-Men Movies

James McAvoy is not happy that his X-Men films didn't fully explore the complicated relationship between Charles Xavier and Magneto.

By Vic Medina | Published

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James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X

Actor James McAvoy is voicing his disappointment in a new GQ interview over how the X-Men movies he appeared in failed to take full advantage of the relationship between his character of Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto. McAvoy, who appeared in four X-Men films, felt it was the films’ best character dynamic, and yet it wasn’t explored nearly enough during his four turns playing Professor X.

“My biggest criticism,” he says of his X-Men films, was “after the first movie, we didn’t take advantage of the relationship” between Professor X and Fassbender’s Magneto, “which really formed the backbone of the first film. So it was like, why did we just eject that massive weapon?”

After 2011’s X-Men: First Class, fans felt Fox had successfully rebooted the franchise, even without Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. However, Fox reached back to the highly successful X-Men trilogy that started with 2000’s X-Men, bringing back actors from that series for the time-traveling sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past in 2014. With so many actors in the mix, including the return of Patrick Stewart as Professor X and Ian McKellen as Magneto, the McAvoy/Fassbender dynamic was pushed to the side.

The series devolved into a CGI action fest in 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse, which featured Oscar Isaac as the villain and Fassbender’s Magneto relegated to a supporting character. The final film in the series, 2019’s Dark Phoenix was a critical and box office bomb, leaving the series all but dead.

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James McAvoy in X-Men: Days of Future Past

He appeared in a brief cameo in Deadpool 2, but it seemed his Professor X days were behind him, until the Multiverse came calling. James McAvoy had to deny vehemently that he was returning to the role of Chrles Xavier by appearing in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, after being pestered by fans about it for months, and has since stated that he was done playing the X-Men leader.

Rumors have also abounded that Marvel has approached him to possibly play Darkhawk, an armored superhero that was introduced in the Marvel Comics in the 1990s.

Despite his regrets, James McAvoy looks back fondly on his time in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. “It was one of the most positive experiences I’ve had with a studio,” he said. “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.”

While he voices his desire to move on, he still plays coy about his possible future in Marvel films, especially when the Multiverse Saga provides so many opportunities without having to commit to an entire film franchise again. He claims he has not been contacted by Marvel Studios head Kevin Feige about reprising his role in any future Marvel film, but he also states “If I did, I would definitely not be telling you.”

In addition to his X-Men films, James McAvoy has had a stellar career, with a healthy mix of critical hits and blockbusters, including the Oscar-winning Atonement in 2007 and The Last King of Scotland. He also appeared in M Night Shyamalan’s hits Split and Glass, turning in fantastic performances in each. He recently appeared in It Chapter 2 and the HBO series His Dark Materials.