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All James McAvoy Movies Ranked

James McAvoy got his start in British comedies and dramas, working in ensembles like Bright Young Things and TV’s Shameless, while taking the lead early in Starter for 10. His role as hirsute satyr Mr. Tumnus in The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe got him major exposure, and an in with the young crowd. McAvoy started to pick up awards attention while on the peripheral in the Forrest Whitaker-starring The Last King of Scotland, a fitting fate considering the observer character he played in that Idi Amin biopic. The Best Picture-nominated Atonement quickly followed.

But it was his role in the raucous Wanted that proved his breakthrough, and that maybe McAvoy could hack it in action blockbuster world. This led to his most iconic role yet, that of Professor X as the X-Men sidewined into the past with First Class. His matchup against Michael Fassbender’s Magneto remains among the most engaging hero/villain feuds in superhero cinema.

2019 was one of his busier years, appearing in three movies, all sequels wrapping up their franchises: Dark Phoenix, IT Chapter Two, and Glass. With that, we’re ranked all James McAvoy movies by Tomatometer!

#32

Submergence (2017)
22%

#32
Adjusted Score: 23534%
Critics Consensus: A slow-moving misfire, Submergence isn't as deep as it thinks it is -- but still manages to drown its stars in a drama whose admirable ambitions remain almost entirely unfulfilled.
Synopsis: Clinging to life in a cell in Africa, James is brutally interrogated by jihadis. Worlds away, Danielle prepares to descend... [More]
Directed By: Wim Wenders

#31

Dark Phoenix (2019)
22%

#31
Adjusted Score: 45021%
Critics Consensus: Dark Phoenix ends an era of the X-Men franchise by taking a second stab at adapting a classic comics arc -- with deeply disappointing results.
Synopsis: The X-Men face their most formidable and powerful foe when one of their own, Jean Grey, starts to spiral out... [More]
Directed By: Simon Kinberg

#30
#30
Adjusted Score: 31409%
Critics Consensus: A re-imagining without the imagining, Victor Frankenstein plays at providing a fresh perspective on an oft-told tale, but ultimately offers little of interest that viewers haven't already seen in superior Frankenstein films.
Synopsis: While searching for animal body parts at a London circus, radical scientist Victor Frankenstein (James McAvoy) meets gifted surgeon Igor... [More]
Directed By: Paul McGuigan

#29

Sherlock Gnomes (2018)
27%

#29
Adjusted Score: 29305%
Critics Consensus: Sherlock Gnomes is sadly, utterly stumped by the mystery of the reason for its own existence.
Synopsis: When Gnomeo and Juliet first arrive in London with their friends and family, their biggest concern is getting a new... [More]
Directed By: John Stevenson

#28

The Pool (2002)
36%

#28
Adjusted Score: 17765%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: A masked killer slaughters young people having a party at a fancy gymnasium.... [More]
Directed By: Boris von Sychowski

#27

Glass (2019)
36%

#27
Adjusted Score: 61528%
Critics Consensus: Glass displays a few glimmers of M. Night Shyamalan at his twisty world-building best, but ultimately disappoints as the conclusion to the writer-director's long-gestating trilogy.
Synopsis: David Dunn tries to stay one step ahead of the law while delivering vigilante justice on the streets of Philadelphia.... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#26
#26
Adjusted Score: 49507%
Critics Consensus: Welcome to the Punch is a little deeper and more thoughtful than most police dramas -- but not quite enough to surmount its thinly written characters and numbing violence.
Synopsis: When a notorious criminal is forced to return to London, it gives a veteran detective one final chance to bring... [More]
Directed By: Eran Creevy

#25
#25
Adjusted Score: 67931%
Critics Consensus: Overloaded action and a cliched villain take the focus away from otherwise strong performers and resonant themes, making X-Men: Apocalypse a middling chapter of the venerable superhero franchise.
Synopsis: Worshiped as a god since the dawn of civilization, the immortal Apocalypse (Oscar Isaac) becomes the first and most powerful... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#24
#24
Adjusted Score: 50127%
Critics Consensus: The dramatic aspects of Rory O'Shea Was Here veer into mawkish, formulaic sentiment, which undercuts the characters' individuality.
Synopsis: In a Dublin home for the disabled, Michael Connolly (Steven Robertson) leads a glum, introverted existence; his cerebral palsy makes... [More]
Directed By: Damien O'Donnell

#23

Penelope (2006)
53%

#23
Adjusted Score: 57739%
Critics Consensus: Though Penelope has a charming cast and an appealing message, it ultimately suffers from faulty narrative and sloppy direction.
Synopsis: Born with the snout of a pig, young Penelope Wilhern (Christina Ricci) spends life a virtual prisoner in her home.... [More]
Directed By: Mark Palansky

#22

The Conspirator (2010)
56%

#22
Adjusted Score: 61367%
Critics Consensus: The Conspirator is well cast and tells a worthy story, but many viewers will lack the patience for Redford's deliberate, stagebound approach.
Synopsis: Following the assassination of President Lincoln, seven men and one woman are arrested and charged with conspiring to kill Lincoln,... [More]
Directed By: Robert Redford

#21

Gnomeo & Juliet (2011)
55%

#21
Adjusted Score: 59557%
Critics Consensus: While it has moments of inspiration, Gnomeo and Juliet is often too self-referential for its own good.
Synopsis: In Stratford-Upon-Avon, birthplace of William Shakespeare, Miss Capulet and Mr. Montague feud over whose garden is the better. Garden gnomes... [More]
Directed By: Kelly Asbury

#20

Becoming Jane (2007)
58%

#20
Adjusted Score: 62277%
Critics Consensus: Although Becoming Jane is a well-crafted period piece, it lacks fresh insight into the life and works of Jane Austen. The film focuses too much on wardrobe and not enough on Austen's achievements.
Synopsis: Though Jane Austen's (Anne Hathaway) financially strapped parents (James Cromwell, Julie Walters) expect her to marry the nephew of wealthy... [More]
Directed By: Julian Jarrold

#19

Wimbledon (2004)
61%

#19
Adjusted Score: 65033%
Critics Consensus: A predictable, bland rom-com, but Bettany proves to be an appealing lead.
Synopsis: Frustrated at his own failures and disillusioned with professional sports, tennis player Peter Colt (Paul Bettany) resolves to retire from... [More]
Directed By: Richard Loncraine

#18

It: Chapter Two (2019)
62%

#18
Adjusted Score: 85791%
Critics Consensus: It: Chapter Two proves bigger doesn't always mean scarier for horror sequels, but a fine cast and faithful approach to the source material keep this follow-up afloat.
Synopsis: Defeated by members of the Losers' Club, the evil clown Pennywise returns 27 years later to terrorize the town of... [More]
Directed By: Andy Muschietti

#17
#17
Adjusted Score: 68398%
Critics Consensus: Colored with witty performances and a camp sense of satire, Stephen Fry's version of Evelyn Waugh's novel may only be fitfully successful but it does mark a promising debut for the British comic.
Synopsis: During the 1930s in England, a group of young socialites dominate the national gossip with extravagant and outlandish antics. Among... [More]
Directed By: Stephen Fry

#16
Adjusted Score: 68370%
Critics Consensus: Led by strong performances from Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby is a hauntingly original rumination on love and loss.
Synopsis: Following the death of their child, a woman (Jessica Chastain) leaves her husband (James McAvoy) and flees to the suburban... [More]
Directed By: Ned Benson

#15

Filth (2013)
66%

#15
Adjusted Score: 68558%
Critics Consensus: Warped, grimy, and enthusiastically unpleasant, Filth lives up to its title splendidly.
Synopsis: A drug-addled, manipulative misanthrope (James McAvoy) begins to experience increasingly severe hallucinations as he tries to solve the murder of... [More]
Directed By: Jon S. Baird

#14

Trance (2013)
68%

#14
Adjusted Score: 75373%
Critics Consensus: As stylish as ever, director Danny Boyle seems to be treading water with the surprisingly thinly written Trance -- but for fans of Boyle's work, it should still prove a trippily entertaining distraction.
Synopsis: Simon (James McAvoy), a fine-art auctioneer, joins a gang of thieves led by Franck (Vincent Cassel) to steal a priceless... [More]
Directed By: Danny Boyle

#13

Bollywood Queen (2002)
71%

#13
Adjusted Score: 19525%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: Family interference and culture clash threaten the romance between the offspring (Preeya Kalidas, James McAvoy) of rival clothiers in London.... [More]
Directed By: Jeremy Wooding

#12

The Last Station (2009)
71%

#12
Adjusted Score: 76333%
Critics Consensus: Michael Hoffman's script doesn't quite live up to its famous subject, but this Tolstoy biopic benefits from a spellbinding tour de force performance by Helen Mirren.
Synopsis: In 1910, famed novelist Leo Tolstoy (Christopher Plummer) and his wife Sofya (Helen Mirren) vehemently disagree over the rights to... [More]
Directed By: Michael Hoffman

#11

Wanted (2008)
71%

#11
Adjusted Score: 79371%
Critics Consensus: Wanted is stylish, energetic popcorn fare with witty performances from Angelina Jolie (playing an expert assassin), James McAvoy, and Morgan Freeman that help to distract from its absurdly over-the-top plot.
Synopsis: Wesley Gibson (James McAvoy) is an office worker whose life is going nowhere. After his estranged father is murdered, he... [More]
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov

#10
Adjusted Score: 83784%
Critics Consensus: With first-rate special effects and compelling storytelling, this adaptation stays faithful to its source material and will please moviegoers of all ages.
Synopsis: During the World War II bombings of London, four English siblings are sent to a country house where they will... [More]
Directed By: Andrew Adamson

#9

Split (2016)
77%

#9
Adjusted Score: 100205%
Critics Consensus: Split serves as a dramatic tour de force for James McAvoy in multiple roles -- and finds writer-director M. Night Shyamalan returning resoundingly to thrilling form.
Synopsis: Though Kevin (James McAvoy) has evidenced 23 personalities to his trusted psychiatrist, Dr. Fletcher (Betty Buckley), there remains one still... [More]
Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

#8

Atomic Blonde (2017)
79%

#8
Adjusted Score: 105739%
Critics Consensus: Atomic Blonde gets enough mileage out of its stylish action sequences -- and ever-magnetic star -- to make up for a narrative that's somewhat less hard-hitting than its protagonist.
Synopsis: Sensual and savage, Lorraine Broughton is the most elite spy in MI6, an agent who's willing to use all of... [More]
Directed By: David Leitch

#7

Strings (2004)
80%

#7
Adjusted Score: 17870%
Critics Consensus: No consensus yet.
Synopsis: In an alternate puppet world, all marionettes are connected to a higher power by their strings. When one is severed,... [More]

#6

Atonement (2007)
83%

#6
Adjusted Score: 91787%
Critics Consensus: Atonement features strong performances, brilliant cinematography, and a unique score. Featuring deft performances from James MacAvoy and Keira Knightley, it's a successful adaptation of Ian McEwan's novel.
Synopsis: This sweeping English drama, based on the book by Ian McEwan, follows the lives of young lovers Cecilia Tallis (Keira... [More]
Directed By: Joe Wright

#5
#5
Adjusted Score: 96838%
Critics Consensus: With a strong script, stylish direction, and powerful performances from its well-rounded cast, X-Men: First Class is a welcome return to form for the franchise.
Synopsis: In the early 1960s, during the height of the Cold War, a mutant named Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) meets a... [More]
Directed By: Matthew Vaughn

#4
Adjusted Score: 93809%
Critics Consensus: Forest Whitaker's performance as real-life megalomaniac dictator Idi Amin powers this fictionalized political thriller, a blunt and brutal tale about power and corruption.
Synopsis: While in Uganda on a medical mission, Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) becomes the personal physician and close confidante... [More]
Directed By: Kevin Macdonald

#3

Starter for 10 (2006)
90%

#3
Adjusted Score: 92878%
Critics Consensus: Starter For 10 is a spirited coming-of-age tale that remains charming and witty even as it veers into darker teritory. The unique setting of a quiz show makes the film wittier than your average romantic comedy.
Synopsis: Brian Jackson (James McAvoy), a working-class youth from Essex, gets a chance to prove himself when he is accepted to... [More]
Directed By: Tom Vaughan

#2
Adjusted Score: 104507%
Critics Consensus: X-Men: Days of Future Past combines the best elements of the series to produce a satisfyingly fast-paced outing that ranks among the franchise's finest installments.
Synopsis: Convinced that mutants pose a threat to humanity, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) develops the Sentinels, enormous robotic weapons that... [More]
Directed By: Bryan Singer

#1

Arthur Christmas (2011)
92%

#1
Adjusted Score: 98281%
Critics Consensus: Aardman Animations broadens their humor a bit for Arthur Christmas, a clever and earnest holiday film with surprising emotional strength.
Synopsis: Everyone knows that, each Christmas, Santa Claus delivers presents to every last child on Earth. What everyone doesn't know is... [More]
Directed By: Sarah Smith

There isn’t a whole lot to report on home video this week, but we do have Danny Boyle’s latest feature, a surprising coming-of-age film with a terrific Elle Fanning performance, and a message movie wrapped inside a romantic drama. Then we have a number of smaller films that saw very limited theatrical runs and, of course, a couple of new releases from the Criterion Collection. See below for the full list:



Trance

68%

Danny Boyle’s last couple of films have made him something of an Academy darling; 2008’s Slumdog Millionaire took home a total of eight Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, and 2010’s 127 Hours was nominated for another six. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like his latest follow-up, Trance, will quite measure up. James McAvoy stars as art auctioneer Simon, who helps some nefarious types steal an expensive Goya painting and knocks his noggin in the process. Now unable to remember where he hid the painting, he’s placed into hypnotherapy by his criminal pals, which sends his mind reeling. Trance sports a game cast that includes Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson, as well as Boyle’s trademark directorial flourishes, but critics found the script — penned by Boyle himself — a bit more thinly written than they would have liked. At 69% on the Tomatometer, it’s a trippy, stylish psychological thriller that may appeal to Danny Boyle fans the most.



Ginger & Rosa

78%

Elle Fanning has earned acclaim for her performances in movies like Somewhere and Super 8, but Ginger & Rosa may be her breakout film. In this coming-of-age tale set in Cold War era London, Fanning is Ginger, a teenage girl who spends most of her time with her closest friend Rosa (Alice Englert). As the threat of nuclear war looms before the world, Ginger impresses her father with her activist spirit, but begins to grow apart from Rosa, whose blossoming sexuality leads to more grown-up complications. Supporting roles in Ginger & Rosa were rounded out by the likes of Christina Hendricks, Timothy Spall, Oliver Platt, and Annette Bening, but critics agree that the film really belongs to Elle Fanning, who turns in a superb, nuanced performance. Certified Fresh at 80%, Ginger & Rosa is a thoughtful, wonderfully acted drama about adolescence that even mature viewers can appreciate.



Love and Honor

13%

Looking at the poster for Love and Honor, one would be forgiven for thinking its two primary leads were Liam Hemsworth (The Hunger Games) and Teresa Palmer (Warm Bodies). It’s an honest mistake; they just happen to be more marketable currently than Aimee Teegarden and Austin Stowell. It’s 1969, and recently dumped Dalton Joiner (Stowell) is off fighting in Vietnam. When he’s granted leave for some R&R, he uses the opportunity to go AWOL and fly back to the States with a buddy (Hemsworth) and win back his girl (Teegarden), who’s changed her name and joined the anti-war movement with a new friend of her own (Palmer). Love and Honor has some big ideas on its mind — more than its Nicholas Sparks-esque premise might imply — but critics say its young, beautiful cast has trouble communicating those ideas with any genuine authority. At a mere 13% on the Tomatometer, Love and Honor is a lightweight romance with unconvincing political undertones, set in an overly artificial semblance of the real world.

Also available this week:

  • Graceland (85%), a thriller from the Philippines about a corrupt politician’s limo driver who is ambushed while driving both his and his boss’s daughter home, leading both families down dark paths.
  • South Korean auteur Kim Ki-duk’s Pieta (81%), about a ruthless loan shark enforcer who’s visited by a mysterious woman claiming to be his long lost mother.
  • Kiss of the Damned (63%), a horror thriller about a vampire who falls in love with a screenwriter, thereby endangering her undead community.
  • Welcome to the Punch (50%), starring James McAvoy and Mark Strong in a crime thriller about a detective and the former criminal he’s chased for years getting mixed up together in a larger conspiracy.
  • Vehicle 19 (25%), starring Paul Walker in an action flick about a parolee who mistakenly rents a car with an anti-corruption witness tied up in the trunk.
  • And lastly, the Criterion Collection has another couple of notable releases: Danish director Gabriel Axel’s Oscar-winning Babette’s Feast (95%) is newly available on DVD and Blu-ray, while Ang Lee’s acclaimed adaptation The Ice Storm gets a Blu-ray.

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