Superhero blockbuster X-Men: Apocalypse arrived in theaters Friday, bringing back a legion of favorite characters for another installment in the battle between good and evil. The extraordinary powers these heroes use in their fight to save the world are certainly impressive. But in the real world of dollars and cents, I wondered if their larger-than-life abilities would prove nearly as useful.
In order to rank these superheroes, I compared the financial upside that each of their fictional powers could give them in our world—from the amount that Wolverine would save on medical bills due to his ability to heal himself to the stock market profits Psylocke could gain through her telepathic powers. Unfortunately for many of these powerful heroes, it turns out that some fictional abilities don't transfer as well to modern capitalist society.
Here is Money's ranking of X-Men superheroes by the monetary gain their powers would lend them:
Sadly, Cyclops' unique ability to deliver "optic blasts" that shatter metals and rocks doesn't have a ton of real-world value. If he could somehow harness that energy to cut down on utilities bills, this superhero might find himself in better financial straits.
While Storm's ability to control the weather is undeniably cool, there isn't a slew of financial upside that comes with her ability, unless you're trying to salvage a beach vacation that got rained out.
Phoenix has budding telepathic and telekinetic abilities, which could prove helpful in manipulating the stock market or simply causing money to fly to her. But she's unfamiliar with how to use her new powers, at times even fearing them. Perhaps with more experience, this young superhero might see the real-world value of her abilities amplified.
The ability to teleport helps Nightcrawler cut down on travel costs, from vacationing to public transportation. The catch? He can't travel very far: His upper limit is about 50 miles away. Still, his power could help him escape undesirable social situations at will, a skill that could have infinite upside.
This superhero's abilities to control magnetic fields would be more impressive if gold were susceptible to that particular physical property. As it stands, however, Magneto has to settle for the ability to send millions of nickels, dimes and quarters flying in his direction—which, if he's extremely diligent about his coin collecting, could help him build a sizable nest egg.
Being a female with the ability to change her appearance at will is undeniably an enviable skill. With the ability to shift the formation of her cells, Mystique is able to make herself seem as young as she wants. Her talents likely eliminate visits to the plastic surgeon, potentially saving herself tens of thousands of dollars as she begins to age.
This formidable superhero has the ability to create and send out globs of energy called "fireworks," and also reabsorb them back into her own body—which could mean big savings on her electricity bills. She's also used tech devices that have given her skills like flight and invulnerability, which could help her slash transportation and medical expenses.
Beast possesses superhuman physical abilities like strength and endurance, meaning that his fit lifestyle will probably keep him away from the doctor longer than the average human. He's also able to multi-task with ease, making him the ideal employee who's better leveraged to ask for a raise. And his ability to secrete pheromones that attract the opposite gender likely has a positive effect on his mental health and well-being.
With her ability to read minds, Psylocke has the makings of a strong investor (If only she could time travel as well!). In the event that her telepathic abilities fail her, she also possesses telekinetic abilities, meaning that she could basically summon money whenever she pleases—an enviable skill.
While we mortals pinch pennies for the luxury of vacationing in far-flung destinations, Archangel's fully-feathered, 16-foot wings allow him to jet set whenever he pleases. His flying abilities allow him to reach heights of 10,000 feet and speeds of 150 miles per hour. Think of all the airfare (and hours waiting in TSA security lines) he's saving with that superpower. And with the ability to carry up to 200 pounds on his back while in flight, Archangel can also bring a plus-one along on his travels.
Who needs the Affordable Care Act if you have the ability to heal from almost any wound with practiced ease? Wolverine's medical regeneration properties help him save thousands each year on health insurance, co-pays for doctor's visits and unexpected hospital visits.
Quicksilver has the ability to think and move at superhuman speeds, allowing him to make and act on investing decisions faster than the rest of the players in the stock market. He also has a speedy metabolism and is able to heal faster than the average human, which could help prevent some diseases and eliminate medical bills in the event of injury.
It turns out that evil wins our fictional ranking. Apocalypse's total control over the molecular form of his body make him a formidable opponent for traditional economics. It's hard to imagine that the super villain spends any money on his health, as he's able to regenerate himself from fatal injuries and adapt his body to combat any disease. He's also saving on transportation costs, since he's able to turn his limbs into wings or jets. On top of that, Apocalypse's telepathic powers could allow him to build an impressive portfolio if he knew the right investors on which to employ his mind-reading abilities.