Sir Ian McKellen has defended his roles in 'X-Men' and 'The Lord of the Rings'.

The 76-year-old actor, who reprised his role as the powerful mutant Magneto in 2014's 'X-Men: Days of Future Past' and played the great wizard Gandalf in the 'Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' films, dismissed people who disapproved of him playing the roles, saying the films are ''about something that matters'', as are Shakespeare's plays which are what critics seem to think he should be starring in.

He explained: ''It's all work. We're not slumming it. It's Tolkien, that's all. It strikes me as a bit odd that people seem to think there's something wrong with it. I can write a good defence of the 'X-Men' movies and culture that wouldn't be far from a defence of the plays of Shakespeare. They're all about something that matters.''

The actor also plays the character of Sherlock Holmes in the upcoming movie 'Mr. Holmes', and although he faced criticism for taking on a role which has been played by so many other actors in the past, he insisted on comparing the situation to Shakespeare again.

He said: ''If you do 'Romeo' (and Juliet) or 'Hamlet', you know stacks of actors have done it before, but that doesn't put you off. The idea of playing a part that a lot of other people have played is not alarming.''

Meanwhile, Sir Ian is currently working on a Disney remake of 'Beauty and the Beast' as talking clock, Cogsworth, which is a role he described as ''bliss'' to play.

He told The Sunday Times newspaper: ''Shamelessly populist show! I get to dance and do a bit of singing. Bliss.''