Given Marvel Studio’s success with the Avengers and their Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), movie studios have been eager to make universes themselves. Sony has their idiotic Spider-Man plan (the Sinister Six movie that no one ever wanted!), Warner Bros has their dark and brooding DC Universe, and Fox has the X-Men and Fantastic Four, which go together like chocolate and fish.
Okay, the two franchises are both Marvel comics, and have teamed up together, but they don’t really make sense sharing a universe. The Fantastic Four belong with Marvel. X-Men can not only survive on its own, but it’s more interesting on its own. It’s tough to figure out why the world hates mutants, but is absolutely cool with other super-powered beings. Mutantkind dealing with humans that hate and fear them is the heart of the story.
The X-universe is also large enough for interconnectedness and all those buzz words that studios are throwing around in the wake of Marvel’s big screen success. Of course, just because you can make a ton of movies from the X-universe doesn’t mean that you should make a ton of movies from the X-universe.
Let’s break down what we’ve gotten so far:
It’s a solid origin story that put comic book based movies on the map. X-Men is just okay, but that’s all it really needed to be. The plot is wonky, with Magneto’s mutant machine and Senator Kelly turning into the great Puddle Man. The whole thing 104 minute affair feels more like a pilot episode to a TV series than a movie. But, it managed to get Professor Xavier, Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, and Rogue all on screen together.
X2: X-Men United
The best X movie to date hate the worst title, clearly made by a studio muckity muck. It’s a solid story, based on the graphic novel God Loves, Man Kills. The Wolverine mansion invasion defense and the White House scene that opens the film are outstanding action set pieces. Alan Cumming brings real heart to Nightcrawler. Ian McKellan’s Magneto is never better. Cyclops has never done less. Brian Cox is great as William Stryker (too great as the franchise still can’t let him go for some reason).
X-Men: The Last Stand
Bryan Singer left production of the third X-Men movie to direct his dream snorer in Superman Returns. Matthew Vaughn was set to direct this, until he dropped out at the last moment, dooming us all to Brett Ratner. The movie couldn’t decide on a story and is a muddled mess. They managed to royally screw up Dark Phoenix and Joss Whedon’s Cure storyline in one fell swoop. The one redeeming factor? Kelsey Grammer is a great Beast, even if the effects used to create the character weren’t so great.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Another terrible studio dictated title, and another mess of a movie. It’s an awkward prequel with bizarre character choices. Ryan Reynolds gets 5 minutes as Deadpool. Keamy from Lost plays the Blob. Hey, it’s that guy from the Black Eyed Peas with a funny hat on. Even a decent performance from Liev Schreiber as Sabretooth couldn’t save this turd.
X-Men: First Class
First Class was an interesting attempt at rebooting the franchise without rebooting it. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are great together as Charles Xavier and Magneto. The historical aspect of the film really works well. It has a lot more fun than a lot of the other X movies, and a lot of that is due to Matthew Vaughn’s direction. It’s a shame he didn’t stick around for Days of Future Past.
The Wolverine was frustratingly close to being a rock solid movie. Wolverine taking on an entire legion of Yakuza was great and really stayed with the spirit of Chris Claremont and Frank Miller’s fantastic miniseries. Then the ending hit. A Silver Samurai robot with a super heated adamantium blade. Whatever the hell was going on with Viper. Blecch.
Days of Future Past
Opening this weekend, DOFP has the chance to be the best X film yet. Combining the casts of First Class and Singer’s movies is a risky proposition, but it’s really exciting. Days of Future Past is one of the best X-Men comics storylines. It’s a shame that they need to shoehorn Wolverine into every movie and he’s taking Kitty Pryde’s time traveling role in this, but them’s the breaks. The early feedback is pretty positive. I’ll have a review up next week.
News spread around the internet that Channing Tatum will be playing Gambit at some point in the future. With a name like Tatum’s involved, it’s presumably going to be in a starring role, possibly in a Gambit solo movie. This is an awful idea. Gambit is an absurd character with few (if any) good solo storylines. The man throws explosive playing cards at people! Look at this!
Bryan Singer is supposedly coming back to direct X-Men: Apocalypse, which will pick up where DOFP leaves off. Rumors are already starting to spread about the movie. The villain will obviously be Apocalypse, who I’ve always found more interesting as a concept than an actual villain. There’s talk of it taking place in the 80s and possibly involving a young Cyclops, Storm, and Jean Grey. My one request? MOHAWK STORM. It’s an 80s movie, leather vest and mohawk Storm is 100% necessary. Seriously, it’s the best.
Remember 90s comic books? With all the pouches and excess explosions and squinty, constipated heroes? Yeah, that’s X-Force. There are rumors about an X-Force movie happening at some point, but I’m not sure how it couple actually be good unless it’s like the X-universe Expendables. Maybe go make that great X-Factor noir movie instead. Please?
Does it need to be made? Absolutely not. But, there’s supposedly a third Wolverine solo flick in the works, and it will probably be Hugh Jackman’s last time around with the claws. What could they do with a third Wolverine movie that they haven’t already covered? Perhaps he’ll fight Stryker’s great great grandson in the year 2099. Whatever the plot is, I’m sure the director will come out and vow that this movie will be different and all that nonsense. I just want to see Wolverine chop things up and heal from crazy wounds.