I love the X-Men, I mean I really fucking love the X-Men. You know who my favourite member is? Gambit. Gambit’s so fucking cool, he throws cards at people and the cards explode! You know who else I like? Fucking Nightcrawler! Seriously Kurt Wagner is one of the coolest comic characters ever, I mean he’s blue, he looks like a demon and he can teleport! Cyclops was always one of my favourites; the leader of the X-Men, shooting laser beams from his eyes and shit. Don’t even get me started on characters like Jean Grey, Emma Frost, Rogue, Storm, Magik, Colossus, Sabretooth, X-23, Wolverine, Magneto, Polaris, Blink, Psylocke, Angel, Archangel, Mr Sinister, Havok, Iceman, Jubilee, Dazzler, Apocalypse, Juggernaut and Professor Xavier. The list is endless when it comes to X-Men and X-Men related characters, and me liking them.
Not just the characters, but some of my favourite all time stories are X-Men stories; God Loves, Man Kills? Check. Age of Apocalypse? Check. Onslaught, Avengers vs. X-Men, Messiah CompleX, Age of X, E is for Extinction, House of M, Mutopia X, Decimation, etc. The X-Men have always been one of the best parts of being a Marvel Comics fan.
You know what I can’t stand? The movies. Before you come for me in my sleep, let me explain; The X-Men movies aren’t bad movies (some of them are, e.g. Last Stand, Wolverine: Origins) but they’re certainly bad X-Men movies. Answer this question for me, who is the main character in the X-Men movies? If you said Wolverine you’d be right, the problem is that in the comics the X-Men doesn’t have a main character, they’re an ensemble cast and if they did have a main character it sure as hell wouldn’t be Wolverine (No really, he’s never been the leader of the X-Men, with a single exception when Professor X died and Cyclops became a terrorist).
Don’t get me wrong though, my main issue isn’t that the films aren’t very good adaptations of the books, I mean that is an issue, but not my main gripe. The big issue is the treatment of the characters; Magneto, Professor X and Wolverine are the only people across a film series that spans nine entries who actually get any character development. This is a problem because it means everyone outside of those three get reduced to being special effects sequences with no actual motivation behind their activity. Check this out; Colossus, you know the big guy turns his body into organic steel, has one line in X-Men 3. One fucking line. The reality is that Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner have no interest in making the X-Men into three dimensional characters they just want to use them as special effects, if you need an example check out how many random mutants can do Nightcrawler’s teleport trick in the films.
Of course, there’s always an exception and in this particular instance it’s X-Men: First Class. See First Class didn’t have Bryan Singer involved, Matthew Vaughn directed with a four person writing team. First Class had Professor X play the role he should play; supporting father figure. Characters like Banshee, Havok and Emma Frost actually got their own individual story arcs. Which is why it was such a shame to see all of this undone in Days of Future Past, with Bryan Singer killing off all of these characters, off-screen I might add, so he could replace them with Hugh Jackman. It wasn’t just insulting to Matthew Vaughn who managed to salvage the entire series without a direct reboot, it was insulting to the fans.
So now we’re nearing X-Men: Apocalypse, a film where once again Bryan Singer is attached to direct, for the life of me I can’t figure out why Singer keeps getting the job; sure the X-Men films make decent money but they don’t come anywhere near the revenue of Marvel’s films, Singer has shown over time he’s terrible with this genre, remember Superman Returns? Singer, much like Tim Burton is one of those directors who talks down to the audience, the kind of director who is so in love with themselves that they refuse to believe the guys writing the comics understood what people wanted to see more than they did. I do hope that someone has managed to curb Singer’s terrible ideas this time so that I actually get a decent film for my $25, if not then I can only pray as Marvel Studios pulls a Spider-Man and regains control of these beloved characters and saves them from a studio of assclowns.
The Bright Side:
So far this has seemed like a pretty negative rant but I do have a glimmer of hope for all concerned; Hugh Jackman isn’t in this one. In every previous X-Men film where Singer was involved, Hugh Jackman was on the casting list, this time he isn’t and I can only hope that turns out to be a good thing. Without Jackman to rely on, Singer’s going to actually have to work to create a solid film, will he do it? We’ll find out on May 19th, but I hope that secretly Singer actually is a competent director and his overreliance on Jackman came from the studio instead. The other positive aspect of this is that if the movie does fail, 1.) Oscar Isaac will still be able to continue his upward climb as Poe Dameron in Star Wars, 2.) Marvel Studios will likely end up with X-Men which means I could finally see the X-Men fight the Avengers on screen and 3.) It’ll potentially keep Jennifer Lawrence out of this genre forever which can only be a good thing seeing as her refusal to put on the Mystique make up is why she spent 90% of the last film looking like Jennifer Lawrence and not the blue-skinned Mystique.
I know I seem like a downer on this one, but even the depiction of Apocalypse in the trailers has been fairly wrong; Apocalypse has never been able to control other mutant’s abilities. He would literally be unstoppable if that were the case. He is incredibly powerful and has alien technology to back him up, but the movie version looks as though he’d be able to throw down with Thanos or The Hulk and he just straight up would get fucking wrecked if he tried it. Fingers crossed the film is passable, fingers double crossed that Marvel buys back X-Men and I get the Uncanny X-Men film I always wanted.
In the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse, the four horsemen are Archangel, Psylocke, Storm and Magneto. This one in particular annoys the absolute shit out of me, yes Archangel was a horseman of Apocalypse, but he didn’t join until years after he was already an X-Man. He actually has his wings mutilated by the villain Harpoon, before having them amputated due to gangrene, which leads him to Apocalypse who gives him new metal wings.
Psylocke has also been a member of the horsemen; it was an incredibly brief run when Archangel was named “The New Apocalypse” and he used a celestial death seed to forcefully change Betsy Braddock into a horseman. Psylocke’s brief time in the group is regarded pretty poorly by most people, in general Rick Remender’s “Uncanny X-Force” isn’t particularly well liked. As for the other two, Storm has only ever been a member of the X-Men, she’s one of the most genuinely heroic characters and by downgrading her to a lackey it once again shows Singer just seems to fucking hate this particular character. Seriously, Storm and Jean Grey are two characters Singer just outwardly seems to hate, casting them as particularly useless b-side characters despite the fact that they’re arguably the two most powerful X-Men ever seen on screen.
Also Magneto as a horseman? Get the fuck out of here. You seriously think the egotistical, narcissist who sees himself as the mutant fucking messiah is going to pledge his allegiance to someone else? Someone hasn’t been reading the comics; in Age of Apocalypse it’s actually Magneto who leads the X-Men against Apocalypse after the latter kills Charles Xavier.
PLEASE MARVEL BUY BACK THE RIGHTS TO THE X-MEN!