Okay, lets face it, the X-men movie franchise is less than satisfying. There are good elements to it and a couple of good films but overall it is disappointing. This disappointment is compounded by the fact that the X-men comics have some of the most interesting stories and characters out there. With the rumours that the next film in the franchise will be another reboot I thought I’d air some issues with the mutant cinematic franchise. I’m not going to go into the mistakes and problems with the movie series as that could go on forever. Instead I’m going to force my vision for a different mutant cinematic universe upon you. We are going to go right back to the drawing board and do things properly.(and yes this is just my opinion so it won’t be for everyone)

So where to begin?

The MacAvoy/Fassbender reboot had the right idea, going back to the start of the X-men with their formation and ‘first class’. But for some reason instead of choosing some amazing strong early mutants they added in some that most people had never heard of and screwed up the cinematic timeline. When First Class was announced I was so excited  to see the core team together, only to have most of them replaced with second and third tier mutants such as Darwin and Angel Salvatore/Tempest.Yes, have the friendship between Charles and Eric as this forms the bedrock of the ‘frenemy’ relationship. For the most part this was done pretty well in the film, mainly down to the fact that MacAvoy and Fassbender are both incredible actors. How they came to be together was a bit haphazard with Charles intervening to stop Eric killing himself in the pursuit of Shaw. Aside from the part where Eric is trying to kill everyone with a giant anchor that scene is horrible, why does Charles throw himself into the water for a complete stranger?

first-class

Before I go off and pick the film to pieces lets discuss how I would have preferred things had been done, I’m going to frame my wishes in the form of a trilogy and will let the cinematic universe unfold!

Film 1 should be about Charles and Eric. Discovering their respective abilities, meeting the other and working together to protect and preserve the mutant race. Once their mission has been defined the pair should seek out the core team members;

  • Scott Summers aka Cyclops
  • Jean Grey aka Marvel Girl
  • Hank McCoy aka Beast
  • Bobby Drake aka Iceman
  • Warren Worthington III aka Angel

core-team

This was original team from the very first X-men comic and even though there have been hundreds of different interpretations, origins, re-imaginings etc whenever I think of the X-men team, these are the mutants that come to mind. I know there are countless other awesome characters in the X-men universe (we’ll come on to some of those in a bit), but these are the core members.

I understand that because some of the core members had been used in the original X-men trilogy (which ended spectacularly badly), there was a desire to inject something new into the franchise and give it something different from what we had already seen. Bryan Singer’s X-men explained that Scott Summers and Jean Grey were some of his first students, meaning that going back to the sixties for the reboot, they couldn’t be used. For this reason I think First Class should have been a universe reboot and not something that was eventually tied in to the wider universe. Don’t get me started on the mishmash timeline!

Once the first students had been recruited and the teaching begun, this would be the perfect time for Eric to strike out on his own, following his ‘Homo-superior’ ideology. He could even take some of the other students with him (assuming others were enrolled), enabling him to start building his Brotherhood of Evil Mutants. A climactic battle between the rookie X-men and Brotherhood would be the perfect cliffhanger, there would of course be survivors on both sides but all involved would be changed by the fight, particularly Charles having been betrayed by his dearest friend. I don’t want to blow my own trumpet but this would have been much better than a small group of mutants having a disagreement on a beach at the same time and being the driving force behind the blooming Cuban Missile Crisis!

Film 2 should deal with a new wave of students, a group of ‘New Mutants’ you might say! This will be the perfect opportunity to bring in a vast array of awesome characters, some of which we have seen in the films before like Storm, Colossus and Wolverine! But also introducing ones that haven’t had screen time yet like Cannonball, Forge and Magik. A dual story line could work with some of the story centering around the mysterious Canadian wild man and his search for answers, and on the other side of things have the growing resentment to mutants (probably down to the actions of Magneto and his Brotherhood). This was lightly explored in X-men 3: The Last Stand focusing on a potential cure for the mutant gene, but the less said about that film the better!

the-last-stand

This would also allow the introduction of the Sentinels who we have only had a taste of so far. And the younger students starting to understand their powers at the same time as experiencing persecution from humans would create a strange mix of emotion, threat and discovery which would be fascinating if done right. This would also be the place to introduce Havok aka Alex Summers and Scott’s younger brother. Not the other way around.

Film 3 is where they can afford to go a bit ‘out there’ with the plot. My first instinct is to go for the Phoenix Saga, purely because it is one of my favourite arcs from the comics. The problem with this is that it’s been butchered on screen already. Send the X-men to space to get involved with the Shi’ar/Kree War, that way a bigger X-men Team will come up against a whole horde of new foes.

If not to space then through time the X-men should go. I really like the X-men Days of Future Fast movie, yes it has its faults but on the most part it was great. Once you add time travel into the mix it opens the world up to numerous stories and characters that were previously unavailable. Bishop, Cable, Bastion, Apocalypse, these are all amazing characters that have time travel deeply embedded in their stories. I’ll accept that some will be difficult to translate to screen, such as Cable being the son of Scott Summers and Jean Grey genetically created by Mr Sinister but sent to the future for protection, only to travel back to the present as an old man who has contracted some kind of tech virus that is slowly turning him into a machine……*breathe*. I don’t envy the Deadpool 2 writers with trying to incorporate Cable into their movie! All I’m saying is with time travel stories like Days of Future Past and even Age of Apocalypse are possible (just not in the way we have seen on screen thus far).

dofp

The main problem the franchise has is not relying on the vast numbers of potential characters. Instead of focusing on Wolverine or Mystique, the films should encompass a whole team. It is the family aspect of the X-men that is often the most compelling part of the story! Play on that, there doesn’t need to be a ‘central’ character! And seriously you can make an X-men film without including Wolverine!!!!!

Short of changing the character that traveled back in time and centering the story around its golden children Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence, DOFP was pretty close to its comic source material. X-men: Apocalypse was not even close. That film was such a disappointment in so many ways and I’m sure without the amazing performance of Michael Fassbender it would have been a disaster. I’m all for putting a spin of existing and known stories but if you’re going to do that at least have them show some respect to the original product!

apocalypse

Oh and one final point, why did they nerf Rogue? In the comics she is one of my favourite characters, cursed with an ability preventing physical contact she is still strong and capable at the same time as being vulnerable. Rogue is the character to tie the X-men to the MCU, especially with a Captain Marvel film on the way. Just a quick origin summary, Rogue once held onto Captain Marvel (then going by the name of Ms Marvel) for too long and permanently adopted the enhanced strength, durability and flight that Marvel had. This made her an incredibly useful powerhouse in pretty much any fight and to this day still makes her a force to be reckoned with. The films have turned her into a withdrawn, whining teenager who just wants to be able to touch people. There is no development in her character and it is not surprising she was cut from the theatrical release of DOFP.

Well there you have it, my vision for a new trilogy. What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Let me know in the comments, I want to hear your thoughts on how we can save the universe!

Follow us on Twitter @JackGeekstalk and subscribe to our Podcast on ITunes and Podbean.com, Jack and the Geeks Talk.

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3 thoughts on “X-men Xplored?

  1. Nice overview, Jack!

    When you examine the modern superhero film, you realize there are basically two paradigms. On the one hand, you’ve got the MCU, which has for the most part been very creatively successful at its whole “shared cinematic universe” approach (one only needs to look to DC’s mismanaged attempts to emulate that model to appreciate how hard it is to pull off); this “open-ended” style of narrative seems to be the preferred mode these days. But on the other hand, you’ve got something like the Dark Knight series, which is a true trilogy in the purest sense — a closed-ended cyclical myth depicting the origin, reign, and fall of a superhero; the fact that it actually reaches a conclusive resolution (gasp!) is what’s so satisfying about it.

    Then you’ve got the X-Men franchise, which is neither here nor there. It seems like, initially at least, they’d only planned on a trilogy, with Last Stand trying (and failing) to bring closure to the narrative arc, but then decided to reverse-engineer a “shared universe” out of what they’d created, clearly inspired by the success of the MCU. The trouble with that approach, of course, is that the entire continuity is riddled with contradictions and inconsistencies and botched and/or aborted plotlines (like The Dark Phoenix Saga). None of it adds up to a coherent continuity, and as I recently wrote about on my own blog, “continuity scorekeeping,” for better or worse, has arguably become the entire point of narrative these days. With the Wolverine saga (allegedly) at its end, and given the creative and box-office disappointment of Apocalypse, I think this franchise really finds itself at an imperiled place at this point in time. I wouldn’t be surprised if Fox at some point soon follows Sony’s example with Spider-Man and cuts a deal with Marvel Studios to integrate X-Men into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, because superheroes these days only seem relevant if they are part of a grander narrative tapestry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Wow! You’ve analysed these franchises amazingly! The only thing I will say is that I am desperate for Fox to make a deal with Marvel. It has already been shown with Spider-Man that Marvel know what they’re doing and can revive passion in a character. Just do the sensible thing Fox!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s true: Audiences seem to want their superheroes to be part of a larger fictional universe. If Jackman really is done with the X-Men franchise, the smartest thing Fox could do would be to cut a deal with Marvel to integrate the X-Men and Fantastic Four properties (probably rebooted incarnations of both) into the MCU.

        Liked by 1 person

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