It Had To Be Done
As a fanboy of comics, fantasy and sci-fi I had to share my thoughts in this recent post. When it has come to 20th Century FOX I have been hesitant to purchase any tickets to the theaters. In light of recent articles about one of my favorite comic franchises I have decided a line had to be drawn. This post is the first of many opinions against FOX’s entertainment strategies in the 21st century. Today I will explain why I believe FOX has ruined one of the best comics known as the X-Men.
Source Of All X-iling
Before 1999 comic book films were basically a joke. The best that ever come to my mind were The Rocketeer, Superman and of course Tim Burton’s Batman. Film studios didn’t take many risks with the superhero genre and when they did; boy did they stink. In 2000 this started to change with the introduction of the X-Men films. 20th Century FOX had produced one of the first real comic films of the new millennium that became a success. Opening just over $54 Million dollars to making almost $300 Million worldwide. The summer of 2000 was a great year for FOX and nerds of all ages.
The only problem was fans of the comics didn’t see their X-Men on the screen. As a fanboy I can confess that when I was in the theater watching the movie I was expecting a lot from several characters. At the time the director Bryan Singer was a fresh new director who took on the challenge of converting the characters to screen but left out much about them. In my opinion it worked for that time but I still had some beefs.
For example Scott Summers was one of my favorite characters. He was a leader with a rich history within the X-Men. The film portrayed him as a overprotective push over doing anything ordered to do. In the comics the X-Men were a group of heroes saving humanity while having the deal with their differences as mutants. Not only did they deal with discrimination but even had to battle their kind over philosophical differences. A Cyclops/Wolverine dynamic was a part of the film but very little.
Also Hugh Jackman was the big lead of the film causing Wolverine to appear important to the plot. The comics have established Storm and Cyclops in leadership roles for decades but the film they had little to do with leading. To see Wolverine just come into the lives of Cyclops and Storm to take control wasn’t the best move. The story allow others from the team to show their benefits equally. Seeing Wolverine take charge was very questionable.
When it comes to the source material FOX has shown little regard for maintaining it in the plots of the X-Men films. Singer’s all black jumpsuits and action development appears to more important.
Continuity Of Dissatisfaction
This leads me to my next point. As Marvel Studios has shown us in the past few years is that the events in one film can lead to another. In the case of FOX’s X-Men franchise continuity seems to be ignored. Character or events have been either changed or forgotten time and time again.
My favorite example of this has to be with the film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Here is a film that FOX decided to use Hugh Jackman’s popularity for. They took an event hinted in X2 of Wolverine’s origin story and completely mess it up. Sure is had action and new characters but boy did they mess it up.
Let’s start with the characters. We have Victor Creed recasted by Liev Schreiber as a Sabertooth who is Logan’s half brother. Never was this established in the previous X-Men movies. Also why recast? I liked Liev’s Sabertooth more but if the previous actor couldn’t do it then cut him out the story. Here is an attempt to make this film happen regardless of continuity.
Also there is Ryan Reynold’s as Wade Wilson. Not Deadpool, but Wade Wilson. I have to give it Reynold’s since he did an amazing job under these circumstances. The Deadpool movie’s success is largely because fans saw the character within the actor knowing he could make it him come alive. The humor Reynold’s naturally possess works out perfectly. Where Origin’s ruins this is with the finale act of the fim. I mean come on FOX, it was like you didn’t care.
Oh and my personal favorite, Cyclops. It’s already bad enough the Cyclops is a teenager but no establishment has been of his past. Now we’re in 2016 where we have 4 versions of Scott Summers. We have the two from the past and two from the future because of the events of Days of Futures Past. Continuity went right out the window when production chose to place him as a lower character than what the studio had deemed important.
Let’s actually step away from the popular character for a moment and focus on the one’s the studio tried to sneak in. The two that come to mind are Emma Frost and Psylocke. Now if you’re asking why are they listed I say take another look at the early films. Emma Frost was brought in as Silverfox’s sister who Wolverine had to help rescue. Then they tried the reboot version with X-Men: First Class which was closer to the comic character just completely forgotten. As for Psylocke she had a small part in X-Men: The Last Stand as a henchman who basically dies for no reason what so ever. Someone decided to add the character into X-Men: Apocalypse just so we can be another villainess for the franchise. Psylocke is someone with much more depth than FOX portrayed.
These characters were just names on a list FOX liked to use whenever they needed them to get fans in the seats. What they should have done is provide more background to vital X-Men characters first and let them develop throughout the franchise. Perhaps they would have a replacement for Hugh Jackman today if they nurtured the franchise rather than spank it from time to time.
Marvelous FOX Hunter
In the mid 90’s FOX acquired the X-Men right from Marvel and all the related material about Mutants. When the first film was released this was a huge success of a deal for FOX and allowed more comic films to become mainstream. Having complete control of the X-Men universe at the time was practical as a business move.
Where they fell short was after the summer of 2008 when a filmed named Iron Man was released by Marvel Studios. Marvel stepped out of shadows with their comic material and gave fans what they have been waiting for. The adaptation of the source material to the scene had become more genuine than what other studios tried before.
When the MCU was created and Disney’s acquisition of the company allowed a larger diversity of comic films to be produced FOX began to look worst and worst. The X-Men could no longer be the top comic franchise in Hollywood. In attempts to regain an audience FOX had reboot to launch even more mutant based movies. I’ll have to say at the beginning it was promising compared to last two films released at the time. The changing of directors and format gave the X-Men a renewed interest.
The fault of FOX was to once again rely on star power. This time it was Jennifer Lawrence who would lead the X-Men franchise in hopes of a Hugh Jackman replacement. We may all agree that Days Of Futures Past was the best X-Men film to date. Combining beloved characters and attempt to match them to their comic counterparts was promising. FOX just had to mess it all up again with the third film in the new reboot.
Marvel and FOX have been doing back and forth about the licensing for years since it’s success. As a stubborn child with Marvel’s favorites toys they just don’t want to give them back or even share. SONY was clever enough to play along with Marvel and allow Spiderman to enter the MCU. Fans were so excited by this everyone screamed seeing Spiderman next to Captain America. FOX on the other hand wants to run the X-Men to the ground with no regard for the other possible characters they have the right to.
In response fans believe the killing of the X-Men in the comics if Marvel’s attempt to get the franchise back. Sabotaging the interest in mutants and shift it to Inhumans could possibly destroy one of the best team’s in comic book history.
After all these years FOX has options which could benefit them. If they relaxed with the licensing and allow fans of the source material to be creative then they could possibly have more hit films. Right now Deadpool has opened up the doors for more stories around mutants. In my opinion using a Deadpool sequel to introduce other teams maybe be beneficial. The New Mutants, X-Factor or X-Force teams are perfect examples. The new X-Men films showed us more of Xavier’s school but what about the other classmates? Adventures with them could allow for much larger franchise to unfold.
Even recently if has been rumored that FOX is looking to reboot the franchise again. This seems to me as desperation on holding on the licensing of mutants for summer box office profits. All fans really want is see someone like Jubilee do something for once. We want OUR X-men not the Hollywood executive proposed version. Think outside the box if you have to but remember there was a reason it was successful in the comics. Until FOX changes there ways I’m saving my money by waiting for streaming media. Thanks Netflix.