Well, with the exception of The Wolverine
, this is the first time that I have ever touched on an X-men movie. X-men
is a franchise that is as geeky as Star Trek
and Star Wars
, and it holds a special place in my heart because I grew up with it.
I remember the first time I discovered them, in a Marvel book collection, which introduced me to the actual first class of Cyclops, Marvel Girl, Angel, Iceman, and the Beast. I then saw them again in an X-men/Teen Titans team-up comic which had the “new X-Men” including Wolverine, Nightcrawler, Storm, Colossus, and other members like Kitty Pryde. The team really changed a lot in its decades, and I stopped reading X-men and all other comics when I went to college.
Ten years later, in 2000, the first X-men film was released, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Only a few members of the team made it into the movie, but I fully enjoyed what was done with it. It wasn’t this over-blown action film, and perhaps it was because of a small budget. I’m not certain how much 20th Century Fox believed in this film, and it was a huge movie risk for a market that, at the time, had no big-budget comic book movies that were not campy. X-men was different because it was dark and serious, yet still fun to watch. Throughout the whole film is a message against prejudice, and my favorite scene is one where a kid smiles at Cyclops at a train station, only to have the mother drag him away. That scene just really works, and there is so much done well from director Bryan Singer.
It was because of this film that we have Spider-man and other hit Marvel films leading up to the Avengers and beyond. Naturally, X-men 2: X-men United was made, and it was was as good, if not better, than the first. It took the story to another level, and didn’t try to do too much.
Unfortunately, X-men: The Last Stand was made, and it didn’t really cap off a successful trilogy. X-men 3 had way too much story running around it with the famed Phoenix plot with Jean Grey. Jean should have been the focus of the film, but there was also this anti-mutant serum with Magneto going after it and stuff. It was a film directed by Brett Ratner, formerly of Rush Hour, and it was not a smooth transition.
The franchise attempted X-men: First Class to be a prequel, and it wasn’t too bad. It is interesting to see that the franchise attempting to show how the X-men mesh with actual historical events such as the Cuban Missile Crisis. The problem with this film is that I didn’t feel satisfied seeing the backstory between Magneto and Charles Xavier.
X-men: Days of Future Past is some kind of attempt at rebooting this franchise by joining the First Class movie with the original X-men trilogy.
Days of Future Past is based on a storyline from the early eighties that is simply terrific, and it was immediately embraced by its fans. The story first appeared less than a year after the classic Phoenix story, which is arguably one of the best stories of the X-men. The story of Days of Future Past was that the future is a horrid place ruled by giant robots known as Senitels that hunt and kill mutants. The whole incident happened because the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants (yeah, that’s what they called themselves) killed a politician, which lead to huge reactionary laws against mutants and a backlash of fear. The only way to stop it from happening is to send Kitty Pryde’s mind into her past self, where she can prevent the assassination.
The movie decided to change the story, a bit. In the movie version, the premise is the same, but Wolverine is the one sent back in time. The weirdest thing is that Kitty Pryde sends him back, which is weird and nitpicky of me to notice. In the comic story, it was…you know, this is getting way to complicated to explain, and this plot is already complex enough with time travel and all. Anyway, Wolverine has to stop Mystique from killing a man named Bolivar Trask in the seventies, and he gets help from a younger Charles Xavier and Magneto.
This is your typical plot of a time travel movie, but it was pretty new back in the early eighties. Now, I have seen this plot so many times, I know the drill. That is, Wolverine has to convince friends who haven’t met him yet to do seemingly illogical things so they won’t have to see such a horrific future.
What makes this film interesting is that when you think the characters succeed in their mission, it only kicks it up a notch. I’m not going to spoil this one, but they did several things right now that Bryan Singer is back.
I have to admit that I didn’t hate this film, but I didn’t really love it. The issue that I had with it is that the plot doesn’t go in what I feel was a realistic direction given the scenario. There is a scene where Magneto lifts a stadium, and it is reminiscent of the third movie where he moves the Golden Gate Bridge. I always thought that scene from the third X-men film was just too gratuitous of a special effect, but that film had a different director.
I said before that I wouldn’t spoil the ending, but it appears that the X-men movies have been ret-conned so that X3 never happened. I am very pleased with that. What I am not pleased with is that the time travel element altered the story in a way that I did not agree with, and didn’t feel realistic to me. That is all I will say about that.