It can easily be argued that the superhero craze can trace its roots all the way back to the first X-Men film in 2000. Bryan Singer aimed to tell a serious story, not one filled with silly flare and explosions. It was modeled after films like the original Star Trek, aiming to go for more of a science fiction story. Countless sequels soon followed and it’s one of the biggest franchises running right now, with X-Men: Apocalpyse set to for release in 2016.
These are the same films that helped make Hugh Jackman a household name, and brought together the incredibly talented Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen on screen together throughout the original series. On top of this, the films are financially successful and have made $3 billion in total at the box office. There are some cool achievements this series managed to accomplish that can’t be denied. They’re even highly praised by critics, praised because they don’t feel like the typical comic book movie. But are these films really as good as the critics would have you believe?
They are decent films when simply viewed as summer popcorn entertainment. But in comparison to some of the source material on which they are based, you will find they’re actually not very good. For years, fans have been complaining about the terrible costume choices, the lack of minority characters being utilized, getting sick of Wolverine and wishing the rights would revert back to Marvel. The majority of audiences may be happy with the X-Men series, but some hardcore fans have been upset since the beginning. Here are 10 reasons as to why.
10. The Role Of Rogue
The X-Men comics have some of the best female superheroes in comics, and Rogue is no exception to that fact. Played by Oscar winning actress Anna Paquin, the character was introduced in the first film as a very shy, soft spoken and passive person, which does not describe the comic book character in the slightest. Rogue is the X-Men’s southern belle, a mutant who can fly, has super strength and can absorb the memories and powers of whoever she touches.
None of that really happens in any of these X-Men movies. Paquin doesn’t really try to stick with the southern accent. Rogue is ashamed of her powers throughout all three of the first films. Instead of having a romantic relationship with Gambit, which she does in the comics, she develops one with Bobby – Ice Man. The romantic pairing doesn’t really make any sense, and as a result, she is one of the weakest characters in this film series.
9. The Costumes
These X-Men movies have never really been fond of being colorful. A superhero costume on the page won’t always translate to film, admittedly, however the black costumes are painfully boring. The only time we get to see some color in their outfits is in X-Men: First Class, where the classic blue and yellow palette is brought to life. But that all went away with Days of Future Past with, yet again, more dull, black outfits. Here’s hoping that this can be fixed with X-Men: Apocalypse, considering Olivia Munn‘s accurate Psylocke costume.
Though it is reasonable that Wolverine’s classic costume may be a bit much to see on the big screen. A simple leather jacket with a yellow X emblem, however, would suit him just fine. Throw that over a tank top and blue jeans and he’d look perfect. The costume design in Grant Morrison’s New Mutants run would work really well in a live-action setting.
8. The Role Of Mystique
Jennifer Lawrence is a great actress and it is easy to understand why she was chosen for the role of Raven, a.k.a. Mystique. However, the character’s portrayal in this series has been incredibly strange and not at all loyal to who this character really is. Yet again, Hollywood needs a forced romance, so for some reason she finds Hank McCoy, aka Beast, as a suitable love interest.
It never really seemed believable, nor does the idea of her being the leader of the X-Men in the upcoming film, X-Men:Apocalypse. The producers and writers have always felt completely comfortable writing the characters however they wanted to fit their vision. And because Jennifer Lawrence hates putting on that blue makeup, she’ll appear in her human form for most of the film, which doesn’t make any sense for that character.
7. The Role Of Storm
Ororo Munroe is an important character in the X-Men universe, as well as the Marvel universe – and comic books in general. Storm was the first black female character to play either a major role or supporting role in comics. She’s also one of the most powerful mutants, being an important character for women of color, particularly black women.
It’s too bad Halle Berry wasn’t able to embody any of that, not even the African accent. These films never let this character have the opportunity to truly shine and be amazing. Storm is underused and underappreciated in every X-Men film she appears in. Her powers are never fully realized and she simply is never given enough to do, and as a result, she’s always been one of the greatest weaknesses of the series.
6. X-Men Origins: Wolverine
Hey, Wolverine is clearly the most popular character in this series, why not give him his own film? The idea was simple enough, they could illustrate the origins of the character and how he became who we all know him to be. Hugh Jackman was even a producer on the film, so surely this project would be well taken care of. Unfortunately, nearly every aspect of this film ended up being just dreadful.
This isn’t just the worst entry in the X-Men series of films, it’s also one of the worst comic book films ever made. Bad special effects, horrible dialogue and terribly filmed action sequences abound. No X-Men fan in their right mind could think this is anything good.
5. The Role Of Cyclops
Cyclops is the leader of the X-Men, he always has been. Although while watching the film franchise, that thought would never enter your mind. Scott is pushed aside for Wolverine, who gets to call more shots than he does and even gets to steal his girl, Jean. Scott is left in the dust, being underdeveloped and written off as kind of a boring character.
His powers are never truly and fully realized on screen. Cyclops has the potential to demolish an entire city block if he were to remove his visor and simply open his eyes. Instead, the movies just have him blowing holes through ceilings and laser-punching people to the ground. Scott is a much cooler and more powerful character than these movies are giving him credit for.
4. That’s Not My Wolverine
Of course Wolverine is a ridiculously popular character and probably the most popular X-Men character. That does not mean he is the most interesting – quite the contrary. Most people were able to get over Hugh Jackman being as tall as he is (Wolverine is 5’3″ in the comics), and in terms of his performance, he certainly has not been terrible in the role. The problem has more to do with the material he has been given for these films. Wolverine is a redneck, who drinks and gets easily agitated.
In the movies, he occasionally gets mad, talks way too much and his vocabulary is far too extensive. His backstory is pretty basic and not fascinating, and he simply does not work as a leader and romantic lead – a fact that Fox shoved down our throats. We never get to truly unleash his full “berserker rage” on anyone. So much wasted potential.
3. “The War…”
The plots within each film start to feel incredibly similar. In the trailer for any X-Men film, one can always hear someone mentioning an impending war that’s about to hit between humans and mutants. It’s something that is apparent in nearly every X-Men film, and there lies a tremendous problem. These movies recycle a lot of the same plot elements and character motivations, but specifically, they’re always “at war” with humans.
And every time it’s mentioned, they talk about it as if it’s the first time it’s happening, like what? What war? When is it coming? I sure look forward to seeing it when it finally arrives because I bet it will be awesome…
2. The Dark Phoenix Saga
This is one of the greatest and most beloved story arcs in comics. Jean Grey became the X-Men’s most powerful member, and not only that, solidifies herself as one of the most powerful female characters in all of the comics. Instead, X-Men: The Last Stand just reduced her incredible transformation to a split-personality and molecule-manipulation. Phoenix is a wild force of nature in the comics, consuming stars and obliterating worlds with unlimited power.
Famke Jensen‘s Jean Grey was given the short shift. Given Jensen’s talent, as seen in other prominent roles (such as in Goldeneye), it’s too bad that the producers did not give her the chance to really explore the character of the Dark Phoenix.
This series has never really paid much or any attention to continuity. With the first three films, there were already enough continuity issues to make your head spin. Once we got to the newer series, things just started getting absurd. So much so that the filmmakers and producers even addressed the fact, claiming that Days of Future Past would clean all of it up.
Certain X-Men all of the sudden get new powers that weren’t previously explained. What about Professor X dying and somehow being resurrected in the same body, or “identical” body? Questioning things like Wolverine’s adamantium claws and how the Future Sentinels became created can be confusing to even think about. But apparently the X-Men universe has now drifted off onto its own separate timeline, no longer bound to any continuity rules, so who knows what we can expect when X-Men: Apocalypse comes to theaters in 2016…