Before we jump into the X-Men franchise as a whole, let’s deal with the Mammomax in the room: I don’t much enjoy this franchise. Yes, there are great moments, like Nightcrawler’s White House attack. Yes, there are some fantastic performances by some incredibly talented actors.
But to me, they’re all going to waste to feed a flailing franchise that has no idea where it’s going or what it wants to be. A lot of changes needs to happen over in Fox’s X-Mansion, and by the looks of things, more of the same is on the way. I hate that, because I like the X-Men a whole bunch. Here are five things that need to happen to steer this Blackbird in the right direction.
NO MORE BRYAN SINGER
As much as I enjoy the MCU, you can feel Kevin Feige guiding things in every movie. There’s a nagging sense of…staleness might not be the right word. Feigeness? You can feel the Feige in every movie, which to me means that you pretty much know what you’re going to get, for better or worse. I kind of hate that.
But Feige is just a producer and a feature film showrunner. The first X-Men movie came out sixteen years ago, and Bryan Singer has been at the helm for most of that time. If he’s not directing, he’s producing or consulting. Sixteen years ago, Xavier and Charles were friends but then they fought each other and then became friends again. This month, Singer told the exact same story. Again.
It’s time for some fresh eyes on this franchise, because Singer is well into the Hobbit Trilogy phase of his relationship with these characters. There’s a reason why Deadpool is your favorite X-Men movie, and it’s not just the dick jokes. Fun fact, Singer had very little to do with your favorite moments of these movies.
My vote? Matthew Cherry, the man behind Nine Rides, or The Birth of A Nation’s Nate Parker. After, it might help to have at least one black guy involved in the franchise that claims to be a big metaphor for the Civil Rights movement.
FIX THE TIMELINE
Is X-Men: Apocalypse still leading towards X1 and X2? Because Days of Future Past ended with that cast Pre X3… So what the hell is happening? Why do I care about danger people are getting put in now when I know they’ll be fine?
Beyond the audience already knowing where they’re going, how the X-Men are getting there makes zero sense. I know that there is a certain amount of ‘turn your brain off’ with these films, but the timeline of these films is ridiculous. Havok was a teen in the 60’s First Class, and now twenty years later, has a high school brother? Thirty years have gone by for Xavier. He’s supposed to look like Patrick Stewart in ten more. Mystique was Stryker at the end of Days of Future Past but then Stryker is back as himself in Apocalypse? Are they paying attention to their own movies? What the hell is even happening? The show Lost had its shit together better than this franchise, and they were just making it up as they went along.
STOP HOPPING DECADES
Guys, aren’t you excited that New Mutants will be set in the 90s? At what point did Fox decide that the thing we gave a shit about, when it came to a super powered team of mutants punching prejudice in the face while drowning in their own soap operas, was gimmicking them in different decades? This is the most studio executive decision I can think of. “Hey they liked that First Class thing in the 60s! MORE OF THAT! Also, who wants cocaine??”
I mean, if all this time hopping was building to something, that would be one thing, but it’s been a completely hollow gimmick trying to distract from any real storytelling or direction.
TAKE CHANCES WITH SOLO MOVIES
Deadpool is the biggest hit the X Franchise has, but the next solo movie? Wolverine. Again. With Patrick Stewart as Xavier hanging out with him. Yay. Take some chances like Tim Miller and Ryan Reynolds did with some more lower budget solo films. Give me a bat shit crazy glam rock Dazzler movie. Give me a noir Madrox Investigations movie. Give me a movie about the Guthries working for a marijuana grower in rural Kentucky. An immigration story featuring Dust- whatever they are, stop worrying about massive blockbusters and just make some fun movies.
Leave the blockbusters for your core X-Men films. And speaking of core X-Men films…
PUT X-MEN IN YOUR X-MEN MOVIES
To quote a famous scientist…”Now eventually you do plan to have dinosaurs on your, on your dinosaur tour, right?”
The most frustrating thing about the entire X-Men movie franchise to me, up to this point, has been the disturbing lack of X-Men. How do you make 16 year’s worth of X-Men movies and only focus on Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, and of all people, Mystique?
It’s bonkers. To make matters worse, X-Men whodo show up are either completely changed to suit whatever it is Singer wants to do with them (Quicksilver, Rogue, Iceman, Pyro, Angel, Storm) or end up as glorified extras with a few lines and no arc (almost everyone else).
How many more X-Men movies are they going to hype by saying ‘hey look who’s in this one!’ like Days of Future Past with Blink, or Apocalypse with Jubilee, Psylocke, Archangel, and Nightcrawler and then do absolutely nothing with those characters? No one even said Jubilee’s name in Apocalypse. I don’t care about who, I care about what you do with them. Pointing at a person on a comic book panel and saying ‘that one looks neat’ isn’t good writing.
Apocalypse closes with Mystique telling the core X-Men that they aren’t students anymore- they’re X-Men. You know, like they did with the kids in First Class. So let’s stick with this fantastic cast of core X People in this decade and tell some (hopefully Phoenixless) stories.
At this point I’m praying for a Legacy Virus to wipe these movies out. I’m tired of seeing my favorite franchise left in the dust.