Reviewing the X-Men film franchise
Whether you love them or you hate them, the X-Men have been one the most prolific superhero franchises of all time. Since the original movie debuted in 2000, there has been re-emergence of superhero films. X-Men showed that if taken seriously, superhero films could be highly successful. After the incredible success of the original X-Men film, the franchise went on to spawn two more sequels, a spin-off and an upcoming prequel X-Men: First Class. Whilst the quality of these movies has often come into question, there’s no denying that the X-Men franchise is responsible for the current influx of superhero movies.
Looking back it now, X-Men may seem outdated. Considered a gamble by Fox, X-Men was created as cheaply as possible. With the exception of Cyclops and Storm who were key members, characters with extravagant powers were left out to save money on special effects. The gamble paid off as X-Men was incredibly successful. It had a well thought out story, good character development and some impressive action scenes. The plot may have dragged towards the end and the movie may have focused too heavily on Wolverine, (something the sequels also suffered from), but X-Men was a highly enjoyable film regardless. 3.5/5
X2: X-Men United (2002, Director: Bryan Singer, 20th Century Fox)
Regarded as the best in the franchise so far, X2 was an incredible success spawning up $407 million worldwide. Briefly inspired by the famous comic storyline God Loves, Man Kills, the film followed how Colonel William Stryker attacks the X-Mansion in attempt to use Professor X‘s machine Cerebro to wipe out the whole of mutant kind. This movie had some of the franchise most standout moments so far. Nightcrawler‘s attempted assassination (under mind control) on the President, as well as Wolverine’s berserk rage on invading soldiers in the X-Mansion were fantastic scenes that really stand out in the franchise. Singer also added more emotion to this instalment, something recent comic book movies have lacked. The emotion came first, and the action followed. Again some of the other characters were left in the sidelines (Cyclops and Storm), whilst Wolverine dominated most of the screen time. That’s only a minor fault however in what’s considered to be one of the best comic book movies of all time. 4/5
Where do I start? This is the film that effectively de-railed the X-Men franchise and had fans calling out for Fox to give the X-Men rights back to Marvel Studios. The film loosely carried on from X2, with Jean Grey resurrected as the unstable Phoenix. Plus a cure for the mutant gene had been developed. That’s where the main problem lies. Both are huge storylines that really needed to be in separate movies. After so much build up, The Phoenix character added nothing special to the movie. In typical Ratner fashion, the action was ramped up and the film was void of any emotion. Random mutants showed up for small cameos and were given no development. The only good thing I can say about this movie is that Jackman and McKellen delivered solid performances as Wolverine and Magneto. 2/5
In what originally should have originally been an R rated movie (or 18 for the UK), Origins came off as a very average action movie at best. It captures emotion well as it makes you sympathize with Wolverine’s emotional torment, but the plot ignores the source material in order to ‘dumb down’ for Hollywood audiences. (Memory erasing bullets anyone.) Random explosions and mutant cameos (Ryan Reynolds shows up for 5 minutes as Deadpool) make this a movie ridiculed with inconsistencies and plot holes. What was originally seen in nightmare flashbacks in Singers films, Wolverine’s Adamantium origin is so bluntly executed it makes the character less compelling and essentially he just becomes a device for action sequences. Despite Jackman putting in one of his best efforts as Wolverine, the over crowded cast, the cheap action scenes and the poor special effects suggests Fox might shy away from solo mutant movies for a while. 2.5/5