This weekend marks the opening of the 5th movie in the X-men titled franchise. Notice that I limited this to 5, and am not including either wolverine solo movies for reasons you probably already know. (This means you have seen them and answers might include, "dude, what if we put swords in his arms" or possibly "If the old man asked him for a bone marrow transplant this movie would have been really short, and had no villain")
I am super pumped about one of my favorite story lines coming to the big screen. As much as the first X trilogy doesn't hold up extremely well, it still has bright moments, and my pure argument for X3 being the best of them (My article on how movies need a rating system of "rewatchability" still has to be written) I still have a soft spot in my heart for everything and anything X-men related. As a young person I find it hard to believe that anyone would ever not like X-men and what it stands for. Things like oppression, hate, racism, fear, and over all political and social dialogue, X-men has always been the closest thing to actual nonfiction in a make believe world. You can find all of its heartfelt stories, and situations throughout our history. Points in our past (and present) where people have decided against fear, and rose out of love, and community. X-men is the closest fiction we have that parallels real life.
As a critic, there are always a few things I would personally change when it comes to these movies. I have always considered myself a movie "apologist' in the sense that I am mostly a glass half full kind of guy. I always point out the cool things before completely laying into a movie and its flaws. Let's be honest, Waterworld is a movie I like because if you look at all that is cool about it, its pretty great. But sometimes, thinking creatively about a movie is a fun thing to do. So with this new movie coming out I have compiled a list of 8 things that I would LOVE to see in the movie. I hope a few of them come true, but others are just wild dreams. I broke them down into two categories: 5 past, and 3 future. The thing about my list is, that you will notice, they in no way would change the movie for the worst, and all could easily be added, or included. I tried my best not to mess with the overall plot, or story line. Just to sprinkle the movie with a few fan pleasing moments.
1. Professor X: Alternate movement device. In the comics and cartoons, there have been 2 other forms of transportation that the Professor has used that we have not seen yet. Sure we love his wheel chair. I remember the first time seeing it in X1 with his X wheels, custom modern design. clean lines, with his tailored suit. But bring on the 90's yellow hover chair! bring on the 90's leg harness's that he used in several story lines. When accompanying magneto in the savage lands, or in most recent incarnation (wolverine and the x-men) Charles running around with metal leg braces a bit like Forest Gump. This was a great way that to take such a strong mutant, but draw him back to the viewers in a realistic way showing them he is just like us, he isn't perfect or without fallen human traits. Either of these methods would have been a nice nod to the source material and added for the future scenes. I am sure somewhere Singer is saying, "but this would have confused new fans" in which my response is, "So when was encouraging fans to look into the source material a bad thing."
2. Wolverine Mask: This one baffles me. The movie will probably clear things up, but from the trailers it seems they almost seek out wolverine to help them on this mission to go back in time to clear things up. So why does wolverine dress in gear that basically matches X, Magneto and what seems to be sort of a new incarnation of X-Force? Wouldn't he dress differently? In the future, with wolverines powers, I feel like he would be the last one that would "dress like the rest of the guys" I picture him showing up, tank top and jeans, and say, "you guys are still all dressing like that?" But hey, I'm also the guy that would have never made him leader, or lead character of the franchise, so maybe I'm wrong here. I still think him entering the scene and at least having one battle with his mask on would again be a great nod to the fans, an opportunity for multiple looks to the toys, and hear the fans give a cheer that they have wanted to give for over a decade.
3. Future Beast: It has been rumored that Kelsey Grammer is in this movie. Man would I love it. In my mind beast is one of the few mutants that would last into this futuristic world. His knowledge, spirit and abilities to me would keep him alive and fighting for the side of good. I remember when they added him in X3 and it still might go down as one of the best castings ever as a marvel character in live form. (Thomas Hayden Church as Sandman takes the cake for me, it was like seeing the comic panel in 3D) Beast might play more of a Forge style roll in the future, but from what Logan says to Hank in the trailer to the question, "do I make it in the future?" his No means that we most likely will not see this. unless it is to throw us off, then I applaud this.
4. MegaMold: Now there is a chance we might see this, simply because it hasn't been talked about, and seems to be the only way to explain how we go from Trask's original sentinel program, to the dark future we see them in. In all of the incarnations of humans build robots to think like humans, we all know what the outcome has and always will be. We are not the best creatures to tell anyone/things to act like. MegaMold is basically the beginning of the end. Whether they make him the first sentinel ever built, or give him another story line, I hope they touch on this to show the true progression of this robotic force that takes over the world.
5. Give the fan's some Sugga': Not a single person in the world was completely happy with what Singer chose to do with Rogue in the first 3 X-men films. he basically retooled her to be Jubilee from the cartoon, or kitty from the animated feature Pryde of the X-men. He used her to be our eyes into the world of the x-men. Now buzz has been going around the internet about how her small parts were cut from the new movie. whether she wasn't important, or didn't matter, this really confused me because I think she could have been really utilized. (her hooking up with magneto would have been super creepy, is it me, or does everyone fail to notice Ian McKellen's wrinkles have wrinkles?) Imagine this world dark, and taken over by sentinels. Only a handful of mutants have seemed to survive. One of them is Rogue, who's powers are to absorb others abilities. She comes flying into the screen, using her super human strength. Even if only for a few scenes we actually give her character (powers and personality) some growth. Outside of you stole my boyfriend, lets face it, she really hasn't been given much to work with. But what if as an, "I'm sorry, and here's your girl" singer used this opportunity to have her grow into the Rogue we all knew and loved, all while showing , "this is why she is one that makes it, she becomes completely bad ass." I doubt we will see this, but I have still a sliver of a hope.
6. Burger King Kids Club: Lets face it, Not a soul has been completely happy with what they turned Pietro into. I get the music and goggles, and still think the costume is lame, but using quicksilver in the X-men series and not having him be Magneto's son is a complete waste of space. We all know that we are going to see Marvel's version of him in the new avengers movie. Everyone's money is on that one being the one we like better, i get that. Marvel sort of has a better track record of doing things right. (I think they would make a version of mystique ten times better than the one we have) But why are they using him? because he was a name on a list they had? I hope he, as a character means so much more than just "we need a fast guy" because if its that, I am going to roll my eyes. This is the same reason why Gambit was in Wolverine Origins. This was the same Gambit that could apparently levitate cards, sort of try to speak in an accent, and spin like a helicopter with his bostaff. Gambit was used because he was a name on a list. It is very obvious. I hope Quicksilver was more than just a name on a list.
7. Moira McTaggart: I would love to see more of her. Her relationship with Charles was done really well in First Class, and I think that it would be great to show the audience where she ends up, and where this story takes her. Played by in the first movie, Moira's connection to the audience as a normal person wrapped up in a crazy mutant world worked well for her personality, and especially if these story lines in the past are what they seem (conspiracy theory, assassinations etc) I expect to see her around, which would be a good thing.
8. Red and Slim: Since the past they are going to is the "first class" past, then its simple to say this is before the events of x-men 3 by a few decades. That being said, give me Scott and Jean. They would have been alive at this time. They shouldn't just be cast aside because they were killed in the future, that makes no sense at all. They would appear young, and maybe they are just being recruited. Scott and Jean have always been a foundation to the world that is X-men. I highly doubt we would see a young jean and scott, but considering this would be limited, and no reason to have these actors in future movies (since it has been announce that we are moving on to AoA in the next feature) it feels like a missed opportunity.
This is why I use to have issues with the fox universe of X-men. I don't think Singer cared as much for the source material as much as he should have. Sure both have died, more than once in the comics, but over all it was obvious that the audiences love for wolverine was what he listened to, and tweaked the stories the ways he felt fit. My brother said it best when he said, "there's a reason why this shit is called fan fic". and I completely agree with him there. Somewhere there should be an internet troll writing his own personal story about superman, and how it would be cool if he got lois pregnant, but wasn't there for the kid at first. That's fine. But singer took it one step too far. He took his fan fic, and said to everyone, "I want you to like my personal version". This is where he goes wrong. This where Vaughn went wrong. This is why it would, and always, always should have been Cyclops walking up to jean at the end of X3, telling her its going to be ok, I'm here. In everyone's version of that scene, every fan, it was NEVER wolverine walking up to her. maybe in a dream, but not really. The real wolverine might not even show up for that last fight. But people that do not respect, or love the source material as much as i think they should got a hold of it.
This is why marvel movies are kicking so much ass. Sure you might not completely like them, but you can tell, they REALLY really care about the characters, the history, and what they are making. For that I have a lot of respect.
I look forward to Thursday night when I get to see this movie. X-men has always been and will always be my favorite superhero property. For all of the random flaws I might personally find in each movie, the core message of acceptance, and being yourself will always be an age old lesson that will never fade. The celebration of our differences should always be a the forefront of our minds.