I know, I know, I’ve been wrong before. I smashed “21 Jump Street” upon its initial trailer, and ended up loving the movie, but my instincts are not wrong with the X-Men and their upcoming movie. I just know I’d be wise to sit back and wait a little while for it all to sink in. As a long time X-Men fan, I just know that the movies are not the best that the X-Men can be.
And Bryan Singer returning has been a horrible curse on the movie series. I completely forgot years ago how much he repressed everything exciting and fun about the X-Men, turning it in to a self serious parade of nepotism for Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman.
After Bret Ratner destroyed the series with “The Last Stand,” we were finally back on track with “First Class.” Now that I think about it, perhaps Bret Ratner’s control of the third outing was terrible, but he really seemed to embrace what was so much fun about the X-Men. He failed to remotely grasp the social subtext, and character complexities, but the movie had some semblance of fun in it. Singer has been the worst thing to hit the series. For a guy that embraced Superman’s superness in “Superman Returns,” it’s shocking that he’s so hellbent on downplaying everything that we love about the X-Men.
The colorful costumes, the wonderful personalities, the occasionally exciting mood, and the entire three dimensional base for every character is thrown out the window. Even his pet Hugh Jackman is still just playing the same one note performance from the first film. Hugh Jackman can be a damn great actor when he wants to be. His performance in 2013’s “Prisoners” proved it. He has layers, and depth, and can be gripping. But Singer seems perpetually interested in just keeping Wolverine just this annoying grunting anti-hero who has become the main character of the entire series.
Hugh Jackman can do so much more. He’s capable of so much more. And even as someone who openly detests the character of Wolverine, I dare say the character can be capable of so much more on screen. I’m also not sure why Singer would go for “Days of Future Past,” when we could have seen the Hellfire Club, instead. They’re right up Singer’s alley, and Wolverine has one of the most iconic moments in comic book history with that storyline. It’s a damn shame that the prequel “First Class” has been merged with Singer’s humdrum X-Men series, and now it’s this odd amalgam that’s so middling so far, that I’m so indifferent toward it. I rushed out to see “X-Men,” and I cheered upon the first glance at the original trailer for “X2.” Hell, I even had some fun with “The Last Stand.”
Surely, it’s sucky if you pick it apart, but they really did some justice to Iceman, Kitty Pryde, and Colossus. Nothing from “Days of Future Past” has inspired me to really seek it out when it’s released and watch it. It’s a travesty when the comic book I grew up on fails to arouse even the slightest gasp from me. And yet the new “Captain America” and “Spider-Man” movies, adapted from two superheroes I never really liked, manage to get me insanely giddy every single time. They’re doing so much with their source material, and here’s Singer stuffing his X-Men in to black leather, and giving them stupid goggles, and lame ass suits. Where’s the fun? Where’s the attitude?
And most importantly, where the hell is Cyclops? Yes, Havok is a great character in his own right, but Cyclops was the beginning of it all. And yet Singer never had any idea what to do with any of the best characters. When you break it down, he never really had any idea what to do with most of the characters. He’s developed his best friends’ characters Magneto, Professor X, and Wolverine down to the minute details, but everyone else has taken a back seat.
Jean Grey’s storyline ended in nothing, Cyclops went nowhere, Nightcrawler was written out of part three, Storm is still just a white haired mutant whose African accent fades in and out, and Rogue left the series like she entered it: A whiny petulant brat. The series problems and sheer lack of development can best be summed up in “X2,” where after the Blackbird is blasted out of the sky, and is saved from crashing by Magneto, he looks over to Mystique and ponders “Haven’t these people learned to fly yet?”
Realistically Storm, Jean Grey, and Rogue should be zipping through the skies, and Singer simply hasn’t delivered. The Sentinels have been kept in the shadows for the first three films, and now that Singer is finally delivering, they just look god awful. I’m aware that I’m in the minority in this regard, but they’re not only ridiculous, but they look about as fragile and ramshackle as those lame ass Battle Droids in the “Star Wars” prequels.
If you want an epic unveiling of the Sentinels, watch the first episode of the 90’s “X-Men” series. Watch any episode! Or hell, watch “X-Men Evolution” where the sentinels are not only incredibly difficult to beat, but are gigantic. Other X-Men fans have probably kept their expectations so low that this seems like a big step up, but for me, the Sentinels are another missed opportunity in Singer’s terrible X-Men series.
All I’ve seen is Wolverine, Wolverine, Wolverine, Magneto, Professor X, Beast, Havok, Bishop, Wolverine, Wolverine, Mystique, Mystique as a human, Wolverine, and bare chested Wolverine! It’s not unlike a movie series adapted from source material to lead with their most popular element, but X-Men is usually about the struggle of the Mutant team and their contemporaries, not Wolverine. We’ve already been subjected to two terrible Wolverine films, why do we need more? Singer returning to the series hasn’t been the blessing I thought it’d be.
I’m hoping Singer can go back to making mediocre thrillers, and someday a better director with a more intellectual vision can step forward and do the X-Men some justice. For now if I want the team, I’ll look at the comics. This isn’t the X-Men. I’ll get to “Days of Future Past” eventually, but when it comes to comic book movies in 2014, I’ll be placing “Winter Soldier,” and “Amazing Spider-Man 2” at the top of the list. For someone whose been a fan of the X Team since I was a small boy, it pains me to say that.