I’m going to probably make a few enemies before X-Men: Days of Future Past comes out on Friday. I’m obsessed to the point that I won’t care if it’s bad. Let me rephrase that–it would have to be really bad.
You can’t have Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, and Hugh Jackman together in a movie and completely drop the ball. Parents can understand where I’m going with this. Picture this as your kid’s middle school play because you know no one in the world can tell you that they were not the best carrot ever in the representation of the food pyramid.
My history with this franchise is rather complicated. The first was a good start. It was kind of clunky and watching it now makes me cringe at some of the special effects. The second was fantastic–more character development, emotion, and energy. It was the actual X-men Origins: Wolverine without the actual origin. It should have remained that way, but Hollywood cannot resist a bad prequel. And the third….I might be one of the few people who appreciated the third for what it was. Epic soundtrack, but among other things, Rogue’s storyline bothered me. The reasons for her choosing to be human were not clear or supported very well. On one hand, her change felt like a cop out to be with Iceman. On the other hand, it was completely her choice to make even if it felt like she was denying an integral part of herself.
And say whatever you want about the plots, but the acting was top notch across the board. The franchise made me fall in love with Famke Janssen. When she flipped out in X3 as the Dark Phoenix that was freaking epic.
My only gripe is that Wolverine’s obsession and co-dependency with her ruins his story arc in The Wolverine movie. You remember, the hot mess whose mission impossible was to singlehandedly butcher the character and Japanese culture.
I was skeptical about X-Men: First Class, but I don’t know why. James McAvoy is usually fantastic and Michael Fassbender never lets me down either.
Despite the Olympic sized kitchen sink thrown in, everything came together well and another dimension was added to the characters we knew and gawked at. My favorite would probably be X2. The angst level is off the charts, there’s a whole Frankenstein-creation messed up relationship going on with Wolverine and Stryker, and the struggle isn’t as vague as the first movie. The mutants band together against a cause instead of fighting against each other. X2 had a smoother finish in terms of the arc and characterization. A lot was packed in. For X3, it could just be the change in direction, but it seemed pretty confusing. The somber nature of X3 and the gradual loss of Jean Grey to the Phoenix was a lot to take in. In X3, a few characters who played a large part in the first movies died. The two larger issues: the cure and the loss of Jean Grey didn’t mesh very well even when the final confrontation pitted both issues practically on top of each other.
Through the years, the movies made me appreciate differences. Differences should be used to embrace a wider appreciation of humanity instead of used to alienate people. X-Men was using a megaphone to point out that different doesn’t mean bad, and it definitely shouldn’t mean hated. Even though there is a ton of action, great lines, nice pacing, and all-star actors, that is the message that really stood out and a message that will keep making this franchise great.
And what we really need to marvel at is the evolution of Halle Berry’s hair through all the movies.
Sorry Halle, the verdict is still pending on that last one.