How Marvel Studios Can Fix The X-Men Films

fox x-men poster

Now that Dark Phoenix is over and done with when it comes to the Fox X-Men films, it is time to turn to Marvel Studios. As the inheritors of the X-Men film franchise, the studio has some work cut out for them. The X-Men films do need some retooling after all, and there are a few fixes that Marvel Studios can implement as they integrate the mutants into the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).

Let the Mutants Rest

Fortunately, Marvel Studios is doing the right thing here, which is hard for some to accept considering the demand for the MCU to feature the X-Men. Marvel Studios head, Kevin Feige, repeatedly stated that there aren’t any plans to introduce the X-Men right away into the MCU and one of the main reasons is that the film studio already has plans for the MCU for the next few years. Trying to force the X-Men into the crowded, but beloved, cinematic universe would be too much.

x-men-dark-phoenix-funeral-scene

Then, after the bad taste that the last two X-Men films left fans with (sans the solo releases of Deadpool 2 and Logan), it is best for now to let the mutants rest. This will enable Feige and others the time to properly retool the franchise and cast its characters. Plus, imagine the built up anticipation for the X-Men. By the time they return, they will have a genuine comeback.

Be Faithful to the Comics and Characters

The X-Men comics from Marvel Comics were at one time among the most popular and revered comic books and for good reason. This was not because of their flashy costumes, and unlike Fox, Marvel Studios should not be afraid to use the comics costumes. Rather, the popularity was due to the wonderfully developed characters and situations. The Fox X-Men films have had a mixed record with the characters. At times they were fairly faithfully represented, other times not so much. Plus, some characters like Wolverine were allowed to hog the highlight and as a result many popular characters like Cyclops or Storm were given scant screen time.

Wolverine-Movie-Alternate-Ending-Costume

It is too easy to allow uber favorites like Wolverine dominate a film, but this is a mistake. The comics were successful because they were about a team with diverse characters. In other words, an ensemble. Ample time and issues were devoted to each of the X-Men members, which is why there are so many popular characters. Perhaps, Marvel Studios should do what Fox did with their prequel films and not feature Wolverine (which happened for the most part) and probably Magneto, as well, at least for the beginning. This leads to another fix.

Explore Other Villains

Magneto has played a prominent role in the Fox X-Men films, usually as an adversary, and for good reason. He is one of the greatest and most developed villains in Marvel Comics. To not use him in a major film is unheard of, but necessary at this point. He needs some rest at the moment, and a well thought-out reimagining. For instance, even though his Holocaust/World War II backstory is very powerful, it makes the Master of Magnetism very old today. Just look at the criticism in Dark Phoenix where Magneto still looked youthful in the film’s 1990s setting compared to his first introduction in the 1960s-set X-Men: First Class.  Another more recent real-world conflict or tragedy will have to be used such as the Yugoslav Wars or the Chechen War.

There are so many other worthy foes that the X-Men can face aside from Magneto. Take for example Mr. Sinister, Nimrod, Onslaught, the Marauders or the Freedom Force. Each of them are powerful, menacing foes with fascinating back stories and motives. Marvel Studios could also lean into its successful cosmic side and introduce the Brood or the Shi’Ar Empire. The latter force could then be used to properly adapt the “Dark Phoenix” storyline.

Go Epic and Personal

 

The X-Men are renowned for their epic story arcs like “Dark Phoenix”, “Days of Future Past”, “Age of Apocalypse” and “House of M”. These stories spanned several comics including other non-mutant titles and weren’t afraid to go big and tragic. The Fox X-Men films often felt like they were holding back when they tried to go epic. One exception was X-Men: Days of Future Past. But they dropped the ball on “Dark Phoenix” twice already and truncated the story. When adapting these stories Marvel Studios should not hesitate in going big. Of course, you can adapt them to fit the film and budget like Captain America: Civil War, but the film studio should not hold back.Age of Apocalypse

On the other side of this equation, the X-Men films in the MCU should not forget to make the films personal. Fox did fine with this aspect for many of their films like the first X-Men, where we saw what it felt like for a young person to experience being a mutant for the first time such as with Rogue. Other films that grounded the mutants included Logan, which explored Wolverine facing old age as he was slowly dying, and X-Men: First Class, which showcased several young adults grappling with their newfound powers. However, many of their other films glossed over personal journeys. A good example is X-Men: The Last Stand, which barely examined the ramifications of a mutant cure. But that was just one of that film’s flaws. Many of the comics had outstanding small, personal stories that explored what it was like to be a mutant in today’s world. This is the core concept of the X-Men comics: how to fit into a world where you are feared and hated. As long the future X-men films stick to this, then they will be beloved.

So, anyone reading this have their own ideas of how to fix the X-Men films? Drop a comment and share your thoughts.

 

 

11 comments on “How Marvel Studios Can Fix The X-Men Films

  1. Great post with some brilliant suggestions, I definitely feel that Marvel Studios need to rest the X-Men franchise for a good while (at least five years) and let the dust settle – that way by the time a reboot comes around audiences will be ready.

    I’d like to see them take a different approach from Fox, do a solo origin story for a character like Kitty Pride and have that serve as a lead in to their first X-Men film. My favourite line-up is the 90s X-team (Cyclops, Jean Grey, Gambit, Rogue, Beast and Psylocke) so I’d personally like to see that but not introduce Wolverine until the sequel (maybe a Wolverine solo in between) and bring in new characters as the universe expands, like we a saw with the Avengers.

    • Thanks for the comment. You bring up a good point about doing a solo origin film first.

      At one point way back then before Fox, Marvel was considering doing a Wolverine solo film first that would have ended with him meeting the X-Men.

      It’s a good idea and is something Marvel Studios implemented with the early MCU so it should be considered.

      The rationale was that it would have been cheaper to film and its success would justify a big budget X-Men film.

      • Ah, interesting – that’s a good point and obviously Marvel Studios wouldn’t need to worry about budget (Disney can pretty much just print money) and could go ‘all in’ with an X-Men epic straight away, but I would like to see something smaller and more grounded as a way in to that.

  2. Agree, I think they should rest the X-Men films a bit before doing more. I’ve still not had a chance to see Dark Phoenix, but I understand its bombed at the box office. I hope the MCU introduces the X-Men gradually, building the characters over time and concentrates on some of the other X-Men foes – I’d especially like to see Mr Sinister and perhaps the Inferno storyline in a movie.

    • Yes! Inferno is a great idea for an event film that could bring in other heroes from the MCU.

      Thankfully Feige and Marvel Studios are following the correct course. The only thing that would derail their plans is if a couple of their upcoming films aren’t well received and they pressured by Disney to start using the X-Men much sooner for the guaranteed box office money.

  3. The X-Men used to be my favs in both comics and movies, but now I rarely check them out. Logan was so damn good, but I had no interest in the newest Dark Phoenix movie which is a shame. Marvel has done such a good job building their MCU, and DC is desperately trying to keep pace, so now it should be the X-Men’s turn to shine. Combining them in the MCU is an idea- I always considered Scarlet Witch more of an X-Men, so there is an opening there.

  4. Im glad you mentioned the lack of strong representation of strong characters like Storm and Cyclops. It was a painful experience big X-Men fans shouldnt go through again.

    For me, what immediately comes to mind is that X-Men films have thus far lacked, for the most part, fun and well choreographed action sequences that last more than 30 s to a couple minutes. I dont think the Avengers would be so popular if Captain America fought one or two bads guys for a total of 2 min screen time.

    The films showed the Avengers is a force to be reckoned with. The X-Men in the films are potrayed more like the Boys and Girls Club of America trying to find their way as opposed to well-trained on point para-military with a penchant for higher education.

    • Thank you! That is a big gripe about the films. The fight scenes aren’t always well done or are too brief.

      Now that Marvel has them back hopefully the new films will get directors that will not only understand the mutants but choreograph fantastic fight scenes. The Russo Brothers have expressed interest in the X-Men and delivered great battle scenes in their previous MCU films. Let them have a crack at the X-Men and see what they can accomplish.

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