The X-men movies are one of the most popular movie franchises of the past 15 years, and understandably so the characters are some of the most popular characters of all time. Luckily for 20th Century Fox, when they started making the X-men movies there was a burgeoning audience for superhero movies featuring the popular comic book characters…and it worked for a while. But then, Marvel Studios was founded and they came out with their own superhero movies, which arguably put studios like Fox to shame.
By 2006, the bar had officially been raised, and although X-men remains popular, the movies don’t seem to hold up to the new standard set by Marvel/Disney. As a result, the new question then becomes: should 20th Century Fox continue to make X-men movies or should they leave well enough alone and chalk up their box office domination to a good run before they kill the franchise and fans start to lose interest in big screen adaptations of the comic books? Let’s explore some of the key factors in a potential analysis.
The Cast is Aging.
Don’t get me wrong, I have enjoyed watching Hugh Jackman play Wolverine, and even though in a strange coincidence he is starting to look more and more like the comic book version of the character, I can’t help but notice the age factor; and it’s not just Wolverine. The last X-men movie, Days of Future Past, was a debacle of many sorts, but one thing that stood out to me was the obvious difference in perceived believability (as far as strength is concerned) among the original X-men characters and the new cast members.
I, for one, feel as though the original cast, including the great Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen needs to retire and allow the new cast members like Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy to assume the reigns before people like me start to lose interest. I think 20th Century Fox is well aware of this, or else why would they have begun to transition the roles to a younger cast two movies ago? Days of Future Past was the perfect send off to the old cast members and gave us the closure that viewers who have been there since the first X-men movie deserved to sort of signify the end of an era.
Too Much Too Soon?
Ever since the first X-men movies hit theaters back in 2000, nearly every three years a new X-men movie was released, with the exception of X-men First Class, the Wolverine and X-men Days of Future Past, which came out nearly back to back in 2011, 2013, and 2014 respectively. Basically, that means that over the course of the past 15 years, we have been inundated with X-men movies, without much of a break in between. And, there doesn’t seem to be a change of pace anytime soon, either, as two more X-men movies, X-men Apocalypse and a third Wolverine movie are slated to be released in 2016 and 2017. Maybe 20th Century Fox knows the clock is ticking, primarily because of the rights situation, and wants to exploit the franchise just a little bit more before bidding it adieu.
The Storyline doesn’t really do Justice to the Source Material.
According to the X-men comic books Kitty Pride was the one that traveled in time in the original Days of Future Past storyline. In the movie adaptation, as we all know, it was Wolverine centric and he was the one that traveled to the past, instead of the future. Clearly, 20th Century Fox knows who the most popular characters are in the X-men movies, by emphasizing a plot line featuring Wolverine, but it would have been nice, and dare I say more exciting, to see the movie play out more closely to the source material.
Wouldn’t it be cool to have X-men in the next Avengers Movie?
Although for the most part I didn’t care for the movie, one of my favorite parts of Days of Future Past featured the character Quick Silver. Unfortunately, due to an ongoing issue with Marvel over the rights, the writers could only suggest that Quick Silver was Magneto’s son, as opposed to clearly stating it; which we all know to be true. But, that’s not all. Because two different movie studios own both the X-men and Avengers, we will never see the same person play Quick Silver in the upcoming Avengers movie as we saw in the last X-men movie, we also will never see storyline involving the two franchises as depicted in the source material and we will never get to see what Marvel Studios/Disney would could do with the X-men, if given the opportunity to reboot the entire X-men franchise, which is a shame because since Marvel created the characters there is a far greater chance that the storyline would reflect the source material more closely. Even though the X-men are Marvel characters, until 20th Century Fox loses the rights to the franchise, audiences will not likely ever see the X-men share the big screen with the Avengers.
So, to answer my proposed question: should 20th Century Fox stop making X-men movies, I give a resounding YES! Sure, we would get another updating of the characters, but we would also gain so much more, such as potential storyline that more closely reflect the source material and perhaps my favorite of all, a chance to see the X-men and Avengers share the big screen. Just a thought!