TOPLIST: X-Men

I discussed X-men movies with my VFX Supervisor, Robin.

 

T:
Just got back from Days of Future Past. Probably the best since X2. It’s really about discrimination and fear again, instead of about superpowers.
R:
Yeah, after a couple of movies they just sort of throw those themes out the window. First Class tried to find them again.
T:
Last Stand has the themes more than First Class.
R:
Does not!
T:
Does too!
R:
Let us make an X-Men toplist.

 

T:
In 7th place I have X-Men: First Class.
R:
Really?
T:
Of all the franchises I grew up with X-Men the most. The comics, the TV show, now the movies. More than Star Wars, more than any other geek thing that I was far too into. And to me, Matthew Vaugn doesn’t get X-Men. He makes fun movies, but they’re not X-Men. Vaugn has far too much fun. But X-Men isn’t Avengers. X-Men isn’t fun. X-Men is about discrimination and racism, about fear, loneliness and group behaviour. It’s like Vaugn just wanted to make a Bond movie.
R:
This is nothing like Bond.
T:
It’s in the sixties, they’re all secret agents with cool gadgets and fly suits. They’re too cool in a way. My problem with Matthew Vaugn’s X-Men is a bit like your problem with the JJ Abrams Star Trek movies. They’re fun, but they’re not Star Trek. I didn’t grow up with Star Trek, so it’s all fine by me.
R:
But those are discriminatingly bad! But I understand the comparison. I really liked Magneto in First Class though.
T:
Yeah, Magneto’s storyline was great. But I had a problem with most of the other mutants. Banshee and Angel, the girl who spits fireballs. Those aren’t cool powers. Especially not for a movie. That entire Xavier storyline, which is basically about a rich kid who get’s off on peoples powers. First Class should’ve been what it was originally going to be: X-Men Origins: Magneto. With just Magneto and Sebastian Shaw as the only mutants. But now they had like a thousand different mutants running around in that movie, far too many for the sixties, when nobody in the world was supposed to even know they existed. Days of Future Past tries to rectify some of that, bringing the mutants back undercover, instead of out in the open. Which works better with X1.
R:
I haven’t seen Days of Future Past yet, so I don’t have a 7th place.

R:
In 6th place I have X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
T:
Me too.
R:
It’s an hilariously melodramatic shit of a film. Dumb characters, horrible writing. Only some of the scenes with Wolverine being witty were sorta funny.
T:
It drifts off pretty far from the Wolverine and setting we saw in X1, to which this is essentially a prequel. And some of the VFX are really bad.
R:
How could they approve those?
T:
I have no idea. I used to superhate Origins as well, but not anymore. Maybe I’ve gotten used to it, maybe I’ve discovered the good bits in it.
R:
Oh you actually watched this more than once?
T:
I told you, X-Men is my bible.
R:
Oh yeah, right.

 

R:
In 5th place I have The Wolverine.
T:
Me too! It’s very ‘different’ isn’t it?
R:
This is kinda like Bond. Reminds me somewhat of You Only Live Twice.
T:
I don’t really watch Bond films. I liked the red-headed girl. Yukio. But I found it a little weird that the whole mutant issue wasn’t really going on in this movie, whilst this is supposed to happen after Last Stand.
R:
I guess all of that isn’t really going on in Japan.
T:
Setting it in Japan was a nice breath of fresh air though.
R:
I thought this was everything Origins should have been.
T:
Maybe, though I didn’t really get what exactly Wolverine’s arc was in this. That was left far too vague to focus on it so entirely. The swordfights were great, by the way.

 

R:
On 4th place I have The Last Stand.
T:
Again: Me too.
R:
It’s a fine continuation of the first two, but it suffers
from crowded plots and characters.
T:
Really? Than you won’t like Days of Future Past, which is the most crowded of all X-Men movies yet. But I thought Last Stand was kinda simple in it’s story. Little exposition and stuff, but more made as the third act to a story, the trilogy, which made this the action climax. I think it works if you think about it like that. But you’re right that they introduce a lot of mutants that don’t really have a function, like Vinnie Jones as Juggernaut, which was terrible. Though, to Brett Ratner’s defense, he was cast when Matthew Vaugn was still going to direct it I think. Matthew Vaugn really doesn’t get X-Men.
R:
It focusses on cool mutant powers too much, and it’s missing the themes of X1 and 2.
T:
No! It has those themes, with the cure, the oppression. That subplot of Rogue deciding to get rid of her powers.
R:
I thought that was Mystique’s story in First Class. Before first class she wasn’t that interesting a character.
T:
First Class is a 60’s revenge movie. Last Stand is Brett Ratner trying to make a Bryan Singer movie, in which he fails, but it is closer to what X-Men should be I think.
R:
I just enjoyed First Class a lot more.
T:
So on 3rd place I have X-Men: Days of Future Past. The middle act is a little slow, as it over-X-plains the plot for non-X-perts. But the first and final thirds of the movie are as good as Singer’s other episodes. It didn’t really feel as big as the budget suggested it was going to be, but then again, X-Men movies have never really felt huge in the way Avengers or Transformers feels huge. It focusses more on character. Which is also sort of my only problem with DOFP. The movie’s main story is about Wolverine having to convince Xavier to become the Xavier we know from Patrick Stewart. This is fine, but the depressed Xavier just isn’t one I personally like very much. Also: I would’ve liked to have seen more of the future bits, ’cause they were awesome. These are minor details. Overall it was very good. A return to form for the franchise with a nice teaser for the next part: X-Men: Apocalypse.
R:
My 3rd place has First Class, which we already sort of discussed. It has some of the same problems that Last Stand has, being overcrowded with plot and characters, but it was more enjoyable. But I really would’ve wanted it to be a Xavier/Magneto buddy cop movie à la Lethal Weapon.
T:
My 2nd place is X2: X-Men United, which is a terrible title by the way.
R:
But a great film.
T:
It’s a lot cooler than the first one, more slick and actiony. Especially in that opening scene.
R:
My 2nd place is the first one actually: X-Men. A great way to start a franchise and introduce the universe, the characters and the themes.

T:
My 1st place is the only one left: X-Men. The movie that sort of started the comic book movie craze and, I would say, is still the best one ever made. The dialogue and the metaphor are so spot on that they overshadow the comic book fun in a great way, making it very real, for a comic book movie. Maybe even the most real of all comic book movies. This is one of my all time favorite movies.
R:
My 1st place goes to X2 for the same reason why The Empire Strikes Back is the best Star Wars movie. Like Empire this too is very dependent on the first film, but it continues and improves on it’s characters and themes in a great way.
T:
Let’s recap.

T:                                          R:
7.   First Class                    –

6.   Origins                          Origins
        

5.   Wolverine                     Wolverine
        

4.   Last Stand                    Last Stand
        

3.   Future Past                   First Class
         

2.   X2                                   X-Men

         

1.   X-Men                            X2

             

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