Movie Club: X-Men

Discussion in 'Introductions & Off Topic' started by LiamABC, Dec 8, 2018.

  1. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    WELCOME EVERYBODY TO THE LATEST DISCUSSION THREAD OF THE NEW MOVIE CLUB, DESIGNED TO RUN PARALLEL WITH R.O.C.K.S. A big thanks to everyone that are joining us through all of this.

    This week we're continuing the Stan Lee tribute to with X-Men.

    Remember any ideas for films to discuss are most welcome, and should be made on the Movie Club Introduction thread (the sticky one), and anyone is welcome to add their thoughts about movies already discussed on their respective threads.

    Just a friendly reminder to everyone that, whilst fans are obviously welcome to passionately discuss and give their views on these movies, please remember to keep things on a friendly footing and respect your fellow posters.
    Also, please do not post where or how to find the full movie online. And do not post asking others to PM it to you. You are however allowed to watch the movie in whatever manner you want.
     
  2. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    I recently watched this movie.

    Back when this movie first came out the biggest talking point/controversy was the uniforms all being so bland and generic looking compared to the comic look.
    In some ways I can understand changing the costumes of most f the characters to be fair they were pretty silly. Even by comic book standards I think some of the X-Men's outfits are definitely among the strangest...especially the Jim Lee/early 90's versions. I really doubt they would have transitioned well to live action.
    The more practical uniform black outfits did make more sense for a team....but it would have been nice if they had done a little something to make them more unique for each member. And also kept the more traditional X-Men team colours of Blue and Yellow uniforms. I'm not saying they needed to be super bright but even more darker/muted hues would have been better than the pretty bland black outfits.

    Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen give great performances as Xavier and Magneto. Although I do think both were a little to old for the parts compared to the comics and cartoon. But considering their leader roles and powers it isn't too important.
    Hugh Jackman was quite good as Wolverine although I really think he should have been a bit more grizzled/older looking. And shorter. I know that is a nit pick but in the comics and cartoon one big (pun intended) aspect of Wolverine's character is that he is short. He is small but vicious like a...Wolverine. He should be under 5'6" but Jackman is over 6'.
    One of the best looking character designs and special effects in the film is Mystique.
    I quite liked Sabretooth's look. He had the height and quite animal looking but not so sure about the outfit. But then again of the comic outfits Sabretooth's was among the silliest looking. I think he would have looked better in some hunting/tactical gear instead of regular clothes and a trench coat.
    Rogue really is pretty bland compared to her look and abilities in the comics.
    Halle Berry was great as Storm.

    The story is okay. There is quite a lot going on but not that much excitement and is far too slow with not enough action.

    Personally I would rather have seen a more interesting origin story, something more closer to the comics with Xavier putting the team together instead of so much of the story being focussed on Wolverine joining the team.

    Another slight issue I have is the team members.
    Not counting Xavier the main team is Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm and Wolverine along with Rogue.
    Considering the vast amount of characters in the X-Men I really wish they had went with a more unique and diverse cast that would have been more interesting than the pretty dull selection of characters they did choose.
    In terms of a glancing look it's just a few people in black outfits all roughly the same size.
    If they had picked a more unique bunch of different heights and builds and features it would have looked so much more interesting.
    Like for example a short Wolverine, large Colossus, Storm, Psylocke etc. Or if they had even just had the original line up of Angel/Archangel, Beast, Cyclops, Marvel Girl/Jean Grey and Iceman it would have been so much more interesting looking.

    The end fight was pretty spectacular for the time.

    Overall a quite good film. But definitely not among the best superhero films. The film really isn't up to the standard of the more recent Marvel MCU movies.
    Hopefully when the Disney/Fox deal is completed the X-Men will be joining the Marvel Cinematic Universe and they can do a better movie.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2018
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  3. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    I have seen all of the X-Men movies made so far, and honestly I never really got into them as much as I did other superhero movies. I can't put my finger on the exact problem, but perhaps it's a combination of things, many of which Mark already mentioned above so I won't be repeating them (too much).

    There's just too much going on in the movie and too many characters (which is never ideal for a first movie in a franchise). The director doesn't handle them all well together so he's jumping form one to the other. As a result some are developed more than others. Frankly I wasn't particularly impressed with any of the characters. I just didn't find them likeable/cool enough to say "man I wish I was like him!". Like Mark said, many characters felt too bland, not just in appearance but in personality as well. Mystique was probably the best character in the entire movie.

    Since we are only doing one movie per franchise, I guess it is ok if I talk a bit about the other X-Men movies as well. One of the biggest problem I've had with the X-Men franchise is that there are just WAY too many continuity errors to simply ignore and enjoy the movies. The histories of many characters are changed from movie to movie, as are their characteristics. Like Magneto. The filmmakers keep on flip-flopping him between being a good guy and a bad guy. Kind of like Loki in MCU. Also a character is dead in one movie, alive in the next, dead in the following and back alive again after that.
     
    Mark M likes this.
  4. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    X-Men is probably the franchise I'm most familiar with as I remember really enjoying the cartoon in my teens. It was perhaps the last action cartoon I properly got into as a kid. I remember watching it regularly in about 1996.

    The film came as a slight shock to the system the first time I saw it but I was quick to appreciate why certain changes were made.

    Because it is such a large team, a la Transformers/GI Joe, and the concept is that they were all born with these different powers, rather than a lab experiment going wrong or a radioactive spider bite etc, it's not going to be possible to tell all the individual origin stories in one film. The story as is in this film with Wolverine joining an established team is actually comparable to Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. However, they could have explained a few more individual cases specifically. When Wolverine and Rogue are rescued by Xavier's established team, they could have at least told origin stories - possibly in flashback - for Cyclops, Storm and Jean.

    That brings me to my biggest beef - Cyclops was way underused in this franchise, despite having one of the coolest looking powers. He is Xavier's second in command, which is pretty important, but in this movie is more just a presence than a real character. But at least he has his moments in this one. In the second he's out for much of it, and in the third one he's killed off so gratuitously at the start. That is no way to treat such a character. I guess the budget didn't extend to getting a big enough name to play him, as James Marsden can't really compete in star terms with the other big names.

    The one thing I always found fascinating in the cartoon, which was still explored here, was the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. Two leaders of large powerful opposing forces being such close personal friends, that is a jaw-dropping concept. You get the feeling that even in the heat of battle, they wouldn't want to see any harm come to the other and if one of their number did kill the other, he or she would not be in favour with the leader. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen were perfect for this. Patrick Stewart was always going to be the only possible choice for Xavier, and McKellen was perfect for Stewart. If there's one thing the film got absolutely spot on, it's that.

    Rogue was very different from what I expected, I didn't actually know about her fatal touch power until I saw this film. It made perfect sense though to make the character like this for the film - suddenly discovering this power in your teens and seeing its effects right in front of you would make you afraid to touch anyone ever again. The character was well handled.

    Storm's all-powerful weather-controlling ability was familiar territory, as was Jean's mind powers, these were all dealt with in a way that made sense. I actually liked the way Wolverine was introduced, and the whole memory gap thing. Between Wolverine and Jean, they left plenty of room for the sequels, although I've only seen up to Origins: Wolverine.

    The story in general made sense. There was enough suspense to make up for the lack of action. Perhaps a little disjointed in places but not massively so. I still like this film. Not so big on the sequels though. Might have to cover the cartoon in ROCKS next year, although that might necessitate just doing one season in its entirety.
     
    Mark M likes this.
  5. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    This 100%. They really weren't that likeable or interesting.

    @Liam I completely agree about the relationship about Xavier and Magneto. They both are doing what they think is best for Mutant kind.

    I have only seen the second X-Men movie and bits of the sequels/prequels and some of the Wolverine movies. I was pretty disappointed with all of them...Wolverine Origins especially. A movie that was so bad they made fun of it in the Deadpool movies.
    Marvel is having some glory now with the MCU movies but the 90's-2008 were really hit and miss for their movies and they really were more miss than hit. The only ones I really liked was Captain America 1990 and Spider-Man. There was characters I liked but I really disliked their movies like Daredevil, Fantastic Four etc. X-Men is a good enough film but I don't like it as much as Captain America or Spider-Man.
    X-Men, much like Transformers, the first...whilst far from perfect...is still the best compared to the sequels. Although according to all reviews the reboot/Bumblebee movie is now the best live action Transformers movie.

    I think if we cover the X-Men cartoon, like some other shows, we really should just stick to specific highlight episodes. If people want to become more familiar with the characters they can do that themselves instead of covering so many epiosdes over several weeks.
     
  6. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    My point about the cartoon was that it had a lot of long-term story arcs a la Prince Valiant/Exosquad. So it might be tricky to cover in the traditional way of just picking a few highlights.
     
  7. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Actually I still need to finish re-watching the first season so perhaps watching the full first season would be good idea.
    The first season after all is only 13 epiosdes. Earlier I in my previous post I was thinking the first season was over 20 episodes.
     
  8. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    It was the only way to cover Exosquad - and indeed, Prince Valiant had to be condensed down and we still covered most of that first season. 90s cartoons were just better at continuity than their 80s predecessors.
     
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  9. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Just saw "X-Men: First Class" last night after getting the DVD, and first class is exactly what it was. I had issues with the third, and to a lesser extent, the second film, partly because certain characters weren't properly developed, notably Cyclops. The fourth film (X-Men Origins: Wolverine) was a different kettle of fish and as I recall OK. But this fifth film exploring the early days of Xavier and Magneto's acquaintance is fantastic. Apart from a brief cameo by Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in a bar, telling the young Xavier and Magneto what to do with themselves, the only other majorly familiar characters are young versions of Mystique and Beast. Although to someone who's just watched the entire X-Men cartoon over again, I recognised most of the other characters. This origin story was set against the Cuban missile crisis and very effective it was too.
     
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  10. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    It's good that you got a chance to watch "X-Men: First Class", Liam. I feel that it is the best of the new trilogy (First Class, Days of Future Past, Apocalypse). It was great to see the younger versions of the characters that we had become familiar with in the previous X-Men movies. I really liked Magneto/Erik's story arc. You can understand his mindset and why he is what he is, and not just your typical bad guy who wants to take over the world for no apparent reason.

    The younger mutants I felt were a hit and miss. Some I liked, others not so much. I wasn't a fan of the Beast's more "furry" appearance. I much preferred his look from the movies with Kelsey Grammar. Kevin Bacon I felt was simply superb as Sebastian Shaw. The friendship between Erik and Charles was well developed as was Charles' relationship with Raven.
     
  11. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Beast's furrier appearance was deliberate and you can see they had a reason for it. I have only seen The Last Stand once so can't remember what Kelsey Grammer looked like in the part, other than blue. He was certainly the best thing about that movie - the way Cyclops was killed off so early on was just wrong, he was too important a character to have such a gratuitous death, but then again he was underused in the whole trilogy.

    You could see that in First Class they were trying to think which characters they could use in place of the regulars, and it worked pretty well, using Havok instead of Cyclops, his brother - usually Cyclops is the older brother but they've made it the other way round for this, and fair enough if it suited their needs.

    Kevin Bacon was indeed good as Shaw, he even managed to look a bit like the cartoon version of him, only thinner. January Jones as Emma Frost - that scene where she placed the illusion in the guy's mind that he was having his way with her does seem like a hell of a way to get someone's guard down without doing them any harm!

    Mystique's early years were interesting indeed. The interplay between her and Beast, we can see why she went with Magneto at the end. Magneto too, you can see why he became what he ultimately became. Dammit, it's an excuse for me to watch the first film again, the best of the initial trilogy. That and the fact that I watched the cartoon the other week too...
     
  12. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    @LiamABC you should watch the Deadpool movies.
     
  13. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Something else that occurred to me when I was watching the cartoon earlier this year. On the face of it, the men have all the cool fighting powers, Cyclops with laser eyes, Wolverine with his claws, Gambit with the ability to turn anything he touches into a grenade effectively - but it's actually the women who have the more powerful abilities in the scheme of things, Storm controlling the weather, Rogue with her fatal touch, and Jean with her telepathic/telekinetic powers, and Mystique with her shapeshifting abilities. The main exceptions are Xavier and Magneto, who both have major abilities, Xavier with his extreme telepathy and Magneto's control of metal.

    I saw a box set of the first 8 films for a good price online and am thinking of getting it.
     
  14. Mark M

    Mark M Thunderian Legend

    Rogue was also really strong and could fly.

    The 8 movie boxset would be pretty good if you like the films.
     
  15. The Drifter

    The Drifter Berbill

    Being a big fan of the X-men comics in the '80's (especially the issues drawn by iconic comic book artist John Byrne), I actually did not want to see the film on it's release, since I didn't think they would do the comic justice. So, I avoided seeing the film for several years.

    When I eventually did see this (circa 2003-ish), I wasn't that impressed. It was an OK first film in the franchise. I didn't like the bland black uniforms (a huge difference from the more colorful ones in the comics), and felt that Rogue & Wolverine's first meeting was forced. I also wished that there had been more characters in the film.

    However, the casting here is possibly the best casting I've ever seen for a comicbook movie: Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, Anna Paquin as Rogue, Halle Berre as Storm, P. Stewart as Professor X, Ian McKellan as Magneto, Famke Jannsen as Jean Grey, etc. seem like they're pulled right from the comics. I can't imagine finding better actors to play these roles - amazing job here.

    I've written up reviews for all of the other X-men films (I've seen all of them) that I posted on other sites over the years, but didn't want to de-rail this thread too much - just in case those other films are discussed at a later date in dedicated threads.
     
    Last edited: Feb 23, 2019
  16. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    I suppose when you're establishing a big team in a first movie you can only shoehorn in so many characters. Beast would have been a cool addition but they probably felt it would have been too much for the makeup or CGI people. Gambit would have been cool too but they already had Cyclops and Wolverine with built-in laser and knife powers, so Gambit's ability would have been a little redundant here. You could see in the sequels they were a little more adventurous with which characters to include - Nightcrawler in the second movie, and I really wished they'd kept him on in the third - and finally Beast in the third, as well as Angel, although the latter didn't really serve much of a purpose in it, he was entirely outside the main storyline, just there to first embarrass and ultimately rescue his father.

    My biggest gripe in the original trilogy, I've said before, is the lack of attention given to Cyclops - he's too important a character to be sidelined like this. He's in charge of the team after Xavier, so yes he definitely should be given more prominence. Maybe James Marsden was just not a big enough name for that, but still...

    But yes, elsewhere, the casting was great. Patrick Stewart was the only person who could do justice to Xavier, and Ian McKellen was perfect to play opposite him. Hugh Jackman really looked the part of Wolverine - I've heard it said that he was too young, but not really when you factor in that the character of Wolverine was already way older than anyone else in the movie, he was over a century old already. As long as he looked old enough to not be asked for ID, he was fine. Halle Berry was also spot-on as Storm, and Anna Paquin as Rogue, yes, she had the innocence. Rogue's powers were less here than in the cartoon because the reason for her flying and super strength in the cartoon were due to her having absorbed Ms Marvel's powers, which had not happened here.
     
  17. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    It's funny you should say that because many of these actors were not the first choice of the producers. Dougray Scott was to play Wolverine but he backed out at the last moment because of "Mission Impossible 2". Instead of Rogue, the first X-Men movie was to have a character called Jubilee and they wanted Natalie Portman to play it. When she turned it down, they changed the character to Rogue and Anna Paquin was cast only after the producers first choice Sarah Michelle Geller couldn't accept the role. Cyclops was initially to be played Michael Biehn. When he turned it down Jim Caviezel signed on but later on had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Angela Bassett was the first choice to play Storm then it was Jada Pinkett Smith and only after she turned it down did the role go to Halle Berry.Helen Hunt was the first choice for the role of Jean Grey.
     
  18. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    The deleted scenes on the DVD include Jubilee as one of the students. Having Rogue as the teenager discovering her powers actually worked very well here. If you're familiar with the 90s cartoon, yes the changes are jarring the first time you see the film but they do all work in context.
     
  19. Wilycub

    Wilycub Staff Writer and Artist TC.org Staff

    I am not familiar with the X-Men cartoons or the comics. The movies were my first introduction to these characters so I can only judge them from the movies. But I completely share your feelings regarding Cyclops. He was really sidelined in a bad way. Wolverine is like an anti-hero and this makes Cyclops presence even more necessary so that he can be the "true blue hero". There could have been great conflict/chemistry between Cyclops and Wolverine (like Iron Man and Captain America) if only the writers had wanted to.
     
  20. LiamABC

    LiamABC Thunderian Legend

    Exactly. The presence of Jean as well, making that triangle, added to that. For this reason I felt that the second movie, for all its faults, rounded things off nicely when Wolverine told Cyclops at the end, "she made her choice, it was you." Having Jean just emerge from the lake alive at the start of the third film and kill Cyclops so gratuitously was just wrong on so many levels.
     
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