Films

X-MEN franchise going strong after 14 years (SPOILERS)

BEFORE WE BEGIN I SHOULD MENTION THAT THERE WILL BE SPOILERS

The longest running superhero film franchise is back and it’s been one hell of a run (Yes the Avengers have more movies but that’s over fewer years). The series is in its 14th year and has used the same cast over and over again (except in a few cases involving prequels or getting a bigger star for the role as in the case of Shadow Cat). Starting in 2000 with the original film; yes to all you people who saw it in the cinema, we are that old now, the film was gritty, deep and it didn’t have the action that future installments would have but it ditched the spandex and replaced it with a more bad-ass all black look.

 

In 2003 we got our follow up X2, this was everything we could have wanted; it had the deepness of the first film but with more action and some kick ass special effects, this was a sequel that out did the original on every mark. Sadly those days where not going to last three years later. In 2006 our hopes were dashed with what seemed like a generic super hero film that lost all the feel of the first two and then decided to kill off a lot of characters for no good reason. Maybe we all did something to upset Brett Ratner, who knows, but he can’t be totally to blame for everything that happened.

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Love this fan made image

Next came our first spin off Wolverine Unleashed – This film apparently suffered from a lot of issues on set and it comes across. Though there are more than a few story problems that could prop up because of certain changes to characters and casting but nothing absolutely major. Still the film was lack-luster, the cast was fantastic and the story was good but it did not come together perfectly, still it was a dramatic improvement from The Last Stand.

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The female members of the NG staff where very pleased with this line up

Finally in 2011 the series found itself fully redeemed with First Class. With Matthew Vaughn acting as director of this prequel things really took off. With a cast that was equally as talented though younger than the previous cast things went incredibly well. I think this one took us all by storm (see what I did there? that’s an X-Men pun) because when the hell do prequels actually satisfy us? It was a strong start to this new series and with a defiantly unexpected cameo by Wolverine, both old and new where firmly tied together. It had great action, some great comedic moments and also a lot of heart. If that wasn’t enough they gave the Wolverine Spin-offs another go and this time they hit bull’s-eye (not an X-Men pun but a marvel comics one). OK its final battle was a little silly but The Wolverine was a great film and I’m a little sad that the cast from it won’t be appearing in other X-Men films, well it has not been said that they won’t appear but it seems unlikely.

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Blink, proving that just because its a bleak future it doesn’t mean you cant look good

 

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Bishop – Total badass !

Now we are in 2014 and the latest part of the series has graced us with its presents. With Bryan Singer returning to the directing chair and taking back control of this series the stakes were high. Both original and new casts where united for this epic story. Set in a post-apocalyptic future the X-Men must send Wolverine back into his younger body to prevent this terrible future from ever happening.  Based, I emphasize BASED on the original Days of Future Past story line, which both fans of the comics and 90’s cartoon series will be familiar with.

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The cover to the original series.

As with the previous films the cast was superb. The new future X-Men having a few new additions, War Path (though maybe he could have had better weapons, instead of daggers), Bishop, who looked totally badass, they got that one right in so many ways, Blink – this one is a character I was very fond of and the way they recreated her ability, it looked just stunning, finally Sunspot, he just looked cool, hands down, the affects used for them all where marvellous. (Yes that was my third pun).

Don't worry as with all X-Men films Wolverine gets shirtless and shot at, its the done thing !

Don’t worry as with all X-Men films Wolverine gets shirtless and shot at, its the done thing!

The film kept up the tradition of having a few great pieces of humour spliced in through a dark gritty story line with plenty of action. It was well paced and very engrossing. From start to finish you are just sucked in to this dark world. Yes there were some changes to the original story line but they seemed to work for the best. A few of the old characters that you were not expecting making minor appearances Havoc, Stryker and Toad to name but a few. One of the most surprising finds for me was Quicksilver, at first I hated his look but once I saw him on screen, including his little dialogue with Magneto I loved him; he helped lighten the tone ever so slightly. The little bits of comedy where needed because the film at times could be very brutal and dark, the deaths where more graphic than I would have expected, not hyper violent, just more than what I was waiting for. I really need to mention the Sentinels, the creators really captured that silent overwhelming feel that they gave off and even kept some of the purple for them so its win win for fans and non fans alike.

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If you want to get me something for my birthday next month, may I suggest one of these.

My only major two hates is that characters like Emma Frost and Banshee are officially dead, which well sucks because they are integral parts of the franchise, well at least so in the comics. My other pet hate is, well there was not enough Dinklage, I think we can all agree that he is amazing and you can never have too much Peter Dinklage in a movie so this isn’t really a massive issue. In the end the film repaired a lot of issues with the franchise, sadly it didn’t answer all the questions, but we can ignore those now that we have been teased with a little bit of Apocalypse and his original Four Horsemen at the end of the film.

 

Maybe it’s because it’s just the latest one that I have seen but this film had the wit and charm of First Class, the depth of X and X2 plus the action of The Wolverine, not to mention an excellent teaser at the end, the film has been the best one yet. (If there are any complaints all I can say is at least they ditched Magnetos Vibrant costume from the end of First Class and gave him something more subtle for this picture.)

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