In the year two thousaaaaaaand….. the first live action X-Men movie, directed by Brian Singer was released. I remember how X-static I was to finally be seeing my favorite mutant heroes come to life on the movie screen. Despite some nitpicks here and there, overall it was a very good movie featuring a lot of details and story points that made the X-Men universe unique. We got the dynamic relationship of Professor X and Magneto and of course we got a fantastic portrayal of ever popular X-Man Wolverine played by the then unknown actor Hugh Jackman.
Even I, a staunch Wolverine hater readily admit that using Wolverine as the main focus character in this movie was a good move. He served as the eyes and ears of the viewers as he was introduced and incorporated into the X-Men world. The problem was that once it was time for the second movie to roll along, they decided to continue on the Wolverine –centric path at the detriment of his other fellow X-Men. True, they introduced another major X-Man in Nightcrawler who was also heavily featured but for the most part, X-Men 2 ended up looking more like a Wolverine solo feature with the rest of the X-Men tagging along for the ride.
By the third movie, they weren’t even trying. Wolverine was front and center and all the other X-Men were just background decoration. Even the supposed “star” of the second movie, Nightcrawler was nowhere to be found.
Years later, the very Professor X/Magneto centric X-Men First Class came out and it was once again, in my opinion a very good movie. Except it introduced yet another major problem to the X-Universe franchise…..Mystique. Now the overuse of Wolverine I can deal with. At least he WAS an X-Man. I don’t care how she has been portrayed in some comics story arcs but prior to First Class, there is NO WAY any true X-fan would consider Mystique a true member of the X-Men. In fact, as member of the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants and leader of Freedom Force, Mystique is actually one of their most dangerous enemies.
Up and coming actress Jennifer Lawrence was cast as young Mystique and in what I can only guess as a play to capitalize on her Hunger Games popularity the producers decided to make her Mystique character the main focus of their next set of X-movies. They shoehorned her into a now “shared” history with Professor X & Magneto and gave her a possible budding romance with Hank McCoy or Beast. Plus they gave her this really cheesy catchphrase/motto…”Mutant & Proud”….ughhh.
So now after five X-Men live action X-Men movies, we have an X-universe basically consisting of Wolverine, Mystique, Xavier and Magneto, one true X-Man, their founder/teacher and 2 classic X-villains, while other iconic X-Men, REAL X-Men like Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Colossus and so on playing the roles of virtually underdeveloped special effects in the background.
Now I’ll admit again, despite the gross underuse of the rest of the X-men, I thought the last 2 X-Men movies (First Class & Days of Future Past) were pretty good, and I am looking forward to the next one this year, but judging by their promotional poster, it looks like Mystique is still front and center of everything which really sucks for the rest of the X-Men. Seriously…take a look at this poster and tell me what’s wrong? Could it be that a widely know X-villain is standing dead center looking like the leader and THE most important X-Man in history? Oh and she’s no longer sporting her iconic blue mutant form, instead looking rather….human? It almost makes me wish we still had Wolverine.
Anyway, I am hopeful as both Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence have indicated that their respective time in the X-Universe is coming to an end sooner rather than later. It will be really interesting to see where the they go from there….but whatever direction the choose to go, I sincerely hope that they plan on including some REAL X-Men in their plans.