Friday, July 17, 2015

The new X-Men film could be Apocalypse Wow or Apocalypse Now

The new X-Men film could be Apocalypse Wow or Apocalypse Now
by rick olivares

In a world where scoops and first looks on social media have become the rage, that staple of Hollywood films and gossip, Entertainment Weekly (EW), once more got the drop on every and the annual San Diego Comic Convention with its latest issue. The July 24 cover date issue features characters from the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse film with Olivia Munn as the sexy ninja warrior Psylocke, Oscar Isaac as the tyrannical Apocalypse, and Michael Fassbender as the tragic anti-hero Magneto. 

Two weeks earlier, EW likewise gave that first look of the eagerly-anticipated Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice with Ben Affleck donning the cape and cowl of Batman, Israeli actress looking mightily statuesque as Wonder Woman, and Henry Cavill as Superman.

Talk about making a case for print as a viable medium!

However, this is all about the upcoming X-Men film, eighth of the franchise on 20th Century FOX (counting the two Wolverine films). Like the comic book that was for the better part of close to three decades was the best selling comic on this planet, the film franchise has killed it. Each film has averaged a production budget of $147 million but the American market earnings averaged $185 million while the worldwide box office numbers raked in an average of $437 million. 

Good numbers?

Well, technically, yes. But if you look at the numbers list for all superhero films at the box office, the X-Men films are nowhere in the Top 10. Try somewhere between #15-20 where the maligned X-Men: The Last Stand, the third offering of the franchise, is penciled in. And in perfect symmetry, the X-comic books themselves have likewise tumbled out of the Top 10 in sales. 

I have been a fan of the X-Men comic books since I first beheld the Roy Thomas and Neal Adams comics with X-Men #56 and remained a steadfast follower and collector until a few years ago when I became unhappy with its direction and stopped buying it altogether for the first time in over three decades. 

The X-Men film franchise arguably first showed that yes, Hollywood can get superhero films right. None of the campy writing, lousy special effects, and B or C-list actors — is there such a thing — playing comicdom’s beloved characters. 

While moviegoers may not necessarily be comic book fans, hence, their not caring for continuity, for the fanboy, it still makes us cringe to see the filmmakers mostly stray from the X-men canon (yes, I understand that the producers are packing nearly 50 years of mutant history in a two-hour film but I still digress). 

Here’s a litany of problems or at the risk of committing comic sacrilege, “Crisis on Infinite X-Men films."

Bolivar Trask
Bolivar Trask uses Mystique’s mutant genes to power up his Sentinels to counter the X-Men’s abilities? But Mystique is a shape shifter. She is unable to mimic the powers of others so what gives?

Furthermore, is Trask a shape shifter as well? In X-Men: The Last Stand, the creator of Sentinel technology was played by Bill Duke (of Predator fame) who is African American. In Days of Future Past, Trask is now the brilliant but dwarfish Peter Dinklage! Honey, who shrunk the kids? Or is this the first appearance of Ant-Man?

Is Wolverine unique or not? In X2: X-Men United, baddie William Stryker, a military man in the films as opposed to a religious leader in the comics, says that Logan (Wolvie) is unique yet in another film the same power is bestowed upon Lady Deathstrike and Deadpool?

And there’s the matter of his claws that were cut by the Silver Samurai at the end of Wolverine leaving him with only his bone claws. But in Days of Future Past, he’s got his adamantium claws back with no explanation! 

In X-Men, Wolverine cannot remember his past yet in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Logan can recall World War II. 

Will the real Emma Frost stand up?
In X-Men: Wolverine, Emma, is a hapless and helpless mutant while in Days of Future Past, she’s a villainess. How can her younger self be an ultimate baddie then become an ultimate weakling?

Kitty Pryde
Kitty Pryde’s basic power is to change her molecular density that allows her to pass through solid matter. In Days of Future Past, how is she able to shift a person’s consciousness back into the timestream when she never even previously demonstrated that ability in previous X-films let alone the comics?

Charles Xavier
And there’s the matter of Professor Charles Xavier’s age. In X-Men, Xavier says that he first met Magneto when he was 17 however in X-Men: First Class, it is shown that the teacher is in his 20s when he meets the Master of Magnetism. In Days of Future Past, Xavier is in his 30s while X-Men Origins: Wolverine, that takes place a decade later, he is portrayed by a significantly older Patrick Stewart. 

And there’s the matter of who really built the mutant detector Cerebro? In the comics, it’s Xavier. In the first few films, Magneto helped Xavier. But in X-Men: First Class it was built by the Beast! 

In the first X-Men film, Xavier doesn’t know how Magneto is able to shield his mind and thoughts from him. Yet in X-Men: First Class, a story that takes place during their younger days, it is revealed that the now infamous helmet design of Magneto was already present and Charles knew that with the headpiece on, he cannot get to his frenemy. 

In X-Men: The Last Stand, a crazed Jean Grey vaporizes Xavier just like she did to Cyclops earlier. But in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, the professor is his usual old bald and crippled self. 

Do Beasts have brains?
Speaking of the Beast, in X-Men: The Last Stand, the Beast learns of a cure for mutants yet in Days of Future Past, featuring a younger version of himself, he discovers a cure for the mutant gene. 

And there’s more! But let’s not get into that yet.

In the first look at X-Men: Apocalypse, the thousand-year old villain who is this massive figure in the comics looks like a stripling! 

And why does Cyclops (Tye Sheridan) look like he’s fresh out of high school while Jean Grey looks older than him?

Of course, we hope that the Bryan Singer-directed film will be great. However, even in filmdom, there is such a thing as continuity because right now, the way they are going about the X-Men canon in both film and comics could hasten the arrival of the apocalypse. 

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