The Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to grow with films planned out for the next 10 years, it seems. The popularity is undeniable so of course the studio will continuing creating new stories until the trend finally slows down and dies out.
With that being said, which one is the best so far? Avengers? Guardians of the Galaxy? Captain America: The Winter Soldier? Possibly even this week’s Ant-Man?
Well, for me, it’s the X-Men series. I say series because it’s the entity of this universe that stands out to me, not a single movie (though I have my favorites). I barely remember seeing the first few when I was a kid back in 2000. My dad would be watching them on the TV and I’d catch bits and pieces without fully understanding what was going on. I only knew the characters from the 80’s cartoon and X-Men Evolution. It wasn’t until I was in college that I sat down and watched them all in full. After that I went out a bought the complete trilogy along with the first Wolverine movie. Obviously, I’d grown attached.
I realize that the series has it’s flaws and that they aren’t works of art or even considered “good” to many. Still, they’re fun for me and at the end of the day, that’s all that really matters. Even though I’ve seen each of them several times, they never grow old. I love their universe, I love the characters, I love the atmosphere, the plots, the humor, even the incredibly cheesy moments. They’re incredibly re-watchable.
As a kid the X-Men were always my favorite superhero team. I liked that they were a group of outcasts attempting to fit into society while playing hero. I liked that they each had their own power that they were just born with. No radioactive spiders or aliens or anything like that. It was just a part of their gene pool and it wasn’t much of a secret. The city knew, really the whole world knew, that there were people being born everyday with incredible abilities.
What grabbed me was the reaction created from this plot. Some people in this universe immediately see them as a threat while others just find it interesting. Some with powers like Magneto view themselves as superior and the next step in evolution. Others feel self-confident because of their gift. Some view these people as demons and a mistake of God. Some even searched desperately for a cure like this was a disease.
One of my favorite scenes comes from X3 (yes, I realize people loathe this film with all their hearts, but bear with me). In the beginning we see Angel as a child looking at himself in an expensive looking bathroom. The next thing we see is blood and clipped wings falling to the pristine floor. His dad steps in and finds him cutting off the budding wings from his back. Instead of comforting him or helping, all he says is “Oh god, not you” with unmistakable disgust. I got chills the first time seeing this played out and it’s moments like this that I can’t let go.
I care for these characters. I like seeing them interact with each other, I like seeing them in action, and I like just seeing them. They’re all interesting to me. Some of my favorite actors are in these movies and they became my favorites from these movies. I always thought these films were well casted because the actors just seem to fit the character they’re playing. It feels natural on screen which is something that’s not often seen.
To me, the X-Men series is different than the other Marvel films. It has it’s own unique atmosphere with this toned down sense of humor, chilling moments, intriguing plot points, and still harnesses (whether intentional or not) that vintage cheesy superhero feeling.
On a side note: I cannot wait until X-Men: Apocalypse. Nightcrawler? Angel? X-Men in the 80’s? Is it time yet?