A Brief Introduction To The X-Men Film Series

15 10 2015

X-Men: The Last Stand (20th Century Fox - 2006)

I don’t know if you saw my lacklustre, mediocre post on Tuesday (sorry about that, I was pretty tired when I wrote it), but in case you didn’t; all next week (Monday to Sunday) right here on this blog I will be posting the biggest writing project I have undertaken since finishing University. To cut a long story short, it’s an entire week of film reviews, one every day; and to keep it nicely wrapped up altogether it’s going to be all the (current films) in one particular series of films. Now while I could build up the excitement and tension to the eventual reveal, the title of my post pretty much tells you which film series I have decided to review: X-Men. So, before next week’s exciting series begins, I thought I would give you a (hopefully brief) introduction to the X-Men Film Series, along with other little bits of interesting information, but promise to try and not go too deep with explaining what happens in the films themselves, otherwise I have ended up wasting the last 4-5 months writing X-Men film reviews.

The X-Men film series is easily one of cinemas most recognisable film series with currently 7 films released over the last 15 years. Since the release of the first film in 2000, it has become a financial and critical success, and to this day is one of the 15 highest grossing film franchises/series to date having grossed more money than some of the cinemas more recognisable movie franchises including: Terminator, Indiana Jones, Star Trek and Mission Impossible. It is also a series of great critical acclaim with 4 out of 7 films receiving fresh ratings of 81% and higher on Rotten Tomatoes. It is one of the longest running film series this century having not one restart, reboot or remake anywhere in it (unlike other series that come to mind: Superman, Batman, Spider-Man, Fantastic 4, Hulk, James Bond, Terminator and Star Trek), and has turned both growing stars and absolute nobodies into some of the cinemas best known and even household names. X-Men as a series and what it has achieved over the last 15 years is unlike any other in cinema today, and is set to continue with not 1 but 3 films due for release next year, (Deadpool, Gambit and X-Men: Apocalypse) along with a third solo outing for one of its biggest stars in 2017 (third Wolverine film) and even plans for 2 other potential films already underway.

X-Men Comics

The X-Men film series is of course based on the Marvel Comics and characters of the same name. The story of the X-Men follows a super hero team made up of a second caste of humanity known as mutants. While they look the same as Humans, Mutants come with special abilities and powers, and the X-Men are made up of some of these mutants. Life for the X-Men though is a tough one, because while they are a super hero team, fighting dangerous threats and saving humanity on a daily basis, humanity isn’t exactly fond of mutants, and sees them as a threat. From the get go, the X-Men have been a different kind of super-hero team, one that while saves the day like all other super heroes, they have to fight those they try to save, and fight for a future where mutants can be free from persecution. Leading them in this charge is Professor Charles Xavier who fights for a future where both humanity and mutants can live in peace together. A difficult thing to fight for, especially when there are other mutants out there who don’t think this kind of future is possible. In step Magneto, a mutant who can manipulate metal and an old friend of Charles Xavier. While remaining as something of a friend to Xavier here and there, Magneto believes only one species can survive and thus begins the battle between the two. As the series continues, new enemies and threats enter the fold with major villains like Apocalypse, Mister Sinister and Onslaught to name but a few. However, Xavier does not have to face such threats alone and with his team of X-Men including (but not limited too) Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Wolverine, Iceman, Shadowcat, Beast, Rogue, Archangel and many more fight both old and new threats on a weekly basis. That’s basically the general idea.

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The comic series itself at one point (if not still to this day) was (or still is) America’s bestselling comic series. Created by the combined might of Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, the comic series originally started back in 1963, but back then was a commercial disaster and by 1970 the series was cancelled. In 1975 the series was resurrected with help from artist Dave Cockrum, Editor-in-Chief Roy Thomas and writer Len Wein. No-one could have seen what would come next as the series became Marvel’s biggest hit. Since then the comic series has gone from strength to strength. During the early 90’s; the X-Men got their own cartoon series on the Fox Network which went on for 5 series between 1992 and 1997. This was then followed up with 2 more separate cartoons in the forms of X-Men: Evolution and Wolverine and the X-Men. The X-Men even got their own video games. While during all this the comics continued to evolve and the X-Men themselves got involved in some of the biggest stories in the Marvel Comics, including being the hosts of the epic ONSLAUGHT Saga, as well as having a war with the Avengers much more recently.

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In 1994, 20th Century Fox bought the film rights to produce an X-Men film after seeing the success of the animated series. Spearheaded by producer Lauren Shuler Donner, the first film; simply called X-Men was released in 2000 by new up and coming director Bryan Singer. It starred well know actors like Patrick Stewart (who was struggling to find work at the time thanks to being on Star Trek for so long), Ian McKellen; growing stars like Anna Paquin, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Rebecca Romijn and Halle Berry, and even hired an absolute nobody (but who is now a household name) to play the iconic role of Wolverine in Hugh Jackman……….the rest as they say is history. Over the course of the following 14 years, new actors would be appointed, following the previous formula of well-known stars (Kelsey Grammer, Brian Cox, Kevin Bacon) as well as new growing stars (Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Nicholas Hoult) as well as people who were at the time relative unknowns but are now household names (Jennifer Lawrence). Along with them came new characters and stories famous within the comics, plus of course new villains. Origins stories were told, time travelled, new weapons and machines created, plus the never-ending fight for freedom from a world that hates them. The comics quite literally came to life and through its unique perspective and style of storytelling produced one of the most entertaining, emotional, powerful, dramatic and even realistic film series to date.

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The X-Men have come a long way since their first appearances on comic book shelves back in the 1960’s. There have been ups and downs along the way, successes, failures and have even branched out into other forms of media, from Cartoons to Video Games, to of course the big screen. Since making that big leap, it has become one of the highest achieving and most recognisable film series to date and with the series set to continue; the future for the X-Men looks Fantastic.

GENEPOOL (I hope you have enjoyed reading this and enjoy reading my reviews next week as much as I have enjoyed writing this and them too).





How/Where/When Do I Start?

16 09 2015

X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus book

After nearly 3 months since ordering it, a few weeks ago I finally received my copy of X-Men/Avengers: Onslaught Omnibus through the post. I have been looking forward to its arrival for a long time now, but my search for such a book began several months before then.

Onslaught

I have known about the X-Men comics character of Onslaught for a long time now, but I never really looked into him before, although I have always been fascinated about him. So I looked up his character and history in the comics on Wikipedia, and I was amazed at what this single character was capable of. After reading the synopsis of the story, I knew I wanted to read the comic story and looked around online for it. All I could find was a collection of 4 books (X-Men: Onslaught – The Complete Epic) showing the whole series. I wanted to buy them, but finding all 4 books proved tricky. So I left it for the time being but I kept looking back in the hope that something might happen. I discovered that there were some other comics more readily available which chronicled the road to the whole Onslaught saga, but still no real sign of those saga books.

X-Men: The Road to Onslaught, Vol. 1 (Marvel - 2014)

Eventually though I discovered a full book was due for release soon. I looked it up and checked it rather a lot for price, plus to make sure it was the same story. It was, and so after nearly more than a month of eyeing it online, I put my order in for it, and now it has arrived and is sitting on my shelves waiting to be read. I knew when I ordered it, that it was a big book at over a thousand pages; however I completely underestimated at how big it was going to be. It arrived in a big box, and was thinking that once again the supplier (like many on Amazon) provided a big box, but the item inside is only a third of the size or something. Well it wasn’t. It was very big but also rather heavy. When I put it on the shelves alongside my other big books, while it’s not as tall as some of them, it is by far the largest book I currently own. And that’s where it remains as I have yet to read the first page, and don’t know what the best strategy to read it is.

Onslaught: The Complete Epic (Marvel - 2008)

 

It’s not like I haven’t read a large book before, it’s more that it is so big that I can’t use it for my main book read, as most of those can fit inside a normal plastic bag; and I can’t use it for bed time reading neither as it is possibly too heavy for that (plus I know what it feels like to wake up in the morning and find that you fell asleep while reading a comic). The issue is more that because it’s unlike anything I have read before; I feel like it requires its own dedicated time and place to read it. So it comes down to needing to find a time to read it that will best suit me, plus where I can have space to open it; most preferably across a table for it to rest on, because I doubt I will be able to hold it by the bottom of the book spine like I am able to with most other books I read. At the moment though it is something of a struggle as I have other stuff to read too; I am only one chapter into Darkmouth: Worlds Explode and I am now fully engrossed in The Enemy series having just finished The Enemy and now moving onto The Dead. Plus I have yet to finish Save The Cat! and have begun reading If You Could Ask God One Question (plus a Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle that I received for my Birthday).

Marvel Year by Year a Visual Chronicle (and you can just see the edge of a copy of the board game Taluva too).

It could be sometime before I finally make it round to reading Onslaught, but who knows, before then I may even get to read those prelude books and stories and then have an even larger knowledge of the story. I look forward to reading it too, because while I know the story thanks to Wikipedia, I will get to see it with my own eyes too. Let’s not forget; it is a comic book after all.

X-Men Avengers, Onslaught

GENEPOOL








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