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).





Matt’s Super Question

21 06 2012

The final of my friend’s questions is here, earlier this week I answered Matt’s Music Question and now it is time to answer Matt’s Super Question.

Who do you think is the greatest superhero, and why?

Well you may know that I am a fan of Thor but he is not the Greatest Super Hero. The answer to this question dates back to 2007 when I was making a list of the top 50 Monsters and Mutants (maybe I should return to that?). Even though I did not finish the list I knew who the people at the top were and in terms of Comic Book Super Hero which is usually what Super Hero refers to there are 2 Comic Book characters in the top 5.

One of them is the mysterious Gambit from X-Men. When you grow up with the X-Men at a young age, Wolverine usually stands out but when you think about it Gambit is the best because he is so cool. Claws coming out of your hands are quite cool but being able to put explosive energy through any object is better. In this case, a pack of playing cards making 52 light grenades. When I read X-Men comics I look forward to seeing Gambit in them. When I watched the cartoons like X-Men Evolution and my favourite cartoon Wolverine and the X-Men I really enjoyed the episode with Gambit in. It was disappointing to not see him in the main X-Men films but there is hope for the future, but I did enjoy his appearance in X-Men Origins played by Taylor Kitsch, I hope he plays the character in the future.

Then there is Blade. Blade is a vampire hunter who is half man and half vampire. I first took an interest in blade when watching Blade The Series (The Best TV Show of 2007 and the Third Best TV Series of all time, well at least to me) in which he is played by Kirk “Sticky” Jones. The excellent characters, the thrilling story lines and Blade’s “I don’t care” attitude to almost everyone around him made him stand out. His fighting style, his look and some of the catchphrases he did were excellent. Since then I have seen Blade Trinity and that had the same style and everything but had a different lead actor, Wesley Snipes.

Choosing between these 2 is tricky; They are both fantastic characters and I like both of them. Originally Blade was higher in the list but just thinking and talking about them now makes me want to have them draw or switch. It is a tricky decision. But the question asks who the greatest superhero is, and because Gambit was sometimes working for the villains that kind of rules him out which means that Blade is the Greatest Superhero.

GENEPOOL





What is your Favourite Cartoon?

17 03 2011

Question: What is your Favourite Cartoon?

Since I was young I have watched Cartoons, I remember so many. I remember when I first started to watch Pokémon back in 2000, I remember when Digimon came along soon after. I remember watching Card Captors on CITV after Pokémon and Digimon finished on the Channel. When I was in Hospital in 2006 I saw Ben10 for the first time. I remember when the X-Men Cartoon used to be shown on Live and Kicking. I also remember X-Men Evolution when it was on Up On The Roof on GMTV. It was also on Up On The Roof where I watched Transformers Armada as well as the remake cartoons of He-Man and TMNT (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles). I still watch cartoons to this day because I like watching them, particularly the ones with stories, stories that after so may episodes have an ending and that episode becomes so exciting to watch because you get to see how it ends and what happens.

So what is my Favourite Cartoon. My Favourite cartoon was on Sunday Mornings for several weeks on CBBC and I loved it. It was called Wolverine and the X-Men.

It was the story of an incident that occurred at the Xavier Institute and what happened afterwards. Professor Xavier went into a coma that would last for 20 years, meanwhile things are not going so well for the X-Men as a mutant registration act is about to come into force and the X-Men have all split up. So it is up to Wolverine to get everyone back together and save the world, and as this is happening 20 years into the future the world has changed and it is up to Professor Xavier to inform Wolverine in the past of what happened and how Wolverine needs to stop it from happening.

At first I was unsure about it when I first heard about it because the previous cartoon X-Men Evolution was Fantastic and is one of my favourite cartoons but after a few weeks of the show I liked Wolverine and the X-Men and soon after it finished it became my Favourite Cartoon series. I now have the whole series on DVD.

The show went on for 26 episodes and covered many storylines which were part of the bigger story. Many Characters were introduced including some of my favourite characters like AngelWolverine and Bishop as well as my favourite X-Men character Gambit. Each Episode had its own story but these were small parts of the whole story, I like to think of it like 24 in the way that each episode has its own Story but is all part of one Big Story.

For a while the show was going to get a second series but it was later canceled because;

“They were unable to work out the financing for the show with their financing partner” – Wikipedia

However there are lots of online campaigns to save the show one of which is on FaceBook which I am part of (1 Million to save Wolverine and the X-Men).

There were lots of reports before the cancellation was announced of new storylines and characters in the second series, but maybe one day another series may happen.

Wolverine and the X-Men is My Favourite Cartoon,

What is your Favourite Cartoon?

GENEPOOL








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