Theory: Is the Quantum Realm the Key to the X-Men?

Now that the buyout of FOX by Disney has been finalized, fans everywhere are wondering how characters like the X-Men and Fantastic Four will be introduced into the MCU. Will the events of Avengers: Endgame have a direct impact on these new characters or will their introduction come further down the road?

Continue reading “Theory: Is the Quantum Realm the Key to the X-Men?”

How Will Marvel Incorporate Their New Properties Into The MCU?

Last month, news reports began to surface regarding 21st Century FOX interested in selling off the majority of their film & TV properties to Disney. Though said talks eventually stalled, they began to heat up again recently and the blockbuster announcement was finally made this past Thursday (December 14th 2017).

The deal, reported at $66 billion, will send properties like the X-Men, Fantastic Four & Deadpool back to Disney along with Avatar, The Simpsons, The Alien franchise & many more. When the initial talks first surfaced, I wrote an article about whether the comic properties would be a good fit in the MCU. Though most fanboys and fangirls everywhere will welcome these heroes with open arms, the question of fit is certainly an interesting one to ponder. Let’s take a look at how Disney can fit these newly acquired properties into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Deadpool

Let’s start out with the merc with a mouth, Deadpool. Ryan Reynolds did an amazing job portraying the potty-mouthed mutant in the first solo film back in 2016, making a solid $783 million worldwide. The hard R-rating didn’t stop fans from coming out in droves to see a different kind of superhero movie. With Deadpool coming into the MCU, would he still be the same Deadpool we’ve grown to love?

After the acquisition, Disney CEO Bob Iger assured us all that Deadpool would remain an R-rated property, which is what the fans want. But how will he fit into a shared universe with the rest of the Avengers? In terms of simply putting him into the universe, Deadpool’s case could be one of the simplest ones. Deadpool is a character that frequently breaks the fourth wall in the comics and in his first film. He knows that he’s a comic book character and mentions relevant pop cultural happenings. Simply plopping Deadpool into the current MCU will be an easy transition in terms of the universe he inhabits. Things could get messy if he appears in a team-up style film with other PG-13 characters, but it’s a fun problem to have. Expect plenty of vulgar Mickey Mouse and Disney Princess jokes after Deadpool arrives into the MCU after Deadpool 2, which is hitting theatres next June.

Fantastic Four

Fans were made to sit through two terrible Tim Story-directed Fantastic Four movies in 2005 and 2007, respectively, but things got even worse when Josh Trank attempted to revitalize the franchise in 2015. Now that the First Family of Marvel is heading back home, how will they be introduced?

The backstory regarding how Reed, Sue, Johnny and Ben got their powers revolves around them traveling into space and being exposed to cosmic radiation. This event could take place either in current time or set in the past. If set in the past, the team could be shown to have gotten trapped in the parallel universe known as the Negative Zone in the comics, preventing them from returning to earth after initially gaining their powers.

Going back to the premise that their introduction is set in current time, the prospect of having the Avengers Tower becoming the Baxter Building is very intriguing. As shown in Spider-Man: Homecoming, Tony Stark has sold Avengers Tower, as their new base of operations is now in upstate New York. But who did he sell to? Could it become Oscorp? Tying the Fantastic Four into this universe could reveal that it has been sold to Reed Richards.

Along with the main team, the Fantasic Four property also includes characters like Silver Surfer, Galactus and Doctor Doom, among others. With Thanos being the biggest big bad in the current MCU, what will the future hold after Thanos is (assumedly) defeated? A cosmic villain like Galactus would be a perfect fit to replace the Mad Titan atop the hierarchy of threats to the universe. On a smaller scale, Doctor Doom could be an incredible foil to any and all heroes in the MCU.

With James Gunn continuing the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise and spearheading future space-based Marvel films, the Silver Surfer is a perfect addition to what’s to come. Incorporating him into storylines with the likes of alien races like the Kree, Chitauri, Badoon, and Skrulls, the possibilities for more cosmic-centric films has increased exponentially.

X-Men

The X-Men franchise has seen its share of ups and downs since it first debuted back in 2000. While films like the original X-Men, X-2, First Class, Days of Future Past and Logan have been very solid films, the converse can be said about X-3, Origins and Apocalypse. With new X-films set to release next year with the likes of Dark Phoneix, Deadpool 2 and New Mutants, putting these characters into the MCU as they currently are would be nearly impossible.

As with Fantastic Four and Deadpool, the X-Men occupy a completely separate universe. Though there are “powered people” and Inhumans in the MCU, the term “mutant” is not in the dictionary. Kevin Feige cannot simply drop the X-Men as they are right into the mix. Characters like Apocalypse, Magneto and Wolverine have been around for a very long time. Knowing this fact, how could they be explained away as to have always been in this world?

The only logical way to put the current X-Men into the current MCU would be some sort of reality-changing event. With Avengers: Infinity War releasing next May and Avengers 4 the year after, it is conceivable that Thanos warps reality with the power of the Infinity Gauntlet and accompanying stones. The premise of multiple worlds and parallel universes has been discussed in the MCU by Dr. Erik Selvig in Thor: The Dark World and even on the current season of Agents of SHIELD. Though this could be an easy fix, it could also cause logistical problems. Does Kevin Feige WANT the current actors and actresses reprising their roles? Does he WANT the previous X-continuity to remain canon? And what about the two different versions of Quicksilver?

If the answer is no, the only other option would be to completely reboot the X-Men. Introducing a completely new roster of mutants would be the only way to go on this one. The X-gene will have to be something completely new, coming by way of genetic manipulation, a virus, or something extra-terrestrial. All mutants in this scenario would have to just be getting their powers, so expansive backstories for Magneto and Wolverine would not exist as we know them.

The MCU Post-Infinity War

Before this deal went through, Kevin Feige previously stated that there are currently 20 new films in development. After next year’s Avengers: Infinity War, we’re getting Ant-Man & The Wasp, Captain Marvel and the currently untitled Avengers 4. Keeping the trend of sequels going, one would assume that Black Panther will at least get a sequel if not a trilogy. The same can be said for Doctor Strange, Ant-Man, Captain Marvel, Spider-Man and Guardians of the Galaxy (which is getting a third film).

With current plans for a giant slate of upcoming films, would Feige and Marvel/Disney want to reboot the entire universe to accommodate for the newly acquired properties? The complexity of this new process of fitting these new additions is extremely difficult and will take a lot of hard work.

Final Thoughts

There are a lot of moving parts to all of this and it will be a lot of fun to follow over the next few years. Each upcoming Comic-Con and D-23 events will most likely be our look into Kevin Feige’s plans. Though fitting all of these new characters into the MCU in some capacity will be a problem, it’s certainly a good problem to have.

If the MCU is rebooted entirely, fans should take time to appreciate what we have gotten since 2008 when Iron Man first hit the big screen. This expansive world has given us hours and hours of enjoyment in both film and television form (except for Inhumans). The time of speculation is now upon us all.

Now that the news has broken, how do you see these new characters fitting into the MCU? Do you want the current X-Men ushered in? Do you want to see these properties rebooted? Does the MCU need to be burnt down and rise from the ashes like a phoenix? Leave your thoughts in the comment section.

 

Would Fox’s Marvel Properties Be A Good Fit For The MCU?

Earlier this week, reports from CNBC surfaced stating that Disney has been in talks to buy film & television properties from 21st Century Fox. Though said talks have seemingly stalled, the premise of having characters like the X-Men, Deadpool and the Fantastic Four is immediately intriguing to Marvel fans everywhere. Whether or not a deal of this magnitude comes to fruition, it was certainly a shocking headline to come across.

A large portion of Marvel fans would be absolutely delighted to see Wolverine sharing screen time with the Avengers or a full-fledged version of the Illuminati, but would these characters fit into the MCU in an organic way? Last year, I wrote an article about my issues with the X-Men film franchise. Their continuity issues and general lack of regard for cohesion has driven fans of the franchise crazy for more than a decade. However, there are also plenty of fans that truly enjoy the X-Men films for what they are and don’t want to see them “return home” to Marvel Studios. Though Fox has done a great job with some of their X-Men films and Deadpool, films like X-3, Apocalypse, X-Men: Origins and every Fantastic Four movie have been huge disappointments to fans.

In this article, I will highlight my reasons for and against adding Fox’s roster of Marvel characters into the MCU and how their inclusion could and could not work in a way that feels both seemless and fluid.

Let’s start out with the positive side of things. The opportunity for Marvel exec Kevin Feige to truly have uninhibited access to the complete roster of Marvel characters is certainly enough to sell anyone on the issue. The MCU has had to make backdoor deals with studios like Fox and Sony in order to be allowed to incorporate different characters into their films. The deal allowing Spider-Man to swing into the MCU was a groundbreaking feat.

No longer would the term “mutant” be banned. No more would we need multiple versions of the same character in different universes like that of Quicksilver. No more changed storylines and character usages because of rights issues. We’ll finally have the opportunity to have more faithful comic adaptations using these characters in the ways they were meant to be used.

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to interview Hugh Jackman at the press screening for Logan. I asked Hugh if he would be interested in appearing in an Avengers movie, to which he replied that he would. Though he has retired from the role of Wolverine, he could be enticed to return with this new opportunity. After all, he is the Wolverine we deserve.

Think of all the amazing storylines and films that we could see: Avengers vs. X-Men, House of M, Civil War 2, and even an Infinity Gauntlet the way it was meant to be done. In the comics, characters like Silver Surfer and the Fantastic Four are imperative to some of the major story arcs. Villains like Galactus and Doctor Doom would be incredible foils in a post-Thanos MCU.

Stepping aside from the film world, the opportunity for various TV series is also a major plus. Some of the offshoot X-Men teams would be prime candidates for streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. Building a cohesive universe in all areas of visual media is such a wonderful thing to think about and would truly unite the characters we’ve grown up reading and watching.

With all of the positives out of the way, let’s talk about some of the negatives. The inclusion of Fox’s Marvel characters would most likely require rebooting. There’s no logical way that I can think of to have the current roster of X-Men suddenly appear in the current MCU. The X-Men are very much intertwined with political and human rights issues that would have shaped the way society thinks of super-powered beings. It wasn’t until Captain America: Civil War that the Sokovia Accords came into existence to keep track of our heroes, so adding a stable of mutants into the mix just would not fit. Characters like Magneto, Apocalypse and Wolverine have been around for a very long time; having them suddenly appear in the MCU wouldn’t make much sense.

The tone of the Fox universe is also vastly different from that of the MCU. We’ve gotten R-rated movies in Logan and Deadpool that wouldn’t mesh well with the more comedic stylings that the MCU has to offer with properties like the Guardians of the Galaxy or even with the newly-released Thor: Ragnarok. If Deadpool were to pop up in a film with Spider-Man, would he still be the foul-mouthed mercenary we fell in love with last year? Figuring out a way to mesh these different tones would be a difficult task for sure.

Having different properties at different movie studios also gives fans the opportunity to have a greater number of these films. This year, we were given Thor: Ragnarok, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming,  and Logan. In the coming years, we’re getting two more Avengers films, Ant-Man & The Wasp, Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, Gambit, New Mutants, X-Men: Dark Phoenix, Deadpool 2, X-Force, Venom, Silver & Black and two more Spider-Man films. This is a huge workload for one studio to undertake (though Sony is still in the mix). Having a huge slate of films under a single studio could mean a smaller output of film releases in a calendar year.

There are certainly many pros and cons to having all of our heroes together under one unified branch. Where do you stand on a possible merger? What team-ups would you like to see? What are your ideas as to how Fox’s Marvel characters could be introduced into the MCU? Leave your thoughts in the comments section!

 

X-Men: Apocalypse Review

The newest installation of the X-Men film franchise pits the “immortal” Apocalypse against our heroes. En Sabah Nur, the world’s first mutant, was the ruler of Egypt thousands of years ago but was betrayed by his followers, buried under his temple.

He is rejuvenated when Moira McTaggert allows sunlight into the chamber, giving him new power and life. Apocalypse goes about recruiting new Horsemen in Storm, Psylocke, Angel and Magneto. The new team of X-Men, consisting of Professor X, Cyclops, Jean, Beast Mystique, Quicksilver and Nightcrawler, are tasked with saving the world from Apocalypse’s “cleansing”.

I’ll start out with my negatives before going on to my positives.

I feel like Apocalypse was very misused and wasn’t formidable. Seeing Apocalypse in the comics and even the 90’s animated series, Apocalypse is an extremely powerful mutant and though his powers were impressive in the film, he himself didn’t impose much of a threat to the X-Men. He mainly used the horsemen to do his bidding and set about destroying cities and landscapes. The fact that a teenage Nightcrawler was able to take the fight to him single-handedly goes to show how much he was powered down in the film. Apocalypse is a villain that could easily have been a threat in more than one film, much like Thanos being the “big bad” in the MCU.

I was a little confused as to why someone like Magneto would be given a plot line where he is living among humans and holding down a regular job, much like Wolverine in ‘X-Men Origins’, it just doesn’t fit his character as someone who despises humanity and is always out to bring mutants to the forefront. The whole premise of his family being killed was to make it believable that he would become one of the Horsemen, which I wasn’t a fan of. For a mutant that the X-Men nearly couldn’t defeat in ‘Days of Future Past’, his teaming up with Apocalypse should have been game over, especially for a group of teenage X-Men.

For a movie with a villain like this, I felt like it lacked action. Sure, the destruction scenes were pretty cool, but the fight scenes were very lacking. The first half of the movie didn’t have a lot of action and had a massive amount of dialogue. Sorry, but I don’t want to see the X-Men just standing around talking while a ‘God’ is about to destroy the planet.

The entire X-Men film franchise, to me, has no direction. It jumps around in different time periods and has no problem disregarding continuity. ‘Days of Future Past’ essentially renders ‘X3’ and ‘Origins’ useless. It’s like the team at Fox will continue to keep just pumping out different stories and plugging in characters and plots where they see fit, foregoing any kind of cohesion. Yes, seeing an 80’s-style X-Men film was neat, but I don’t want to keep going back to the past for this franchise. A modern story line is what this franchise needs, and if rebooting is necessary, I’d be all for it.

*Do we REALLY need to see the ‘Dark Phoenix’ plot again? Sure, it wasn’t done well before, but I think there are other ways to make Jean interesting without recycling that plot again.

**Just because Jennifer Lawrence is playing Mystique does NOT mean she should be at the forefront of the franchise. Mystique was never one of my favorite characters and is given way too much to do only because of the star playing her.

***Storm was very under-utilized and was pretty much a non-factor.

Now, on to my positives.

The movie was visually pleasing. The massive destruction of cities and landmarks was really cool. The bright colors and humor made for a nice tone, especially set in the time period it was in. Though I didn’t care for Magneto being a Horseman, his reasoning for doing so made sense within the context of the film.

I really liked Nightcrawler, I felt that his depiction was very accurate to his character as a meek, timid “person”. His fight scenes with Angel were really cool, as he was “bamfing” all over the place.

I liked the younger X-Men finding their way and learning about their powers, but I feel like a movie of this magnitude wasn’t the right place for it. A film with a lesser villain would have made more sense in its place.

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto, respectively, are great. Getting to see those characters as younger men has been the highlight of the past 3 films. Sure, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are phenomenal, but their ages make it too difficult to have them included in battle sequences.

I really liked the costumes, specifically at the end when we got comic-accurate ones, though it was just a quick glimpse. Though the black flight suits they were in were reminiscent of the black spandex of the first films, the design was cool. Psylocke was easily the most comic-accurate costume to date.

Wolverine’s cameo was a lot of fun and really set the tone for his final film with Hugh Jackman coming next year. But what didn’t make sense was at the end of ‘Days of Future Past’ as he is taken by Stryker (actually Mystique) to be worked on in the Weapon X program, he is really with Stryker in this film. Mystique quickly recognizes him, but we didn’t get any further explanation of what actually happened after she took him at the end of DOFP. However, his raw brutality was awesome to see, even if it was only for one scene.

And finally, let’s talk about Quicksilver. Much like DOFP, he again steals the movie. His dialogue, humor and action scenes are incredible and are probably the best parts of the movie. I loved how he was more involved in this movie and played a much larger part. Kudos, Evan Peters, at least FOX has done one thing better than Marvel/Disney.

*The end credit scene features a man going back into the Weapon X facility at Alkali Lake, taking a vial of Wolverine’s blood and adding it to his briefcase that has other vials of liquid in it and displays a placard of ‘Essex Corp’. X-Men fans will know that this is Nathaniel Essex, better known as Mr. Sinister. If the next film, rumored to be set in the 90’s includes Mr. Sinister, I will be VERY happy.

Overall, I enjoyed the film for what it was. Again, I’m not a fan of the franchise dealing with story lines in the past, I would much rather see the story in the modern era. FOX keeps finding a way to reboot the franchise internally without having to start anew, but for me that premise is wearing thin. Constantly recycling old plots, disregarding continuity, and not moving the story forward are hindering what the X-Men franchise should be. We all know how Wolverine and the others got their powers at this point, do we really need to keep seeing it all over again?

Logan Review

The third and final installment of the Wolverine franchise, ‘Logan’ sees an aged Wolverine living in Mexico along with a frail Professor X and mutant-tracker, Caliban. Caliban was previously seen in last year’s ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ in the underground fight club. It’s revealed that Charles is in poor health, having seizures that cause his powers to go uncontrolled. Logan is seen working as a limousine driver to help pay for Charles’ medication and to try to save up enough money to buy a boat and live out on the ocean. Logan is also in a bad way, health-wise. He’s not healing like he should; he’s coughing constantly and limping badly.

When a woman named Gabriella contacts Logan for a job, he winds up getting caught up in her business, as a man named Donald Pierce from Transigen arrives to get Logan to tell him where she is. Logan would later come to find that Gabriella and her “daughter” were on the run from Pierce and his Reavers. Gabriella pays Logan $20,000 and promises $30,000 more to take her and her daughter away to safety. As Logan is about to take them, he finds Gabriella murdered. He takes the young girl, Laura, with him back to his home. Charles had been having visions of her, saying she was a mutant. At this point in the story, there had been no new mutants born in the last 25 years. Pierce and the Reavers show up, Caliban is taken, and the other 3 escape. Pierce is now using Caliban to track the trio, as Logan & co. head to coordinates left by Gabriella. Oh, and did I mention that Laura has the same powers as Logan? She totally wrecks shop and kills lots of people with her claws.

Logan & Charles watch a video on Gabriella’s phone that shows children, including Laura, being experimented on at Transigen. These lab-created mutants were being developed as weapons. Laura, her designation of X-23, turns out to be Logan’s biological daughter, as his DNA was taken during the Weapon-X program at Alkali Lake. Alkali is also behind Transigen. With this new information, Logan seems unmoved, but still continues to trek on. When he finds X-Men comic books in Laura’s bag, he sees a page where a place called Eden is discussed. Eden is a so-called “safe place” for mutants in the comics, and Gabriella believed it to be a real-life representation. Logan becomes furious as he knows them to just be stories.

Flash forward: every once in a while the Reavers show up and there’s a fight. They also have another Wolverine clone, and he winds up killing Charles. Caliban also dies, as he gets a hold of some grenades and blows himself up in an attempt to kill Pierce. Logan and Laura find the other mutant children from Transigen and take shelter with them. Logan is given a serum to help him heal and increase his strength, which he desperately needs to fight the other Wolverine clone. During their fight, Logan is impaled on a tree stump, as Laura shoots the clone in the head with an adamantium bullet. Logan winds up dying of his wounds, as he can no longer heal due to adamantium poisoning that has been slowly killing him for years. Laura buries him and the film ends.

Now that I’ve basically gone over the entire film, let’s get into my likes and dislikes.

Likes: This film would not have been at all the same without an R-rating. And boy, did it warrant it. With lots of f-bombs, extreme violence and bloodshed, and even a boob shot, this film had all the action you could ever want in a Wolverine film. It was gritty, hardcore, and personal. Seeing Logan & Charles’ relationship at this point after 17 years in the film franchise brought things full circle. Charles’ death was impactful to Logan and to the audience in attendance. And yes, Logan dies at the end, leaving me to wonder if such a man could actually die and stay dead. Laura/X-23 was great. The trailers didn’t really get me interested in this film, and I didn’t much care for having a child as one of the main characters, but she proved me wrong. Her brutality and quirks really worked for her character and she was one of the best parts of the film. Even with such a somber tone, there was plenty of humor spread around to lighten scenes. The film was deeply personal and a great character-driven story.

Dislikes

There’s something in me that just feels like the solo Wolverine films are missing something. I’m not sure if it’s just because I prefer him with the X-Men, but I can’t help feeling this way. Throughout this film, Logan & Charles keep referring to an incident in Westchester in which lots of people were hurt. But it’s never revealed what actually happened. Westchester was the site of Charles’ school, and there are currently very few mutants left in the world. The X-Men are all dead. What happened? Did Charles do something that killed them? Did he destroy the school? The answers are never given and the plotline is left dangling. There are also times where the movie really slows down, making it feel longer than it was. As I saw this film at a press screening, I’m not sure if there’s a post-credit scene or not, but the abrupt ending to it after Logan’s funeral was a bit off-putting. He dies, is buried, and that’s it. No hint of anything else to possibly come, no indication that Laura and the other children made it to safety, nothing.

Previously, Hugh Jackman came out and said that ‘Logan’ took place in an alternate universe separate from the main timeline. Comments like this are frustrating to fans of the franchise. I don’t know why Fox has such a hard time with their shared universe, but it continues to be a mess. If that is the case, could Wolverine still show up in any new X-Men films? Hugh Jackman is on record as saying that ‘Logan’ would be his last time playing the character. Stranger things have happened.

Out of the 3 solo Wolverine films, this one is far and away the best one. The intense violence and action help to cover a repetitive storyline. Let’s hope that Hugh comes back to team up with Ryan Reynolds’ Deadpool.

My rating: 7 out of 10