I consider this week’s Marvel-ous Monday post as more of a rant than an article, so proceed with caution.
As 20th Century Fox celebrated #xmenday last week in honor of the franchise making its debut back in 1963 on May 13th, many actors shared their experiences of taking on the roles of some of Marvel’s most prevalent and powerful mutants. With Disney’s acquisition of 20th Century Fox now complete, Marvel finally owns the rights to some of its most coveted characters, and many fans want to see the X-Men in the MCU soon. However, I really wonder if such decision is what’s best for both entities.
Sure, I would love to see Wolverine get lippy with Thor, and watching Magneto square off against Captain Marvel would probably been fantastic. However, I think the X-Men franchise has been played out well past its prime. (X-Men: Apocalypse…enough said.) As Dark Phoenix is set to release within the next few weeks nation wide, have you heard masses talking about how excited they are to see it? The reception has been lukewarm, at best, and it will likely be just another super hero movie that makes a decent amount of money at the box office and nothing more. Outside of making money, what other purpose does it truly serve? It will end an era.
The billions of dollars the X-Men franchise has garnered over the last 19 years should be celebrated, and one could argue that without the box office success of those early films, Marvel may have not had the support and financial backing to produce its first Phase beginning in 2008. But such celebration does not have to usher in a new, rebooted concept with Disney. It’s already been done. Let’s give the X-Men some time off. As many critics thought the super hero genre was busted after the ever-so-colorful ’90s Batman films, franchises like X-Men, Spider-Man, and the Fantastic Four changed the culture as to what a super hero flick could be. What made them different? Well, they began to cater towards the comic book fan by addressing secondary characters, key issues, and critical storylines.
Marvel has done a fantastic job developing its universe without the X-Men or any mutant in general, and as Phase 3 closes with Spider-Man: Far from Home, Phase 4 has some big shoes to fill. Honestly, Marvel can go in so many different directions as it plans its future, and I think incorporating an already established franchise like that of the X-Men may lead to disappointment. Most of the key storylines and characters have been done, for better or for worse. I really can’t imagine having someone else attempt to be Wolverine, but I don’t necessarily want to see Hugh Jackman again, either. Again, it’s more of an exposure thing for me. We’ve had so many different X-Men stories and builds, and seeing another one may be overkill.
I know. I know. One could easily point to Tom Holland and say, “It took a few tries to get Spidey right!” And don’t get me wrong, I think Disney can take any Marvel hero or villain and make it a success. Their track record has more hits than misses. Yet, I wonder if they should even try to do so with such an expansive franchise like the X-Men. Do you all remember Quicksilver in Age of Ultron? I don’t hear many fans talk about how great his character was or his death being a big deal. Why? Many fans wanted Evan Peters to continue the role, but contractual obligations made that impossible to happen. The result is a character who had his potential impact negatively effected by an already established identity. Also, many fans consider Avengers: Age of Ultron to be one of the worst MCU films, and I can’t help but wonder if the inclusion and build around the concept of mutants affected such perception.
If Marvel is going to rebuild a 20th Century Fox franchise, I would much rather see the Fantastic Four featured in Phase 4. I would prefer to see the group for numerous reasons, but one reason that stands out is Stan Lee’s contribution to the franchise. The Fantastic Four were Lee’s first creation with the iconic Jack Kirby, and it was due to the Fantastic Four’s immediate success that Lee was able to create and co-create more iconic characters for Marvel. Aside from this nostalgic backing, Doctor Doom and the Silver Surfer play such an important role in so many different arcs across numerous franchises, and including those two beings in the MCU without the Fantastic Four would be blasphemous.
Jon Maus is a high school English Language Arts teacher and an all-around pop culture enthusiast. He has a B.S. and a M.E. in English. Some of his favorite fandoms include The Walking Dead, Marvel, Disney, Back to the Future, and the Karate Kid.