The X-Men are the flagship franchise of Marvel Comics. They have been sticking around since Marvel Comics gained popularity. When Marvel Comics was almost bankrupt, they sold the rights to the X-Men to 20th Century Fox. It is the reason the Marvel Cinematic Universe doesn’t have the X-Men in them. And although fans would say the latter is better coz it is financially more successful, we beg to differ.
Made Way for Modern Superhero Movies
Before the X-Men happened, the only superheroes the public new were solo ones like Superman and Batman. No one ever thought that an entire team of them could actually share screen space and still make the movie a blockbuster. It not only introduced superhero team-ups in the movie world but also put Marvel Comics on the map.
The Superhero movies are always rated UA or PG 13 so that they can maximize the number of butts on seats in the movie theater. But with Deadpool and Logan’s R-rate productions still making quite the mark in the Box Office, the R-rated superhero movies have been found viable enough for the blockbuster.
The direction is one thing. Many of the movies from the X-Men franchise have bombed but it still does not change one fact – the X-Men are still Marvel’s most revered superhero group. It was a shame Marvel Comics let it go. Fox may not have the best storyline but at least it doesn’t have to rely on B-list superheroes like Iron Man and Thor to jumpstart a franchise.
Sequels are easier to make
X-Men, X-2, X-Men: The Last Stand have one thing in common, the storylines aren’t complicated enough and did not take much time to be set up. The MCU has had to work years on a possible script for each movie. They have to make sure the story resonates with the past and future productions. The X-Men universe doesn’t have to worry about that.
Death means something
In the MCU, death comes easy. Frigga, Quick Silver and Agent Coulson have all died and their deaths were supposed to be a pivotal plot point for the movie. The first two deaths were entirely forgettable while Coulson’s death was reversed and he was brought back to life in Agents of Shield Season 1. In the X-Men Universe, characters like Hugh Jackman’s and Patrick Stewart’s have died but their deaths have been a rallying point and extremely moving.
Based on different Time Periods
X-Men movies have a big plus point in the sense that they are not completely based on real time. The core X-men movies happened in real time but the rest of the movies like X-Men First Class, Days of Future Past and Logan all take in different time periods. The MCU until now is based on and limited to real-time events which limit the storytelling experience.
Continuity is not first priority
The MCU’s strongest defense is it has continuity. One movie leads to another and all chain of events are influenced by the events of the entire set of movies in the MCU franchise as a whole. Nothing is unrelated. And that is also its greatest weakness. The focus on continuity is so strong that entire movie plots and endings have been changed to suit the franchise. The X-Men have no such problem. Continuity is not given much preference.
Bigger is not always better
The MCU has branched out to Hollywood, Netflix and its very own network TV Show. In addition to more than a dozen movies, it also has TV Shows like Agents of Shield, Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage, Iron Fist, the Defenders and now it is also joining hands with Freeform and Hulu. Too much on one’s plate can really jumble up the appetite. The X-Men franchise has kept it clean. They do not shower the fans with a barrage of generic content but with quality content of limited amount.
No two Characters feel or sound the same
The MCU has one major problem that no one likes to speak about. The Superheroes, after some point of time, all start to sound the same. Need an example? Remember The Winter Soldier. He used to be an anti-hero in the comics with a penchant for violence. Civil War turned him into the guy with a sense of humor. Thor is one of Marvel’s most prominent superheroes but before Thor: Ragnarok, the MCU never cared much for his unique character set in the movies the way it is in the comics.
Villains are better
The only memorable villain the MCU has managed to give the fans is Loki. Baron Zemo follows a close second. Marvel has been ridiculed every time the word villain has been mentioned. That is what happens when you “disneyfy” a franchise too much. The villains lose credibility. Magneto, William Stryker, Sebastian Shaw, Apocalypse, Bolivar Trask…. hell even Mystique has been a better villain than the entire arsenal of villains at Marvel’s disposal at the moment. Let us hope Thanos can change the status quo for the MCU.