EDITORIAL: Defending 20th Century Fox
Recently, I have seen an uncommon amount of hate and disdain towards comic book movies made by 20th Century Fox. Read on to hear why I feel all the hate is MOSTLY unwarranted, and explanation why I feel they still deserve a chance.
Hello friends! Ever since the first X-Men movie hit the theaters in the year 2000. 20th Century Fox has been a major player in the comic book film industry, and have produced a total of ten films. But, nowadays there is an uncommon amount of hate particularly on this site towards the company and their films. Today, I will examine all the complaints regarding the Fox films and question their validity. Please keep in mind that this is not an attack on any one or any other company. I would beg of all my readers to keep an open mind when reading and not to be blinded with company bias. Thanks a lot for reading!
Complaint #1: The X-Men movies are too Wolverine-centric.
One majorly repeated reason why the X-Men movies aren't good is the fact that people think of them as too Wolverine-centric. However, I feel this argument is not only untrue it's also hypocritical. To be fair, while Wolverine does get a bit more screen time than the rest of the team. It is true to his character from the comics. To be honest, Wolverine has been the most popular, most iconic and most central X-Man for decades. So it's only natural that Singer would make him the same in the movies. Besides, other comic book film franchises do the exact same thing with their trademark money makers. Look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe for instance, so far a whole half of all the MCU films are all centered around Iron Man. Because in recent years he has become the most popular and the most cash-bringing character in their franchise. Or how about Warner Bros? They don't put half the effort into their non-Batman/Superman characters. Because those characters don't make as much money. So it's OK for Marvel and WB to focus on their cash bringers, but it's bad for Fox to do so?? Like that makes sense. Secondly, Wolverine is not as over-exposed as we think. Not all of the X-Men movies are overly centered around Logan. The only one that is truly guilty of this was X-Men: The Last Stand. No idiot would bash X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine for being too Wolverine centric because they are WOLVERINE SOLO MOVIES. X-Men and X-Men 2 do put him on a slightly higher pedestal than the rest. But he's not the sole attraction. Obviously he has a key role in both films, because he has a key role in the X-Men team. But Xavier's role is just as big, so is Magneto's. Jean Grey has a key role in both films, as does Storm. Nightcrawler has a big role in X-Men 2. The only one who gets short-changed is Cyclops. Even then he did a lot of badass things. We tend to forget that it was Cyclops who saves Wolverine in the forest and defeats Sabretooth, it was also he that saved Wolverine a second time and actually was the one who killed Sabretooth. It was also he that blasted Magneto towards the climax, had he not done so Wolverine wouldn't have been able to save Rogue and stop the machine. Cyclops actually did have a major role in X-Men 1. Which is one of the reasons I prefer X-Men 1 over X-Men 2. Cyclops does get short changed in X-Men 2, however he does get to be a boss for a short time. When he shows off his skills against Stryker's Men and Lady Deathstrike. But he disappears after that, that is the one thing I will give to the X-Men haters. That Cyclops while badass when on screen, was underutilized. But what I'm trying to say is that while Wolverine does have a central role in X-Men 1 & 2, the other characters played a major part as well and Wolverine isn't even the center of attention. X-Men: The Last Stand is the only one that focuses mainly on Wolverine and cuts everyone else. It doesn't help though that there was like 30 characters competing for screen time. But to sum this up, Wolverine is the most iconic and most popular X-Man of all time. So it's only natural that he would get a slightly larger role. His role isn't THAT much bigger than the rest.
Complaint #2: They crapped on the source material.
Another major source of fuel for the haters. Is the fact that Fox has made multiple changes to the characters from the comics. While I can understand why someone would be upset by this. Because we care deeply for these characters. I find the notion of hating Fox for making changes retarded. What people have to realize is that EVERY SINGLE COMIC BOOK MOVIE is an alternate universe version of the comic. So it's ok to make changes and make it work better in the film. One major example is the version of Wade Wilson/Deadpool we saw in the 2009 film X-Men Origins: Wolverine. This iteration of the character caused so much outrage among comic fans. People were even getting violent about it. Personally I didn't care, because I think Deadpool is one of the lamest and worst of Marvel's heroes. Because he's not even a real character he's just a gimmick. Of course there are some characters that use humor as a part of their character like Flash, Spider-Man or Iron Man. Deadpool exists for one sole reason: to be a joke. He IS NOT a character he is a joke nothing more. That said, I can understand the outrage because there are many fans of Deadpool out there. But honestly, I feel that the comic book version of Deadpool wouldn't have worked in this film specifically. Because Origins was a darker movie, a fun light hearted Deadpool like the comics would have had a detrimental effect on the film and it would have been even worse of a movie. Conflicting tones would have never worked well in a film like X-Men Origins. But all of that is completely beside the point. Because only Fox gets bashed for changing characters from the comics. Think about it, every other major studio producing CBMs has made MEGA, MEGA changes to the characters. Look at Marvel Studios for instance, most of their villains from the movies are vastly different from the comics. Obadiah Stane's epic, troubled backstory and childhood is never shown or even mentioned in Iron Man. Justin Hammer is a punk Stark wannabe in the movies, not so in the comics. Whiplash isn't even a comic character, he's a mixture of comic villains Blacklash and Crimson Dynamo. Or how about the way Hulk's origin was changed, or how about the design of Abomination. Or what about the way that Iron Man from the MCU is a 100% different character than the comics Iron Man. Iron Man from the comics, though he isn't perfect he is a selfless hero most of the time. In the movies his personality is massively altered to appeal to a much larger audience. He is a type of narcissistic ego case unlike the comics character. The movie version is still a great character, but there is no denying he isn't massively altered from the comics. The Mandarin...need I say more? Look at Sony Pictures, in the original Spider-Man trilogy Peter could actually generate webs from his hands unlike the comics where he just builds a web shooter. I personally actually prefer it that way, because generating organic webs is truly special. ANYONE can slap on a pair of web shooters, but you've gotta be truly weird and special if your body generates them yourself. That's still beside the point because this is different from the comics as well. Even Warner Brothers with their Dark Knight films and Man of Steel have made dozens of alterations to their characters. So basically, deviation from the comics doesn't lessen film quality, it might turn a handful of fans off but overall closeness to the comics is not what determines the quality of the movie. Also, all comic book film studios make alterations to their characters. There is not a single comic book movie out there that follows the comics 100% down to the nose. So if we are going to hate Fox for it, we must hate Marvel, WB's, Sony and everyone else for doing it. Otherwise we are being hypocritical. Why do we view it as alright for Marvel and other studios to alter characters but bad for Fox to do so?
Complaint #3: The Fantastic Four movies are super cheesy.
A minor complaint about 20th Century Fox's movies is that their Fantastic Four movies are made to be overly cheesy and therefore not good. While I will most certainly agree that the Fantastic Four films have many moments of unnecessary cheese. As well as admit that neither of them are anything special. I do have a rebuttal to that argument. Personally I've always viewed different heroes as having different tones. Characters like Batman, the X-Men, The Punisher, Hulk, Iron Man (pre-MCU) etc. are written to be somewhat dark in nature. But not overly dark necessarily, dark is the wrong word. They are written to have a much more serious tone to them. Other characters are sort of in the middle such as Thor, Green Lantern, Aquaman, Wonder Woman, etc. Which aren't overly serious but at the same time are rarely light hearted. Then there is the group of characters that are gloriously cheesy. The five embodiments of this are Superman, Spider-Man, The Flash, Captain America and finally The Fantastic Four. Of course I don't mind a more serious take on these characters like Man of Steel or The Amazing Spider-Man. But I do know that for a fact, these characters at the core are relatively light hearted and cheesy. Before I continue, I would like to make a statement: Just because a character or a movie is lighthearted and fun does not mean it can't have depth to it. If you want proof, watch Spider-Man 2 or the first Iron Man. With that said, I still do feel that Superman, Spider-Man, Captain America, The Flash and The Fantastic Four are the embodiments of the cheesier, more fun comic book characters. Which is why I don't feel that the Fantastic Four movies are bad because they are cheesy. They are SUPPOSED to be that way guys, they are meant to appeal mainly to children and those who are children at heart. (which is me a lot of the time) What I will say though is: Why is it considered bad for Fox to make the Fantastic Four movies cheesy, while multiple cheesy movies like Iron Man 2 & 3, Thor 1 & 2, Avengers, etc. come out of Marvel Studios and people love them. I'm not saying the F4 films are as good as the MCU overall. Because they are both just 7/10 movies in my opinion. What I'm saying is, that Fox will get trashed for making cheesy films. While Marvel is given a free pass to do whatever the hell they'd like.
Complaint #4: They have produced a whole slew of bad movies.
The final complaint I will address regarding Fox CBMs is the way that many would argue that they have produced multiple bad movies. The movies that receive hate and are usually called "bad" are X-Men 3, X-Men Origins, Daredevil, Elektra and Fantastic Four 1 & 2. I will address each and every one of these films and decide whether or not they are truly as bad as people say. I've already touched just a bit on The Fantastic Four films, so I'll start there. I am a moderate fan of The Fantastic Four and the related characters Dr. Doom, Silver Surfer and Galactus. I'm not like a massive fan of the characters I just like them and find them interesting. With that said, the Fantastic Four movies are not the iconic classic characters I know from my comics. I don't mind changes to the source material, that's not the problem nor is the problem cheesiness. The problem is, that the stories and some of characters weren't THAT well written. They weren't poorly written by any means, just some of them like Doom, Reed, Galactus and Sue I didn't think were interesting characters at all in the movies. I thought Chris Evans as Human Torch was freakin awesome though, and Mike Chiklis as The Thing brings that same lovable spirit I know from the comics. Silver Surfer wasn't interesting he was just badass. His action scenes were amazing. Overall with the Fantastic Four movies, they aren't great but they aren't crap either. They land somewhere in the middle where I'd describe them as "sorta good". Next, there is the two hated X-Men movies X-Men Origins: Wolverine and X-Men: The Last Stand. To start with, Origins is nowhere near as bad as you all say. It wasn't particularly good, but most make it sound like it was completely atrocious. When it's really not. It's not a great movie but it does have It's good points. I liked the overall tone of the movie, there were a few great action scenes. The acting was excellent on all accounts, the villain in Liev Schrieber's Sabretooth was amazing. I really loved the brother dynamic of the whole thing, that part made it interesting. To tell the truth, there isn't really anything particularly wrong with the movie other than Deadpool. I understand if you are a Deadpool fan, but personally I think Deadpool sucks so I didn't care. I think Origins is a 7/10 films, I liked the action sequences and the dark action/revenge tone of the film. I also thought that the brother dynamic was very interesting and the acting was excellent. It's nothing groundbreaking but it is enjoyable if you give it a chance. Then there is X-Men: The Last Stand, which IS a bad movie. There are way too many freakin characters all competing for screen time and scenes are the whole thing turns out to be a big hot mess. That said, it is a guilt pleasure for me because I loved Beast and Juggernaut. I thought Dark Phoenix was cool, and I loved the bigger role for Storm and seeing Iceman go all ice. But even with that it is still a weak sauce movie. Moving on to the Daredevil franchise, Daredevil isn't anywhere near as bad as everyone makes it out to be. In fact it's quite good, it's just that I think people were expecting another fantastic Marvel film. Think about it, before Daredevil came around we had Blade 1 & 2, X-Men and Spider-Man which were all more or less great movies. Then came Daredevil which was a splash of cold water to the face, it made everyone say "Oh....I see, not every Marvel comics movie will be great" of course we were given a real treat to X2 in that same year but then we got Lee's Hulk which proves the same point as Daredevil. That said, the theatrical cut of Daredevil is a pretty good movie however the director's cut of the film is a goddamned masterpiece. It's so much better, it feels more complete it has more action and blood. Elektra takes a back seat to the man without fear himself. It looks into Daredevil's character and religion a whole lot more. Overall the director's cut of Daredevil is a great movie. By the way a few days ago when I wrote the ten best Marvel films article, I had forgotten about the director's cut of Daredevil at the time. It probably would've been seventh or eighth knocking TASM out of the list. Anyways, here at the end we have Elektra. Which I cannot defend, because it IS atrocious and boring and completely heartless and lifeless. But even with these so-called bad and mediocre films we cannot forget that Fox has produced five films which are more or less great.
In conclusion, I feel all of the hate towards 20th Century Fox and the X-Men movies specifically is unfounded and somewhat hypocritical. Yes, they have had their bad movies (X3, Elektra) and they have had their mediocre movies too (Origins, Fantastic Four 1 & 2). But if you think about it, haven't all comic book film studios had these? Sony (Spider-Man 3), Marvel (Iron Man 2, Captain America), Warner Brothers. (Green Lantern, Batman Forever, etc.) But all four of those have had their great movies too. I feel the best Fox films are at least on par with the best MCU movies and the best Sony movies and the good WB movies too. I'm not being a fanboy (or girl if you'd like) of Fox, because I feel that right now DC/Warner Brothers is the best CBM studio overall. Because I've seen three good/great CBMs from Sony (Spider-Man 1 & 2, Amazing Spider-Man), six good/great movies from Marvel (Iron Man 1 & 3, Avengers, The Incredible Hulk, Thor 1 & 2), five good/great movies from Fox (X-Men 1 & 2, First Class, Wolverine and Daredevil director's cut) and then nine great movies from Warner Bros. (Dark Knight Trilogy, Red 1 & 2, Watchmen, Man of Steel, Superman 2 and Batman '89). That is however, beside the point. To all the haters of 20th Century Fox, I respect your guys' opinions. I understand that all film is subjective, I understand where you come from. But I feel the reasons people hate are unfounded and a bit hypocritical. I am not trying to offend anyone, start an argument or change anyone's opinion. Merely stating where I stand, and why I feel all the hate is unfounded and hypocritical.
I think five of ten Fox CBMs are truly great. Daredevil (director's cut), X1, X2, First Class and Wolverine all had great character development, performances, score and villains too. X1, X2 and First Class all had excellent story lines. The rest have good story just not as good. I think overall the quality of the Fox films is roughly equal to that of Marvel Studios. But personally I prefer Fox because I'm a bigger fan of the characters in those movies.
Thanks for reading! Sound off in the usual place and please, be civil. ;)
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