Of course, we're all used to the war of words, release dates and box office reports that is constantly waging between Marvel and DC, however, today we've heard of some tension within the broader Marvel camp.
Bryan Singer, in an interview held before he pulled out from marketing [X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942), has claimed that the entire Disney-Marvel franchise, and in particular The Avengers, could be overly reliant on Iron Man. Now, from the transcript of the interview it's hard to really make out if he's criticizing Marvel and Disney's approach, or simply complaining that the X-Men do not have an equivalent of Iron Man. He stated:
The Marvel universes – particularly Avengers and Iron Man – are… and it sounds defensive, and it is defensive, but only because people make comparisons between [X-Men: Days Of Future Past] and The Avengers, which is ludicrous. The Avengers is a mash-up of massive single character franchises of incredibly familiar characters and Iron Man. And did I mention Iron Man? Oh, and by the way – Iron Man. They are huge, colossal franchises that are peppered with all these other characters that are, again, extremely famous and so yes, Fox will at some point synergise [the X-Men] characters and that process is slowly beginning, but it’s very different than taking movies that gross close to a billion dollars and then pushing them together into these giant broad movies. If you want to give me Robert Downey, Jr. in a metal suit and have him join the X-Men, then yes, let’s go head-to-head [with Marvel Studios].
While X-Men certainly isn't a failing Marvel franchise, it's true that their movies have never reached the heights attained by the Iron Man and The Avengers movies. He continued:
It’s very different universes. The appeal is different and to try and do the same thing… this in an ‘inbetweequel’, OK, of two ensemble films, Avengers and the Marvel movies are individual franchises based on major characters that’s why there are some Marvel characters in Avengers that don’t have their own movie, because I don’t know if they had their own movie anyone would be that interested.
In this sense, Singer seems to be saying that if Disney-Marvel did not have Iron Man, the X-Men franchise could be on par with The Avengers. Of course, this seems a little strange coming from the man who established Wolverine was a standout X-Men character. In fact, Fox's over-reliance on Wolverine could have stunted the development of the franchise in the long-run.
Prior to commencement of Marvel's Phase 1, few of the periphery Marvel characters, such as Captain America and Thor, had much recognition with the mainstream cinema-going audience. However, through savvy marketing and relatively risky ventures, Marvel have now established a triumvirate of recognizable and successful characters in their own rights. Sure, Iron Man might still rule the roost, but the success of [Captain America: The Winter Soldier](movie:254973) also shows his comrades are certainly starting to pull their weight in the franchise.
However, the X-Men franchise, although starting earlier than Marvel's Phase 1 and perhaps commanding more recognition, did start as a ensemble movie and as such, it might have been tougher to characterize all the various characters enough to warrant their own spin-offs - with the obvious exception of Wolverine. Perhaps the lackluster reception of X-Men Origins: Wolverine and more recently, The Wolverine, has limited Fox's resolve to break out of this ensemble mold. The reason people constantly pay to see Iron Man and the other Marvel characters is because they were developed individually before they were brought together - making their final convergence in The Avengers even more special and spectacular. Iron Man might have been important in this, but the Avengers was successful precisely because we got to see Iron Man interact with already fully established and fleshed out characters.
However, the semi-reboot of the X-Men franchise with X-Men: First Class could change the fortunes of Fox. If X-Men: Days of Future Past proves successful, I can imagine it won't be long until we see more standalone movies from Fox. Especially considering younger, more recognizable, actors and actresses are now part of the franchise. Could they perhaps give The Avengers a run for their money in the future?
What do you think? Is Bryan Singer right in saying Iron Man is the only key to Marvel's success? Let us know below.
Could an X-Men movie ever rival The Avengers?