It is a great time to be a comic book fan. We are waist deep in the golden age of superhero movies, the extent of which can be recognized by the mere fact that "The Superhero Film" is now its own genre, which is beyond amazing. Fans should revel in this, and they do for the most part.
However, some fans never seem to be satiated. The unrivaled success of the Marvel Cinematic Universe has some wanting all Marvel Comics properties to appear in the MCU. These other properties are of course the X-Men (including Deadpool) and Fantastic Four, whose film rights are owned by 20th Century Fox.
Initially, that sounds awesome — who wouldn't want to see that? It would be like playing with action figures when you were a kid. He-Man and Bucky O'Hare could join forces to fight Cobra Commander and Strawberry Shortcake. (All hail the reign of Strawberry Shortcake!) That idea, while understandable, may fall under the "be careful what you wish for" category. As with everything in life, things are far more complicated than we wish them to be.
Check out these awesome behind-the scenes moments from X-Men: Apocalypse.
So Why Wouldn't We Want To See X-Men And The Avengers Together On Screen?
While the proposal of the X-Men appearing in the MCU sounds awesome, it isn't necessary. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is perfect just the way it is, and the addition of the X-Men wouldn't improve the MCU and wouldn't help Fox, either. The characters would just end up being superfluous additions to an otherwise overstuffed movie franchise, and would possibly get lost in the shuffle. So within all its properties, what has X-Men accomplished?
20th Century Fox And The X-Men Hits And Misses
First off, let's start by leaving Fantastic Four alone. Fox has tried three times to reboot the franchise, and failed in spectacular fashion every time. That argument is a quick and easy one — let someone else try. Moving on.
20th Century Fox has had a hit or miss record with its X-Men franchise (definitely far more hits than misses). So let's take a look at the successful films in the X-Men film franchise.
This film can be credited as the first comic book film taken seriously by audiences and critics alike. Bryan Singer took a darker approach to this film, and it paid off. Taking a group of unlikely superheroes and adhering to a sharp narrative, X-Men helped spawn a franchise that would live on for years to come.
X2: X-Men United (2003)
The follow-up flick upped the stakes and raised the bar for comic book films as a genre. A beautifully written script and great performances solidified this film as the best of all of the X-Men movies (that is, until X-Men: Days of Future Past) if not one of the best comic book films of all time.
X-Men: First Class (2011)
Director Matthew Vaughn's efforts in the franchise reinvigorated the X-Men. Recasting Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) could have ended badly, but instead was executed to perfection. This is the first of the new X-Men Trilogy and was welcomed with open arms after the disaster of the previous two films, The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine.
The Wolverine (2013)
It's no secret this movie falls apart in its third act. Up until the zany finale, it's a solid film. Although not technically an X-Men ensemble film, it is part of that particular universe. While not the most solid of on-screen outings, it's definitely better than the first Wolverine solo film.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014)
Singer's triumphant return to the X-Men Universe. He was able to do something incredibly new while simultaneously harking back to the old. The first instance of time travel in the franchise, this new element worked flawlessly. It also did something that really made fans happy: It erased both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine from the cannon. It was critically praised and was extremely successful at the box office.
The highest grossing R-rated movie of all time, and the highest grossing X-Men film of all time. The character Deadpool made a huge comeback with the help of Ryan Reynolds, and opened the door for future team-ups with the rest of the X-Men, New Mutants and X-Force (the last two coming soon). This is the best example of a film that most likely wouldn't have happened if it had not been Fox at the helm.
For those of you counting at home, that's six well-received and well-reviewed movies out of nine total, a couple of which are among the top superhero films ever made. So with this information, why do people doubt Fox's ability to do right by the X-Men?
The X-Men Are Better Apart From The MCU
It's difficult not to want all of the Marvel characters together on screen — the nerd bliss that would result from seeing Deadpool and Spider-Man banter back and forth, seeing Magneto go toe to toe with the Hulk, and perhaps even seeing the X-Men joining the Avengers for shawarma — that would truly be amazing (although, it might cost more than we think). But what happens if all the X-Men properties fall under the umbrella of the MCU?
Lighthearted PG-13 Films
As good as the MCU movies have been, they all follow a similar tone — a sort of lighthearted comedic tone (even the darker movies like Captain America: Civil War). This is great and they are a lot of fun. X-Men films, while they have their funny moments, have a more grounded feel to them. It has to be said that if they conformed to the MCU they would lose what makes the X-Men films so great in the first place.
Another key point is the ratings system. Fox already has an R-rated franchise in Deadpool. The upcoming Wolverine project is also set to have an R-rating. The comparison has to be made mainly because it's difficult to imagine Marvel/Disney ever signing off on an R-rated film. So if Marvel and Fox come together and work on a movie together, you can guarantee that it's going to be family friendly. So say goodbye to super violence, F-bombs and gratuitous sex scenes (we're looking at you, Ryan Reynolds and Morena Baccarin!).
Too Many Characters
The X-Men character roster is huge. How huge? Huge enough to be its own universe. If you add that to the enormous roster that is the MCU, many characters are going to start falling through the cracks. The most likely to suffer would be you ancillary ones. There would be so much to cram in, it would be tough to allow everyone their moment in the spotlight, or some might be left out altogether.
The best bet would be that the MCU would only want to use a few X-Men characters, such as Wolverine, Magneto, Professor X, Cyclops and Jean Grey. Deadpool isn't really considered one of the X-Men, but he's a fan favorite and could get lost in the shuffle, too. This is assuming that it wouldn't be an Avengers vs X-Men situation; that could be very complicated as well and would seem like a rehash of Captain America: Civil War. At this point, the MCU has its plans set for years to come. The addition of the X-Men into the film slate would definitely throw a wrench into things, which makes it more unlikely to happen.
The idea that the X-Men could even join the Avengers on screen is because of the Sony/Marvel deal for Spider-Man. Now these were very different circumstances. Sony was in dire straights financially. It was a perfect storm of terrible things happening to Sony that opened the door for Spider-Man's entrance to the MCU. Fox is not in any financial trouble. Let's take a look at the budgets and box office gross to get a better idea of its financial success:
- X-Men (2000) Budget: $75 million/Box office: $296 million
- X2: X-Men United (2003) Budget: $110 million/Box office: $407 million
- X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) Budget: $168 million/Box office: $459 million
- X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009) Budget: $150 million/Box office: $373 million
- X-Men: First Class (2011) Budget: $160 million/Box office: $353 million
- The Wolverine (2013) Budget: $120 million/Box office: $414 million
- X-Men: Days Of Future Past (2014) Budget: $200 million/Box office: $747 million
- Deadpool (2016) Budget: $58 million/Box office: $760 million
- X-Men: Apocalypse (2016) Budget: $178 million/Box office: $544 million
Total X-Men Franchise Budget? $1.2 Billion. Box Office? $4.3 Billion
Every single film has at least made double its budget at the box office. They haven't lost a single dollar making the X-Men movies. These films have grossed $3.1 billion at the box office alone. So there is no real motivation for the studio to do a joint film with the MCU, nor should it. Combining two long-running cinematic universes could be way more trouble than it's worth.
Want to read more about the latest X-Men news? Be sure to check out:
- 'X-Men: Apocalypse': Deleted Scene Hints Jean Grey Could Become Dark Phoenix Sooner Than We Thought
- New Teasers For The X-Men Spin-Off 'Legion' Are Here
- Everything You Need To Know About Mr. Sinister - The Villain Of 'Wolverine 3'!
So Where Does That Leave Us?
There seems to be common misconception about the success of the X-Men franchise. Maybe it's because of the comparison to the MCU films. Most likely it's down to lack of knowledge. With all the information we have compiled, it seems obvious that the X-Men are doing great on their own, and have been for 16 years now. In the last year alone Deadpool broke box office records and X-Men: Apocalypse also did well financially. Fox also has several more X-Men properties in the pipeline, so clearly there's no plans to slow down.
At the end of the day, Fox should not cut a deal with Marvel. Financially it wouldn't make sense at all. It would complicate the film slates for both companies and some films we really want to see might be put on the back-burner or be canceled altogether.
It's a cool idea in theory to mash in the X-Men with the Avengers. The nerd fantasies are hard to not to want give in to. We want what we want when we want it! Marvel doesn't have all of its properties, and we just have to live with it. But let's look on the bright side: We get all of these wonderful comic book films for years and years to come! We shall persevere!
Sound Off! Do you think its a good idea for the X-Men to join the MCU? Do you think they shouldn't? Let it be known below!
Should the X-Men join the Marvel Cinematic Universe?