Friday, 6 December 2013

X-MEN: APOCALYPSE – THE START OF A SECOND MARVEL MOVIE UNIVERSE?

Note: As Lost In The Multiplex (the awesome site which is home to my Panels To Frames columns) is currently undergoing some important maintenance, I'll rant about comics movies here for a while until the site returns to action. Let's talk X-Men and stuff! 

The announcement that next year's X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURES PAST will be followed in 2016 by X-MEN: APOCALYPSE has kicked off some interesting speculation and rumours, namely that Fox will be using that film as the start of their own version of Marvel Studios' interlinked cinematic Marvel Universe. Fox will also be bringing the rebooted Fantastic Four franchise to the screen, as well as the Cable/Deadpool headlining X-FORCE, and it seems that the studio may be wanting to combine all of those franchises into its own version of the mega-popular Marvel Studios iteration which has proven to be so lucrative with the AVENGERS movie and related films.

A second Marvel cinematic universe could be a massive amount of fun, but it could also feel disjointed when looked at alongside the established Marvel movies and their sequels. The Fox X-MEN films have a very different feel to the in-house Marvel Studios movies, and thus two giant interlocked batches of films may saturate the market and also confuse casual viewers as to who will turn up in what.

This news has once again raised the war cry of a lot of fans, namely “GIVE MARVEL THE RIGHTS BACK FOR STUFF” (Remember, Marvel Studios don't make the X-Men and Spider-Man films, characters which are by far their most popular comics properties). I can understand (and agree with) a lot of those feelings, but it's not going to happen. At least not any time soon.

At least while Sony/Columbia are busy making Spider-man films which look like unfinished video games, Fox are busy making X-Men films which are respectful to the source material as well as offering something new for both long term fans and newcomers alike. Fantastic Four is being reborn from the ground up, and maybe it's time for the X-men to get the same treatment with a new cast and a new direction after DAYS OF FUTURES PAST. Maybe APOCALYPSE will be the end of one thing and the start of something enw and even more exciting.

Despite the onscreen action, most of the superhero movies from the non-Marvel studios haven't been all that epic in scale, but since Marvel upped their game with the arrival of Thanos in the Avengers and the fantasy elements of the THOR movies (as well as the large-scale sci-fi of the forthcoming GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY), it seems that Fox are wanting to create their own multi-film, multi-franchise behemoth.

Will they be able to match the success of Marvel Studios? I doubt it this late in the game, but it's certainly going to be a hell of a lot of fun finding out. Now, if we could just get all of these studios to play nice and bring us an MARVEL UNIVERSE film with the X-Men, Avengers, Spider-man, Fantastic Four and everyone else in it, I'd be a happy old geek. It might even stop me rocking back and forth while chanting “Yellow spandex... yellow spandex... yellow spandex...”

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