I have wanted movie mutants to go back to Marvel since 2008’s Iron Man. Partly it was my idea, at the time, that all the Marvel characters should be together. It was also because Iron Man showed that you could make a superhero movie, that looked like a superhero comic, and people would love it. As much as we loved the first X-Men it was really the only thing we had at the time. No comic book fan honestly liked the all-black uniforms, but we were told a movie wouldn’t sell with brightly-colored spandex. Well, we all know how that turned out. For awhile it looked like Fox, and also Sony with the Spider-Man franchise, just didn’t take the material or the fans seriously. Sure, we did get some decent movies out of both, but until we started seeing the Avengers on screen we didn’t really know how mediocre the X-Men and Spider-Man movies were. Even the worst of the MCU movies are miles better than just about anything put out by Fox and Sony. Then came Deadpool.
Deadpool was a stellar success, not just for a rated R movie, but for superhero movies in general. It holds 4 records for sales, and is Fox’s 5th highest grossing movie of all time. It is the 9th highest grossing superhero movie, and beats out all other offerings from Fox on that front. The most important thing though is Deadpool proves that with a passionate team dedicated to the source material, and by letting the character be true to the original concept, you can have a hit. Mr. Pool kept his mask on most of the time, his suit was right out of the pages of the book, and so was his character. No dumbing-down for general audiences, or softening of the material for casual fans. No appeal to children, or pandering to fill seats. Deadpool was exactly the character fans wanted to see, delivered exactly how they wanted to see it.
Deadpool should be a wake up call for Fox. Hire writers who are passionate about the project, and let them do their job. Get a team around that writer, and a director, that also love the source material, or at least understand it. Let them create a world that looks like what the fans want, and don’t be afraid to make it look like the comic. Marvel/Disney has been doing that every single time and they’re delivering a hulk-sized beatdown on Fox.
If Deadpool was a wake up call then Logan is the front desk calling back to make sure you’re up and out of bed. Not even a week old (as of this writing) and the last of a 17 year journey with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is already looking toward a very successful run in theaters. Like Deadpool, Logan gives us a story that is as true to the runt’s source material as I’ve seen yet. We get to see Wolverine as he is in the books. No kiddie filter, or PG action. No huge, titanic battles toppling cities, or massive special effects montages. Just a simple guy who is tired, frustrated, and still the best at what he does. The Wolverine ‘trilogy’ will probably go down as the first ever where the last movie is the best of the bunch. I can’t say it enough; I love Logan, and everything about the movie. The flaws are minuscule next to all the things it got right. It was dramatic, and tense. It makes you feel for the characters in a way few of these movies, or even the books that spawned them, have. The things that happen to Charles, Logan and Laura in this movie feel like they actually have an impact.
What worries me is that the studio execs, all well known for their creativity (do you hear the sarcasm?) will take this to mean you can just slap an R-rating on a movie and start cashing checks. I’m afraid we’ll start seeing Fox’s pendulum swing to the other extreme as they think that every mutant needs their own gritty, dark, R-rated standalone film. The feel of these two movies won’t work with every character, nor will the graphic violence, or sexual themes. The execs at the studio need to boil it down to what actually worked. It wasn’t the rating, or the fact that both movies were ultra violent. Just get a good team, passion for the source material, and let them do their jobs without a lot of meddling.
Sure, I’d still like the mutants to be drawn into the MCU and see some Avengers and X-Men team-ups but I don’t think that will happen any time soon. I’ll just be happy if they can start delivering the same quality we’ve seen with the last two movies throughout the rest of the franchise.