X-Men Apocalypse Shows What can Kill Superhero Movies.

Why the latest X-Men movie's lack of heart, engaging story or character, and overall averageness could end up causing the eventual fall of the superhero movie genre.

Editorial Opinion

In the year 2000, a great number of people around the world feared what was called the Y2K bug. In theory, this "bug" was supposed to be in the majority of computer systems worldwide that would cause them to either have their systems operate like they were in the past or in the future. There was a major concern that this could cause the failure of everything from banks to healthcare to even causing planes to fall out of the sky. It turns out that really none of that happened, and outside of a few isolated incidents, everyone wokeup like nothing happened. In today's world people have gine from fearing that their bank accounts can be wrecked by changing the date on a computer, to keeping a super computer in their pocket at all times. This analogy can actually be used in the area of superhero movies. In 2000 the comic book industry as a whole was failing, especially Marvel comics, and many people thought that it was the end of comics not just in movies, but in pop- culture as well. Comic were facing their own version if the Y2K bug. Now however, comic book movies are the most popular genre of movies in the world.
You have to remember where we were in the year 2000 when it comes to comics. The latest, big budget superhero movie was Joel Schumaker's Batman and Robin. Marvel comics had not only sold the movie rights to its biggest characters just to keep the lights on, but even went to selling their own filing cabinets to pay the bills. One of the charcters, or group of characters, that Marvel sold was the X-Men. These comics centered around a rotating team of mutant humans trying to help the world accept them by saving innocent people from a not so subtle Malcom X ripoff, who was leading his own group of mutants to destroy normal humans. If you pitched this idea today, you might get 100 million dollars to bring this story to the big screen, but in the midst of the darkest time that the comic book industry had ever seen, this was an extremley risky move. Luckily, this worked out. Thanks to some iconic casting choices and a mature story line, the X-Men movie succeeded bringing in 296 million dollars world wide during it's time in theaters. Since then we have seen the X-Men movie universe be surpassed by Marvel Studios and their shared cinematic universe, and soon its possible that DC comics could pass them with their own version of this. It is quite ironic then, that the movie franchise that started the superhero craze could bring it crashing down on everyone. 

Last summer Fox released the lateset X-Men sequel titled X-Men: Apocalypse. This movie was supposed to bring the X-Men's greatest villain to the big screen. In the comics, Apocalypse is the very first mutant, and a nearly all-powerful being who can change his own size, use telepathy, and many other incredible abilities. In this movie you saw almost none of that. The promise of this incredibly powerful being that no one can stand up to is not delivered in any meaningful way. Yes, he beats up all the characters you have come to know but not really love, however his defeat is literally seconds long and feels just as empty as the rest of the movie. The emptiness in this movie comes from a few things. Possibly the biggest is that two of the biggest scenes in the movie ( the scene at the concentration camp with Magneto and the final battle scene) are meant to be these big emotional points of the movie, but what they both turn into is a giant CGI blob with people screaming at the camera. Another glaring hole with the movie is that the only major character death came from a character who was only in the last movie for less than five minutes, and was in this one for maybe ten minutes at the most. His death, much like this whole movie, feels empty because we do not know him. Just like we do not know Magneto's family when they are randomly killed earlier in the film.

X-Men: Apocalypse is the type of movie that I beleive will eventually burst the bubble of comic-book movies. It won't happen beacuse something is so horribly bad that it becomes a joke, like the Fantastic Four, and it definitley won't be because peopleget tired of watching movies as good as Civil War. It will be because movies will be put out that are just average. One of my friends who works at Starbuck's puts it perfectly when she says that people will buy iced coffee and hot coffee, but you never see people lining up to buy luke warm coffee. It rings true with these movies just as it does with coffee. Comic book movies already have to deal with the fault of being inherently ridiculous. It is very difficult to make grown men and women running around in tights fighting aliens seem "cool" to the mainstream public. So when you take an idea that is already tough to beleive, and you put an un-interesting villain in a movie combined with un-interesting heroes where the only stakes are a charcter dying that most casual viewers wont even know the name of, well you get a gallon jug of luke warm coffee.

You see, comics themselves are much like this movie. People die and come back all the time. Villains who can't be hurt, will be sent flying by the same character throwing the same punch just a few panels later. There aren't really any stakes in comics anymore. For comic book movies to continue being successful they must evolve past their own source material, and just become good movies. One reason that Marvel Studios has continued to grow, is that their films have actually gotten better in quality since they started in 2008. They definitley have had some missteps, but i challenge you to come up with an MCU movie as boring as Apocalypse. Even in the MCU though, no one really dies, and they face constant backlash from fans over their perceived lack of intriguing villians. I have hope that comic book movies like Apocalypse will become more and more rare. You can see it happeining already with the maturation charcters and story-telling we have seen in comic book adaptations in just the last few years. The last thing I want is for these movies to fail. However, I'd rather see no more movies in this genre than any more movies in the vein of X-Men: Apocalypse.


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