X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

So as I’m sure you’re all aware, there’s a new X-Men movie out this weekend, and with the exception of a few small details, it looks pretty good. It’s adapting Days of Future Past, possibly the best X-Men story ever told, which also means we’ll finally get to see the X-Men fight the Sentinels. The new costumes actually look pretty decent for this franchise (excluding Quicksilver, of course), even if the colors have been toned down a bit since X-Men: First Class. There’s some epic-looking action scenes, most of the best members of the original cast have returned, and there’s some twisty time travel shenanigans going on. Early word of mouth is pretty good too, with the film’s Rotten Tomatoes score holding steady at well above any of its predecessors.

So why am I not more excited?

Four words: Bryan. Singer. Is. Back.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember
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I’ve bagged on Singer in the past, calling him the “Master of Mediocrity” (a title that, in retrospect, is better suited to J.J. Abrams; Singer is more of amateur practitioner of mediocrity), and my opinion on him has not really softened. With the exception of the good parts of Superman Returns, there’s basically nothing he’s done with his career that I still enjoy watching.

But even I have to admit that he was responsible for saving superhero movies as we know them. Sure, it had less to do with his talents as a filmmaker (such as they are), and more with pure dumb luck and good timing. If he hadn’t done it, someone else likely would have, but regardless, it was his X-Men that rescued the superhero film genre from oblivion after it burned out in the ‘90s. It was the first mainstream comic book adaption since Batman to manage a competent, watchable story that took the source material seriously enough to be engaging. It proved to Hollywood that there was still money to be made in the genre, and paved the way for Sam Raimi, Christopher Nolan, and the whole Marvel Cinematic Universe.

Which is why it’s understandable that, at the time, we kind of overlooked the fact that it wasn’t a particularly good movie. It had a decent setup, but the payoff was awful. There wasn’t a lot in the way of good dialogue or characterization, the aesthetics were boring, and Bryan Singer is a chronically uncompelling director of action. But the bar was set so low at the time that X-Men fans were just glad it wasn’t terrible.

In the last decade, we’ve been repeatedly shown what truly great comic book movies look like, and since then, X-Men’s popularity as a movie has been a bit overshadowed. In a world where The Avengers exists, X-Men kind of fails to thrill anymore.

But what about X-Men 2, AKA X2: X-Men United? That one still seems to be in favor. A critical hit at the time, it often pops up on “sequels better than the original” lists alongside such classics as The Godfather Part II, Spider-Man 2, and The Empire Strikes Back. I myself remember it being merely okay at best, but it’s been almost a decade since I last bothered to watch it.

I decided to take another look at what’s supposedly the absolute best of Bryan Singer’s vision of the X-Men, on the off chance it would psych me up a bit more for his new movie. Maybe I hadn’t given Singer enough credit before, and X2 would be a lot better than I remember it being.

It wasn’t. It was worse. Way worse.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

Guys, I honestly don’t know how we ever considered X2 a good movie at all. There’s so little that’s right with this thing that I’m not sure I can even call it “meh” anymore. I remembered this as one of those movies that got by, not on the presence of good, but by the absence of suck. As it turns out, suck wasn’t actually all that absent.

For one thing, the characterization is amazingly flat. Out of the entire cast, maybe three have enough personality to even qualify as characters: Professor X, Magneto, and Nightcrawler. Even Wolverine, who’s basically the star of the show, has essentially nothing going on upstairs. Wolverine in the comics isn’t usually overflowing with depth either, but at least he has two things going for him there: his struggle with his animal nature, and his mysterious past.

Movie Wolverine has exactly one of those. I never noticed it until now, but the series barely even pays lip service to Wolverine’s animalistic rage until X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Sure, he yells and runs around stabbing people a lot, but in the entire X-Men trilogy, he loses control a grand total of once, when he accidentally stabs Rogue in his sleep in the first movie. And that scene wasn’t even about that, it was about Rogue’s powers. So instead of being a tortured ex-assassin trying to tame the beast within, Movie Wolverine is just a slightly gruff guy that doesn’t remember much of anything. And amnesia isn’t a particularly compelling backstory. It’s essentially defining a character by his lack of character.

What’s more, Wolverine, despite his prominence, has essentially no complete arc, just the half-baked fragments of one. It didn’t occur to me until now, but of all the X-Men, Wolverine is probably the worst possible candidate for main protagonist of the franchise. He can carry his own personal stories just fine, but revolving the entire X-Men saga around him just doesn’t work, because he’s the member of the team most disconnected from the X-Men’s cause. He has almost nothing to do with the series’ central theme of disenfranchisement of cultural outsiders.

Sure, he’s a mutant like the rest of them, but he’s not hiding who he is from his mutant-hating dad like Angel, and he’s never been chased by a fearful mob like Nightcrawler. The worst thing that ever happens to him because of his mutant gene is being experimented on by Weapon X, and as we’ve seen, Weapon X will experiment on just about anybody.

Wolverine is not ideological; he has essentially no dog in the fight between humans and mutants. He’s usually too wrapped up in his own private shit to worry about the bigger picture. It’s not that he doesn’t care or doesn’t help fight the good fight, it’s just it doesn’t define him the same way it does most of the other X-Men.

So Wolverine having nothing to do with the moral conflict between Professor X and Magneto (and Professor X and Stryker in X2) makes him feel disconnected from the film, despite being its main character. His only motivation is wanting to know about his past, and his only interest in the central conflict is that Stryker has the answers he’s looking for. And at the end of the film, his arc concludes with him deciding that apparently, he doesn’t want to know any more. Why? How did he reach that conclusion?

A closing scene has him deciding he no longer needs to know who he was, because he’s found a new sense of identity, and a new family in the X-Men, but nothing in the film led to that conclusion. It doesn’t flow naturally from the story at all. What happened to Wolverine in between demanding that Professor X read his mind again to unlock his memories at the beginning and throwing away his dog tags at the end that led him to reject his past and embrace the X-Men?

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

Let’s review everything that happens to Wolverine over the course of the film: He goes to Alkali Lake looking for clues about his past and finds nothing. He saunters back to the X-Men empty-handed, and asks Professor X to read his mind again. The Professor refuses, telling him it wouldn’t do any good, and that the mind has to discover some things for itself. He then gets stuck babysitting the Xavier School, during which he briefly watches a nameless mutant boy change TV channels with his eyes, something he observes with mild bemusement. He then has a really awkward (and thankfully brief) conversation with Iceman, during which nothing of consequence is said or accomplished. Riveting.

The school is then attacked, and Wolverine kills a few soldiers before Stryker shows up to confuse him with a few cryptic hints about his past. But he’s interrupted by Iceman before anything of substance can be said. Wolverine escapes with Iceman, Rogue, and Pyro, and drives them to Boston hoping to meet up with the rest of the X-Men.

Along the way, they hide out in Iceman’s parents’ house to participate in the most obvious scene of the movie, wherein Singer goes out of his way—while almost putting the movie on hold—to hammer home the “mutants == gay” metaphor. I appreciate that Singer is taking this stuff seriously, but directly tying the X-Men to one specific minority’s struggle always struck me as limiting their potential as avatars of all societal outsiders, regardless of race, creed, or purpose.

By having this scene say that the X-Men specifically represent the LGBT community and no one else, you make the story feel less personal and more closed off for other fans, who suddenly can’t relate to it. It’s possible I’m overreacting on this point, but regardless, “Have you tried not being a mutant?” is still a really, really stupid line.

But back to Wolverine, who despite not once expressing any kind of opinion one way or another about human/mutant relations, suddenly gets weirdly defensive around Iceman’s mutant-phobic parents. The heroes are then surrounded by the police, and after shrugging off a bullet to the head, Wolverine and company are picked up by most of the remaining X-Men in the Black Bird jet, only to be immediately knocked out of the sky again during a fight with the Air Force.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

On the ground, they encounter Magneto, who drops the exposition bomb to set up the rest of the plot. While the characters stand around in the woods waiting for the third act to happen, Wolverine takes the opportunity to hit on Jean Grey again, and holy shit, I never noticed before how painfully awful this scene is. Even at the best of times in this series, the love triangle between Wolverine, Jean, and Cyclops felt forced, but this scene in particular is painful to watch. The dialogue is Anakin/Padme levels of bad. Thankfully, Hugh Jackman has far more charisma than Hayden Christensen, but even he can’t sell this material.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

After Jean makes out with Wolverine and then sends him back to his tent with blue balls (this is why I hate love triangles; they always make whoever’s at the center seem like an awful human being), we have a completely pointless scene where Mystique tries and fails to seduce Wolverine. Afterwards, the movie decides it’s finally time for Act 3, so everyone goes to Fort Bad Guy.

While the rest of the X-Men deal with actual plot shit, Wolverine chews up some more screen time by beating up Kelly Hu for a bit, before finally catching up with Stryker. Stryker drops more cryptic hints, but all we learn is that Wolverine apparently volunteered for whatever the hell they did to him, and also, he was just as much of an animal before as he is now (which is to say, not much of an animal at all).

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

Wolverine ties Stryker up and leaves to go finish the plot with everyone else. He later returns to Stryker, carrying with him one of the abducted mutant children from the school for some reason (and not even the one he briefly spoke to before; instead, it’s another kid he’s never seen before, as far as we know). Stryker gives him a big “join me” Darth Vader speech, promising less needlessly cryptic answers. Wolverine responds by throwing his dog tags at Stryker’s feet, gesturing to the kid, and saying, “I’ll take my chances with him.”

I repeat: What the hell brought him to that conclusion? What part of the events I just described motivated him to abandon his search for answers about his past and fully embrace his future with the X-Men? The best answer I have is that gruff, cynical, stoic Wolverine was just so shocked and appalled by Iceman’s mildly intolerant parents that he suddenly decided that all he cared about was mutant equality. Either that, or the shot to the head did something to his brain. Wouldn’t be the first time.

So that’s Wolverine, our supposed lead character, and the cast only gets more one-dimensional from there. Rogue continues to be shrill and ineffectual, and is so useless to the plot this time around that she doesn’t even get the honor of being Magneto’s secret MacGuffin anymore. And her one character trait (constantly whining, “ooh, I can’t touch my boyfriend without hurting him, woe is me”) is quite Edward Cullen-esque in retrospect.

Her new, never before mentioned boyfriend Iceman is even more dull, denied even the most basic of personalities. The frickin’ Power Rangers were more layered than this guy.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

Pyro, a character I imagine was intended to be a bit morally ambiguous, is nothing of the kind. He’s just an asshole, and Magneto’s mutant supremacy dogma is merely his excuse to continue being an asshole.

The script briefly attempts to flesh out Storm and Mystique, complete blank slates in the first movie, but all we really learn about either of them amounts to one thing: “I really hate mutant-phobes.”

Cyclops is even worse off than he was the first time around, afforded less screen time and agency than Hawkeye in Avengers. The leader of the X-Men is essentially reduced to a glorified cameo in a fucking X-Men movie.

And Jean Grey. Oh, boy. Jean fucking Grey. Jean was never my favorite character in the comics, or the cartoon I grew up with, or the movies, and I don’t know too many people who are big fans of hers either. In every version of her I’ve ever been exposed to, she’s been mind-numbingly dull. The only things she’s known for are being the team’s token chick (before all the interesting X-Ladies like Shadowcat and Storm showed up), engaging in a love triangle with Cyclops and Wolverine, and repeatedly dying. This makes her more than a little… problematic, for lack of a better word. It says a lot that the X-Men are almost always more interesting when she’s dead. She’s basically their Gwen Stacy.

And speaking of horribly misogynistic deaths of female characters, how did no one notice 11 years ago how hopelessly they botched Jean Grey’s death in this movie?

The problems with Jean’s death are twofold. First, Jean is the second dullest, least-developed character in the movie (Iceman is the first). Seriously, all we learn about her as a character in the first two movies* is that she wants to boink Wolverine and Cyclops, but prefers Cyclops. That’s what defines Jean Grey as a character: which way her vagina is pointed. So like so many other women in refrigerators, her death has jack shit to do with her. It’s merely an excuse to see Hugh Jackman and James Marsden engage in one of the most embarrassing scenes of either of their careers. Seriously, they’re depressingly bad when it comes to trying to show grief over Jean’s death. In Marsden’s defense though, it’s really hard to act properly when you’re forced to keep your eyes covered the whole time.

[*It’s actually amazing when you realize that of the entire original X-Men trilogy, X-Men 3 is the one that did the most to flesh out a lot of these characters.]

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

Secondly, Jean’s death isn’t built up to at all. The only inkling we get that something’s going to go down is the brief mention at the beginning that her powers are getting stronger. And when the moment finally arrives, the staging of it makes no sense.

As a reminder: The Black Bird is failing to take off, and a dam is about to burst and drown them all. So Jean leaves the jet and stands outside, using her telekinesis to hold the flood back while she lifts the Black Bird into the air, which conveniently starts back up once she does this.

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

This film does worse than just ignore the gaping plot holes in this setup: it actively points them out. Why not just have Nightcrawler teleport everyone to higher ground in the several minutes they have to act? We’ll never know, because Jean actually prevents him from doing so. The characters even ask why she left the jet instead of just doing the same exact thing safely from the inside, and the only answer we’re given is “she made a choice”. Well, then she made a really stupid choice!

The whole scene is eerily similar to the ending of this year’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2, in that they both lift a famous scene from the comics with no regard for context, and for no other reason than to set up the sequel.

Beyond that, the film is just plain boring to watch. It’s a Bryan Singer movie, so almost none of the action scenes are interestingly staged. The film is way too long, with not nearly enough story or character to justify its running time. The third act is a complete clusterfuck, with some scenes appearing to take place in the wrong order. For example, Stryker notices the dam is about to burst and runs off panicking, and then the next time we see him he’s calmly delivering a villain speech to Wolverine before sicking Lady Deathstrike on him. And speaking of the dam bursting, I still can’t tell you how that happened.

There are, of course, other things to nitpick: Why can Mystique not get in to see Magneto in prison while disguised as a senator, when Professor X, a civilian, can apparently pop in whenever he wants? Why didn’t Stryker or his people notice Wolverine poking around Alkali Lake at the beginning of the movie? Why did everyone just stand around while Iceman slowly erected that ice wall? What the hell was the point of Magneto moving all those seemingly functionless panels around? Why does the editing suggest that it took Jason Stryker and his little girl illusion several days just to walk Professor X into the faux Cerebro?

X-Men 2 is not as good as you remember

So yeah, going back to rewatch X2 did not help deter any reservations I have about X-Men: Days of Future Past. I’m more worried than ever now. Even at their best, Bryan Singer’s X-Men movies have been dull and uninteresting, and had these movies come out in today’s environment where we’ve come to expect far better from our superhero films, they likely would have been seen as failures. I sincerely hope Singer has learned a few things in the last decade, because I really don’t want to see this franchise go back to sucking.

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  • Muthsarah

    I only recently saw this movie for the first time, right around the time I saw First Class. I do think that had I seen it when it came out, I woulda been impressed, but after Spiderman 2, TDK, Iron Man, etc., yeah, the movie really wasn’t that good. There’s just too many characters, their powers are too random and too little time is spent fitting them (both the characters and the powers) together meaningfully, so the whole cast of characters feels like a collective sonic screwdriver, without the self-aware goofiness. At no point did I A) care about anybody, B) care what was going on, C) feel any tension whatsoever, or D) feel like I could logically anticipate (and not just in a genre-savvy way) what was gonna happen next, because it all just felt Crazy Go Nuts, in addition to feeling rather heavy and pretentious. Looked OK, I guess (though I still think the costumes are awful), but that’s about it. If Sir Ian wasn’t on-screen, there was really nothing impressive on display.

    The comix (what few I’ve read) just worked a hell of a lot better. Film is not a good medium for a comic book with this many characters; you’d need a miniseries. Or an hour-long TV series. Or a series of graphic novels that come out monthly. When you say this movie is too long, I think you mean that you eventually got bored. This movie needed to be WAY longer, among other things, to come even close to telling a meaningful story. It sets up so much, then gets bored itself and moves on. It feels as random as their mutant powers themselves.

    First Class was pretty decent, though, in a next-movie-should-be-better kinda way (like X-Men and Spiderman, and Thor, and Captain America). I’m not too worried about Singer, I just care that the story doesn’t try to shove too much into only two hours. That’s one advantage to trilogy-abuse – at the very least, you can tell the story one bit at a time.

    • It’s more that I meant it doesn’t make proper use of the time it has. The Incredibles (still probably the best superhero team movie ever) had way more character development in a significantly shorter running time. This film is full of needless filler that tells us nothing about the characters to get us invested. So if this is all the film had to offer, the least they could’ve done is trimmed the fat. Otherwise, put some effort into your writing so the running time feels earned.

      • Muthsarah

        Without excising half the characters, or going with a completely different kind of plot, do you think it was even possible for this movie to have worked, or was it just too big from its premise?

        Team-up movies (like The Incredibles, one of my absolute favorite movies) usually work just fine if you have a small enough team. There’s no good reason at all why The Fantastic Four movies couldn’t have worked. X-Men would work fine if they made it resemble the earlier days of the comics, when there were only five plus Xavier and Magneto. The first X-Men movie didn’t have much more than that, so it shoulda worked….except they ignored half the characters to focus only on the most popular. Even First Class felt like it had to go big, and ended up feeling pretty shallow and silly. Do you think this could be a result of them trying to include as many fans’ favorites as possible, or are they just trying to one-up the previous X-Men movie and look impressive, even at the price of giving half of the characters no substance?

        • Considering almost none of the characters had much to do, yeah, you could probably toss out half the cast and the movie would be better for it. Iceman, Rogue, and Pyro could be left out entirely, which leave more room to develop Jean, Storm, and Nightcrawler who badly needed the screen time. Also reducing Wolverine’s role to a subplot and making Cyclops or Jean the lead character would’ve helped immensely. Honestly, it would’ve made more sense for Wolverine & Cyclops to switch places, have his old Weapon X brainwashing kick in to turn HIM into Stryker’s henchmen, then develop the missing memories thing in a few scenes of Styker toying with and torturing Wolverine alongside Professor X. This would also have the added benefit of ousting Lady Deathstrike, another extraneous character, and giving us a big fanboy pleasing “Wolverine beats up the X-Men” fight in the 3rd act. And giving Jean much of his spare screen time would’ve help develop her so her death might have some meaning.

          • Muthsarah

            So….$64,000 question: Why didn’t they do something like that?

            Think they’re compelled to include as many characters as possible, for either marketing purposes or to please as many fans as possible (with variety if not quality)?

          • Timmy Tongemans

            See: Spider-man 3. Raimi wanted Sand-man. The studio wanted Venom (because all the fanboys were hysterically crying out for it) so the studio made Raimi add more villains.

          • maarvarq

            reducing Wolverine’s role to a subplot … would’ve helped immensely.
            Dear God, yes. The best thing about First Class was that it wasn’t “Wolverine, also featuring some other X-Men if we can be bothered.” Of course, the fact that Days of Futures Past originally had Shadowcat sent into the past, but changed in the film to whatsisname, doesn’t bode well on this front.

  • Toby Clark

    “Her new, never before mentioned boyfriend Iceman”
    Uh, Bobby (and Mystique impersonating Bobby) had several scenes in the first movie, pretty clearly setting up this relationship.

    • I do not remember those scenes at all, and I’ve seen that movie a good 4 or 5 times. Goes to show how unmemorable these movies are, I guess.

      • Also, things happen between movies. If Logan comes back and Rogue says, “This is Iceman, we’re dating.” Do you really need more explanation or illustration? It is actually more character development than Cyclopes ever got.

  • Doc Skippy

    Superhero movies are to this generation what slasher movies were to my generation.

    • Doc Skippy

      I should probably elaborate a bit. What I mean is that there are so many of the things coming out in a big rush. They feature eye-popping FX and not a whole lot else. There is a fairly rigid formula (or limited set of formulae) that they follow. The appeal is largely driven by the personalities, such as they are, of the larger than life heroes (or villains, in the case of slasher movies) and/or actors. They appeal to a young audience. 10 years later, you watch some of them and think, “Jesus, why the hell did I like this so much?”

      • Mike

        I couldn’t disagree more! Most of the characters in slasher movies that get more than five minutes of screen time are dead before the final act. Only the lead villain and than lead survivors are given any dialogue or character traits worth caring investing in. In the (better, but not necessarily best) superhero movies, the supporting characters are as are still given something of substance for the audience to attack connect with.

        • Doc Skippy

          I suppose it depends on how you define “supporting characters [who are ] given something of substance for the audience to connect with.” Of the recent spate of superhero dreck, I’ve seen the first Iron Man, the first Captain America, the Avengers, and the first two Sam Raimi Spider-Man movies (are those recent anymore?). I’m hard-pressed to recall even a single “supporting character” from any of those movies. All I really remember is Robert Downey Jr. as Iron Man, uh, and I guess that Maguire fellow? I suppose there was that skinny woman in the Iron Man movies, right? Did Captain America have people in it? Oh wait, Agent Smith was in that movie, right? At any rate, when I think about the major slasher franchises, I think of Freddy, Jason, Michael. They are memorable because they are larger than life personalities (in Freddy’s case) or are distinctive characters (the latter two). Pretty much just like superheroes, pretty much.

  • Sardu

    Dude! Thank you! Finally. These movies suck.

  • Thomas Diehl

    Every time someone credits X-Men with rescuing superhero and/or comic book movies, I join the background going “Bladebladebladebladebladebl…”

    • Comic book movies? Maybe. Superhero movies? Definitely not. Blade is about as much of a superhero movie as Constantine. It’s an action horror movie, which is why it managed not to bomb despite coming out only a year after Batman & Robin. Blade did not convince Hollywood that “Hey, superheroes can still make money at the box office”. X-Men & Spider-man did that.

      • Zack_Dolan

        you can argue whether or not blade is a proper superhero, but the fact that we have superhero movies of decent quality right now is credited to him. do you seriously think studio heads can or would be bothered to make a distinction between comic book movie and specifically superhero movie? i don’t. certainly not in 1998. x men got greenlit specifically bcs of blade bcs studios finally saw the monetary potential of adapting comic books again (after batman and robin basically murdered the idea for everyone a few years earlier, and by then superhero films were already a pretty big joke), and spiderman wasn’t even on the table for at least 4 more years, so i hardly think we can credit raimi with saving much of anything. the train was pretty well rolling by that point. if anything, as much as i hate to admit it, comic book movies success and even their current existence, owes a lot to the matrix (egh i threw up a little in my mouth) bcs studios were literally trampling eachother to find excuses to use all this new bullet time shit and all the other technical wizardry the matrix made popular and superheroes were an easy choice

        • greg

          Blade came out only one year after batman and robin

    • Zack_Dolan

      I was thinking the exact same thing reading this article. haha

  • jokmank

    Apart from couple of scenes (which were mostly in the trailer anyway), I don’t remember anything from this movie!

    All I remember is other X-Men not doing anything and Wolverine stabbing things.

    Like many other X-Men incarnations, the movies have made a mistake of revolving mostly around Wolverine. I know it’s a cliche complaining about that still today, but he’s way too overexposed.

    And I hate that they reduced Cyclops (my favorite X-Man) to just a smug rival who loses the girl to the hero in the end. (OK, it’s not exactly like that, but still, the movies clearly wants us to root for Jean and Logan to get together)

    Also:

    “But the bar was set so low at the time that X-Men fans were just glad it wasn’t terrible.”

    I’m pretty shore this is also why people hysterically demand that Nolan Bat-Movies are “so awesome”

    • Timmy Tongemans

      Except that Nolan’s Bat-movies came AFTER the bar was set (by the likes of Spider-man 2), and actually helped set the bar themselves (particularly The Dark Knight).

  • Moppet

    None of the X-men movies are as good as I remember (which doesn’t make them all bad, though I’d still put Origins and X3 at the bottom of a list). They come from a time when this was better than Super Hero movies had been given, but it wasn’t that much better. It’s still pulling from that, “We’re ashamed of blue and yellow spandex” mentality that turned me off of the first X-men movie. They were better than some of what we’d seen prior, for super hero movies, but we’ve gotten so very much better since then that it’s just impossible not to notice. They aren’t terrible movies, and there’s still portions of each to enjoy, it’s just strange that those enjoyable sections aren’t what they concentrated on more.

    As much as I like some of the actors in particular parts (Beast and Wolverine especially, I hate to lose them, but I’d be willing to lose them if it meant we just got an overall better rendition of the property) I really can’t wait for the day the slate is wiped clean and we can start again with this property. It really can be done so, so much better.

  • $36060516

    I very clearly remember leaving this movie and feeling very cold towards it, while the friends I was with loved it. As a result I actually stopped hanging out with those friends. (This was part of a long-standing pattern of them wanting to watch stuff that made me feel depressed afterward.)

  • Wizkamridr

    The avengers movie had zero character development and a generic storyline. But it still made a ton of money and everyone acts like it is the greatest thing since sliced bread.

    • $36060516

      Coulson had the minor character development of being alive and then dead, but even that was quickly taken away by the TV sequel.

    • Cristiona

      It was enjoyable. Unlike the XMen movies.

    • conservative man

      That’s because Avengers IS A GOOD MOVIE ! It does have a story and it does have a interesting plot, and great action ! And it’s also the reason why people now look at the X films as dull and boring because Avengers did a hero teamup so much better, don’t get me wrong I liked X-Men 2 but these days with the likes of Avengers, Thor, Iron Man and captain America they really make the X-Men look like old stale bread. It that fair ? Of cours not, just like it’s not fair that people bash the original spiderman simply because they have the new more flashy Amazing spiderman that’s all about action and effects and short on heart and story. Basically when something new comes along it tends to put the old in the shade, after sometime we may see films like the original spiderman and the X-Men movies as having gotten it right where other newer films are all flash and no substance, or they may sentence the older films to oblivion forever as dull, outdated forgettable flicks. Only time will tell.

    • Timmy Tongemans

      Avengers was a lot more entertaining to look at. And it actually had large scale action that was interesting to watch too. X-Men under Singers have just been dull as dishwater.

    • I’m not really sure what you mean by character development, because 5/6 Avengers got character arcs in relation to the team and each other. That is much more than 0.
      Captain America: Where do I fit in this world? –> Oh, I can still be a hero outside of war.
      Iron Man: Self sacrifice is not a thinkers solution. –> I am willing to die in deep space to save others.
      Black Widow: Where do I fit in a world of gods and monsters? –> Oh, they can be manipulated like any other thug.
      Thor: I just want my little brother back –> Loki has to be stopped, I may have to kill him, I have to save the world.
      Hulk: I am a monster –> I can be a hero, if I am a monster in the right direction.

      And then there is…
      Hawkeye: I really needed more to do in “Thor” to justify my brain washing as dangerous and tragic. –> Damn.

      You might be thinking of character establishment, which was done in the previous movies and would have just slowed things down if they reiterated it too much.

      • Wizkamridr

        If you didn’t watch the previous movies or read the comics, you would be lost.

        • That is usually the nature of sequels. As they are intended to continue stories. The Avengers is a franchise. Considering the ease of access to the previous films, and the amount of cultural osmosis, how sheltered should the makers of the Marvel films assume a ticket buyer to be? If you don’t know who the characters are, then why are you going to see “The Avengers” at all?

    • CaptainCalvinCat

      Might’ve something to do , that it is one of the greatest things. Like Rocketboy pointed out – we have character development and while the storyline is pretty much your standard story about a person manipulating others in order to get an invasion going, you have those characters that a) felt real and b) were wise-cracking all the way through.
      There was geniunely felt HUMOUR in those movies, which I painfully miss in other Superhero-Flicks.

      • Wizkamridr

        I never said the movie sucked. IMO, it felt like a Saturday morning cartoon.

  • Cristiona

    Hm. I thought the first X-Men was almost unbearably dull. It was soulless, and I always scratch my head when people say it was good. It was barely mediocre.

    The second was mediocre. Better than the first, but not really any good either. I do have to give them credit for Nightcrawler’s attempted assassination scene in the beginning. The rest? Meh.

    X3… I actually liked. It was overstuffed and bursting at the seams, but I enjoyed it. Maybe because they were kind of just blowing everything to flinders and I wasn’t a huge fan of the series anyway.

  • Eliot Littlejohn

    When i said i was worried about bryan singer directing day of futures past. Over on the face book comic book group. Over 50 people commented on how i was a stupid troll and x2 was one of the greatest super hero movies ever made. The discussion went on for days until the moderators told us not to comment anymore and took the posts down. Needless to say after a similar discussion about ben afleck as batman. We are not allowed to post negative comments in the group anymore. So i was very happy to see this article. Besides everything josh pointed out x2 sucks because besides lady deathstrike theirs no real villain in it. I mean the reason why the x movies are a mixed bag. Is because they keep beating us over the head with magneto and ignore the second most well known villain apocalypse. Thats why x2 sucks no real challenge for the team. To make up for that the x men just get tricked into fighting each other.

  • Timmy Tongemans

    X-men: First Class was a good movie. The rest of them have all sucked to varying degrees. The Wolverine (2013) and X2 were the least suckiest. And i have never been impressed with ANY of Singer’s movies (and that includes the incredibly overrated The Usual Suspects), so unless Singer stumbled onto genuine talent, i don’t expect much from Days of Future Past either.

    • greg

      No X-men first class was weaker than the others
      Everything about it was rushed

      • CaptainCalvinCat

        I liked First Class. – But I have no problem with the others as well. They are fun flicks… WHEN they are fun flicks, when they REMEMBER to be fun flicks. ^^ X2 does not that much, unfortunately.

  • starofjustice

    I remember it as being adequate at best. Pretty much the same way as all the X-Men movies. So gonna have to disagree with you there.

  • Mike

    Food for though: does the scene with Bobby’s family really need to be interpreted as mutants = gay? Couldn’t the line about trying to change who you are just as easily applied to autism, dyslexia, or any other disorder that’s not visual obvious? As someone with Tourette Syndrome, I can say from experiences it’s not uncommon for other people to assume you could always “make” yourself normal!

    • conservative man

      It could be but Hollywood likes to push left wing political agendas, paticuarly Homosexual issues. It’s become the lefts new cause the last 20 years or so. The movie is just pandering to the pro gay lobby, they are letting everyone know they are down with the gays, tolerance for all….except for those damn dirty christians of course.

      • Mike

        You do know there are gay christians and straight christians who support there gay family members, right?

        • conservative man

          They may support gay political causes, but that does not mean I should…or would…or will. A true christian must follow his God despite whatever is currently socially or politically acceptable.

          • Mike

            Every here of the “No True Scotsman fallacy?” There are some many different variation of Christianity that it would seem supremely arrogant to assume to now who are the TRUE followers of faith. A wise man does not claim to no they are closer to God than anyway else or what God wants for everyone else. Also there was a time when slavery was considered morally acceptable to many christians around the world and the were does on both side of the slavery debate in this country who used differing Bible pass to uphold there opposing views. Anyone can point to any passage in the Bible or other religious text and say “this is the right position to take,”but someone else can point to another passage and say “not actually God really wants us to do this.”
            I could good on about the complexities of these issues all day, but now hardly feels like the time or the place. My only major point to leave with is that whatever obstacles or odd one may come against in larger society, most of us no matter what we believe about the mysteries of the universe try to do what we conscientiously believe to be right. Whether we are right most of the time, is probably something only God can know.

          • Muthsarah

            And yet, that’s part of the essential history of Christianity. Look up “Christology” and the (quite literal) wars that resulted from it, and try not to weep at how much blood was split over the tiniest nothings.

            Apart from that, you’re arguing with a brick wall. Details, textual hypocrisies, historical examples, etc. are pointless to bring up. Wherever “faith” is held up as the highest virtue (regardless of the specific faith involved), reason holds no sway. There, believing trumps any truth, and one is never wrong so long as one never admits one even COULD be wrong. The stubbornest believer is held up as the truest believer.

            There is reason to be found in any religion or philosophy, I’ve noticed, but not in all parts of it. Some, among any religion, just don’t value such stuff. And there’s really nothing you can do about it. Let them speak, and then ignore them when/if they hold the traditional line. They’re losing ground worldwide, and have been for centuries. Just….let things go as they have been going. There is, surely, room for religion in the future, but likely not so the kind that refuse to even acknowledge rationality as a reasonable point of argument.

          • conservative man

            And of course your side will decide what is rational and what is acceptable in your ” new world order “, shall we say ? How is that any different from the religious people whom you criticize and blame for all the wars and the world’s troubles ? You will decide what can and cannot be said, what can and cannot be believed ? How is that not tyrrany ? I know… it’s not tyrrany when you engage in it, only the religious people. Also you atheists sell yourselves far too short, you’ve killed plenty in your own time as well in the name of your ” rational and true beliefs “.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Ah, so Atheists are evil?
            Mhm – tell this to one of the greatest cabarett-artists in Germany (Volker Pispers),
            Or to one of those persons, who are contributing to this website (Nycea)
            Or to persons like…. Douglas Adams, Siegmund Freud, Steven Fry, Isaac Asimov, Arthur C. Clarke, Seth Mc Farlane, Lawrence Krauss, Jean-Pauls Sartre (just to name a few).

            Concerning the topic of “true faith”.

            Couple of years ago, we were talking about religion in school.
            My statement was: “I think, that there is a higher being, that watches us
            all – however, I don’t go to the church, because I think, that this
            being can see us everywhere.”

            Lily, a classmate, replied: “Then you are a non-believer. As a true believer, you have to go to church.”
            Now, I’m not that fit in the bible – but I highly doubt, that somewhere an
            eleventh commandment exists, that says: “You shall wake up on the day of
            the lord, go into a building, listen what one guy has to say to you and
            pray there and only there.”

            Now, I’m more adult, see the world more relaxed than back in the days, still don’t go to church, still hope, that there is a higher being and that it is a benevolent one, but I am very relaxed, when it comes to religion.
            When people are atheists, they are atheists. One of my favourite comedians is an atheist – at least, thats what he says of himself, maybe he is one of the
            religion-hulks, that you spoke about, Magdalen. 😉

            To me, it is okay, if you believe in god, in Allah or in the flying
            spaghetti-monster, as long as you don’t go to me and say: “You are
            misguided, you have to believe, what I believe or else you burn in
            perditions flames.”

            As long, as people don’t force your religious worldview on me, they can believe in whatever they want – I mean, I do the same. I don’t ram my worldview in your throat – believe (or don’t believe) what you want. You are free to do so.

          • Sofie Liv

            Firstly.. how did you guys get this far into this conversation on a article about X-men 2 not being as good as we all think it is.

            Secondly, honestly guys. Religion, in is purety, is nothing else than a persons personal belief.
            You can’t take that persons belief away from him or force him into some-thing else, he would have to take that decision on his own, because, it is his belief we are talking about here.

            How-ever, I don’t think that personal beliefs ever determined whether you are a good person or not, there’s so much to that.
            how you act on your belief, how you treat your fellow man, mostly though.. just how you choose to actually act in your life.

            You don’t believe in a god in heaven to be a nice person helping others.
            You don’t need to believe that there is no god to be an intelligent person with your feet on your ground.

            As long as we can all agree these are personal beliefs we are talking about, every-body wins.

            It is my own sincerely belief, that as long as you don’t hurt any-one, you should be allowed to belive what-ever you want.

            Yes, Christianity has a lot of awful things behind it.
            But it also has a lot of wonderful things for it, and both has been and can be used as an clear inspiration for good.
            For some it’s a comfort when every-thing gets to difficult or sad, for some its guiding. Some find security in it, and in their beliefs.
            And if that is what it take for a human being to be happy and secure, then what’s wrong with that.

            It’s first when you take the second step and attempt to control other people and their beliefs with this that things gets screwed all up for the worse.

            To accept each person for who he or she is, would mean to also accept their beliefs, which would mean, do also accept the christians, they mean well, all of them.

            Also I just remembered another Superhero whom is a christian, this time not a catholic just a regular one!
            Static Shock! Static Shock goes to sunday church with his family each weekend, you quite clearly see that in his original animated show ^^

          • Mike

            Sofie, it’s such a relief to see how eloquently you manage to put such
            emotional charged issues into larger calmer realm of clarity. It remind me how easily we can all loose track of a primary subject in this oasis of overwrought, ill-informed, and self-congratulating we call online forums. I honestly didn’t want to come back to this section and frankly was beginning to wonder if I would ever
            comment to commenting son this site at all to avoid contributing to or even
            provoking a flame war. I still might not and would just enjoy the videos I like
            on Blip.
            However, if I could just add one more thing worth looking at that speaks
            to much of the same peacemaking we both seem to look for, you might want to
            check out this interview with X-Men producer Ralph Winter and Exorcism of Emily
            Rose producer Scott Derrickson

            http://www.thehighcalling.org/leadership/faith-hollywood-interview-part-ii-ralph-winter-producer-and-scott-derrickson-director-and#.U4OlbBa4n8s

          • So atheists are literally Hitler. Good to know, I’ll have to put in an order for some ovens.

          • conservative man

            Don’t put yourself to any trouble, I’m sure there are some already on standby.

          • Magdalen

            Hhahahaa no, no. You really super duper came to talk about X-Men. You’re not the one forcing your political beliefs into every single conversation. You’re so oppressed!

          • conservative man

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          • $36060516

            Try to keep the contents of your hard drive’s erotica collection out of this discussion.

          • Really? Gonna super-Godwin yourself?

            Really? Gonna be that guy?

            Don’t be that guy.

          • conservative man

            ” The stubbornest believer is held up as the truest believer.”
            There is no greater honor than being held up as a stubborn believer, I take it as a compliment.

          • conservative man

            Ahh, I have heard this argument made before, however there is only one problem with it…….. everyone cannot be right.

          • $36060516

            Why do you capitalize “Homosexual” but lowercase “christian.” Seems like you have an anti-Christian, pro-homosexual agenda!

          • conservative man

            LOL ! You know I didn’t even notice that until you pointed that out.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Okay, that made it clear for Christians. What about Calvins, Hansens and Peters? ^^

          • conservative man

            Okay for them they can go nuts, what the heck.

          • Arakasi_99

            OK, so you sold everything you owned, given your money to the poor and followed Jesus? You have worked to pass constitutional amendments preventing the charging of interest? You have worked to ban the sin of Sodom? (bonus points if you can actually tell me what it is)

      • Mike

        I also wonder if your aware that FOX (which put out all the X-Men movies so far) is the same studio that produced Son of God!
        But I digress, my original put was that meaning of any given movie often rely as much on the viewers ability to find multiple connotations, as the writer and directions tendency to emphasis (presumed) single denotations.

        • conservative man

          One movie does not make them pro christian or even fair minded, they simply want our money sometimes. And yes, they could have made the point they wished to make without being so paticular to one group. It’s funny really, as a kid watching the X-men animated show in the 90’s I identified myself with the X-Men as a outsider because of my christianity and conservative beliefs, whereas those on the left say they too identified themselves with the X-men for their own reasons. It’s amazing how different people can come to identify themselves with something that both believe speaks to them. Interesting.

          • $36060516

            “One movie does not make them pro christian or even fair minded, they simply want our money sometimes.”

            By your own logic, they don’t care about Homosexual (strange capitalization) issues, either. They just want gay people’s money sometimes.

            “Damn dirty Christians.”

            Sigh.

          • conservative man

            The christian community has no influence or power in the entertainment industry where as the gay community has almost 100% total control and power over what can and cannot be said about them and their critics in films. Hollywood has always had a political agenda, that is in almost every fiber of the movies they make, it’s not just about money it is about power.

          • $36060516

            What is the political agenda in every fiber of “Toy Story?”

          • Muthsarah

            Do you have any idea how similar your words are to the kinda stuff Henry Ford and others used to write about Jews in Hollywood? I’m not asking for you to reverse your opinion or agree with anyone else. Just a little awareness.

          • conservative man

            Your right, I must follow Obama’s example.

          • Muthsarah

            Yeah….

            I called you a “paranoiac” (or something similar) a couple months ago; it was meant to be sympathetic, that I felt you legitimately felt terrified by forces all around you that you felt were hostile to you, and that you were only standing up for yourself, honestly. Now, I’m convinced you’re either truly insane, or a troll who, until now, has been playing a slow game. I don’t think anyone’s gonna take you seriously here anymore. You’re in the realm of Poe’s Law now – you come off as someone lampooning the very positions you claim to uphold.

          • conservative man

            This from someone who compared me to Hitler in your last post, yes truely I am the troll and not you.

          • $36060516

            Henry Ford is not Hitler. You’re the one who brought him up.

          • conservative man

            Oh right, he didn’t compare me to Hitler. Just to one of his supporters, very big difference huh. Guess that’s him being “sympathetic” again. Seriously though, did you think someone could compare me to a nazi sympathizer and I would not defend myself against such a vile allegation ?

          • $36060516

            You “defended yourself” by portraying the president of the United States as Hitler. How is that a defense of yourself again?

          • conservative man

            ( sigh )

      • “It could be but Hollywood likes to push left wing political agendas, paticuarly Homosexual issues.”

        Hence why gay characters in Hollywood films are so rare, particularly in leading roles.

        • There is a web series called “Needs More Gay” by Rantasmo that is pretty good on these topics. His best episodes is when he debates his straight alter-ego.

      • Magdalen

        I bet you’re really fun at parties. “Hay guys, did you see that movie?” and then you spend the next hour trying to work the conversation back to your political views before the host awkwardly asks you to leave. XD

        • conservative man

          Actually it’s the liberals I’ve encountered that want to know my political views, I usually try to stay out of the fray.

          • Magdalen

            I 100% do not believe you.

          • conservative man

            Doesn’t matter, it’s the truth.

          • $36060516

            I think you defining your entire online personality as “conservative man” has something to do with the trouble believing that.

          • conservative man

            Believe what you wish, it doen’t bother me. I know who I am. As I have said before I’m just one man with a opinion, yet that seems to bother some of you here that I don’t walk hand in hand and step in step with the political agenda of the left. I think you and MuthSarah can’t handle that,and so I won’t conform to your world view and it drives you to the point that you are both obsessed with me.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            I – for example – have no problem with your believes… however I HAVE a problem with the way you’re presenting it, sometimes. For example this “Hitler was an atheist”-poster, when a quick google-search tells you that we don’t know that for certain.

            Furthermore – I agree with Sofie – how did we go from “X-Men 2 is not as good as we remember” to “atheists are evil”?
            Yeah, you said that there is a pro-gay-lobby in Hollywood. I’m fine with that.
            But where did you find this in the movie? ” tolerance for all….except for those damn dirty christians of course.” Where did you see that the christians were excluded from this “tolerance for all”?
            Is it because of Kurt Wagner?
            I don’t see that.
            So – tell me – where is this movie telling to be not tolerant towards christians?

          • Sofie Liv

            Haha lol yeah, this is even the movie that HAS kurt Wagner in it, inside of a church, where he sought refuge from his own pain.
            And if any-thing, Storm seemed to be quite taken in by his belief and speeches.

            And no-body pointed to Kurt for his beliefs or his speeches about testing, they just accepted it and moved on, if any-one asked it seemed to be out of genuine interest and respect for him and his strong beliefs.
            Which is cool, a very faithful way to portray him!

          • conservative man

            As I said before I like X-Men 2, I have no problem with it really. I was refering to Hollywood in general when I made those comments. Not X-Men 2 specifficaly.

          • Sofie Liv

            I think if any-thing hollywood are in genneral presenting christians in a very very positive light.
            Tons of figures are christians within their movies and seeks comfort in their christianity.

            Hell, we got like a basillion movies where it’s the devil himself whom is the main villain, and only the pure hearted, believing man, is able to beat him. It’s a formular as old as day.

            The positive representations of christians just far out-numbers the negative ones.

            Which can’t be said for muslims at all whom are most of the time, still portrayed negatively.
            And if an atheist ever appears on the big screen, and we have it a point that this person is an atheist, that atheist is often a very sad, sarcastic, over intelligent person whom doesn’t get much out of his own life.. which isn’t exactly that positive.

            I am a buddhiest myself, and I can only find it hillarious that when some-one appears in the movies, whom is clearly a buddhiest.. we don’t ever mention it.
            More it’ll be like “Asian, woodo, wise words things..”
            Which is okay for me, I can handle that, it’s still respectful and I get happy when it apepars so other people can think about it.

            Mostly though it doesn’t matter to the character what he or she beliefs, and when it doesn’t matter, there is no reason to bring it into the plot.
            It doesn’t matter whether Wolverine is a christian or atheist, it’s unimportant to his character and would change absolutely nothing what he beliefs.
            What matters is how he views the current situation and then how he chooses to handle it, same goes for almost any other character in any hollywood movie ever.

          • conservative man

            I understand where your coming from, but I still see Hollywood as a place that has no love for christians. There are still more negative stereotypes of christians than positive ones, not that we are the only group that gets that treatment from Hollywood of course.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Please – examples.
            If there are still more negative stereotypes of christians than positive ones – please show us exactly what you mean.
            Name film, director and depicted scene in question. ^^ Thank you.

          • Sofie Liv

            Meanwhile! I will go over some positives in Hollywood! ^^

            The Excorsism; Priest exspells the devil thus safes the day!
            Ghost Rider; he made a contract with the devil, the objective is to be forgiven.
            Van Hellsing; it’s a church order that is out there hunting monsters!
            Dogma; God looks out for the pott-heads to apparently.
            The Green mile; it was the black christian man whom was the good guy.
            Disneys Hunchback of Notredame; the wise bishop is the one talking sense it Frollo
            Devil; JELLY SIDE DOWN! JELLY SIDE DOOOWNN!!! .. it still counts..

            Just to mention a few..

          • conservative man

            I wasn’t talking about this movie when I said ” tolerance for all…except for those damn dirty christians of course”. I was refering to Hollywood in general, not X-men 2. Also I brought out that poster because Muthsarah started the usual line about chrisians being responsible for war, genocide, and intolerance ect. I pointed out that Atheist leaders of countries have done their own fair share of wars and persecution in the name of their beliefs as well. I like X-men 2 by the way.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Well – let’s be honest here. Just because you’re christian, that does not protect you from being an asshole. And I don’t mean YOU you, I mean the general you (No, not General Yu..)
            Same goes for being an Atheist, being a vegan, being a vegetarian, being a carnivore, being catholic, being protestant, being conservative, being progressive, being an author or a reviewer.

            And – sorry, I don’t see the “damn dirty christian” bit in other movies. Maybe you could give us some examples – after all, when it is ‘Hollywood in general’ one should not be searching THAT long. ^^

            Plus – erm… you kinda read , what the sub-line for that poster was, yes?
            That those people pictured there, were real atheists?
            Like I said: We don’t know that for certain. So kinda nixes the point.

            And while we’re at it: What’s with that Nazi-Vergleich (Nazi-Comparison) between Hitler and Obama?
            Fascist States of North America? Care to elaborate?
            I mean – I think, this is offensive on so many levels, so – please, tell us, what that is about.

          • conservative man

            The poster was refering to another that was created by a group of atheists who depicted the founding fathers of America as all atheists, that’s what the poster was originally created for as a response to that one. That’s what it is refering to when it says ” unlike certain other posters depicting atheists these are real ones ” . As for Obama let me put it like this, when he got elected I made a vow that I would treat Obama the same way his supporters treated George W. Bush, they called him Hitler so I call Obama Hitler. Though I do believe him to be a tyrant, his using the IRS to harrass and intimidate his political opponets, the fast and furious operation to further gun control, his use of executive orders on any number of issues to illegally bypass congress to further his agenda, his use of race as a weapon to silence anyone who dares to even slightly criticize him ect. If that is not fascism then nothing is.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            And even if this other poster depicted the founding fathers as atheists – the line “unlike certain other postert depicting atheists these are real ones” is wrong… well…. or at least not completely true.

            Okay: I firmly believe that there should be a more stricter gun control. If less people can carry guns, less people will get killed with guns.
            Obama uses his race as a weapon? He does say “if you are not supporting what I say, you are a racist?”

            Concerning G.W. Bush – well… to be fair… the SPD in germany – to me – still has this bonus because Gerhard Schroeder said “We will not assist you in this war against terror – because we don’t have real prooves.”

          • conservative man

            Here are some examples of christian stereotypes ( Note the following is a Article NOT written by me )

            Top Ten Christian Stereotypes
            In A Movie –

            So, you are writing the next big Hollywood
            blockbuster, and you think your cast of characters would be much enlivened by
            the addition of a token Christian?

            Be warned – no one will actually want to watch a
            genuine, real life Christian on screen. It would be a total buzz-kill. (Some
            time I might do a top ten list of movies that would become instantly boring /
            incredibly short if the main protagonist was a Christian.*)

            In real life, priests almost
            never have anything
            as interesting as a Britney Spears on their
            laps.

            Fret not, though. There are certain well trod
            paths when it comes to injecting a little pseudo-Christian flavour into a movie.
            Herewith I happily present part one of the Top Ten List Of Christian Movie
            Stereotypes, each one designed to make Christianity just that little bit
            more palatable to the audience.

            1) The Bumbling Anglican Idiot

            Serious Christianity is boring, but everyone
            loves a bumbling fool. Note that these guys have to be Anglican, because guys
            putting on dresses is already inherently funny. Catholics also put on dresses,
            but they are too scary to be bumbling fools, except in Father Ted. Got the
            rules? We’ll come to scary Catholics in a moment.

            The top two Bumbling Anglican Idiots are
            obviously Rowan Atkinson in Four Weddings And A Funeral, and Peter Cook in The Princess
            Bride. Say it with me: “Mawwige…”

            Tolerable to audiences because: No one
            has to take these guys seriously. Holy goat! Ahahahah!

            Did I accidentally put on a
            dress this morning?

            2) The Scary Catholic
            Sect

            Hollywood loves its Scary Catholics. Long before
            Dan Brown started spewing his derivative nonsense into the mix, Hollywood loved
            to take sinister looking men in flowing robes and dog collars, put them in
            gloomily-lit cathedrals, and have them Brutally Stab People For The Love Of God.
            Sinister sects you may remember include: The Brotherhood Of The Cruciform Sword
            from Indiana Jones
            and The Last Crusade, some guys who tried to kill some woman in that
            piece-of-drek Arnold Schwarzenegger movie End Of Days, and,
            I think, pretty much the whole Catholic church in Stigmata.

            “I never wanted to be in a Scary
            Catholic Cult, but then I saw
            how good this goatee looked with the regulation
            scary
            robes and knife, and, well, it just seemed to be God’s
            will.”

            Why is it usually Catholics who get cast in
            these roles? Probably because it is all true, and Catholicism is just a weird,
            dark-and-scary-sect-laden thing.

            Tolerable to audiences because: They are
            always the baddies, and they’ll get killed in the final reel. Usually by a
            staunch atheist.

            3) The Kick-Ass Black
            Dude

            The Kick-Ass Black Dude Christian can quote the
            Bible all he likes, provided he’s
            a) Kick-Ass,
            b) Black, and
            c) Played
            by a gangster-rap/hip-hop star.

            I give you Ice Cube in Three Kings,
            and LL Cool J in Deep Blue Sea. I’m sure there are others too.

            A brace of Christian kickassical
            musicians.

            Tolerable to secular audiences
            because: They are kick-ass. Christian they may be, but they mainly solve
            their problems by being kick-ass and having a big damn gun or a baseball bat,
            and they do cool kick-ass stuff like hitting sharks in the face with their bare
            fists, or whatever. (I can’t remember if this actually happens in Deep Blue Sea,
            but it seems pretty likely.)

            4) The Hang-Up-Ridden
            Neurotic

            These guys are burdened with faith in the same
            way that most of us are burdened by insane EU regulations, ridiculously picky
            bosses or Irritable Bowel Syndrome. They are probably in training for the
            priesthood, and must on no account enjoy themselves during the movie, except in
            the final five minutes, when they will suddenly discover that the answer to all
            their problems is to ditch their faith, burn their dog collars and shack up with
            the nearest girl. This move will be unilaterally approved of by the rest of the
            cast, who will celebrate their new-found enlightenment and cheer them on their
            way.

            (Incidentally, the main problem for these guys
            is usually LUST, because they FANCY A GIRL and they are probably training to be
            Catholic priests, who, as we know, are expected to stay miserably single – a
            doctrine that my mum reckons explains all the kiddy-fiddling, and which the
            Apostle Paul describes as “the teaching of demons” (1 Timothy 4:1). So count me amongst the cheerers. One less
            demon-worshipper in the world, hurrah. Also, it lessens the chances of them
            getting inducted into a Scary Catholic Sect.)

            This guy must be kept out of a
            sect at all costs, since there is no telling
            how much damage he could wreak
            with just one of those eyebrows.

            Examples of this are Brother Tony in High Spirits (an
            awesome movie) who renounces the priesthood and shacks up with Jennifer Tilly
            (hardly surprising), and Erich Egerman in A Little Night
            Music (poor movie adaptation of an awesome show), who renounces the
            priesthood and shacks up with Lesley-Anne Down, aka Madeline Fabray LaMotte for
            North and South fans (slightly more surprising, but only because she’s his
            mother-in-law in the movie).

            Tolerable to audiences because: They are
            not really God-botherers, they are just misguided, and it only takes an
            incredibly attractive woman to help them see the light.

            NB: Anglican priests are free to
            marry, as long as it is to a hang-up-ridden
            neurotic who will see the light,
            renounce the priesthood and cuckold them.

            5) The Bible-Bashing
            Psycho

            I don’t think I need to say much more than: Carrie’s
            Mother.

            Note the dowdy nightdress. Well,
            you don’t want to go stabbing
            your daughter wearing a skimpy negligee. It
            would be weird.
            These guys are insane, violent, and
            Must Be Stopped. You especially do not want to have one of these as a parent. If
            you find that you do happen to have one of these as a parent, chances are that
            when you come of age you will end up killing them, yourself, and your entire
            peer group. Though probably not in that order.

            Another example: This psycho,
            played by the same guy who played the Psycho
            in that Hitchcock movie about
            the psycho. Oh, what was that called again?

            Tolerable to audiences because: It shows
            that only psychos believe in Jesus, and everyone can cheer when they get
            brutally impaled on their own Bible during the denouement.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            Interesting collection there.
            On the other hand you have the collection, that Sofie put up – so… yes – Christians can be misrepresented as cruel bastards or can be the shining heroes. It is possible to go both ways.

          • $36060516

            There have been countless people who actually have murdered in the name of Jesus in the history of the world. Do I believe this is the majority of Christians? No. But it is fair game to portray a psycho killing in the name of Jesus in a movie because many psychos have done so.

            The line of that article which complains that black Christians are cool while whites aren’t is fairly revealing about the author’s resentments.

          • CaptainCalvinCat

            You’re right and this question must be asked, too. “Why was killing in the name of the lord something, that no one ever appologized for?”
            I mean – I’m german, we appologized for the horrific deads of that…. austrian guy and those, who followed him in conviction, that they’d be in the right doing that.
            Today we are appalled, when people die by terroristic muslims, who think, that the infidels must die.
            But were the christians that better?
            And I’m asking as a protestant.

          • conservative man

            As a protestant myself I feel no kinship, no link with those that participated in the crusades. If one is looking for a apology they must look to the pope and the catholic church for that, the pope ordered it and he gave it his blessing, so therefore it is they who must apologize. The crusaders were scum I have no doubt, and let us not forget the catholic church persecuted protestants in the past, the inquisition under Franco in spain, and the 30 years war before that in Europe between protestants and catholics.

          • conservative man

            I may be putting my own thoughts in this that the author of the article didn’t mean, but I think when he says that line about “black christians are cool while white christians are not” he’s saying Hollywood is afraid of being accused of racism if black christians are portrayed negatively so they go after only white christians to avoid that criticism. I could be wrong and that may not be what he meant, but that is what I understood he was trying to say.

          • $36060516

            He’s got a point, there have been no negative portrayals of black people in Hollywood movies… 😉

          • Arakasi_99

            Wait a minute – you criticize Rowan Atkinson in Four Weddings and a Funeral, while ignoring the other three weddings? And it’s spiritual successor, Love Actually, starts with a wedding. In fact, just about every movie with a wedding made in the US has a sympathetic portrayal of Christianity

            The Brotherhood of the Cruciform Sword from The Last Crusade were the good guys – they were protecting the Grail from the Nazis (who also happened to be Christian, though I notice that Spielberg didn’t make a point of that ) Yes, they were secretive – it’s not like the Church hasn’t had it’s share of mysterious societies down the years.

            Yes, Margaret White was a Christian. But the book and the movie made a point that she was messed up for other reasons and she far out on the extremes of what could be considered Christianity. I know this because everybody else in the story, who should be almost entirely Christian, thought she was weird

            Kick Ass Black Christian is just a Kick Ass Back Dude who happens to be Christian also. It’s not your stereotype.

            Do you know what stereotypes we do see?
            Soldiers praying before going into battle – eg Godzilla, Saving Private Ryan, wasn’t there a quick moment in Blackhawk Down?

            Church weddings as a celebration and the ultimate goal of just about any romcom or romance

            Small town life represented by the celebrant greeting his flock after church services

            Fantasy epics based around a Christian worldview (Lord of the Rings, Chronicles of Narnia)

            Horror movies that implicitly acknowledge the existence of God, even if it is only so they can have a Devil.

            And yes, sometimes we do have religious figures in movies who are abusive, because sometimes we have religious figures in real life who are abusive (see Bill Gothard, or Michael & Debi Pearl)

            Although, there is one stereotype that I don’t recall seeing. The everyday Christian who believes that his or her personal objection to homosexuality is reason enough to ban same-sex marriage and allow discrimination. Because apparently their faith is weak enough that that acknowledging that same sex couples exist (or baking a cake) is the same as endorsing the practice.

          • You inserted yourself into a discussion. The entirety of your contribution is to complain about how there is too much gay in the Hollywood agenda. Then complain that Christians are the only group that is damaged.

            You are demonstrably wrong in saying that it is other people who wanted to hear your opinion on this.

    • The X-Men in the comics have been using the gay metaphor pretty much since the black civil rights movement ended in the states so they’re still using that mindset when making the movies. Although with Death of the Author you could read it as anything you want to.

    • $36060516

      Doesn’t the family usually usually know that a child has Tourette Syndrome or dyslexia? The scene in the film is specifically about an adult (or late teen) coming to the parents to make a confession with his friends from college who are also outsiders in the same way he is. Seems pretty specific to coming out as gay, particularly when it is public knowledge that the director of the film is gay, while if he has dyslexia it is not widely known

    • Or, just because this scene serves to illustrate how homosexuals are part of the disaffected groups the X-Men help to represent, it is not a one to one comparison. It is one of the many facets that makes the franchise deep and meaningful, and it part of the struggle for human rights and equality that exist in modern society.

      This may shock you all, but sometimes a very thin metaphor is necessary to illustrate a point. Sometimes you have to bludgeon people with it to get the point home.

  • I disagree to a shocking level. “X2: X-Men United” is a great movie, full of character development, the reason Wolverine is a good character to follow is that his amnesia allows him a clean perspective on what is happening, he is an objective observer between Magneto and Xavier.

    If you want to know when he made the decision to go with the X-Men rather than Styker and his past… It’s the whole movie, he gets enough clues to figure out that he was not a very good person, who worked with violent people and subjected himself to experimentation to allow him to commit more violence, he decides he does not want to be that person anymore and instead become a hero. This is not a hard arc to follow.

    Jean’ death can be explained as a limited range of power, or the fact that she lights on fire when using them to this level and would have destroyed the plane had she remained on it.

    Pyro was morally ambiguous. As a general rule you should not use violence to solve problems, but his abilities lend themselves to “when all you have is a hammer everything looks like a nail” mentality. And since he is treated violently by police he reacts in kind (not as good as Magneto sending the missiles back on the fleet at the end of First Class, which had me say the words, “Well, he’s got a point.” But it was still good).

    And yes, it is a crowded script, that is what happens when you base a movie franchise on a 50 year old book series that has a roster in the triple digits.

    • Even if I buy that Wolverine learning he might have been kind’ve a dick before losing his memory (in nonspecific ways he apparently won’t bother to learn), all that tells us is that he doesn’t want to learn about his past anymore. It DOESN’T tell us why he feels any kind’ve kinship or loyalty to the X-men. He seems barely tolerant of them most of the time, his only interest in being around at the beginning was to get the Professor to read his mind again, afterwards he seems to remain only because he has nothing better to do. The only characters he ever has any meaningful connection with are Jean, which boils down to “She hot, I wanna do her”, and Rogue, who he barely talks to in this movie. Nothing in the story reinforces, informs, or builds any kind’ve relationship with the X-men, so it would’ve made just as must sense for him to end the movie by saying “Fuck all y’all, I’m going back to Canada.”

      And Wolverine only works as an “objective observer” if he actually expresses any kind’ve investment or opinion about the conflict between Magneto and Xavier one way or the other. He helps fight Magneto ostensibly because he happens to be around and Magneto’s being a dick to that Marie kid he kind’ve likes. His only motivation as a character for the first two movies is to discover his past, and if he amnesia is indeed only there to give him a “clean perspective” in theory, then in practice it exists purely for its own sake. See how your logic is kinda circular?

      • I will write something tomorrow. But I just took a sleeping pill and the last thing I wrote looked like I had written it on meth.
        Stand to reason I will eventually refute you.

      • Alright, let’s do this.

        It is not circular logic. Wolverine was created with a mysterious past to add to his mystique as a super-soldier (cause nobody has seen a special ops guy with a mysterious past before), so in a way his amnesia was just a character trait. However, this was not how he was introduced in the comics (in the comics he was recruited to be a part of X-Men version 2.0 to fight Krakoa the living Island and save the original team) since his actual story of recruitment was too awesome for the year it came out they instead changed his introduction to a fish out of water.

        Yes Wolverine wants to learn about his past, and yes he wants to do good deeds, those are character traits, and they chose to write a story in which those traits would be put to use, he can have things explained to him and he can participate by helping later in the movie.
        ____
        In “United” Wolverine recommits to solving the mystery of his origin because he saw his work done (Rogue was taken care of, bad guys were beaten), since he hit a brick wall he comes back to the mansion to get more information, Prof X does not want him to have this information, because it will either cause him to become violent or depressed. Wolverine learns over the course of the film that he was a bad person, but sees that working with the X-Men could make him a better person.

        Logan’s arc is rejecting his old life and embracing a new one. He does that. They could have made the movie a little stronger by having Magneto talk to Wolverine about how “Charles’ dream is naive, and violence is inevitable, Join me and help to make a better world” which would have shown how Wolverine is able to go either way on the issue, because his memories and preconceived notions are absent.
        ____
        His relationship with Jean is thin, but it makes sense (too a degree) in the movie. Wolverine was a team member in Weapon X. Wolverine wants to be a good person. Wolverine wants to learn about his past. So stealing the girlfriend of Cyclops (team leader and knight in shining armor) would allow him to attain the goal of being on a team and being a hero (he even says this in the movie, “I could be the hero.”) It is objectification, and it is a bad trait, but it is one that makes sense.

        Jean even has the telepathic ability that could help him get to his past. (In the comics, his obsession with Jean comes from her resemblance to a wife he had prior to his amnesia, a wife they cut out of the movies… Cause “X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was about selling action figures rather than actually informing the character beyond what was already known).
        ____
        And yes, the movie is over stuffed, Fox lacks the patience to slowly unfold things with a series of movies (and at the time nobody knew what was what so they wouldn’t have thought to do that anyway). If they had more time then Jean would have had more character, everyone would have.

        I actually like this movie more for having written out this argument, and will probably edit it to put in to my own blog.

  • ikari_kun2002

    I don’t really agree with anything here but the stupidity of Jean’s death. That scene would have worked much, much better if she had wandered out of (better yet, away from) the plane while in a trance brought on by totally concentrating on holding the dam together. Cyclops and Wolverine could have gone after her to bring her back, but been unable to reach her because of the turbulence she is generating as a side effect of her power, used on that scale. Eventually the other X-Men subdue and rescue those two, while leaving Jean, who they cannot reach for the reasons above, to die.