Beloved Marvel Trilogy On Disney+ Deserves Being Forgotten

By Zack Zagranis | Published


I know that art is subjective, and of course, as Obi-Wan Kenobi once said, “Only a Sith deals in absolutes,” but folks, trust me when I say definitively, the first three X-Men movies don’t hold up. Not because they’re problematic, not because the special effects suck, but because they are just plain, bad movies. Period.

Your Love Is Based On Nostalgia


Your little nostalgia goblin, the same one that sits on your shoulder at Target, trying to convince you that you need another Back to the Future Pop! is probably digging his claws directly into your brain as you read this, screaming, “No, you love the X-Men, don’t listen to them!” Don’t trust him. Not only do you not need another Funko Pop!, but he’s also lying to you about the X-Men movies.

It’s not entirely the goblin’s fault. When was the last time you watched the first three X-Men movies? A few years ago? Maybe even before the first Avengers movie in 2012?

Because if you haven’t revisited the early days of that franchise since before the MCU exploded in popularity, you’re in for a rough watch.

Action In X-Men Isn’t Great


When X-Men (2000) came out at the dawn of the millennium, superhero action wasn’t really a thing yet. There was the choreographed camp of the ’60s Batman series and not much else. Superman only actually “fought” super powered opponents in two out of the four Superman films of the ’80s, and action scenes in the ’90s Batman movies were stiff and limited thanks to the hard rubber suits the Caped Crusader was forced to wear.

What superhero fights did exist on film were all one-on-one. A team movie like X-Men had never been attempted on the big screen. We understand Bryan Singer didn’t have a lot to base his action scenes on and was kind of making it up as he went along. Unfortunately, that doesn’t make them any easier to watch in 2024.

X2 Has Its Pros


X-2: X-Men United had the benefit of coming out in 2003 after the first Spider-Man—the movie that truly defined superhero cinema in the ’00s. As a result, the action is slightly better, with Nightcrawler’s attack on the president and the first live-action instance of Wolverine’s berserker rage standing out as highlights. The rest of it, however, is really not good.

Iceman’s parents asking if he’s tried “not being a mutant,” is funny and no doubt hits home for members of the LGBTQIA+ community who have ever had to come out to conservative parents.

X2 Also Has Some Big Cons

For one thing, Professor X is way too comfortable freezing people’s thoughts to “stop time.” The level of violation is just uncomfortable.

This was also a time when superhero movies were still trying to make movies about people who can fly and shoot beams out of their eyes “realistic.” Apparently, a guy with knives that come out of his hands is believable, but only if he’s wearing black leather instead of yellow spandex. The second X-Men movie took this to a ridiculous level with Nightcrawler.

Not only does he have to introduce himself as Kurt Wagner every time he meets someone, but he then makes sure to add that his circus nickname was “The incredible Nightcrawler.”

A blue, demonic-looking member of the X-Men who can teleport is fine, but calling him Nightcrawler is silly. He obviously has to have a practical explanation for the name. Even then, Bryan Singer has Wolverine tell Kurt to shut up one of the times he tries to explain his name just to make sure the audience knows that codenames, much like colorful costumes, are stupid and too fantastical for superhero films.

The Last Stand Has A Long List Of Cons

As I stated in a recent article, the third X-Men movie, X-Men: The Last Stand, wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be compared to the other two, but it’s still a bad movie. It tries to cram a storyline about a mutant cure into a 90-minute movie that is already covering the Dark Phoenix Saga resulting in neither story being executed well.

Then there’s the hamfisted and slightly problematic way X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner compares mutants to other minorities.

Mystique saying “Raven is my slave name,” feels misguided and, as the kids say, gives us the ick. Mystique, a being that can change her appearance at any time to blend in with humans, comparing herself to Black people who were owned and, even after being freed, couldn’t escape the color of their skin, does not work and comes off as tone deaf.

Defeat The Nostalgia Goblin!

If you can manage to pry that little nostalgia Goblin off your shoulder long enough to rewatch the original X-Men trilogy, you should do so, if only to see what tricks your memory has been playing on you all these years. You might be surprised to find out that what you remember being some of the best early Marvel movies are actually some of the worst.

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