Fox’s two-decade run of 13 “X-Men” films and two TV series ends in understated and underwhelming fashion with “The New Mutants,” which was originally supposed to come out in 2018 and has been delayed so many times that it’s a small miracle we’re watching it at all. It could be seen as an abortive attempt to launch new characters (who now will be unlikely to continue, especially since Disney/Marvel Studios now has the “X-Men” rights), but it also plays decently as a standalone, mutantized take on Shakespeare’s “The Tempest.”
Jean Grey (Sophie Turner) turns into Dark Phoenix for the first time on the new timeline in “X-Men: Dark Phoenix,” but nonetheless, I’ve seen this story before. Granted, this is a more robust telling than the one in “X-Men: The Last Stand” (2006), which was on the previous timeline. Jean’s possession by an evil cosmic force, based on the famous 1980 comic arc by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, was (weirdly) a B-plot in that movie; it gets all of the focus this time around.
Iwatched the trailers of some notable summer movies so you don’t have to (but they are embedded here if you want to). Here are my thoughts on each, along with a “Go Bananas” Level (on a 10-point scale) of how excited I am for the picture:
These are the movies and TV shows I’m looking forward to in the new year:
In the tradition of legendary matchups such as “The Cape” vs. “No Ordinary Family,” “Almost Human” vs. “Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.” and “Riverdale” vs. “Supergirl,” I ask the question on the mind of every fan of middle-of-the-road superhero television: Which is the less bad show – The CW’s “Black Lightning” or Fox’s “The Gifted?” Rather than go by gut feeling, let’s break down these sophomore sci-fi series by category.
It’s been a strange year for the “X-Men” Universe. “Legion” Season 2 and the excellent “Deadpool 2” came out, but those are peripheral stories. Two films – “Dark Phoenix” and “The New Mutants” – were pushed back to 2019, so no stories on the main timeline had been told since “The Gifted’s” (8 p.m. Eastern Tuesdays on Fox) first season ended in January. For me, this week’s Season 2 premiere, “eMergence,” is an exercise in “Wait, what happened again at the end of last season?” and “Oh yeah, I remember that guy.”
In 2016, I begrudgingly acknowledged that “Deadpool” served up exactly what its fans wanted, even if it didn’t totally connect with me. I got much more into “Deadpool 2” – now available for home viewing – because it has great new characters and fun action sequences (including one that hits the sweet spot of being darkly, brilliantly funny). But quite possibly I have also adjusted to the rhythms of this type of comedy. (Note: This is a review of the theatrical cut, not the Super Duper Cut.)
Do a Google search for “Sequels that are better than the original,” and you’ll be busy for an afternoon, at least until you get tired of reading the 100th list that points out that “The Empire Strikes Back” is better than “Star Wars.”
In the May 2018 Movies in Review episode, Michael reviews:
- “Bad Samaritan”
- “Solo: A Star Wars Story”
- “Deadpool 2”
With “The New Mutants” and “Dark Phoenix” pushed back to next year, 2018 has gone from a massive year for “X-Men” fans to a more mundane year – although with “Legion” and “The Gifted” on TV and “Deadpool 2” hitting screens on May 18, we’re talking about First World Problems here. Before the “Deadpool” sequel breaks fourth walls nationwide, here’s a look back at all the “X-Men” Universe films, ranked from worst to first.
(Updated in December 2018 with “Deadpool 2.”)