X-MEN film fan Andres (@andtunez) is a teacher, artist and self-professed movie nerd. He creates awesome mutant-themed t-shirt designs and is an avid collector of the X-Men comic books. We had a chat with him about his fandom for 20th Century Fox’s long-running film series and discussed what makes them so special in pop culture.
XMFC: Hi, Andres! Can you tell us a little bit about how you became a fan of the X-Men?
ANDRES: “I first became a fan of the X-Men in the mid 90s. I’d come home and watch the animated series after school. I was 10 when the first X-Men film was released, but it didn’t click that the two were connected until I saw the actual movie.”
Do you consider yourself a super-fan?
“I consider myself a super fan more than a casual admirer. My first X-Men theater experience was X2 [in 2003]. I’ve been to every midnight premiere since then. I have multiple copies of the films, from DVDs to Blu-rays to steelbooks with different covers on them.”
What makes these films stand out from the rest of the crop? Is there something specific about the X-Men that separates them from every other comic book film series out there?
“I’m impressed with Fox’s X-Men franchise. Even as a boy, I distinguished the X-Men series from other superhero films. I was always taken aback by how truthful and honest and deep the X-Men movies turned out. They always gave me something to think about, and they always made me feel like somehow, I could end up being in one of them too. I’m scared that Disney will streamline them and turn the X-Men into cool characters…rather than try to shape them into realistic ‘people.'”
I think that’s why fans are so connected with the world and these characters. They seem very relatable, even with these incredible powers. It feels based in something real. I also share your concern with Disney. Hopefully since Kevin Feige started out with the X-Men films, he’ll stay true to what makes them different from characters like Iron Man, Spider-Man and the Guardians of the Galaxy. Tone is everything!
When the X-Men are brought into the MCU, surely things are going to move closer to the style of the comic books. As a fan of the Marvel comics, how did you feel about the changes 20th Century Fox made for the films? Do you hope to see something a bit more faithful moving forward?
“I became a fan of the comics after reading The Dark Phoenix Saga, just after watching X2. For the most part, I’ve learned to separate the comics from the films. I’ve enjoyed the grounded, mature take on X-Men in the past, but I wouldn’t mind seeing more color and extravagance in the franchise.”
There has been a lot of focus placed on Professor Xavier, Magneto and Mystique for the past few films; the X-Men themselves took a backseat for the previous trilogy. With X-MEN: DARK PHOENIX, that trio is still around, but greater focus will be placed on the X-Men team. Were you a fan of how they handled this?
“I loved the new take on Professor X, Magneto, and even Mystique. One of my favorite things about First Class was the Raven character; her conflict was so relatable and painful to watch. With that said, I am ready to watch an X-Men movie all about the main team. This is what I enjoyed in DOFP and Apocalypse: seeing the X-Men work together.”
A lot of people didn’t think Jennifer Lawrence would return to play Mystique for DARK PHOENIX but she signed to continue the character’s story for the fans. Many assume this will be her last time in the blue makeup. Were you a fan of her casting?
“I’m absolutely ready for someone else to play Mystique. Lately I’ve been intrigued by the idea of gender-bending that character. I think it could be revolutionary that way. The X-Men franchise IS revolutionary.”
Which upcoming film are you looking forward to? We have THE NEW MUTANTS, DEADPOOL 2 and DARK PHOENIX in 2018.
“I’m interested in seeing New Mutants. I like that it’s taking a chance. And I’ve been waiting for Dark Phoenix since X2…to say I’m excited for that would be the understatement of the century.”
Everyone is super curious to see how Simon Kinberg does directing his debut film. With all the criticisms received from the first attempt at Dark Phoenix, do you have faith is them striking gold with a redo?
“I think Simon Kinberg has learned from his mistakes. I don’t think he would helm the behemoth Dark Phoenix a second time, directing for the first time, and not go all in. He’s mentioned it’s his favorite storyline, and with a decade of experience since X3, I have faith he’ll do MY favorite character justice.”
It seems like the original trilogy cast are definitely done with their roles. Do you have a preference between the older and new casts?
“I love James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender in their roles. I understand why Fox felt the need to cast new actors in these roles, but the original cast will always be the X-Men to me. Hugh Jackman and Famke Janssen were perfect in their roles, and I’ve always wondered what could’ve been with James Marsden and Anna Paquin.”
Do you have any opinions of the X-Men film fan community as a whole?
“I think the X-Men community fails them sometimes. We don’t turn out as we should…but that’s just my opinion.”
In your opinion, what are the high points and low points, if any, for the X-Men film series?
“The lowest point in the X-Men franchise was definitely the Origins Wolverine story. It tried to be too cool. X-Men 2 and DOFP are a definite high, showing what the films are capable of doing. They’re complicated and thoughtful. They are extraordinary.”