X-Men Films Fan Interview with Matthew Kane

Matthew Kane (@OompaMyLoompaa) is a lover of movies, one of those being the iconic X-Men films. He runs a blog called KANE ON MOVIES, where he reviews and discusses various cinematic releases.

Hi Matthew! Do you remember your first X-Men experience? Did you first become aware of them through the Marvel comic books, the animated series or the movies?

“My first exposure to X-Men, from what I can recall, is getting an ‘X-Men: Evolution’ Mystique toy from Burger King and a Wolverine figurine that came with a candy. But as a kid, I never watched the animated series or the movies, or read the comics.

“One day, I decided to watch ‘X-Men: First Class’ when it appeared on Netflix and it blew me away. I think ‘First Class’ is one of the best superhero movies ever made. The themes really resonated with me and then I went on to watch ‘Days of Future Past’ at the movie theater. Fast forward, and I now own all X-Men and Wolverine films on Blu-Ray and have read some of the comics including the Dark Phoenix Saga and X-23’s origins.”

That’s pretty cool! It’s interesting finding those who became fans through the films, before discovering the comics or TV shows. Have the X-Men films affected your life in any way?

“They have affected me in a large and profound way. Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer said that they believe a huge part of the appeal of these movies is that they reach a very personal place. I watched ‘First Class’ while I was in high school during a time where I felt very alone and different. So hearing Charles say, ‘I always believed I couldn’t be the only one in the world. The only person who was… different’ meant a lot to me.

“I see the X-Men as a metaphor for outsiders in the real-world, people who have lots of potential to do amazing things but don’t really fit into society. Erik is able to deflect the bullets fired at him back at the people who fired them, which I see as a fantastical metaphor of someone projecting hate back onto the world. Charles is able to read minds, which is heavily linked to empathy and understanding what other people are going through.

“Obviously, X-Men has taken inspiration from the civil rights movement. Magneto’s philosophy is a lot like Malcolm X, who both believe that their groups cannot be accepted into the rest of society. Charles on the other hand, resembles Martin Luther King; they both believe their people can peacefully co-exist.

“So X-Men as a superhero property has something to say and also has very relevant and important themes to explore: family, acceptance, finding your place in the world, political relations and what it’s like to be an outsider. I think the X-Men movies can serve as a reminder to people in the real world who are struggling with any of that that they are not alone. There’s other people that are going through the same things you are.”

I think that’s definitely why diehard fans are so passionate about the X-Men. It’s relatable and it has an important message behind it. As much as we love these movies, there are always things which can be improved on. Do you have any criticisms about the film franchise as a whole?

“My biggest criticism with the films is the poor continuity. The actors age only two years for each time their characters age a decade, it makes no sense for Angel to be the age he is in Apocalypse, and then you also have Logan which undermines Days of Future Past’s ending and locks the franchise’s direction to a future where X-Men and mutants are near-extinct.

“Another major criticism I have is that I feel like a lot of the X-Men don’t get enough development. Storm, Cyclops, and Jean, have been around for 17 years and we should’ve gotten to know them on a much deeper level by now. There’s been a lot of missed opportunities.”

Which X-Men films are your favorite and why?

“Probably ‘Days of Future Past.’ You really feel the stakes and it is about preventing the end of the world, but it’s actually a very intimate story about Charles, in a world of darkness, finding hope again and making peace with Raven.”

There are many great scenes in these films, but do you have a favorite moment that stands out?

“There are a lot of incredible scenes we’ve gotten in the X-Men films over 17 years. I have a few favorite moments.

“In ‘First Class,’ it’s when Charles tells Erik that balancing his rage with serenity can help him achieve focus and his full potential. In ‘Days of Future Past,’ my favorite moment is when Raven recognizes the error of her ways and saves the president. ‘Apocalypse’ had some of my favorite moments as well; when Charles calls Jean for help, when Charles restores Moira’s memories, Erik and Jean rebuild the X-Mansion, and Professor X looks at the team of new X-Men and begins to prepare for the future to come.

“There are lots of reasons why I think these scenes are so incredible, but it would take some time so I’ll leave it at that.”

What’s your least favorite moment in an X-Men film?

“When Scott, Professor X, and Jean die in ‘The Last Stand.’ You don’t feel anything when you should. The deaths felt so sudden and forced.”

What are your hopes for future X-Men films?

“Tell great stories, put the focus on characters that aren’t Charles, Erik, and Raven, give the Wolverine some time to rest, and to keep track of their own continuity.”

Here’s a fun random question: If you could have any mutant super power, what would it be? Why?

“That’s a really hard question because there are so many cool ones. I thought that being able to read minds like Charles would be cool because you get to know what people actually think but it might be better off not knowing. While Charles is responsible with his power, I’d probably abuse it. You can control minds, so you can pretty much get anything you want. That would have major psychological effects and if you’re not careful, you’ll end up like Jessica Jones’ Kilgrave.

“I’d want the ability to fly as my mutant superpower. Being able to fly without a plane or glider, traveling far distances in the air while taking in the beautiful scenery, it would be amazing. I have dreams about it.”

You said you started out as a fan of the films, but through later reading the comics, do you want the X-Men back at Marvel?

“There’s both pros and cons. I’m curious what Marvel would do with the property but I feel like Fox having the rights allows them to create something very different that stands out from the MCU. Marvel’s already got so much going on in their universe right now that I feel like adding mutants would just make it convoluted.

“On the plus side, the X-Men being back at Marvel Studios would mean we get to see something new, we get to see those characters interact with the Avengers (Storm and Black Panther??), and we also finally get movie merchandise. Marvel Studios is definitely more invested in their franchise and are better at long-term planning, for sure.

“I’ll get back to you with a solid yes or no to this question after I watch ‘Dark Phoenix.'”

X-Men or the Brotherhood…whose side are you on?

“X-Men. The reason why is because I think Magneto’s goal is hugely flawed. He sees humans as the enemy and mutants as the good guys, which is not always the case because it was a mutant, Sebastian Shaw, that caused him the most pain Erik suffered as a child. I think it’s important to recognize that both humans and mutantkind are capable of good and evil.”

Thanks Matthew, great chat!

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