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Saturday, March 30, 2024 

When X-Men comics weren't allowed on the set of the 2000 movie

Collider wrote about the time nearly a quarter century ago, when the first live action X-Men movie premiered, and how its director, the now disgraced Bryan Singer, wouldn't allow any comics on the movie set as they were filming it a quarter century ago:
While comic book films have grown into the dominant force in popular culture within the past two decades, there was certainly a time when the genre itself was a far more risky prospect. Although the Batman and Superman franchises had both been popular, films inspired by comic books began to dwindle in popularity in the 1990s, with flops like Judge Dredd, Batman & Robin, Steel, and Spawn signifying an uncertain future for the genre. However, the unspoken trepidation about superhero films changed forever thanks to the release of X-Men in 2000, which both revitalized the genre and kicked off an immensely popular franchise. Despite arguably shaping the future of superhero dominance in the movies, comic books were banned from the set of X-Men by director Bryan Singer.

[...] In an attempt to prove that the franchise could be taken seriously, Singer was hired to direct X-Men based on the success of his neo-noir thriller The Usual Suspects and the Stephen King adaptation Apt Pupil. Singer intended for the film to be grounded in real emotional stakes that would allow it to reach viewers outside a core audience of comic book readers. According to Hugh Jackman, Singer was concerned that the film would be misperceived as “children’s entertainment” if it was directly based on the comics. Jackman revealed that Singer "really wanted to take comic book characters seriously, as real three-dimensional characters," and was concerned that "people who don’t understand these comics might think they’re two-dimensional."
See, that mentality existed well into the 2000s, the success of the Simpsons with adults on TV notwithstanding, and no doubt, as of today, it still lingers around in some form or other. Especially when one considers how modern animation is being exploited to push woke propaganda on children instead of selling adults on the medium. As for Singer's perceptions, he apparently never read stories like the one from Spider-Man back in 1971 where Stan Lee tackled the issue of illegal drugs, let alone any stories that dealt with racism. Yet even he had, it's still possible it wouldn't have mattered, since these Hollywooders don't have the confidence to market based on subjects like those any more than they do to market animation to adults.
While Singer’s comments about the franchise’s source material may have rubbed many comic book readers the wrong way, X-Men was a massive success that paved the groundwork for future Marvel adaptations. Although the film was not necessarily as colorful as the comics that inspired it, X-Men nailed the team dynamic that was so essential within the franchise’s history. A strong focus on the moral and ethical differences between Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen) allowed the film to delve into relevant debates about stigmatization and nonviolence that reflected the comics’ cultural impact.
Actually, what rubs the wrong way is the direction Marvel went at the time Joe Quesada regrettably became EIC, and forced a mandate that the X-Men's costumes resemble the movie's for nearly 3 years. Worse, he gave the pretentious Grant Morrison the keys to scripting, and all he did in turn was force a shoddy "pacifist" vision upon the title. And at the end of his run, he put Jean Grey in the grave again, something nobody asked for, and even went so far as to forcibly reattach the whole Phoenix saga to her. The Phoenix saga only wound up ruining comicdom in the long run, as quite a few writers in past decades sought to do variations upon it, with some worse than others. But back on the movies, Collider's writer says there's something that's really rotten that now taints the films, yet sugarcoats another problem:
Much of the X-Men franchise is mottled after Singer’s vision, as he returned to direct X2, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and X-Men: Apocalypse. While it would be impossible to deny the impact he’s had on the genre at large, the disturbing allegations of sexual abuse leveled against Singer give the X-Men franchise a checkered legacy. Singer has been absent from Hollywood after he was fired from the production of Bohemian Rhapsody midway through production and replaced by Dexter Fletcher. Although he’s been criticized by former collaborators, Singer’s patterns of abuse make the X-Men films particularly challenging to rewatch with objectivity.

The controversy surrounding Singer is unfortunately not an isolated incident within the X-Men franchise, as X-Men: The Last Stand director Brett Ratner has also been accused of sexual misconduct. While it's unfortunate that these abusers were enabled by their films’ success, the X-Men franchise has always been one that supports marginalized communities. The groundbreaking LGBTQ representation within the Disney+ series X-Men ‘97 only signifies how much the franchise has grown since its inception. Hopefully, future iterations of the X-Men film franchise within the Marvel Cinematic Universe will continue on this positive trajectory.
Gee, isn't Singer a member of the aforementioned community? He sure isn't helping their image. In any event, the columnist's opportunistic citation is insulting to the intellect in an era where wokeness has wrought only so much damage. What's really galling about Singer is that he may have moved to Israel following his blacklisting, and it's disgraceful how people like him have taken advantage of the immigration system's Law of Return to get asylum they don't deserve.

They're right though, that the accusations against Singer and Ratner will tarnish the movie franchises. But their fluff-coated take on LGBT ideology ruins whatever points this item's trying to make, and Singer's prohibition of comics on the movie set during filming suggests he was virtue-signaling in some of the most tasteless ways possible.

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  • From Jerusalem, Israel
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