It's finally 2016! A phrase that's been sung by a united geek chorus no doubt! Needless to say, 2016 is delivering us a gaggle of comic book movies and we are ready! One of my personal highlights is X-Men: Apocalypse, as the franchise hasn't showcased a grander, more apocalyptic narrative while featuring some pretty bad ass mutants.
X-Men: Apocalypse, No Fireworks in Sight for Jubilee?
That being said, there's already been a few red flags, from Apocalypse's clunky duds, to the lack of Mystique's indigo pride, but the latest comes in the news of Jubilee's new "cinematic abilities." We all know Jubes as the gum-popping, 90s, sass-diva draped in her bright yellow raincoat. Wardrobe and sass levels aside, her mutant ability of "Fireworks" or Lumikinetic explosive light blasting, has always been a definitive attribute. In Apocalypse, Jubilee's abilities will be more of the "fire-plasmoid, electricity type."
Jubilee's transitioned to a similar power-set in the comics, so this isn't farfetched, but this seems to be another indicator of Fox's lack of understanding of who the X-Men are and what they truly stand for. Thus far, we've seen nothing but glum annihilation type events in practically every X-film, and none have captured the fun, nor the vibrancy of the Merry band of Mutants.
In the animated series, Jubilee is the heart of the X-Men, and despite their epic adventures, the X-Men were always FUN! Kurt's elvish charm, Wolverine's grumpy loner syndrome, Cyclops forever the fun-zapper; these personality beats added depth to the series and the characters. It made it that much easier to connect to them. (Trust, Storm's monologues made their way into my daily speech by age 9.)
The film franchise has tanked not only with narratives (though X2 and DoFP were highlights) but character development. Besides meek, I couldn't think of a definitive character trait for Storm, Rogue or Shadowcat and it's incredibly disheartening. These women, all fierce additions to the X-roster, have played prominent roles in just about every pop culture canon from games to the animated series, with the bleak exception of the film slate.
Am I being dramatic about this? Meh. But I do thinks this warrants a larger conversation about what value these X-films are bringing to now a concentrated platform of comic films. The X-Men are single-handedly the most diverse group of heroes in existence, have been reduced to a triumvirate of white men. I get the sense that even if Jubilee, Storm and Psylocke make amazing appearances, that they'll be over-shadowed by the arcs of Mystique, Magneto and Xavier.
Time will ultimately reveal if Bryan Singer will do the next installment justice, or if we'll be screaming, "Give em back to Marvel!"