X-Movies...and Beyond

Rogue's part in the first two X-Movies has been rather controversial. Fans familiar with the comics, or even just the cartoons, have argued that the Rogue that appears in the movies is not the one they know and love. Many feel that the character has been reduced to her powers (i.e. this is Rogue because she absorbs people's memories/powers), with little attention paid to her personality. Some of these people were somewhat comforted by X2, which featured a slightly tougher Rogue, though the dissatisfaction remained. Then came X3, which didn't do much to please Rogue fans.

And then there's Gambit, who was rumored to have a small part in the second movie, but was completely left out, except for a few seconds when his name appeared on a computer screen in a list of known mutants.

It's with a mixture of hope and dread that fans look forward to the fourth installment...hoping that Rogue will grow even stronger still, and begin to exhibit those personality traits that are the essence of original character from the comics, hoping that Gambit actually makes an appearance, that the perfect actor will be signed to play him, and that the famous sparks that mark his and Rogue's infamous relationship will begin to fly...and dreading that none of this will come to pass.

To help ease the pain, or, I guess, enhance the pain depending on the news, I recommend visiting XMenFilms.net to see what the latest X-Movie rumors are.

To read my thoughts on the movies, and Rogue's role in them, click on the links below.

If you'd like to share your thoughts on movie Rogue, or the absence of Remy, feel free to e-mail me, and I'll post them here.

Thoughts on X1/X2 (copied from a post to the SC Mailing List)

I've always tried to look at different versions of the same thing (i.e. movies that are remade, new versions of classic novels, etc) as separate entities...where one version isn't better or worse than the other. They're just different. I also have a great deal of respect for people with the courage to express their own ideas about beloved stories/characters despite the inevitable complaints from fans. For example - I love Shakespeare's "Taming of the Shrew," but I also love the movie "10 Things I Hate About You," which is a modern version of "Shrew." Sure, the movie changed a few things around...it's still a great movie, whether you're comparing it to the play or letting it stand on its own.

I look at the X-Men universe in the same way. I love Rogue - she's awesome. I love comic book Rogue and animation Rogue (from either series) and movie Rogue. Each Rogue is the result of a slightly different take on the same idea. But as different as they can be, they share some of the most important, basic elements that make Rogue so amazing. They all have her power of absorption, they all have to deal with the mental effects of said power (not to mention the whole "yearning to touch someone else" issue), they're all tough, they have that great white streak in their hair, and they all have a pretty good sense of style.

I guess one of the problems is the fact that it's difficult to squish all that back story into a cartoon series or movie. I mean, if you're only looking at a few seasons on the air with an animated series, how much of Rogue's (and everyone else's story) can you get in? It's even worse with movies, where you *might* get a sequel or two. I'd rather have a Rogue who never met Ms. Marvel, than no Rogue at all.

After some discussion on the ML about what I said, one person said that she felt movie Rogue makes Rogue nothing more than her powers and the white streak in her hair...and I responded with the following.

I didn't mean to imply that Rogue was nothing more than her powers or physical attributes. And, truth be told, I've never had the pleasure of reading the comics in which Rogue first appeared...so I don't know exactly how the character was handled in the beginning...and as such, I could be way off base with what I'm about to say.

That said, I guess I still see movie Rogue as a different take on the same idea. Stay with me on this...I'm actually going somewhere. Do we really know what happened right after Rogue's powers surfaced? I'm under the impression that she's already been adopted by Mystique when we first meet her. How much time passed in between that faithful first kiss and when we meet her?

My idea is that maybe movie Rogue is all tough and spunky (for lack of a better word...maybe moxy better describes her) before her powers surface, but we don't see it. We meet her the day her life changes forever. How does she react? She runs away and becomes incredibly withdrawn, which I think would be an understandable reaction at any age. The next time we see her, she's been on her own living from hand to mouth for a few months (I think...I don't remember if they indicate how long in the movie). She's still kinda timid and withdrawn because she doesn't understand her power, and she doesn't know any other mutants...plus she's been alone for so long. But she has to be pretty tough to have survived.

The rest of the movie spans a few days...or a week maybe? In any case, with all the crazy things going on around her - meeting a bunch of mutants, almost killing yet another man in her life, having some psycho kidnap her so she can help him spark mutations in "normal" people, which will result in her own death - is it any wonder she's acting like a scared little rabbit? I'm a stubborn, strong girl myself (and I definitely have moxy), and I'm not sure how I'd handle it.

So three months later (aka X2), she's getting used to her surroundings, she's with people who accept her for who she is, and she seems a little tougher. But everything is still pretty new. From a normal girl with a normal life to a potential super hero with special powers in less than a year...definitely a life altering experience. Because her powers surfaced so much earlier in the comics, by the time she reaches the age she is in the movie, she's grown accustomed to life as a mutant, so she's the Rogue we know and love. I think one of the problems with the movie is that (a) we're witnessing her initial response to her powers and (b) her powers surfaced when she's older (at 17 instead of 12-13).

So this Rogue is still our Rogue...we're just seeing a different side of her.

Of course, if there is a more detailed description of all this in the comics, then I'm completely wrong.

Thoughts on X3 (copied from another post to the SC Mailing List)

What I liked:

*** The danger room scene. It was brief, but well done...it looked just the way I imagined it would. I'm glad Rogue was in it (though she didn't really do anything), because it implies that she's being trained to fight, even though she never gets to in the movies...but I'll get to that later. I didn't mind not seeing all of the Sentinel - if they had shown the whole thing, and it wasn't done just right, it would've looked stupid. Wolverine chopping off the head was enough for me.

*** The Phoenix. While I've never been a fan of Jean Grey, I've always loved the Phoenix storyline. I thought the movie handled it quite well. Making it a natural part of her mutation made sense, and was much more realistic than the story in the comics (I'm not sure audiences would buy the space travel, aliens, and primal force that went along with the appearance of the Phoenix Force). I liked the fact that certain parts of the comic storyline were included - like her keeping Scott's optic blasts at bay with her powers. I also liked the fact that she seemed to "feed" on the people she destroyed; instead of consuming stars, she consumed lives.

*** Beast. I've never been a big fan of Beast, but I liked the fact that he was hanging upside down in his office reading a magazine when we first see him...I was first introduced to the X-Men by the animated series of the '90s, and I remember Beast hanging upside down a lot.

*** Logan and Jean Grey. Ok...I know a lot of people are tired of Wolverine because Marvel is completely overusing him. But I have a soft spot for the guy, if only because of his love for Jean. Again, back to the animated series - I remember being in awe of this character who was so tough and violent being so wholly in love with a woman who would never fully love him back. We got to see that his feelings weren't just some kind of animal lust. He truly loved her.

What I didn't like:

*** The professor's "secret." Although I understand why Xavier did what he did to a young Jean Grey - something he did to Phoenix-as-Jean in the comics - to keep her from being able to use the full extent of her powers, there was no excuse why he didn't tell her at a later time. At the beginning of X2 we're told that her nightmares have gotten so bad that the whole bed shakes. I'm sure that if Jean hadn't mentioned this to the Professor, Scott would have. Xavier knew that she was slowly but surely becoming more and more powerful...he must have known what was likely coming. He should have sat her down and had a long talk with her about what he did. If he had, maybe she would've had better control over the situation...and she could've helped keep the Phoenix side under control, rather than having to deal with both the Phoenix and the betrayal of her mentor all at once.

*** Storm. Admittedly, I've never been a fan of Storm, something I'll once more blame the animated series for. She was so...I don't know...exaggerated? She spoke with an annoying booming voice, and I don't think she ever used contractions. Once I started to get into the comics, I found I didn't dislike this version of her nearly as much as the cartoon. But the movie version definitely annoys me. The professor tells her that he wants her to take over when he's gone...and when push comes to shove, Logan ends up calling the shots. She never really takes on a leadership role, except to assure Angel that the mansion "still is" a safe place for mutants.

When "the cure" is introduced, she is understandably angry and disgusted by the idea...but, as Beast points out, she doesn't shed on the furniture. She is not someone who looks physically different from "normal" humans, nor does she have a power that has such a potentially negative side effect as Rogue. I know why she is so against the cure...but I would like to think that she would be able to understand why some might consider the idea. Being a mutant does not necessarily define who you are.

I also didn't like her whole "choose a side" speech to Logan. He didn't want to side with Magneto at any time...he just wanted to get Jean back. It may not have been the brightest idea in the world...but his leaving the mansion to try to "save" Jean was not meant to be an abandonment. He intended on coming back.

*** the appearance of random new mutants. I don't know...maybe it's me. Like I mentioned earlier, I was introduced to the X-Men by the animated series, and though I've gotten more involved with the comics (starting around the time Gambit began hitting on Rogue...through Antarctica, then most of X-Treme until Gambit and Rogue lost their powers), I'm certainly no expert. But I feel like there are a million other better known, more significant mutants they could have used in the movie than they did.

I have no problems with Colossus or Shadowcat. They've had smaller parts in earlier movies, and they are some of the more well known members of the X-Men. Their powers were also accurate.

I would've had no problem with Juggernaut if he was actually a mutant. But he's not. I know they needed someone smashing into things...but did it have to be him?

Never heard of Quills or Arclight until now...but is that just my lack of comic knowledge? Or did they really play a small role in the world of X-Men? If that's the case, then why use them? Both used their powers - conveniently - only once.

Psylocke didn't do anything cool except appear out of the shadows. But I don't think she had a Crimson Dawn mark, so that wouldn't be accurate.

Unless I'm wrong - and I've checked on a couple of X-Men sites, along with my "Ultimate X-Men" book released by Marvel - they totally made up powers for Callisto. She can't "sense" mutants (another Morlock named Calliban could), and her powers don't include the ability to move super-fast...that would be Quicksilver. So what was up with all that?

And why did Magneto choose to have these seemingly random people stand with him whenever he made a speech? Pyro made sense...Phoenix, well duh, she can destroy you with a thought, of course you're going to have her by your side. Even Juggernaut could help keep the band of mutant groupies in line with his sheer presence. But Callisto, Psylocke, Quills, and Arclight? Why were they always around? The later 3 didn't really do anything until the very end.

It was nice to see Angel...but it was unnecessary. I mean, what did he actually *do*? Nothing. Except save his father. Which I guess was nice for his father...but other than that...

And then there's Rogue...

I've always looked at the Rogue in the movies as a completely separate entity from the one in the comics...as an "alternate universe Rogue," if you will. As much as I miss the strong, southern belle with moxy, I kinda like movie Rogue. She allowed us to see part of her life that we never saw before - what really happened when she found out she was a mutant. Without the guidance of Mystique, what would she have done? She also gave us a way to experience the Xavier Institute as a student (while Logan let us experience it as an adult mutant).

Yeah, she was a little wussy...and yeah, maybe she had a bit of a crush on Logan. But she seemed like she was getting a little stronger by X2 - she had a boyfriend, she went back for Logan so he wouldn't face Stryker alone, she flew the X-Jet.

I don't know if I liked X3 Rogue. She was bitter and, well, whiny. I'm not saying that I blame her for her insecurities with Bobby (not a big fan of them as a couple...and he did seem like he was kinda straying), but it reminded me of her recent more annoying, whiny counterpart in the comics. She doesn't stand up for herself, she runs away. Again.

The fact that she decided to take the cure didn't surprise me...I thought it was consistent with her character in the movies. But it did disappoint me. Perhaps if she had been taught how to use her powers when in battle, if she had been shown that she could use them to her advantage, maybe she wouldn't have seem them as quite the burden she did.

But no one ever seemed to train her. She was always conveniently out of the picture whenever it came to a battle. Although it may not have worked, I was secretly wondering if Rogue was going to show up and try to absorb Jean...to relieve her of some of her powers so she could regain control over her other "Phoenix" personality.

And while I hope her powers would return - as Robert pointed out, Magneto seemed to be able to move the chess piece ever so slightly at the end - I don't know if her fellow mutants (like Storm) would feel about her after she tried to be "cured."

Maybe they'll make another movie. Maybe not. But remember - no one ever dies in the comics. We never actually "saw" Scott die...we have the hint at the end for Xavier...and what's good enough for him could be good enough for Jean...