‘When We First Met’: A Mediocre Comedy That So Easily Could Have Been Terrible

I wasn’t expecting much when I put on When We First Met the other night. It was on Netflix, and I wasn’t in the mood to commit to watching a full series. It managed to be just good enough that I was both pleasantly surprised at how it averted and deconstructed some of the issues a lot of rom coms face and disappointed at how it reverted to old cliches at the end.

The premise: a magic photo booth takes the lead character back in time to relive the day he met the friend he’s in love with. It’s a skeevy thought – a guy that’s so fixated on this girl that’s never been interested in him feels so  entitled to have her, he’s willing to completely change his life, not because he has regrets that he wants to fix, but because he thinks changing his choices will make the girl fall for him. To the movie’s credit, it didn’t rely on stripping away the girl’s autonomy, nor on vilifying any of the other characters. That wasn’t the happy ending.

The first time he went back, he used his three years of knowledge to say everything he thought she’d want to hear. It was manipulative and creepy and downright invasive, and she rightfully called him out on being a weirdo stalker. Her roommate beat him up with a plant. Her fiancé tackled him. That scene stood out in the movie – it was actually pretty funny. Sadly, he didn’t learn the lesson he should have – that he should stop being an obsessed creep and be thankful for the friendship he wouldn’t have if she knew how much of an obsessed creep he was – and came to the conclusion that the problem wasn’t that he was being creepy, but that he hadn’t been sneaky enough about his creepiness.

At the end, after a few more missteps, he went back one more time to redo the night by doing what he’d done the first time, but there was something that made me uncomfortable about why he did it. It would have been one thing had he done it because he realized that he didn’t have the right to keep screwing with the lives of people that are supposed to be his friends. But he did it because he wanted to do the same thing again, just with a different end goal – this time, he wanted a chance with the roommate.

By the end, it just felt pointless. It wasn’t good, but neither was it particularly bad. It was just an hour and a half of nothingness that I could forget I even watched. It’s not something I have any interesting or intelligent critique to make about why it’s good or bad, because it just was. The director does have the capacity for genuinely funny comedies – he made West Bank Story, which I found hilarious in a crossing the line twice kind of way, even if I felt bad for laughing. Even When We First Met had its moments, what with the using a plant as a weapon thing. But it felt overly long, and the sweet/funny bits were matched by a creepiness that, if much better than it could have been, was definitely present, resulting in my overall impression being: meh.

A Manipulative Waste: Why Logan Disappointed Me

I don’t like calling things overrated. I’m not going to write think pieces on why that thing that people love is actually terrible. I’m never going to call someone stupid for liking something. Doing any of that would be mean-spirited beyond belief and I’ve experienced enough of that as a fan of the DC Extended Universe. I don’t ever want to be like the countless bloggers that spent a a solid year making fun of me and people like me that watched Batman v Superman and saw something beautiful. So, even though I didn’t really love Logan, I’m not going to say it was a terrible movie that was bad for comics fans. My experience isn’t universal, and even if it was, there were things I enjoyed about it, but more importantly, I think it’s great that other people liked it.  That being said, now that the movie has been out for five months and I’ve had a lot of time to think about it – I didn’t enjoy Logan, and I think it was a disappointing finish to a franchise that’s had both extreme highs and lows.

Reliance On Existing Goodwill

Most of the reasons I didn’t really enjoy it stem from it being part of a series, not it as a standalone movie. The movie looked beautiful. Everyone in it put in a great performance — Dafne Keen had one of the best performances I’ve ever seen from a child actor. But I think a lot of what the movie had going for it was the nostalgia factor. This was the end of an era. This was Hugh Jackman’s swan song. The X-Men movie franchise has been going on since 2000, and it’s still going on. A lot of people have grown up with this, with Jackman’s Wolverine, and seeing him for the last time, watching the character die, was an emotional experience. It was for me, too, but for me, the film relied on that, on the years of affection for the character and goodwill from the rest of the franchise, rather than creating an emotional reaction of its own. It felt manipulative, rather than something earned. I don’t like feeling used like that.

If the movie had been closer in tone to the trailer, the gorgeous one set to Johnny Cash’s rendition of Hurt, I’d have enjoyed it a lot more. It’s hard to overstate how excited I was about that trailer. That would have been the story of a Logan that has given up. That has lost everyone that matters to him. It would have been him finding hope again because of the new generation of mutants and deciding Laura is worth fighting for. It would have been a quieter, thoughtful, introspective movie. It would have been a kind of trippy story about self discovery and family. I saw that a lot of people did see that in the movie, but I didn’t. I saw an attempt, and I saw something sort of different from what had been done before, but hardly anything groundbreakingly unique.

As part of a series, it didn’t work for me. There was no real grieving for the X-Men. They were unceremoniously killed off again, and this time, none of them even got to have a part in saving their species, because their deaths were completely off screen. It made Days of Future Past redundant – what was the point of changing the timeline and bringing the original cast back to cameo if they’re all going to die within a few years anyway? And what’s the point of any future X-Men movie if we all know that it’s going to end like this no matter what they do? It would have been a good plot for a standalone, but not as part of a series.

The movie felt selfish to me. Logan seemed as if he was looking after Xavier out of obligation for giving him a place. Part of the reason he eventually had a change of heart about Laura was that they shared DNA and Xavier had wanted her kept safe. To me, it never seemed like he missed the X-Men – he was old, tired, cynical, but that stemmed from being sick and in pain and having to care for Xavier, not from having lost a family. The scene with Laura and the comic book was close, but it still came across as more bitter than anything else. I remember being surprised when I saw that in the movie, because of how different in tone it was from the way it had been presented in the trailer – Logan was clearly bitter, there, too, but he also seemed a little amused, and almost nostalgic. I liked that a lot better than him being an angry, bitter old man that made himself feel better by screaming at a child and didn’t give a damn about what the X-Men represented.

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Jean and Scott’s cameo in ‘Days of Future Past’. [Credit: Fox]

I didn’t find the plot all that emotional. I know a lot of other people did, and I’m glad. But for me, this was just rehashing what we’d already been through in Days of Future Past, except not as well. I loved Days of Future Past – I was irritated that somehow, Logan got the story that by all rights, belonged to Kitty and that Kitty got a new power out of nowhere because they gave her role to Logan and cut out Rachel, but I liked the movie. There were beautifully nuanced performances. It was a story of tired, broken, bitter people finding their way back to the best versions of themselves, a story of people making their last stand fighting for a better world. It was about mutants getting a second chance, about earning a happy ending. It handled the concepts of grief and mourning brilliantly. DoFP achieved with a scalpel what Logan did with a sledgehammer. Not a good adaptation, but a very good movie, and despite the mutants being killed by Sentinels and not corn syrup, still more subtle than Logan.

Goodbye To Original Cast

Even if this is just a movie that doesn’t tie into the continuity in any way, it still leaves a kind of bitter taste in my mouth, because it’s still our goodbye to the original cast. It’s not the ending that they deserved. They haven’t all been on screen together in eleven years. After DoFP reset the timeline so that The Last Stand could be removed from the continuity and Jean and Scott could come back to life, we didn’t get another story with them, just a weak cameo.

Hugh Jackman and Patrick Stewart were far from the only members of the original cast that deserved a good ending. Famke Janssen put in a spectacular performance, even with the terrible script she was handed. There’s only so much an actor can do when they don’t have support from the script. James Marsden, as well – somehow, he’s been left out of the movies where the mutants are on the brink of extinction twice, despite the fact those stories should definitely be about Scott. He’s an excellent actor that was criminally underused. Apocalypse even teased Mr. Sinister, and nothing gets the message that the makers of these movies don’t care about Scott across better than that – not one instalment in this franchise has mentioned Scott’s comic background, and in the case of the new timeline, he doesn’t have that at all. What’s even the point in bringing in Sinister if it’s going to be this much of a watered down version?

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Briefcase labelled ‘Essex Corp’ from ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’. [Credit: Fox]
This wasn’t just closing the door on Logan and the Stewart version of Xavier. If they’re not coming back, it’s almost certainly a goodbye to everyone else in the original cast as well, aside from maybe – maybe – a cameo from time to time. We got a flash of hope that we’d be getting them back in DoFP, then had that ripped away again, and it’s not even the loss of this version of the characters that bothers me so much as the loss of potential.

There was a cast of excellent actors. I mentioned Janssen and Marsden, but we certainly shouldn’t forget Ian McKellan, arguably the best actor in the entire franchise. Halle Berry, too – she’s a good actress, even if I didn’t like the little material she got and her characterization. Aside from very few of them – Stewart, McKellan, Jackman – the original cast didn’t get a chance to do their characters justice. How could they, when the movies weren’t X-Men movies as much as they were Wolverine and Friends, and most of them were just there to support Logan as the hero without storylines of their own? That cast could have made amazing movies, ones with fully realized characters that were as good adaptations as they were stories of their own. What did we get instead? Some disconnected great scenes, lines, and performances in a sea of mediocrity.

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Original cast. [Credit: Fox]
Janssen said very recently that she’d return as Jean Grey if she was asked – she’s been saying that for years. And I’d love her back. I prefer her Jean to Sophie Turner’s, perhaps just because she’s a more experienced actress that was a better fit for the character. But I very much doubt we’ll ever see her Jean again, and that’s a shame. It doesn’t feel like it’s been long enough to replace the entire cast. Ten years should be enough time, but in those ten years, some of them were around for longer, while the others made their last appearance just a few years ago. What’s more, they’re being replaced within the same series. It’s not a reboot, or a different universe.

I get that Logan was a loose adaptation of Old Man Logan. I do. I understand that. And I understand that this universe has been built around him, and that the people involved wanted the send off of the character to be just for him, and not an ensemble movie. But as a fan of the X-Men, it just felt like another slap in the face after seventeen years of slaps in the face.

I’ve never been the biggest fan of Wolverine as a character. He has his moments, and I do think he’s a better person/more engaging character in the film verse than in the comics, but he’s never been particularly interesting to me. And the seventeen years of movies have made me incredibly bitter towards him, something which finally reached a boiling point with Logan. A not insignificant part of why I didn’t love the movie was that I was so incredibly tired of the character. The X-Men are supposed to be ensemble stories. They work as a team. But the X-Men movies cast that aside for the same old Wolverine is the awesome hero, who cares about everyone else.

Viewer Fatigue

When I first saw Logan, I really enjoyed it. That’s the same experience I’ve had with most of the X-Men movies – I walk out of the theatre still excited, but when I take some time to process what I saw, to maybe see it again, I start to find more things that bother me. Logan left me cold. For me, the franchise has started to drag. I didn’t really notice it until Logan, but now they’re just making movies for the sake of it, because we’ll go to see them regardless of how little care is put into them and they’ll make a lot of money. Logan was the third Wolverine solo, when no other character even got one and he was the main character of the original trilogy as well. It rehashed the general plot of Days of Future Past without that level of beautiful focus on building a better world.

I don’t like the trend of bashing movies and claiming they’re awful solely because they weren’t to your tastes, or of saying they should be catered to you instead of to whoever they’re directed at. Not everything can be for everyone. I’m a big believer in letting people enjoy things, rather than being constantly negative and pointing out why what they love is terrible. And we shouldn’t judge movies based on whether or not they were what we wanted or expected to see, but rather on the story they tell. At the same time, I believe polite, respectful criticism is fair, so long as it’s criticism for what it is and not what you want it to be. Criticism only means something if it’s thoughtful and meant to spur conversation, not insult for the sake of it, but if it is, then it’s worth hearing.

Logan wasn’t for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad. I know other people loved it. I may not understand why, but I’m happy for them. But I personally liked the idea of Logan more than I liked the actual movie. To me, it felt like it should have been a story about grief and loss, just as I felt TLS should have been, just like DoFP was. Instead, also like TLS, it didn’t really seem to me like a story about much of anything. Batman v Superman gets constantly berated for being “grimdark”, but if any recent comic book movie falls into that category, it’s this one. It was emotionally draining and relentlessly, pointlessly dark. It wasn’t a more mature story in any way than the previous instalments in the franchise, it just had more visceral violence and cursing.

It may not technically be the last movie in the franchise, but it might as well be, now that all the ties to the original trilogy are gone – different timeline, different cast, different characterizations. Fox is going to continue to make X-Men movies. Logan will eventually be recast, just like the other X-Men. Even so, Logan represented the end of an era, the last movie with any ties to the trilogy that arguably revived comic book movies, and to me, it wasn’t a satisfying finish.

Animorphs: A Children’s Series That Deserves To Be Remembered As a Science Fiction Classic

Remember Animorphs? That super ridiculous nineties series about kids turning into animals fighting parasitic aliens that opened with a character being eaten alive and ended with most of the main characters dead that was somehow ubiquitous in just about every library, even if no library had all the books because there were more than sixty of them? Yeah. That was fantastic.

Something that’s pretty minor in the grand scheme of things that I still love about it -it had some of the most creative aliens ever. There was no all aliens speak English – the universal standard was something else; aliens were equipped with translators so they could understand each other; and they learned English when they were on Earth, some better than others. They didn’t all look humanoid – in fact, none of them did. Giant, cannibalistic centipedes with insatiable and uncontrollable hunger. Seven foot tall herbivores that solely ate bark and were covered with blades so that they could better harvest it. Mouthless centaurs with two additional stalk eyes and scorpionlike blades on their tails. Parasitic slugs that lived in the heads of other sentient creatures and controlled their every action. They were all different and fascinating and some of them were absolutely terrifying.

Animorphs had all the basic hallmarks of a traditional science fiction story. Freshman year, I took a class on Eastern European sci fi, and it struck me just how well Animorphs adheres to the main tenants of the genre, while not being confined to standard in any way. What is the nature of good and evil? What is love? What is life? What does it mean to be human? The books questioned the nature of right and wrong again and again. The fierce protectiveness and love the main characters felt for each other was constantly brought up. One of the supporting characters was an android, and the constant undertone when he was around was if he was really alive, and if his pacifism was at all justifiable next to the actions of the living things doing the fighting. A running theme was maintaining one’s humanity when fighting a war.

Animorphs is top tier fiction, because it’s completely accessible while embracing darker themes and working through hope, tragedy, humour, and heartwarming friendship moments in every book without it ever feeling rushed.

Animorphs makes me feel all kinds of emotions. There are scenes that I find horrifying and tragic and gutwrenching and all that, but they’re juxtaposed with some of the most ridiculously funny scenes I’ve ever read in anything. I’ll reread the books, and I’ll never not laugh at things like the lead characters’ incompetent rescue of an android using clothes from Tommy Hilfiger, a Bill Clinton mask, and a misspelled sandwich board sign, while they argue something stupid in the middle of a dangerous situation. It’s so hilariously nineties, that now even lines that would have been pretty neutral twenty years ago have me laughing. Then I turn the page, and it’s dead serious again. The same book that had an alien driving a yellow Mustang across a planet that neither he nor Mustangs come from while drinking Dr. Pepper had the same alien run away to Earth because he didn’t want to fight a war anymore.

The writing is geared toward children, and it’s blunt and direct and very far from subtle, but it doesn’t matter at all, because it’s effective. It’s simplistic and it gets the point across without ever getting bogged down in flowery language or needing elaborate symbolism. There are plenty of allusions to classics which allows for some really fun analysis, but the series stands perfectly well alone without needing to understand those references. Before all else, it’s an entertaining story. Most of the books are very short, but they still both address serious issues and entertain.

Animorphs is indisputably kind of weird and unexpected, but it’s fantastic. Sure, there’s some inconsistent quality issues and plot holes/contradictions – that’s to be expected when there’s so many of them and a large chunk of the series was ghostwritten. But the weirdness contributes to making it memorable, because it never holds back. It’s so, so good, and everyone should read it.

Wonder Woman Reaction

So I got back from Wonder Woman just now. I should probably sleep, because I have to be at work by seven tomorrow, BUT I HAVE TO WRITE THIS INSTEAD. Warning for possible mild spoilers.

It felt so surreal that I was actually going to watch this. It didn’t even feel real until it started playing. This is a movie that I’ve been waiting for for so long, and here it was. And it was beyond my wildest dreams.

It was such an incredible origin story. It was so perfect for Diana – her optimism and idealism, her horror at how terrible man’s world can be, her endless capacity for love. Her realization that maybe, she’ll have to step back and let humanity take whatever path it will take. It was heartwarming and devastating all at once, and if one of my coworkers hadn’t been sitting right next to me, I might have actually cried.

This was a story set in World War I that treated the circumstance with all the sensitivity it deserved. Despite it being a superhero movie, Diana couldn’t magically make everything better. Nor was the villain responsible for human cruelty. This was a story within the context of the war that never made any effort to shy away from how horrific it was, how both sides were fighting needlessly.

The scene of Diana rising from the trenches was quite possibly the most badass, heroic action in all of superhero movies. It was so beautifully shot and emotionally put together. I’m going to see it with a friend again tomorrow night, and this scene is one of the reasons I can’t wait.

We had all predicted what would happen to Steve. That wasn’t a surprise at all. But his character arc was still spectacular. The cynical, jaded soldier that knows just how awful the world can be being inspired by Diana, the embodiment of love and hope and goodness.  It was beautiful, and I’m heartbroken and inspired all at once.

Okay, it’s late, so I’m going to get some sleep, but I’m definitely going to be writing more about this later

Adaptations, Source Material, and Viewer Satisfaction: My Complicated Feelings About the X-Men Movies

The X-Men movie franchise has existed for most of my life. I’ve grown up watching these movies, I have a lot of appreciation for them and looking back on them very fondly, and I think it’s important that we credit them for reviving comic book movies and allowing them to be big budget successes. And yet, when I think about them critically and objectively, I find it very hard to give a simple answer to the question, “Are the X-Men movies any good?”

Part of that, of course, goes back to the fact that they’re adaptations of comic books. The X-Men have existed for decades. There are a lot of different versions of the characters, and everyone has a different way of interpreting them. It’s impossible to please everyone. But in addition to that, there were a lot of other issues that made them a poor and unsatisfactory adaptation, at least to me. Some of the dialogue, in the original trilogy especially, is stilted. The costume design was boring. A lot of parts felt forced. There were a lot of plotholes.

What I’ve always found the most important part of the X-Men is that they’re a team. They’re a close knit family, bound together, and determined to protect both their kind and a world that hates and fears them. The movies rejected that notion. Instead of showing them as a team, they focused on Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto and sacrificed everyone else in the process.

hated having to watch everyone else’s important storylines just given to Logan. He essentially took Scott’s place as the main hero and romantic lead during the Dark Phoenix arc when Scott was unceremoniously killed off by Jean in the first half hour of the movie. He took Kitty’s place in Days of Future Past, resulting in Kitty getting a new power that made absolutely no sense and pretty much just sitting still for the entire movie. Logan may not have been the main character of Days of Future Past – that distinction goes to Charles – but he was the heart and the character whose perspective the story was told from. It apparently wasn’t enough that Logan got three solo movies while no one else even got one – he had to get all of everyone’s storylines as well. The X-Men movies weren’t about the X-Men, they were just Wolverine and Friends.

I appreciate the changes made to Xavier’s character. The movies made him more of a hero. In the comics, he was deeply manipulative, essentially a trainer for child soldiers, and did very little to actually further the mutant cause while still being hailed as the best of them. Here, he’s legitimately heroic. I love manipulative characters that are willing to use other people as pawns to achieve their goals, but the narrative has to point that out, not gloss over it to pretend those characters are perfect heroes. Would it have been cool to see comics Xavier, with attention being drawn to his myriad of character flaws? Sure. But I’m totally fine with the version of the character that’s far less flawed and is doing the best he can to create a better world.

A lot of the performances were fabulous. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan – they managed to demonstrate to the audience that their characters had a long history and a complicated relationship without ever needing flashbacks or a lot of expository dialogue. For all my issues with Logan’s character, I’ll still admit that Hugh Jackman is a great actor. But a lot of the actors were also wasted – James Marsden and Famke Janssen come to mind.

My favourite X-Man has always been Scott. I’ve talked about that before. The adult version of the character has never really had a solo title, but he’s been absolutely crucial to the X-Men as a team – he’s essentially the main character of the entire X-Men mythos. More than Xavier. More than Magneto. That’s how important he is. But if your X-Men knowledge comes from the films and not the comics, you end up seeing Logan as the main character, Logan as the hero and team leader, not Scott, because in the movies, he doesn’t get to do anything. He’s an adaptational wimp that never gets to be a leader or use his brilliant tactical skills and ability to beat people up with his eyes closed. He never gets to be seen as the important pillar of the school, the teacher. There’s less focus on his relationship with his love interest than there is on Logan’s relationship with her. He doesn’t even get to grieve for his fiancée’s death. James Marsden was an excellent casting choice, but he was cast to the side.

Famke Janssen is a superb actress that completely owned her role, but she got very little to work with. The Dark Phoenix saga from the comics is highly acclaimed. It was a beautifully done story, and it was about Jean loving the world, her family, Scott. It was about her choosing death over hurting them. But The Last Stand took away her choices and her agency. It didn’t pay any attention to Jean and who she was, just what she was to Logan.

Somehow, the films made the Jean Logan relationship, something I hate in the comics, an even worse concept. The directors, writers, whoever – they tried to make the audience take Logan’s creepy obsession with Jean seriously, make us view it as a tragic, romantic love story, but he knew her for a week. He knew nothing about her as a person. He thought she was hot and had an image of what she was like and decided he was somehow in love with her, but he didn’t know her. She was engaged to Scott the whole time, and the two of them were in a long term, happy relationship! Logan’s behaviour was borderline harassment at best that we were supposed to believe was love.

I’ve seen most people agree that The Last Stand wasn’t a good movie, that the first two were much better. I think it could have been great, and that in fact, a lot of the action sequences were well done, but a lot of the rest of it fell flat. X-Men United was really good, and I wanted the follow-up movie to deal with the events that happened. The story I wanted was one of grief and pushing through it. I wanted Scott missing Jean, who was his best friend and teammate in addition to being his girlfriend, but working through his grief because his team and the school still needed him. Instead, his adoptive father asked someone else to take over the school instead of bothering to talk to him about his loss and how to start moving on; he got killed off half an hour into the movie; and no one really even mourned his death.

The filmmakers tried to cram too much into the movie and didn’t do justice to any of it. The concept and morality of a cure would have been a great story to go into. The repulsiveness of the idea of suggesting that a natural part of a segment of the population is a disease to be cured and that something is wrong with that segment of the population. The reminder that it’s a complex issue and that some mutants might want to take it. The weaponization of the cure and forcible administration. I would have loved to see Scott returning from wallowing in his grief to his calm, rational, strategic self to try to deal with this. It could have been the start of a real friendship and trust being forged with Logan. It could have been a solid story that was a great character study as well as an action movie. But they killed Scott and also crammed in the Dark Phoenix arc.

The Dark Phoenix as well could have been a great movie. I’ve heard they’re going to make another one about it, but I can’t be very excited for that, because a) Jean has been involved in far more stories than just the Dark Phoenix and deserves so much better and b) it’ll probably be with Sophie Turner and not Janssen, which disappoints me for a lot of reasons that I won’t go into now. But it, as it was portrayed in The Last Stand, wasn’t really a Dark Phoenix story. It wasn’t about Jean. It was pretty much about her choosing to follow Erik instead of Charles and giving Logan something to angst over. It could have been spectacular. But it wasn’t. The entire movie just left me cold and disappointed.

When we look at the second trilogy, the alternate timeline one, my conflicting feelings deepen. Because First Class was a story about Erik and Days of Future Past was a story about Charles, and I thought both were very interesting movies with a lot of heart. But as an X-Men fan, it felt like a slap in the face for a movie to be called First Class and not include the original X-Men. Scott, Jean, Bobby, Warren – none of them was anywhere in sight. Hank was there, sure, but the rest of those characters? Nowhere. They even decided to stick Scott’s traditionally younger brother on the team in Scott’s place. Very few of those new characters were well developed. They killed off Darwin, their only black character, despite the fact that that makes no sense with his power and that his power would have made much more sense as the lynch pin of the next movie than Raven’s.

Days of Future Past was probably my favourite movie on the franchise as a whole, and that’s only partially because of how it completely undid The Last Stand and brought Scott and Jean back to life. As a movie, I think it was the best one by quite a large margin. It wasn’t necessarily a great adaptation, but it was an exceptional movie. It was a movie about found families and fighting through hard times. It was a movie about doing the right thing. It demonstrated the Erik-Charles dynamic beautifully, showing that they both have very different perspectives that stem from their personal experiences and that are both understandable. It showed how necessary and important the school is. And above all, it ended well. It ended happily and it gave them all a second chance. There were a few plot holes and continuity issues, but on the whole, I can’t really complain about Days of Future Past.

Apocalypse was much more divisive than either First Class or Days of Future Past, but while I had my issues with it, issues that were deeper than mine with Future Past, there were actually a lot of things that I appreciated a lot. The most important of them was that Logan showed up for a couple minutes, then left, and that was it. He didn’t hog the spotlight in this one. We got teenage Scott and Jean and Kurt, which was lovely – finally, some other characters got some screen time – but deeply flawed, as the interpretation of Scott was so different from the classic version of him, he felt like a totally different character that just happened to have the same name. It didn’t really focus on a specific character, so it felt more like an X-Men ensemble movie at long last, even if a lot of the characters were underused and Mystique got more screentime than she probably should have.

But even beyond too much focus on a few characters, and a lack of care being put into the details, and my frustration with them as adaptations, my main problem with the movies is how exhausting they are. There hasn’t been a real happy ending since the very first one. When you’re telling a story about a persecuted minority, of course you need to go into the struggles the people belonging to said minority face. But having all of mutantkind wiped out twice, and not facing the societal and political challenges instead of the dramatics since 2006?

I don’t have a problem with emotional weight and bittersweet endings. It’s why I love the DCEU – the movies might be too heavy for me to watch all the time, but that doesn’t mean it’s not good. It just means that sometimes when I’m exhausted and need something light to cheer me up, I’m going to turn on Legally Blonde instead.

So much of the franchise is excellent and enjoyable and generally well done, but there are still so many flaws that are more and more noticeable with every rewatch, it gets very frustrating and exhausting.

All of my issues with the franchise culminated with Logan. While I enjoyed watching it, after I was done, I was so tired. I was sick of Logan as a character. I was sick of never getting to see other mutants or the X-Men as a team. I was sick of the characters never getting a lasting victory or moving forward in a meaningful way.

Logan was the end of an era. It was the last movie with Hugh Jackman playing Wolverine. It was the last movie with Patrick Stewart playing Professor X. By extension, it’s very probably the last movie with any of the original actors. I’d be delighted to be wrong about that, but I very much doubt we’ll ever again see Marsden Scott, Janssen Jean, or Berry Ororo. Logan was the end of that era, and I think that while the movie may stand well on its own, isolated from the rest of the franchise, it was a weak, unsatisfactory ending.