The X-Men: Movies VS Comics (Pt. 3)
Well, we’re back again. Right off the bat I know this is going to be a longer entry because so many of the The Last Stand characters deviate heavily from their comic originals, and we have a whole bunch of new bad guys. We’ll also be going back to some of the core group who went through noticeable changes in this film.
Played by Famke Janssen
The Comic: After ‘Giant Size X-Men’ reinvigorated the franchise all original members bar Cyclops left the team. Marvel Girl did slowly return to the main roster and was part of a mission fighting Sentinels in space, putting her on board the shuttle as it crashed towards Earth. Jean intended to sacrifice herself to save the rest of the team, creating a protective shield over them while she piloted the craft, but in an unexpected twist she was ‘reborn’ as the more powerful telepath and telekinetic called Phoenix. This change largely retained her personality (such as it was) but imbued her with an unheard of level of power.
Over the following issues, in addition to exploring her new range of powers, Phoenix would have dreams and hallucinations where she is a different person in a different era, sharing a love affair with Jason Wyngarde. He would be revealed to be the Mastermind manipulating Phoenix into becoming Dark Phoenix and joining the Hellfire Club. It isn’t long after this that Phoenix blasts off into space, eats a bloody sun and wipes out several populated planets. The Shi’ar put her on trail for genocide, leading to trail by combat with the X-Men fighting the Imperial Guard on the moon. This story closed with Jean taking control of her mind from Phoenix long enough to kill herself and spare her friends. Although short it was a turning point for the X-Men series and is still considered their one of their best adventures.
The Movie: Jean Grey died at the end of X2 holding back the water from the breached dam while her friends escaped, a less epic but functionally similar retelling of the spaceship crash from the comics. Rather than emerging from the water amid a flaming bird shape the new Phoenix is just…standing there. She’s already losing control of her powers and kills Cyclops, and seems to be pretty evil from the get-go. Then she murders Professor X. There’s no real reason for this sudden shift in attitude. Phoenix then teams up with Magneto and becomes his henchmen. During the final battle (or last stand if you will) Phoenix loses control and random stuff starts swirling around until Wolverine stabs her.
Director Ratner did everything he could to take away from the epic nature of this story. The spectacle is gone, the cosmic battles are gone, the world ending power of the Phoenix is reduced to making stuff swirl around. It’s…lame.
Played by Kelsey Grammer
The Comic: It’s only now that we get the final two members of the original team. First up is Hank McCoy, best known as Beast. Like many of the starting line up McCoy didn’t have much in the way of a personality. Due to his mutant ability of having huge, prehensile feet and hands Hank was the star of the high school football team. As he got older his interest turned to literature and science. Dr. McCoy is the standing science expert for the team in addition to bringing strength and agility to the battlefield. His research and experiments into mutants led to Hank inadvertently advancing his own mutation giving him the distinct blue fur he’s best known for.
The Movie: Kelsey Grammer was a great pick for the role of Beast, being able to perfectly capture his verbose method of speech. He was able to bring out the character through a thick layer of make-up and prosthetics that gave him the perfect look for the Beast. Out of all the characters in X-Men 3 he is best represented on the big screen. McCoy has long been a public figure regarding the mutant issue, and the movie upgraded him to a presidential advisor. It’s a good way to tie in the political themes introduced in the last film. Unfortunately his original introduction, swinging and leaping through the White House in a manner that mirrored Nightcrawler’s scene, was cut for budgetary reasons so we only see him in action during the finale. It’s worth the wait, it’s just a shame we don’t get more of it.
Note: The Nicholas Hoult version of the character will be covered in a later instalment.
Played by Ben Foster
The Comic: The winged Warren Worthington III was part of the original team along with Beast, Cyclops, Iceman and Marvel Girl. He had a very different background, however, as he was coming from a wealthy and affluent family. They were even members of the fabled Hellfire Club. Living in a mansion rather than a suburb isn’t the only difference, Worthington was also a masked vigilante. Going by the name ‘The Avenging Angel’ he watched over New York at night looking for crimes to foil. After adding his incredible speed to the X-Men he also became Cyclops’ somewhat playful rival for Jean’s affections. He didn’t stay on the team after the introduction of the second generation (taking a particular exception to Wolverine. He did return to the X life with X-Factor and, during the Mutant Massacre storyline, he lost he wings and was later rebuilt by Apocalypse as Archangel. Regardless of what happens to him, Warren maintains his slick, charming playboy attitude.
The Movie: He’s got the basic appearance down, and he’s got the wings, but there’s little to tie this character to his comic book original. He’s introduced as the son of a wealthy industrialist whose company is developing a ‘cure’ for mutations. Warren is expected to be the first patient but breaks free and flees rather than lose his wings. Then he…just kinda wandered into the X-Mansion and joined the X-Men? He’s basically a throwaway character with no personality. What’s most disappointing about him is his small wingspan. In the comics his wings stretch out to 5 meters (16 feet) and the movie wings don’t look like they’d get a grown human off the ground.
Note: The Ben Hardy version of this character will be covered in a future instalment.
Played by Sumela Kay, Katie Stuart and Ellen Paige (pictured)
The Comic: By the time of the Dark Phoenix Saga the main cast of the X-Men had grown out of their teenage years and were getting involved in more adult conflicts To help bridge the gap between the readers and the characters the 13 year old Kitty Pryde was introduced. Having been identified as a mutant with the ability to ‘phase’ through solid objects, Kitty was recruited to Xavier’s school and given the codename ‘Sprite’. This was later changed to ‘Ariel’ before finally landing on ‘Shadowcat’. Kitty quickly became the emotional heart of the team and would become intertwined into their drama, from having a crush on Colossus to receiving ninja training from Wolverine in Japan.
The Movie: We really wanted to highlight the important lynchpin role Shadowcat held on the team during their most memorable run because of how small a role she had in the movies. She makes a cameo in the first two films but received a fresh face and lines of dialogue in the third. Sadly Kitty doesn’t have anything to do but function as a romantic rival for Iceman to moon over. She does get to race Juggernaut in the finale at least.
Played by Cameron Bright
The Comic: During the 1980s the X-Men became aware of a group of mutants calling themselves the ‘Morlocks’ and living in the sewers under the city of New York. For the most part they were unable to fit in with normal society due to their visible or uncontrollable mutations. They’ve made peace with their situation and have their own law and society beneath the streets. With bright green skin and odd features, Leech was clearly a mutant from birth and abandoned by his parents. He was raised by a woman named Annalee in the Morlock tunnels until The Marauders perpetrated a massacre of the Morlock society. Leech was taken in by X-Factor following the battle and spent the following years under the care of one X team or another. His ability is to dampen or cancel the powers of mutants in his vicinity.
The Movie: Leech, or ‘Jimmy’, is less a character and more a McGuffin in this story, supplying the basis for the ‘mutant cure’ aspect of the student. He’s a pretty normal looking kid, shaved head notwithstanding, lacking the distinct green skin of his printed counterpart. His powers are intact, cancelling out the powers of mutants in his vicinity. Over time in the comics he learned some control over this ability and could extend it’s reach at will but the film doesn’t afford him the time for this development.
Played by Halle Berry
Just a brief update on this character. She was never well adapted in the original trilogy, and it’s the parring down of her powers that is the most irksome. They promised in the lead up to this movie that we’d finally see Storm cutting lose and flying and blasting weather. Instead we got a repeated trick of her spinning like a top with little shock of lighting shooting out. It’s disappointing and super dumb. That is all.
And now…the bad guys!
Played by Lance Gibson
The Comics: Wait…he’s not in the comics. Spike, or ‘Spyke’ as he’s called in the animated series X-Men: Evolution, was created to add some diversity to the cast. Portrayed as an African-American anti-authoritarian youth the degree to which he succeeded or failed in this task is debatable. In between skateboarding and basketball, Spyke can generate an exo-skeleton and grow spiked bones to throw as weapons.
The Movies: The characters most recognisable physical feature – his blonde hair – is missing in this movie. Well, we assume it is because he’s wearing a beanie for the short time that he’s on screen. We also don’t see his armour. He just throws a couple of bone spikes as Wolverine and then gets stabbed.
Played by Dania Ramirez
The Comics: Callisto is a mysterious leader among the mutant population. She was once very beautiful but her status as a mutant drove her away from society with a scarred face. When she first met the X-Men she was the leader of the underground Morlocks, fiercely defending her people from the outside world. Callisto was always adamant that the Morlocks were better off left alone. Exactly what abilities Callisto has is unclear, but she would be appear to include heightened senses, strength and speed.
The Movie: Instead of the Morlocks we find Callisto as the leader of the ‘Omegas’, a group of what seems to be mutant terrorists. They ‘rank’ mutants based on how strong their powers are and tattoo themselves to reflect this. It’s pretty far from the idea of the Morlocks. They’ve also given Callisto a new set of powers. She can now zip back and forth quickly and detect other mutants, powers lifted from Quicksilver and Caliban respectively. So…she doesn’t look like Callisto, she doesn’t act like Callisto, she doesn’t have Callisto’s powers and she doesn’t follow the same story…why did they bother calling her ‘Callisto’?
Played by Mei Melancçon
The Comics: Betsy Braddock is an immensely complex character in X-Men. Born in England as the twin sister to Brian ‘Captain Britain’ Braddock, she was celebrated as the most beautiful woman in the country and developed the mutant ability of telepathy. During this time of her life she wound up taking up the role of Captain Britain until she was blinded by Slaymaster. Alternate dimension psychos Mojo and Spiral would replace her eyes with cyborg replacements that secretly doubled as cameras for their entertainment. Not long after this she joined the X-Men, passed through the mystical Siege Perilous and then had her psyche shared with the Japanese ninja Kwannon. Psylocke now inhabited Kwannon’s body and the two shared elements of each others minds. She can also generate a ‘psychic knife’, which is the culmination of her psychic powers.
What’s a more complex word for complex?
The Movie: She stands in the background with the other ‘Omega Gang’ mutants. And then she appears out of shadows at the end? I guess that’s her power. Yeah, this ain’t Psylocke and I don’t know why they called her that.
Note: The Olivia Munn version of this character will be covered in a future instalment.
Played by Ken Leung
The Comics: Kid Omega, known to his mother as Quintavius Quirinius Quire is a student at the Jean Grey Institute who possesses incredibly high psychic abilities. He’s also known for his immensely high intellect and…wait…what has this got to do with the guy in the movie?
The Movie: The character depicted in the movie has less than nothing to do with ‘Kid Omega’. Instead he appears to be modelled after ‘Quill’. As you can tell from the name, Quill has porcupine like quills that he can shoot from his body. He can’t shoot them in the movie and they pop out of his face making him look silly. His only effective attack in the whole movie is giving a woman a deadly cuddle.
Played by Omahyra
The Comic: Arclight is a Vietnam War veteran who turned her anger at the conflict into bodybuilding and later developing her mutant ability. She can create seismic shockwaves which emit from her hands. Arclight appeared prominently in the Mutant Massacre storyline where she’d be seen destroying walls by placing her hands on them.
The Movie: Again a member of the ‘Omegas’, Arclight now uses her abilities by clapping her hands and causing explosions…wait…oh Christ not again! That’s not Arclight’s power, that’s War from the Four Horsemen! HE’S the war veteran who makes things explode by clapping his hands together! Seriously, why not just call her ‘War’, why are they switching around codenames and powers like this! GAH!
Played by Eric Dane
The Comic: Although he started out as something of a background character in X-Men before becoming a major part of X-Factor, Jamie Maddrox has long been a popular and creatively used character. As Multiple Man he has the extraordinary ability to immediately create duplicates of himself through physical impact. These ‘dupes’ can then function independently and can even form their own identity and life, with there being seemingly no limit to how many dupes can be active at any given time. It’s a fascinating concept that has been explored in detail by some of the best writers in the business.
The Movie: Multiple Man appears as one of three mutants rescued from captivity by Magneto (the others being Mystique and Juggernaut). He is barely used in the movie, only actually participating in the story as a diversion while the other villains lead their final attack. He’s a strange choice to include in the films because he can be over-powered by nature of his power. At least he looked cool doing it.
Played by Vinnie Jones
The Comics: There’s nothing like family. The half-brother of Charles Xavier is one of the few major X-Men villains who is not also a mutant. Rather he gained his powers from the magical gem of Cyttorak, which he found while he and Xavier were sheltering in a temple during the Korean War. The gem imbued Cain Marko with incredible strength and durability and, once he gets moving, he is completely unstoppable. In his first appearance he attacks the Xavier Mansion, easily walking through the deadly defences. Since then he’s been a staple in the Marvel universe, taking on almost all the major heavy hitters. As his main foe is the powerful telepath Professor X, Juggernaut wears a special helmet that protects him from mental attacks.
The Movie: Although this take on the character is certainly divisive among the fans he does capture the spirit of the character. The source of his powers has been changed to a mutation, which better fits the movie universe, and his helmet only serves as protective head-gear during fights. He’s just as brash, stubborn and quick to anger as he is in the comics, and his powers are intact, so he’s kinda fun. They did include the internet gag of him yelling “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”
Now to get drunk and dive into the (shudder) WOLVERINE movies!