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Shazam! (2019)

Rated PG-13: For Minimal Language and Sensitive Themes, and Violence

Running Time: 132 minutes (2 hours and 32 minutes)

Genre/s: Action, Comedy, Fantasy, Superhero

Released on April 5, 2019 (US Release Date; Available for Worldwide Viewing)

Presented by New Line Cinema, DC Films, The Safran Company, Seven Bucks Production, Mad Ghost Productions, and Warner Bros. Pictures



"Shazam" Created by Bill Parker and C.C. Beck



Director: David F. Sandberg

Writers: Henry Gayden and Darren Lemke

Starring:
  • Asher Angel and Zachary Levi as William "Billy" Batson / Shazam
  • Mark Strong as Doctor Thaddeus Sivana
  • Jack Dylan Grazer as Frederick "Freddy" Freeman
  • Djimon Hounsou as Shazam

"Home is where you choose to be." Though it is hardly the most original theme discussed in all of cinema, and though it is not the deepest Aesop to thread through our minds, it is a timeless concept that can make a film more than memorable, if the execution is done right. Shazam! is a particularly good example of making perfect use of an enduring central theme not necessarily by making it more complicated than it should be, but by placing emphasis on heart.

In this film, young orphan Billy Batson, played by Asher Angel (Andi Mack) can become an adult, super-powered version of himself, played by Levi (Thor: The Dark World) after stumbling upon a weakened wizard named Shazam, played by Hounsou (Captain Marvel). Now equipped with the wisdom of Solomon, the strength of Hercules, the stamina of Atlas, the power of Zeus, the courage of Achilles, and the speed of Mercury, Billy must be ready to battle the demented Doctor Thaddeus Sivana, played by Strong (Kingsman: The Secret Service), who wishes to steal all of Billy's powers to exact his revenge.


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It has been said that "home is where the heart is." Unfortunately for our main protagonist, played astoundingly by the brilliant fresh talent Asher Angel, Billy's heart is not in the right place. In fact, this film makes it deliberately clear that, despite his sympathetic background, Billy is indeed an obnoxious brat during the first few parts of the film, which is a nice nod to the audience that yes, even superheroes can have huge, glaring flaws. All he wants is to find his biological mother, who lost him while out at a local carnival long ago, and ever since, Billy has been extremely fixated in returning to his home. After several failed attempts, with even some ending-up with him being at the receiving end of law enforcement, he finally finds a physical home for him in the form of a foster group, but alas, he still feels as if this is not where he is supposed to be.

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One thing that really made an impression for me is the amazing supporting cast. Billy's newfound home, for the audience at least, does feel like one. This is because of the memorable side-characters who might only have about a few minutes of screentime, but are nevertheless written with so much care and importance that you simply cannot help but be fond of these characters. In this group home, we have the disabled comicbook fan Freddie, played with such joy by Grazer (It Remake), alongside the super-enthusiastic and warm-hearted Darla Dudley, played by the lovable Faithe Herman (Bodied), the college freshman Mary Bromfield, played by Grace Fulton (Annabelle: Creation), the geeky Eugene Choi, played by the funny Ian Chen (Fresh Off the Boat), and the silent yet quirky Pedro Peña, played by newcomer Jovan Armand (The Middle). All five of these characters, plus their adoptive parents, do everything that they can to reach-out to Billy. Sadly for Billy, he does not warm-up to them immediately, which causes a few problems for everyone. They do end up becoming so integral to the story, that to my gentle surprise, all five of them even manage to share the powers of Shazam, effectively becoming the Marvel Family! Not only did this line-up very well with the theme, it just goes to show that the supporting cast, regardless of how small the role might be, will always be essential to a film.


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Things only get worse for Billy after receiving his powers. Instead of setting-out to fulfill Shazam's wishes to prevent the forces of evil from taking over the world, he practically gives-up in searching for his home as he instead chooses to reside in the traditional childish fantasy of being a superhero. Eventually, he practically makes use of his powers for everyone else's entertainment, becomes a complete hypocrite towards Freddie when he declines to appear in school for popularity, and runs away at his first ever encounter with an actual supervillain. I have to say though. As we go deeper into Billy's more selfish impulses under the Shazam guise, thanks of course to the always reliable Zachary Levi to bring a specific level of childlike obnoxiousness and tragic coming-of-age with his heavily underrated acting sensibilities, we see that Billy is really not a superhero. He is just a kid in a grown-up's body, but once he realizes that his real mother does not want him around, which is a very subversive approach since I was expecting for the mother to accept him and have Billy stay with his new family out of sincerity and care, Billy is hit by reality hard.

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Now, I have to be deliberately clear that I am not all that familiar with the mythology of Captain Marvel (yes, that was his superhero name prior to the controversial lawsuit with Marvel Comics). And when I watched a video by YouTuber Captain Midnight discussing the changes done to the character, I am left amazed. At this day and age, I am comfortable with adaptations making certain changes to the source material. This is due to the fact that they are "adaptations," and makers are given license to make creative changes as they see fit. By retroactively altering his origin to be just an act of total desperation on Shazam's part instead of him being a noble "chosen one" type of character, the movie adds a level of gravitas to the character which effectively modernizes him for the audience today. The flick even addresses the idea that a lot of candidates for the mantle of Shazam are unworthy because of their flawed moralities, which I have to commend as a decent deconstruction of the superhero archetype.

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Speaking of changes and villains, Mark Strong is extremely incredible as the main antagonist, and I would even consider him as the best supervillain that the DCEU has to offer so far (which really isn't saying much, considering the previous movies). Though it makes drastic changes to the character, including having him completely ditch his more stereotypical mad scientist get-up in exchange for a more traditional business-suited villain, while still keeping his scarred eye intact, and though the film's prologue completely spoils Doctor Sivana's backstory, therefore eliminating all chances at suspense, Doctor Sivana is the perfect main antagonist for this film. It is even made better by the fact that he survives for a sequel in the near future.

Here, Sivana lives most of his life as an outcast, always believing in seeing in the supernatural world. As a child, he was one of the many candidates to inherit the powers of Shazam, but is rejected for his potentially corrupt nature. It is because of this that he became obsessed with seeking such power, and after receiving new powers from the Seven Deadly Sins, evil spirits trapped in Shazam's lair, the Rock of Eternity, he decides to murder all the people that have mistreated him, including his abusive father, played by John Glover (Smallville).

Do you notice the parallels to Billy? Similar to Billy, Doctor Sivana just wants to find his home, the Rock of Eternity, and also like Billy, he uses his powers for selfish reasons. The similarities end, however, with the fact that Billy does have a home, which he still has not seen yet for himself, while Doctor Sivana having always known hatred, even until the end credits. A perfect foil indeed.

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Aside from the characters, we also have to commend the film and director David F. Sandberg for truly making the city of Philadelphia a "home." Most action-oriented superhero movies tend to feature their various settings, from the buildings to the people, as nothing more than just things that we just randomly pass by as we progress through a story. In this film's case, however, we do get a sense of community. We see how the city and its citizens feel about having a superhero living in their area of residence through Billy's interactions, including displaying his lightning-generating powers to a crowd of adoring fans. We feel the excitement that they feel when Billy saves a bus full of people from plummeting towards death. We feel the fear of the exact same people when Doctor Sivana terrorizes a carnival one night with his seven devilish assistants, and as they each cling desperately to hope while either hiding from the monsters, or just observing the chaos from afar. We also feel the sense of a larger world through the film's use of certain superhero merchandise. Through this application, we note that this film is indeed set in the DC Extended Universe without feeling forced, and it also shows how the people feel about superheroes in general.

Finally, we have the theatrics of the film. The concept of a home would not be felt if it were not for the other elements that subtly alluded to this theme, while also being added spices to an interesting visual main course.

The script's extensive use of humor is also commendable, as this film showcases one of the best uses of actually good jokes. For instance, the entire convenient store robbery scene, and that part when Billy could not hear Doctor Sivana's evil monologue due to the Philadelphia traffic is really funny, and it really emphasizes the heartwarming and fun nature that the film aims for.

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The lesser use of CGI is also worth noting, as well as the costume designs. I really do love how colorful Billy's costume is, and how everything that is mystical, including the Rock of Eternity and the terrifying manifestations of the Seven Deadly Sins are incredibly great, especially when they all manage to contrast superbly with the realistic Philadelphia setting. Sure, it may not be as extraordinarily excessive or as colorfully grandiose as it could have been, but who cares? The character work on the script, penned by Henry Gayden, with story guidance from Darren Lemke is all you need to have a good time. Heck, that final battle at the carnival, which also serves as a bookend, could have been a generic beat 'em up that destroys an entire city block. But no. All we have are visually simple yet striking moments, combined with incredibly funny lines.

My favorite thing about the movie is, aside from all of the above, the subtle used of some licensed songs. Most movies tend to just throw-in a random song just for the sake of it (Ahem, Suicide Squad, ahem). In this case, however, some songs are actually used for significant reasons. For instance, the introductory song "Do You Hear What I Hear?" plays during Doctor Sivana's first encounter with the wizard Shazam, and plays again when he returns to the real world, which reflects the fact that only he saw Shazam, not his family. And my personal favorite was the use of the instrumental for the song "Slow Hands" by Niall Horan, which is played during one of the family's regular pre-meal prayers, which involves all family members holding hands. Guess who was the only one who refuses to join-in? Clever and subtle. I like that.

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It's hardly original in its storytelling, and it's unlikely for the film to gain major awards in the long run. But what Shazam! does succeed in is reminding audiences everywhere that we don't need dark and overly mature stories in our theaters. A little subversion from the source material also did help to reintroduce a slightly forgotten character to the modern world. Sometimes, we just need a simple, fun, and heartfelt experience. Thanks to a lovable cast, particularly from our two leads, to one captivating, though somewhat uninteresting supervillain who did have his entire backstory spoiled in the first scene in the film, to actually funny jokes, and to colorful blends of whimsy, perhaps it is safe to say that the DC Extended Universe's problems are finally behind them. Here's to hoping that this franchise would consistently make more films as amazing, as charming, as memorable as this one. I hereby grant this film a score of 20/25 (Awesome!).

Fun fact: did you know that John Glover, the actor who played Thaddeus Sivana's father played the father of Lex Luthor, played by Michael Rosenbaum (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2) Lionel Luthor in the hit television series Smallville? Also, did you know he played the guy who gave Poison Ivy, played by Uma Thurman (Kill Bill) in the wildly reviled Batman and Robin film? The other thing you have to love about this film is its fun Easter eggs list.

And since we mentioned Easter, have a very happy Easter season everyone, from all of us here! Before you leave, help yourself to some songs featured in the film and its promotional materials. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!



Source (Time for another reboot!)
"Here comes tomorrow!" What do you get when you combine the political and social awareness and gritty realism of the original Twentieth Century Fox movies, with the out-of-this-world concepts from the comics, specifically the ones from the Chris Claremont and Grant Morrison eras, and the exciting, interconnective nature and colorful fun of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)? You get this four-part, police procedural anthology drama focusing on various known and unknown, debuting and reinvented characters, filled with action and adventure, heart and humor, and maturity and mysticism. Okay, it might not sound like the typical X-Men film series, but remember this is a comicbook  franchise centered around changes. Perhaps audiences should get a taste of the best type of changes coming for the "strangest superheroes of all!" Oh, and add a steampunk-inspired aesthetic just to make things visually distinct.

That was the short version of this pitch, and if you are still interested, read-on! Welcome back to Dateline Movies, and get ready for our pitch for the astonishing, the extraordinary, the uncanny X-Men: Marvel's X.

Before we begin though, here are a few notes. Firstly I honestly had a difficult time working on this pitch, despite my interest in this property. This is mostly due to me not being all that familiar with the X-Men books outside of many, many searches in the Internet, in contrast to my previous pitches. So yes, consider this as a fun exercise for me.

Secondly, I realized that I could actually form a large story arc with this and my previous two pitches, as well as our upcoming three. As such, from this day forth, all of my pitches, starting from Marvel's Thunderbolts (excluding the pitch for Marvel's Spider-Man and the Defenders, because that one was just for kicks), all the way up to our currently untitled final entry will be placed under the banner of "Dark Reign," which is a reference to the Marvel Comics event of the same name, and I actually tried to adapt this before, but under a different title (and that's something we never speak of again ... ever). 

Lastly, much like our pitch for Marvel's The Fantastic Four, we would be focusing on lesser renowned characters. In this case, considering that Fox did feature a lot of them already, but in a very, very limited capacity, we selected characters that have made a maximum of two big-screen appearances (with one exception), or have made none at all. Plus, we will not be focusing on either Professor X, Magneto, Mystique, Beast, Jean Grey, or most especially Wolverine, because come on ... how many more movies do we need to see them in?

Source (These stories are just as intense as that fight scene up there ... with just a toned down amount of gore.)

Setting and placement in the MCU timeline

In the 1960s, a genetics arms race became even more inevitable in the wake of the then-only superhero Captain America's disappearance by the conclusion of the Second World War. While the United States of America, through the "Strategic Homeland, Intervention, Espionage, and Logistics Division" (SHIELD), who has stronger ties to the United Nations and the World Security Council, remains one step ahead in the growing conflict thanks to the agency's access to independent science groups and technology, Europe, with its "European Defense Initiative" (EDI), represented by the countries of Great Britain, France, Spain, Italy, Norway, Russia, and Germany struggled. Even with the assistance provided by the European branch of SHIELD, attempts at replicating the Super Soldier Serum from scratch was ultimately wasting much of the agency's funding, which lead to the EDI being temporarily shut down.

One day, a scientist named Claudine Renko, a representative of a think tank known as the "Essex Corporation," revealed to the EDI the existence of the X-Gene. Presenting the research of her supposedly deceased superior and the group's founder Nathaniel Essex, Renko reveals that every human has a dormant gene that, once altered in the proper method, can provide initially normal human beings with various superhuman abilities. However, she notes that scientific intervention is not necessary for a mutation to be triggered. To prove this claim, Renko displays her powers in telepathy, telekinesis, and rapid regeneration, which are all powers that have been said by her are also in Essex's possession.

With this revelation, the remnants of the EDI banded together to form the "Weapon Plus" program in Canada, which is kept completely a secret even from government officials. The result of their experiments on willing volunteers, including terminally ill patients and the impoverished class, and even on runaway children and animals, is the "Alpha Flight," the first batch of twentienth century born Mutants. Not willing to share the success with their American counterparts, the EDI, assimilated to the reformed European SHIELD branch, created a new, independent extra-normal affairs organization known as "MI-13." With their noted use of magic in contrast to technology, this allows for all knowledge pertaining to Mutantkind a complete secret from SHIELD and the rest of the world.

Source ("Alexa ... play the X-Men: Animated Series theme song."
As more flight programs are formed, operations began to spread out from Canada, participating in top-secret, nuclear war-based community-building projects, and on deadlier instances, war, espionage, and counter-terrorism, which became all the more prominent during the height of the Cold War, leading to Russia pulling away from  the EDI. Professor Charles Xavier, a genius telepath who is the earliest declared success of the Weapon Plus project, grew-up to become the Mutants' official representative in the program. A pacifist and a genius, aided by his twin sister, Cassandra Nova Xavier, his writings about the origins of the X-Gene and a dream of a utopia between humans and Mutants alike caught the attention of Erik Lensherr, an Auschwitz survivor who gained magnetic manipulation abilities prior to even becoming a part of Weapon Plus, which denotes that the mutation phenomenon might have already been growing even before their respective births.

When Essex Corporation became colder in its treatment towards Mutants,  wherein each are being experimented on even further to become weapons of mass destruction, Charles, Cassandra, and Erik formed the original X-Men with five others. With their efforts, they are able to expel any influence that the Essex Corporation could have on them, leaving MI-13 to become the Mutants' primary financial and political benefactor. As the Mutants pushed for more reforms, including having to scrap the "Sentinel Program," an ongoing MI-13 project involving giant machines to police mutants, Erik eventually became radical in his approach, growing tired of Charles' more pacifistic approach.

One event known only as the "Dark Phoenix Incident" would come to pass in the early 1970s, wherein one of the first X-Men, Jean Grey, is manipulated by Erik to embrace the hidden power of an alien force known as The Phoenix to eradicate the human race in the name of Mutantkind. In a battle between the X-Men, MI-13's Sentinels, Erik, now going by the moniker of "Magneto" with his Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy of defecting X-Men, and Phoenix herself, many Mutants and humans lives are lost in one of the few settlements in the Weapon Plus program. In the end, Jean, Charles, who also lost the use of his legs mid-battle, and Erik all mysteriously disappeared in one big blast.

With the cooperation of MI-13, all knowledge of the Mutants' existence has been wiped, and the Mutants managed to form various settlements from formerly Essex Corporation facilities. "Graymalkin Industries," a front technology company, is soon established in order for their settlements to get a sense of legitimacy, all the while being supported by MI-13.

Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5, Source 6 (Order of pictures is ... TL, UC, BL, BC, UR, LR)
Years go by, and the few communities prospered with the aid of MI-13's magical services, Graymalkin Industries' international, industrial reach, and Essex Corporation's and Weapon Plus's pieces of scrapped technology and research, mostly derived from the now junked Sentinel program. The communities now make use of the newly reformed Flight Program to characterize each Mutants capability in combat, and each have their own Cerebros, a massive Mutant and human tracking supercomputer that can only be used by telepaths either for searching or for regular mind-wiping. These settlements include ...

"District X / Mutant Town," a poor Mutant settlement located in Middle East Side, New York City that is the center to the Mutants' underground artistic culture and numerous other trends such as music, filmmaking, and fashion, with its underground areas, abandoned Essex Corporation bomb shelters, being a place for residence by the prophetic, outcast clan known only as the Morlocks.

"Madripoor," an industrialized Mutant settlement located in Singapore, which is a business hub that is reminiscent of Fritz Lang's Metropolis, where the rich and the prosperous live on towers in the highly sophisticated Hightown, while the impoverished, the outcasts, and most of the criminal element live within the scrap filled Lowtown.

"Muir Island Hospital for Mutants," a scientific Mutant settlement located next to Scotland that serves as the research hub of the entire Mutant community, where most developments regarding the Mutant condition, superpowers, and other genetic-related matters are handled, while also serving as a high-security prison for the more dangerous Mutants.

"Genosha," a nearly destroyed Mutant settlement located off the coast of South Africa, where the infamous dark Phoenix Incident took place, and though it acts as the seat of power for the entire Mutant community, numerous Sentinel scraps are thrown here, and up to this day, the area remains almost completely unlivable due to the destruction, despite the Headmaster's Office's best efforts.

"Savage Lands," a mysteriously abandoned Mutant settlement located within the Arctic, which is home to several myths and legends, including it being home to dinosaurs brought back to life, to it being an improvised gladiator arena for prisoners, and though no one can confirm its actual status due to previous failed expeditions, it can be said that this place is better off unexplored.

"Asteroid M," an orbiting Mutant settlement located within the Earth's atmosphere, that once served as Magneto's headquarters during the events of the Dark Phoenix incident, until it was repurposed and transformed into a satellite energy distribution matrix that provides free, unlimited power to all of the other settlements, while also housing the most advanced version of Cerebro.

"Academy of Tomorrow," a splinter Mutant settlement located in Massachusetts, which is a school that aims to train the next generation of Mutants to become Earth's superheroes, and is headed by one of Charles Xavier's former students Emma Frost, who wishes to peacefully unite Mutants and humans instead of simply hiding.

"The World," an interdimensional Mutant settlement that serves as the teleporting bridge for all the other hideouts, and though it does serve more as a means of transportation, many tend to stay here due to sightings of numerous technological marvels stemming from various Weapon X schematics, and it being basically a pocket dimension.

Source ("To me, my X-Men!")
Premise

"Marvel's X" is told in a span of four different movies. Though this is an anthology series, the central mystery arc progresses nevertheless. Each installment focuses on the exploits of various X-Men, working under the leadership of the Headmaster's Office as a policing group for Mutants to maintain their society's secrecy and safety, as they adjust to a world that has since become even more populated by superheroes outside of their league. These X-Men work in partners, with one serving as a mentor figure to the junior officer.

Here, two new X-Men are introduced in each film, with the frequent addition of a special member to assist them. These individuals are assigned to investigate cases connected to the ongoing drug known as "Kick," which greatly enhances a user's Mutant abilities. Aside from having to deal with their personal problems, they must also uncover the secrets behind the Mutants' sudden existence in the twenty-first century, the worsening genetic arms race, the aftermath of the Dark Phoenix Incident and its effects on all of Mutantkind, and truth behind a fabled microorganism known as the "Transmode Virus," which is transforming any organic material into metal, killing or transforming hosts into cyborgs in the process, as it has been said that the consumption of Kick would cure a host of its effects.

Source (If you think being a cyborg's cool, wait 'til you get a load of that.)
The chronological order of movies, each bearing a unique title referencing one X-Men comicbook property, are as follows ...
  • "District X" - After being graduated to Alpha Flight, despite her seemingly useless abilities, the young X-Man Jubilee is partnered with the time-displaced Bishop in New York City's Mutant Town to investigate the disappearance of telekinetic adolescent villain Quentin Quire, and his possible connection to a planned massacre on the Morlock populace living under the place, and the nefarious Mutant Liberation Front.
  • "FX" - Famed Japanese superhero Sunfire brings from Mutant Liberation Front member Armor under his wing in order to apprehend his former colleagues, the Mutant criminal group known as the Marauders, after being broken-out of prison in Madripoor by Multiple Man, which forces him to join with his ex-partner Gambit, and to confront the many skeletons in his seemingly empty closet, while facing potential mass hysteria if they fail.
  • "Excalibur and MI-13" - In one stormy night, and with Mutants made aware of the existence of the Transmode Virus, veteran MI-13 agents Captain Britain and Psylocke, with junior X-Man Dust, are trapped in the Muir Island Hospital for Mutants, but all soon realize that a much more despicable force within the facility has been unknowingly freed, forcing each one of them to question their allegiances and their sanity.
  • "The Age of X" - Omega Sentinel goes undercover with X-Man Nightcrawler in order to infiltrate Genosha, as this has been traced as the origin of Kick distribution, but along the way, they have to contend with the presence of the world's greatest thief: Fantomex, and a startling revelation about Kick, the Transmode Virus, and the origins of Mutants that will rock the foundations of all Mutantkind to their core.
Though the flicks would be tackling almost the same political themes discussed in earlier X-Men medium such as discrimination, the four flicks would be focusing more on how even people of the same culture could turn against each other, the harsh realities behind a radical revolution, alienation, extremism, and free will versus determinism. Specifically, each aim to answer the question: "What unites a civilization? Freedom or fear?"

Each film would follow one police procedural story set-up, with District X being about a missing persons case in a ghetto setting, FX focusing on a manhunt in an industrialized city, Excalibur and MI-13 talking about a whodunit tale in search of a serial killer in a closed area, and The Age of X revolving around an undercover mission on a drug trade.

Source 1Source 2Source 3Source 4Source 5Source 6 (Top: District X Cast; Bottom; FX Cast)
Cast of major characters
  • Scott Summers Cyclops - (Narrator for all movies)
  • Professor Xavier's first student now acting as the assistant headmaster of the Mutant population, and the father to his and his presumed deceased wife Jean Grey's daughter, Rachel, Cyclops struggles to live-up to his beloved mentor's dream of leading Mutants to a utopia through peaceful means. Cyclops can project concussive energy blasts through his eyes.
  • Lucas Bishop (District X)
  • A time-displaced African-American Mutant from a future where a Mutant deity ruled fearsomely, Bishop, due to the circumstances surrounding the Dark Phoenix Incident, struggles with his increasingly violent tendencies. Stationed in District X, more popularly known as Mutant Town, Bishop can absorb and revert kinetic energy into concussive blasts.
  • Jubilation Lee Jubilee (District X)
  • A fanatic of the 80s culture and a Chinese immigrant mall rat, and the adoptive mother of an orphaned Mutant named Shogo, Jubilee, because of her "laughable" ability, struggles to keep her moral compass intact in the face of Mutant-based criminality. Stationed in District X, more popularly known as Mutant Town, Jubilee can generate and manipulate light energy.
  • Jonathan Silvercloud Forge (District X)
  • A genius Native American Mutant who is among the many to repurpose salvaged technology for Mutants, and the ex-husband of the X-Man Storm, Forge, knowing what it means to be alone, works to better the living conditions of the Morlocks. Stationed in District X, more popularly known as Mutant Town, Forge can use his advanced intuition to build anything.
  • Shiro Yoshida Sunfire (FX)
  • A famous Japanese superhero who has the distinction of being one of the only X-Men who prefers not to be recognized as one, Sunfire, haunted by his betrayal of the Marauders in order to achieve mainstream success, works to clean-up crime all on his own. Stationed in Madripoor, Sunfire can absorb solar energy to  generate flame blasts and fly.
  • Hisako Ichiki Armor (FX)
  • A young Japanese Mutant radical formerly affiliated with the Mutant Liberation Front and the Morlocks, Armor, realizing the mistakes that her actions brought upon her after being branded an outcast by her own family, seeks redemption by fighting crime. Stationed in Madripoor, Armor can generate an exoskeleton that makes her stronger and bulletproof.
    • Remy LeBeau Gambit (FX)
    • A sneaky Cajun thief formerly associated with the Marauders, and the loving husband of X-Man Rogue, Gambit, angered by the misdeeds done by his ex-partner Sunfire in the name of fame and glory, retires himself from the X-Men, but learns that he has a responsibility. Stationed in Madripoor, Gambit can kinetically charge objects and use them as attack projectiles.
    Source 1, Source 2, Source 3, Source 4, Source 5, Source 6 (Top: Excalibur and MI-13 Cast; Bottom; The Age of X Cast)
    • Doctor Brian Braddock / Captain Britain - (Excalibur and MI:13)
    • The remaining active member of the EDI's early attempt at rebuilding the Super Soldier Serum, Captain Britain, saddened for not being a Mutant himself, struggles to be one with a society of natural-born superheroes. Stationed in Muir Island, Captain Britain can fly at supersonic speeds and project force fields with a special harness, and has super strength.
    • Elizabeth "Betsy" Braddock / Psylocke (Excalibur and MI:13)
    • A longtime MI-13 agent alongside her twin brother Brian Braddock and a Mutant, Psylocke, growing resentful of the Mutants' increasing radical nature towards humans, struggles with her own isolation from her own community for her empathy. Stationed in Muir Island, Psylocke can create dangerous objects through psychic means.
    • Sooraya Qadir Dust (Excalibur and MI:13)
    • A Sunni Muslim recruit of MI-13 and a newly manifested Mutant from Afghanistan, Dust, terrified of what she can do with her newly obtained powers, struggles to find the confidence that she needs in order to control her abilities and be a true heroine. Stationed in Muir Island, Dust can transform her body into a powerful mass of pure sand.
    • Karima Shapandar / Omega Sentinel - (The Age of X)
    • An Indian cyborg unwillingly bonded to Sentinel technology, which triggers her Mutant technopathic abilities, Omega Sentinel, seeking to avenge the assault done on her husband by humans for being a Mutant, wanders if she should sympathize with the radical cause. Stationed in Genosha, Omega Sentinel can make use of her cybernetic features for combat.
    • Kurt Wagner / Nightcrawler (The Age of X)
    • A German Mutant with the appearance of a devilish blue elf, and a devout Roman Catholic X-Man, Nightcrawler, tired of not gaining enough recognition for his actions as an X-Man, searches for God's latest call through his current adventures. Stationed in Genosha, Nightcrawler can teleport within a short range and at rapid speeds.
    • Jean Philippe Charlie Cluster-7 / Fantomex (The Age of X)
    • A French Mutant who calls himself as the "world's greatest thief," and is identifiable by his trademark all-white outfit, Fantomex, seeking thrills and excitement, aims to obtain the sources of Kick and the Transmode Virus, then sell them to bidders. Stationed in Genosha, Fantomex can make use of his external nervous system "E.V.A." and other means for fighting.
    Source 1Source 2Source 3Source 4Source 5Source 6Source 7Source 8
    (More X-Baddies who aren't Magneto!)
    The main antagonists per movie


    The following characters are to be the primary villains of each installment ...
    • Quintavius "Quentin" Quire / Kid Omega (District X)
    • A British juvenile delinquent Mutant and a Mutant Liberation Front sympathizer and fanatic residing in Mutant Town, who desires the complete eradication of the Morlocks as he perceives them as nothing more than a useless offshoot species in the grander scheme of things, with this perception stemming from their chaotic behavior. Kid Omega has an "Omega Level" psionic-based ability that could destroy an entire city.
    • Morlocks (District X)
    • A society of underground dwellers residing in Mutant Town, which composes of mostly "special class" Mutants, or individuals with mostly useless superpowers, or ones with heavy disfigurements who feel are out outcasts to the world at large, the Morlocks, despite their dangerous activities, simply wish freedom as much as other Mutants, though their religious loyalty to the Essex Corporation does come off troublesome.
    • James "Jamie" Madrox / Multiple Man (FX)
    • A lonely and misguided Mutant and Marauder, similar to both Sunfire and Gambit before, who breaks all of his colleagues out of prison under the belief that his only "family" is being mistreated for being carriers of the Transmode Virus, though deep inside, he believes the opposite. Multiple Man has the ability of self-replication through kinetic absorption, which is granted by his state-of-the-art suit.
    • Marauders (FX)
    • A small group of Mutant criminals and mercenaries formerly working as the Essex Corporation's main enforcers while being banded together by a type of honor code, who have since resorted to terrorizing Madripoor in a failed attempt to start their own criminal enterprise through the distribution of the power-enhancing drug known as Kick, and are one of the earliest reported carriers of the Transmode Virus. 
    Source (Look at this cool rogues gallery.)
    • Kevin MacTaggert / Proteus - (Excalibur and MI:13)
    • A mentally fragile Mutant forcefully quarantined in the Muir Island Hospital for Mutants after being horrifically abused by his biological father beyond recovery for his powers, who is convinced that he is in a game, and proceeds to possess people for fun. Proteus has the ability to possess any individual that he comes in contact with, while also being able to manipulate one's perception of reality, and energy absorption.
    • Mutant Liberation Front - (Excalibur and MI:13)
    • A newer iteration of Magneto's Brotherhood of Mutant Supremacy, lead by a human acolyte and former MI-13 agent named Briar Raleigh, who, with the use of Kick, plans to create a utopia ruled only by the most powerful Mutants, completely excluding the "weaker ones," all in an attempt to ensure that no other fellow Mutants would prevent Magneto's vision from becoming a reality.
    • Cassandra Nova Xavier (The Age of X)
    • A powerful "godlike" telepath who is also the twin sister of X-Men founder Professor Charles Xavier, and the current Headmistress of the Mutant community, who strives to keep the Mutants a secret from the rest of the world, until their society is strong enough to defend itself when necessary, especially in a world that has more superheroes. Cassandra Nova can read or control minds, and has some magical abilities in tow.
    • U-Men (The Age of X)
    • A sinister cult of psychotic and elusive human billionaires and industrialists  lead by the enigmatic John Sublime, who harvest Mutant organs and other parts in order to become artificial Mutants themselves, and enforcing their twisted philosophy, each member prefers to wear specialized, protective suits as they find the atmosphere around them unsuitable for their incomplete human selves.
    Source (It all comes back to where we began.)
    Proposed Overall Conclusion, and Tie-In to Marvel's Thunderbolts

    Hold on to your horses. Here is where everything gets a little bit complicated, as we do everything that we can to establish this complex franchise into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, while also bridging to our first two pitches. Also, it is highly suggested that you should go back and read my Marvel's Thunderbolts pitch before anything else.

    By the fourth film, it is revealed that Cassandra Nova is behind the Transmode Virus epidemic, as well as the Dark Phoenix Incident. Cassandra reveals that she is actually a "Mummudurai," a psychic parasite born without a body that originated from the Dark Dimension. This Mummudurai found its way to the body of Xavier's mother, while she was escaping the Dark Dimension in order to prevent an upcoming cataclysm. By latching onto the host body, Cassandra attempted to create a female copy of Xavier's body, but with his power manifesting already at an early age, Xavier fought back. However, Cassandra is proven to be more powerful, and is able to create a slightly broken body for herself, and is able to remove Xavier's memory completely. This allows her to become a co-founder of the X-Men, and secretly infiltrate Weapon Plus and the Essex Corporation.

    In her words, the impending disaster that she is trying to prevent is that, twenty years from the present time, the world will be ravaged because of the genetic arms race, made worse by the already established Thunderbolts Initiative, where new superpowered beings are created in the name of homeland security. This came to pass because of the influence of one of Dormammu's most loyal apostles. In addition, it is revealed that the Dark Dimension dwellers that will doom the world are actually Mutants, as the monsters would possess and mutate them further and transform each of them into soldiers working under the command of the dread Dormammu.

    Source (I honestly wanted to include him more in this story, but I didn't want to complicate things further.)
    Fearing that Mutants would bring about the end of the world itself, Cassandra secretly manipulated the Phoenix Force to compel Jean Grey to destroy all of Mutantkind, and she secretly controlled the Sentinels in order to contain the damage in Genosha, and save humans. However, this ultimately fails when Jean Grey gets a hold of herself, and sacrifices herself to spare everyone. She, Magneto, and Xavier disappear without a trace.

    The failure of the Dark Phoenix Incident lead Cassandra to make use of the previously unused genetic contingency program in the Transmode Virus, which  is revealed to be an incomplete nanobot cocktail made from alien technology meant to kill all Mutants, but instead transforms most of them into cyborgs, and only a handful truly died. With the outbreak made known to a few of the X-Men, the officials and MI-13 decided to keep the situation extremely classified until a proper treatment has been discovered. Measures made to slow down the process, such as the water supplies of each community being injected with a partial antibiotic, are made. Cassandra, however, initially remained confident at this, as though the process is slowed down, Mutants are doomed inevitably. She also reveals that she is the mastermind on the Mutant Liberation Front's attack on Muir Island, as the staff there discovered the cure for the Transmode Virus.


    Source (This could even be better than that mediocre movie.)
    This, however, became complicated for her at the revelation of the U-Men's presence. The U-Men, who are said to be humans who experimented on themselves with Mutant organs to gain powers are actually Mutants all along. It is originally believed that due to their modifications to their brains, they are unable to be influenced by every Cerebros' regular mind wipes, because technically they are no longer humans. The U-Men are actually an extremist group that is secretly funding the Mutant Liberation Front, who believe that the added advantages of the "special class" and many other Mutants must only be given to the most powerful ones, and not surprisingly, most of the U-Men are of the higher class. All of this to fulfill the Mutant Liberation Front's namesake.

    With Cyclops taking over as the new Headmaster of the Mutant community, with Cassandra Nova Xavier being imprisoned for her deception, and with Mutants finally free of the lethal effects of the Transmode Virus, though a lot have been permanently turned into cyborgs, MI-13 and the X-Men prepare to bring down the remaining U-Men and Mutant Liberation Front members. Unknown to them, they are being observed by the one who is really pulling the strings behind the U-Men's existence: an alien known only as Mojo, who has been secretly allowing Mutants to murder each other for his homeworld's entertainment, and it is revealed that Mojo has Jean Grey, Magneto, and Professor Xavier in his possession after they were accidentally transported to his planet after the Dark Phoenix Incident.

    In the post-credits scene of the movie, Claudine Renko sets foot on the Morlocks' home, and as she walks through the tunnels, Renko watches as they worship the Morlocks and the Essex Corporation's master: Apocalypse. They all shout that one day they will evolve once their deity arrives.


    (Brace yourselves! A small promotion is coming.)
    That was our latest pitch ... and let's face it. Despite the fact that the X-Men film series gave us a few gems such as Logan or the Deadpool movies, it's quite clear that Fox, for all of their intents and purposes, had a hard time in really plotting the proper course for the franchise. That does not take away the fact that, in the early days of the superhero film boom, they try real hard. With the news that Marvel has regained the rights to the characters (without focusing on the potential negative consequences of a company buying another company) could bring about cinematic wonders.


    (Lots to see here, and it's pretty convenient, if you ask me.)
    And speaking of film wonders, let's talk about film editing, one of the most underrated filmmaking processes. Though for most people, editing might just be that somewhat simple method of mashing all clips together. Well ... you are wrong if you think that. You see, editing requires attention to detail, and most importantly patience. Editing not only brings a film together, but it also polishes it overall. With FlexClip, up-and-coming editors out there could get something special.

    FlexClip is the best, simple, powerful and flexible video maker that helps you create marketing videos and family stories in minutes. It's simple to use, easy to understand interface, which allows everyone to create videos in minutes, with no video design experience required! It has lots of dynamic text animations, it has full 1080p HD quality video that you can download without any quality loss for using anywhere, multiple format accessibility, you can preview your videos while editing in real time and a convenient storyboard mechanic. Oh, and did I mention it is free?  Yes, using FlexClip is absolutely free.  

    So when you want to create Commercial Videos for or any type of promotional videos to advertise your business such as Real Estate Introduction, Company Introduction, Back-To-School Promo or a Fitness Ad or simply creating your very own custom Video Story  to preserve your memorable moments for a lifetime like weddings, family outing and adventure during summer or winter.

    So for all of the video editors, or people like me, who are just simply making videos to pass for academic purposes, go on and give FlexClip, the best Free Online Video Maker,  a try now! Sign-up for now!!!


    (This is just an example.)

    And with that, we finally conclude this latest pitch. But before you guys leave, be sure to check-out the introduction sequence to the X-Men animated series I grew-up with: X-Men: Evolution. Please. You thought the classic X-Men cartoon was great with its theme song? Get a load of this one. Stay tuned for more Dateline Movies!

    Source (Get those nostalgia goggles ... er ... earphones on.)