Last week, I ranked all the X-men movies as movies, ignoring the comics as much as possible. Now it's time to get really nerdy as I compare them to the comics as much as possible. Rather than talking about the movies in order this time, I'll just talk about whatever comes to mind. Lots of it applies to all the movies anyway.
I'll start by talking about the positives, because I don't feel like tearing the movies apart without giving them a chance first.
(Xavior and Magneto in X-Men: First Class)
Xavier and Magneto have both been portrayed very close to their comic counterparts in the movies. If anything, the movies have portrayed Xavier as more of a saint than in the comics, and Magneto as a more realistic character. Either way, the difference is negligible and I have nothing but positive things to say about how these two characters have been portrayed.
(Xavior and Magneto in either X-Men or X2 - they play chess like this in both)
The first movie's introduction states that Cyclops and Jean Grey were among Xavier’s first students at the mansion, and that is also true in the comics. Heck, Cyclops was the very first member of the X-men, and Jean Grey was also among the original five.
X-Men First Class changes this however, having Havok, Mystique, and Banshee on the original team instead of Angel, Cyclops and Iceman. Do I have a problem with this? Of course not! I have no problem with the movies having a team completely separate from the comic universe. It is a bit confusing when you compare it to the original movie, but First Class is considered more of a reboot than a prequel.
Rogue changed a lot from the comics to the movies. Her basic back-story is the same - first discovering her power by accidentally putting her boyfriend in a coma. On the other hand, she wanders around for a while before finding Wolverine in the movie. Wolverine becomes a foster parent of sorts, and they find the X-Men together. In the comics however, Rogue started out as a villain. She's turned around completely since, but she was still a very dangerous enemy of the X-Men.
In the movies, Rogue's role is more similar to that of Shadowcat in the comics. She joins the X-Men at a young age and becomes a part of the team early on. I won't go into too much detail here, but personally I'm alright with this. She was important to the main plot of the first movie, and she really brought the human side of Wolverine through.
On a side-note, Rogue in the comics never got a real name until after the first X-Men movie. In the movie, her name is Marie D'Ancanto. Shortly after the movie came out, her comic counterpart's name was revealed as Anna Marie, referring to Anna Paquin portraying her in the movie. She still only answers to the name Rogue though. In the comics, she's often romantically involved with Gambit, while here she's more interested in Iceman. Since Gambit doesn't really show up in the first trilogy, I won't complain too much - just thought I'd mention that.
(Beast in X-Men 3)
Beast is handled very well in X-Men First Class. In fact, his transformation to his blue form is better in the movie than in the comics. In the comics, he tried to disguise himself with fur to catch a thief. Somehow, the hair became permanent. In the movie, he's very self-conscious about his large feet and tries to create a cure for himself. The cure doesn't only fail, but it enhances his mutant appearance. It's a far more emotional portrayal of his transformation. His transformation into a blue beast happened in the silver age though, so you know it'll be silly.
I don't have a problem with changing a few things here and there to simplify the movies. For example, in X-Men 3, Juggernaut is a mutant, but he isn't in the comics. Instead, he's powered by a magical crystal. Personally, I think it's good that the movie simplified him by making him a mutant. On the other hand, the Juggernaut is also Xavier’s half-brother. The movie completely ignores this, why? Juggernaut being Xavier’s estranged brother makes for some very interesting storytelling. Heck, you could make an entire movie about that relationship. Instead, movie juggernaut is rampaging idiot that does nothing but charge through walls at people and speak in internet memes.
I guess this is where I start talking about where the movies have screwed up then.
Most of the X-men trilogy's problems lie in the casting. For one thing, James Marsden is boring as Cyclops, not bad, but boring. Secondly, Hally Berry is horrible as Storm. Storm is supposed to be one of the leaders of the X-Men, yet we see no leader-like qualities in her portrayal. She's too quiet, too boring, and her attempts at an African accent in the first movie are horrendous to the point where she was asked to talk normally for the sequels. When Marsden didn't want to stay on board for X-Men 3, they opt to kill him off in the first five minutes rather than finding a better actor.
The portrayal of Wolverine is a bit off too. They soften him a lot in the movies. In the comics, and even the TV show, he's perfectly willing to admit he's a monster. Sure, he has his soft side, but that's all we see in the movies.
The comic version of Wolverine is a vengeful, brutal anti-hero who has committed mass murder and all sorts of atrocities in the past. Heck, he currently leads a kill squad in Uncanny X-Force, formed specifically to end threats to mutant kind permanently - brilliant series by the way.
Wolverine's been a hero sure, like performing as a secret agent for Canada during World War 2, but he's a monster and the movies have completely failed to show that side of him. Although, sometimes his comic counterpart gets too dark and violent for my tastes, so I guess it's somewhat OK that they softened him down a bit. Still, they should have shown him to be more violent and feral, especially in his origins movie.
Another problem I have with the movies is pointless power changes. This doesn't happen in the first two movies, but more in X-Men 3 and Wolverine: Origins. For example, movie Psylocke has the ability to teleport using shadows. Yes, she did have that power in the comics, but only for a short time. The comic version of the character currently a telepath with minor telekinesis, psy blades, and ninja fighting skills. She was originally just a telepath. Heck, her powers have changed so many times it's hard to keep track of. Anyway, she teleports through a shadow in the movie and that's all she does.
(Psylocke (middle) really needs a new costume.)
Comic Callisto's primary powers are enhanced senses (all five senses,) with moderately increased strength and speed. In the movie however, she has superhuman speed similar to the X-Men character Quicksilver and can sense other mutants' powers like the character Caliban. What's the point of this change? If you wanted to have Quicksilver's power, just bring in Quicksilver - especially since he's Magneto's son. Having Magneto's son would be far more interesting than throwing in such a betrayal to a popular non-X-men mutant. In the movie she seems to hate Storm in particular, even though the comic book version is more of an ally to the X-Men.
(Callysto is missing her eyepatch in the movie too)
And then there's Quentin Quire. In X-Men 3, he was the guy with quills that would hug people to death. Such a lame power when you think about it. Even lamer when you consider that the comic book version is an omega powered telepath/telekinetic. What is the point of this change? Oh right, to make Jean Grey look powerful - weak.
Let's move onto Wolverine Origins. There are only a few power changes here, but they're possibly even worse than those in X-Men 3.
Firstly, Comic Silver Fox's powers are artificially induced as she wasn't originally a mutant. Her powers are that she heals quickly and ages slowly, similar to Wolverine. She was another victim of the Weapon X program. In the movie however, she has touch-based telepathy like the Vulcans from Star Trek. Worse yet, Emma Frost is her sister even though the two have absolutely no relation in the comics. The only real similarity is that both the comic and movie version was romantically involved with Wolverine at one point.
And last, but certainly not least - Cyclops. In the comics, his eyes shoot out a concussive blast, while in this movie they shoot out destructive heat beams. Why is this an issue? BECAUSE THE EARLIER MOVIES PORTRAYED THEM AS CONCUSSIVE BLASTS TOO! Wolverine: Origins betrays both the comics and the earlier movies, and that's simply inexcusable.
So that's pretty much it for all the changes that anger me. Before I finish though, I have one major complaint with X-Men 2. Why is Nightcrawler trapped in self-mutilation? What is with Hollywood's obsession with painting religious figures as masochistic self-cutters? This happens in Doom, the albino monk in The Da Vinci Code, and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few. I've never met anyone who cuts them self for every sin they've committed, and I've met my fair share of devoted followers...and nut jobs.
Apart from that I can't think of any major complaints. As such, I'll finish this off by saying that I still like X-Men 1 and 2, and I enjoyed First Class as well. Every time I watch X-Men 3 I like it less, and I never want to see Wolverine: Origins again. Since the movies are not the comics, it's alright to change a few things here and there or simplify things for the movie audience. The real problems begin when they completely change popular characters just to fit the movie's plot, or for no real reason whatsoever. Let's hope the next Wolverine movie gets it right.
I definitely prefer the comics over the movies, not only because of the movies' problems, but because most of my favorite characters are either not in the movies *cough* Cable *cough* or are completely misrepresented *cough* Gambit *cough*.
(Gambit, Jubilee, X-23 and Wolverine in X-23 11 - the best 3-issue story arc I've read in any series so far.)