The reasons the film failed are numerous, but first I will list where it succeeded or almost succeeded:
- Caliban got a cinematic appearance, finally.
- The mutant kids were charming and pretty neat, and the Mexican black site doing the experiment seemed upsettingly plausible.
- The future was interesting.
- Old man Wolverine had some interesting merits.
- The fight scenes were better.
Now to the volumes of critique, starting with those few positives:
- Caliban was poorly presented, given no backstory, and his 'mutant nullification' power was mysteriously totally absent.
- Mutant kids got no hero names (not even X23!), barely their own names!!, no costumes, and didnt seem to be referencing any comic heroes and there could have been any number of opportunities to have Sunspot, Cannonball, or any of the New Mutants in that mix.
- The future was vague and had nothing to hold onto except some foreboding about more militarized borders. But what was happening in this future world? Almost nothing was offered.
- Old Man Wolverine could have been so much more than an apathetic alcoholic, especially when he met his child (and the other children).
- Killing the three main characters qualifies this movie as poor writing. Unnecessarily killing them all also insults the audience/fans and puts a period to a story (or several) that is unnecessary.
- Unmarked graves for all the heroes? Why?
- Giving heroes negative characteristics can add depth, but burdening them with overwhelming negatives while dropping their power level (as was done with Prof X and Wolverine) radically changes the heroes to more tragic than heroic, and it opens an insight into the writers that they cant handle high-power level heroes and what they might do.
- The X grave -- cute, but stupid.
And now to the big beefs with the film:
- Adamantium bullet kills Wolverine knock-off X24?? No, it wouldnt, period.
- Wolverine dying arbitrarily, after (false?) foreshadowing of the green healing enhancement fluid on X24? And what was the medicine he was told not to inject or he'd become... essentially old Wolverine but with MORE self-control?
- Why use one harpoon and then stop? Shouldnt it be one shot into each limb and pulling them apart, immobilizing them? Why do supercuffs work on X23, but Logan easily slices them?
- Why kill a kind black family for no reason in the middle of the film?
- What was the 'mute' angle when we already have heard X23 howling and screaming?
- What would have been wrong with X23 just speaking Spanish, and having ourselves an authentic Mexican superhero?
- Boatloads of dead Rednecks and soldiers, but no reason for audience to dislike them except the Rednecks didnt like the black farming family, and the soldiers are bad bc they have cyberhands and tattoos? Needed more reason to feel ok with the dozens of dead. If a dangerous mutant did exist (ignoring the twisted 'dark govt secret weapon' plotline), wouldn't we want soldiers to try to capture them?
Again, to restate, killing the heroes I love in the film is a disservice to the source material. Xavier didnt have to have seizures and mental dysfunction, Logan didnt need a 'cancer analog'. We could have had an amazing tale simply with pushing Logan forward 50+ years into the future without crippling him or Xavier unnecessarily.
And despite all the other mutants dropping dead due to yet another generic 'evil govt scientist' (with no exposition of how the genocide alreafy happened), we have no references to them: no mention of Scott or Jean, Storm or Kitty, no explanation about their absence or the impact on Xavier & Logan.
So I can say confidently that this film is an awkward 'bolted on' finale featuring two main heroes clearly resembling Wolverine and Prof X, but not the actual characters.
Prof X doesnt curse, his 'big ability' goes far beyond rounding up horses, living in a metal tank doesnt limit his powers, etc.
Wolverine doesnt have asthma, scars or burns (altho it was an interesting spin), a limp, a father complex with Xavier, a drinking problem, etc. And why break a rifle over your knee when you have a limp AND claws?!?!
I really wanted to love this film like a 92% Rotten Tomatoes film, hold it high like a Deadpool / Iron Man / Avengers / Thor / Ant Man, but it was sadly lacking. The writing was flawed, the plotline was unsurprising and cliche, and then killing off the three leads was unforgivable.