With it’s May 23rd release date quickly approaching, we’ve finally received a new trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past, the latest comic book thriller that merges the worlds of Bryan Singer and Brett Ratner’s X-Men trilogy with that of Gavin Hood’s lackluster X-Men Origins: Wolverine, Matthew Vaughn’s stellar X-Men: First Class, and James Mangold’s surprisingly well done The Wolverine.
It is an interesting precedent that I’m sure will be followed; taking five different movies, one of which was generally accepted as a soft reboot (X-Men: First Class, which told the beginnings of Xavier’s school and his life long feud with Magneto) and two of which are generally hated (X-Men: The Last Stand, the first and only X-Men jaunt by Brett Ratner and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which blamed it’s poor reception and abysmal ticket sales on an unfinished work print being leaked to the Internet) and merging them into one, expansive continuity while still continuing the individual character stories and attempting to progress the franchise forward. In fact, two sequels are already announced; Bryan Singer will be helming X-Men: Apocalypse while James Mangold will be returning for The Wolverine 2, though franchise star Hugh Jackman remains characteristically vague as to whether or not he will be returning for what would be his sixth time as the character.
I still hold out hope for Days of Future Past. Even though I had already written off the franchise after The Last Stand and Origins, I was one of the many doubters who walked out of First Class with renewed hope that Matthew Vaughn would breathe new life into a stale franchise, one which was merely a victim of the time it was created. Black, leather suits and convoluted love triangles were simply the norm in early comic book movies. And while X-Men and X2: X-Men United still stand strong on their own merits, they are certainly beginning to age against the big budget, comics true successes of Nolan’s Dark Knight saga and Marvel’s completely out of left field Avengers franchise. With Vaughn at the helm, we got a fun and whimsical adventure with a darker undertone and planted the seeds for a massive franchise.
But instead, Vaughn is gone, and Bryan Singer is back at the helm. Singer, who many would argue is one of the comic book movie genre’s grandfathers, having crafted it’s first big success in 2000’s X-Men. But instead of continuing where Vaughn left off or continuing where he left off, he has chosen to merge the two together, and it’s a little scary. The casts are now massive in scale, leading one to wonder which X-Men characters will be prominent and which will just walk on screen, throw a mutant power out and never be seen again. The story appears to be a mangled mish mash of plots with the name of a classic and important X-Men tale tacked on for the sake of tacking one on.
But maybe I’m wrong. Maybe the film will have an excellent balance and tell a beautifully crafted story. I hope that’s the case. I would love a good X-Men franchise. The stage is set for May 23. The new trailer and poster, both which hit the web just a few short hours ago, look fantastic. We’ll see if Singer has another X-Men on his hands, or if he’s made another Superman Returns.