I was all for a Matthew Vaughn-directed X-Men: Days of Future Past that saw the First Class crew interact with some of the elder statesmen Bryan Singer shepherded. If Fox needed to go that route, ie fold the newer, younger lot in with their older counterparts, the film had but a few easy tasks to accomplish for the betterment of the franchise:
- Introduce Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, the franchise’s biggest and hardest-to-replace star, into the new First Class timeline earlier.
- That’s it.
I know that’s a callous way to look at things, but let’s face facts: save for Fox needing to stay in the Hugh Jackman / Wolverine business, that previous Last Stand timeline only hurts the franchise post-First Class. Vaughn’s entry was hipper, leaner and (save for a few unnecessary cameos) would’ve served as a fine reboot.
But with Vaughn out and Bryan Singer at the helm, this project sounds like less of a compelling story than an excuse to bring back anyone that ever appeared in an X-Men movie, thought about appearing in an X-Men movie, was once texted by an extra who appeared in an X-Men movie, ect. You may have noticed how quickly the conversation shifted once Singer came onboard. Where once we wondered who’d be appearing, now it’s becoming more of a question of who won’t be appearing. Namely Halle Berry as Storm. From a conversation Singer recently had with MTV:
With so many characters from the original trilogy returning, fans have been shocked not to see Halle Berry’s name yet. Storm survived Brett Ratner’s “The Last Stand,” but a return has yet to be confirmed. Singer said that an appearance from Storm is still up in the air. “I can’t say. I don’t know yet. And it’s not necessarily a deal making aspect at all,” he said. “I want to make sure it’ll make sense. But I love working with her.”
Singer goes on to mention that he’s not ready to reveal protagonists yet, though he’s casting a pretty wide net. Actors already a lock: James McAvoy (Xavier), Patrick Stewart (Xavier), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Nicholas Hoult (Beast), Ellen Page (Kitty Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Anna Paquin (Rogue).
It’s a packed house. Now consider that Halle Berry, James Marsden, Famke Janssen, Ben Foster, Alan Cumming, Rose Byrne, January Jones and Fraser Crane could possibly appear as well. Movies about time travel tend to focus on rather compact groupings of characters and plot for a reason: that shit can get complicated quickly.
Singer could very well have this all in hand. And the director of The Usual Suspects has probably earned the benefit of the doubt*. But this is quickly erring into clusterfuck territory. What could’ve once been a rather entertaining conceit now sounds more like a collection of scenes where future X-Men take turns sharing meet-cutes with their younger selves. So yeah, I’m worried.
First Class proved a lesson that should’ve been permanently learned after Last Stand: Keep it simple, Fox.
*Ask me again after I see Jack the Giant Slayer.