Sunday, February 16, 2014

Coming Soon: X-Men: Days of Future Past (Bryan Singer)

14 years ago Bryan Singer, Lauren Shuler Donner, and 20th Century FOX brought my favorite comic book characters to life, the X-Men.  In its first incarnation the basics were there, although things did not start from the actual beginning.  The active team was small, only Storm, Jean Grey, and Cyclops, but then of course Wolverine joined in, and Rogue became the newbie, in a role that really should have been Shadowcat, but I digress.  The sequel X-2: X-Men United was the best of the original three, it tackled Wolverine's origin, and a simple villain, William Stryker.  At the end of the second film Phoenix rose from the ashes, and all fans rejoiced until they saw the third film.

After the original trilogy, there was Wolverine: Origins, an even bigger disappointment than X-Men: The Last Stand.  Hell, they ruined Deadpool.  In 2011 FOX and Ms. Donner one of the smartest producers in the game decided to go back to the beginning with what many thought was more of a reboot, but now will be part of the series.  X-Men: First Class was a creative breath of fresh air, thanks largely to Matthew Vaughn, the man who brought the first Kick-Ass to the big screen.   Vaughn was attached to direct again, but pulled out, enter the original director Bryan Singer.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is based on the comic arc with the same title, this big story was actually only two issues of the comic back in the 1980s when the X-Men were written by the genius Chris Clarmeont.  I finally read the two issues this weekend, and its interesting how much of an impact these two issues have had on the history of X-Universe.  There is a lot of foresight to the future of the entire comic history   The comic focuses on two things, fear of mutant kind, the assassination of Senator Kelly from the brotherhood of Evil Mutants led by Mystique, and a future where all super heros have been killed by Sentinels.

The premise of the new film is similar, or seems to be, with different characters, but the focus remains the same.  The stark differences between the film and comic are in the comic is that Shadowcat is sent back to the past, the prevent the assassination attempt, but in the film its Wolverine, no surprise to that change.  The assassination attempt in the film looks like it may be on Nixon too.

Will it be like First Class or Last Stand?

The X-Men films have no Oscar chances, but this film will put the franchise at a turning point.  More on the box office, later.  Many people liked First Class, beyond January Jones as Emma Frost, the film was much much better than the last two attempts.  Vaughn is out, and Singer is back.  Singer's first attempt with the original X-Men was good, he had no template for a team super hero movie, besides maybe that FOX TV movie Generation X.  Singer saw his mistakes and made X-2 even better.  Singer left the franchise (as director) to work on Superman Returns, that did not pan out as expected, and now he is back.  Can he rise to occasion, the answer is resoundingly, yes.

I think one of the smartest thing the franchise is doing is bringing both worlds, new and old together, from Halle Berry and Hugh Jackman to Michael Fasbender and Jennifer Lawrence.  There are more Oscar nominees/winners in this film than any super-hero film ever.  I think based on the trailer, and the premise the film is on solid ground, and will succeed.

Can the film make more than 200 million domestic?

While i am fairly certain this will be a good film, the box office projection is going to be tougher, sure it has super stars like Jennifer Lawrence and Hugh Jackman, but these films have not been huge box office successes recently.  The Wolverine only made 132 million domestic, while First Class only made 146 million domestic.  These are solid domestic numbers, but not crossing 200 million for a franchise is rough these days, hence why both of these films depended more on the foreign markets.

Days of Future Past has had a ton of publicity, from Comic Con, to 25 different covers on Empire Magazine, FOX is pulling out all the stops to make this successful, the truth of the matter is the success is rooted in the quality of the film.  If Days of Future past is good fans like myself will see it 3 times, I saw First Class three times.  If the film is bad, they will walk away.  

At the end of the day fans are excited for this film, its ambitious, and tells a fun story.  I have feeling this will do well, and push the franchise in the right direction.  Oh, and one last thing I am craving a full length trailer.

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