So what will be the seventh installment in Fox’s “X-Men” film franchise, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” begins shooting today. And guess what? I’m really excited. Why? One reason: Bryan Singer.
I know Singer’s work on the series has yielded some divisive returns since he last directed one of these a decade ago. And I know him saddling up is a clear sign of retreat in the view of many (“Jack the Giant Slayer” bombed, and “Superman Returns” — which I actually like in many ways — still stinks for some). But the fact remains my favorite comic book movie is 2003’s “X2,” and I’m hoping for a little bit of that spark once again.
It’s funny because the whole X-Men-on-film universe is precariously…okay. Brett Ratner’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” didn’t ruin it, in my opinion (others feel differently) and Matthew Vaughn’s “X-Men: First Class” came at things from a different angle while still feeling a part of the world. Indeed, that story is being brought into the time traveling fold for Singer’s latest.
“X-Men Origins: Wolverine” was a disaster of epic proportions and we’d all be better off just pretending it doesn’t exist (and indeed, much of it butts up against the series so much that we might as well). We’ll see if James Mangold’s “The Wolverine” does anything to mend that next month, though the cavalcade of materials has me…cautious so far. But getting back to “Days of Future Past,” there’s a lot of opportunity here, particularly with the unique setting the films have carved, to cook up something special.
I went back and re-read the Chris Claremont’s two-shot recently (Uncanny X-Men #141 and #142), which happens in the wake of the Dark Phoenix Saga (which was kind of dealt with in “The Last Stand”), and I was struck by how much simpler it was than what I remember. Probably because when I read it as a kid, any time traveling element was mind-bending, but there’s room for adaptation, and again, with the casts of the two franchises on board, it could be really, really fun. And assuming Ellen Page’s Kitty Pride gets the front-and-center attention she gets in the comics, it’ll be a great project for her, too.
So count me exceptionally optimistic. Singer Tweeted the above photo yesterday of Patrick Stewart gearing up for production. Fingers crossed.
Meanwhile, it’s set to be a big superhero summer at the multiplex. Films like “Iron Man 3,” “Man of Steel” and “Thor: The Dark World” are on deck. And they’re just moderately representative of the superhero films that are in the pipeline. So tell is in the poll below which one of these films you’re most looking forward to.
“X-Men: Days of Future Past” is currently set for release on July 18, 2014.