Each new piece of material they’ve released for “X-Men: First Class” has gone a long way towards convincing me that this was, indeed, the right next step for the series.
It’s been interesting watching Fox try to figure out this property, and I’ve certainly blasted them in the past for what I’ve seen as aggressive mismanagement of the franchise. “X-Men” is one of the biggest of the Marvel series, not only in terms of sales over the years but also in terms of scope and number of characters. It is one of the most flexible franchises to come out of the House Of Ideas, and the real beauty of it as a film series is that they can rotate characters in and out easily, and move backwards and forwards in chronology if they choose. I’ve always said that if there’s any franchise that could give James Bond a real run for longevity, it’s this one, but only if you take care of it and really treat it right.
As much as I like the Bryan Singer films, I would never argue that they are the only possible version of this universe, nor would I say that they render other adaptations pointless. I think there’s a lot of great material and ideas that ended up left on the table while they were making those movies, and when you look at how rushed “X-Men 3” was as a wrap-up to that initial series, it feels like Fox was killing the golden goose out of sheer petulance.
The “X-Men Origins” series seems silly to me, and the “Magneto” movie wasn’t one I had high hopes for. I think he works best as a character when he bounces off of someone else, someone who can challenge his moral position and engage him in a war of ideas as well as a physical confrontation. If you want to see how this series got from “Well, we could make a ‘Magneto’ movie” to the trailer that premiered on Yahoo! today, you should check out this piece from The Hollywood Reporter, which also points out just how frustrating and complicated the arbitration process can be for writers.
In the meantime, here’s that new trailer:
My parents are in town this week, and showing this to my dad, he seemed impressed at the way they weave in the Cuban Missile Crisis, grounding this in reality and almost establishing it as a secret history. That angle could be very appealing for people who lived through that era, and for comic book fans, it gives the story a weight it might otherwise not have.
However it turns out, I’m intrigued, and I can’t wait to see what Matthew Vaughn has done. Thankfully, we don’t have long to wait.
“X-Men: First Class” opens June 3, 2011.