25 character covers from ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’ debut to mixed reaction

As Empire magazine celebrates their 25th anniversary, they are planning all sorts of 25-themed events, and the first of them was today’s unveiling of 25 different covers that all have to do with “X-Men: Days Of Future Past.”

The reaction to the covers online has not been a good one, and I was shocked when I saw the steady stream of vitriol about each new image. Some of these designs are things we’ve known already from earlier films, and some of them just seem inevitable. I can see why the Quicksilver image has been controversial, and I’m still amazed by how hard it is for them to make Storm look like Storm, but overall, I think this is pretty much what I’d expect from a Bryan Singer “X-Men” movie.

The real question at this point is whether or not that’s what audiences want. It’s a risky proposition for Singer as a filmmaker. After all, when he left the series, it wasn’t completely voluntary, and he’s been able to portray himself as the wounded party this whole time. It was a shabby situation all the way around, with Singer using the possibility of a “Superman” movie to pressure Fox to do things his way on “X-Men 3,” and with Fox playing hardball because they were determined to maintain control of the franchise.

It’s sort of amazing they’ve gotten this far with the series. When they made the first film, every single element of it was a battle, and I’m not sure they ever really believed in it. Tom Rothman and his junior execs on the movie were embarrassed by it in many ways, and that comes through loud and clear though the timid way they approached the more fantastic elements and the very limited scope of the story they told. The film worked in spite of the studio, not because of it.

Film after film, it feels like this series just barely works. They’ve never hit that stride where the studio just finally relaxes and stands back and gives the filmmakers the support to try something really grand. This should be that movie, and while I think there’s a lot of it that works on the page, I’m also well aware that I read an early draft and that I’ve had some big problems with the last few films Singer has made. I’m not sure I would have chased him down and had him back for this movie, but Fox seems to be gambling that Singer will be able to bridge the new films and the old films with one of the most complicated stories anyone’s ever tried to tell in one of these superhero movies.

So have you seen the covers? If not, let’s take a look at each of them with some commentary about how they fit into the new film and how well their designs seem to work, and let’s cross our fingers that this one works since we know we’re getting “X-Men: Apocalypse” from the same team in 2016.

“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” is in theaters May 23, 2014.