Back at the turn of the century, Bryan Singer’s reverent cinematic take on the X-men helped establish a tone for comic book movie adaptations that can still be felt to this day. By taking the source material seriously Singer managed to hit a sweet spot for moviegoers that grounded Marvel’s mutants in a familiar reality, yet still allowed for many of the super hero flourishes expected from fans who’d waited years to see these characters come to life on the big screen. Later he followed up with an incredible sequel in X-Men United, which expanded upon everything great about the original and would go on to relax in a comfy spot near the top of a lot of “best comic book movies ever” lists.
Unfortunately, everything pretty much fell apart after that.
Singer split from the series in order to take a crack at a certain Kryptonian in Superman Returns (the results of which were um…let’s just say it was a bad move), and the reigns of the third entry were handed over to Brett Ratner – A director known at that point primarily for those Jackie Chan/Chris Tucker Rush Hour movies. Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand made plenty of money for sure, but to put it mildly was a huge creative disappointment for the hardcore fans. After offing several major characters in an attempt to “wrap up the story,” the future looked bleak for those hoping to see a return to the quality of the original 2 flicks (The less said about X-Men Origins: Wolverine the better).
So now here we are several years later with a brand spanking new X-Men movie opening across the country this weekend. With a new director in Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) and even a new time period, First Class marks a deliberate attempt to restore some clout to the franchise. Hell, Singer is even involved again this time in the role of producer as well as being the proud recipient of a story credit. Set during the Cuban missile crisis, this prequel details the forging of a friendship between a young Charles Xavier (Professor X) and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto) that we all know will eventually be taking a hard turn south. Featuring a new crop of mutants along with plenty of surprise cameos for the eagle eyed nerd, I have to admit that I’m really looking forward to checking it out. The casting across the board is pretty intriguing (whoa what, Kevin Bacon!?) and I dig that it’s set in the same era as when the original X-Men comics debuted. While I might not be a Marvel guy in general, of course I’m always extremely satisfied when any adaptation of my favorite medium is done right, regardless of it’s publishing origin. In short, yes I can’t wait to toss ten bucks at it this weekend.
My severe man-crush on Michael Fassbender has absolutely nothing to do with it.