24th March 2014

Preview: X Men: Days of Future Past

Jack looks ahead to the hotly anticipated X-Men sequel, uniting the casts of both generations of mutant films

Following the release of October’s genuinely moving teaser trailer, the anticipation for what could be a game-changing instalment of this generation’s X-Men films has increased significantly. It would be no disservice to suggest that X-Men has been a frustrating franchise of near misses. But there is a real sense of expectation that we are about to experience the full creative vision of Bryan Singer as it collides with a big budget behemoth, with potentially spectacular result. The success of this film could ultimately decide what sort of future the X-Men has on our big screens.

 X-Men First Class reinvigorated the belief of fans and critics the world over. The fresh faces of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor Xavier and Magnito respectively gave the franchise a new sense of direction – Alongside young talent like Nicholas Hoult and Jennifer Lawrence, X-Men started to feel ‘cool’ again in the same way Christian Bale and Heath Ledger reenergised Batman as a big screen sensation. The strange paradox for X-Men however was that the other films were not bad. There was no awkward George Clooney in a cut-price latex costume – they just didn’t stand out from the crowd like other super-hero franchises had started to do by the mid noughties. You won’t hear many argue against casting the likes of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen and Hugh Jackman in a comic-book film! Despite this, the franchise felt tired – it needed a new sense of intent.

Enter X-Men: Days of Future Past – Where it only seems fitting Wolverine will be sent into the past to save the fate of both humans and mutants. Singer has proven his pedigree for harnessing what is most proficient about fantasy films – with his eclectic mix of  rich personal narratives and ability to offer a fantasy-driven story firmly grounded in contemporary realities (think social division or Congressional witch-hunts), a Singer film will guarantee emotion and originality – attributes that are almost expected in the wake of the kind of success enjoyed by its peers.

Days of Future Past certainly has an ace up its sleeve with its eye catching cast, brought about by the clash of new and old. This particular story arc is almost perfect for the franchise right now. Fans and critics called for more, and by combining the good aspects of the earlier X-Men films (i.e. the leading actors) with the new visual and contextual direction taken in First Class – throw in the new actors as well and it becomes a case of hoping more is better.

Recent production news suggests Halle Berry may have had her part cut down to as little as one line in the film – but wild speculation about Storm defences aside, there are high hopes for this summer’s X-Men extravaganza, and rightfully so.

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