Tag Archive: x2


The X-Men franchise is one of the biggest movie franchises in the world. With six movies released already, another one released in the next week or so and the latest, Days of Future Past, hitting a 2014 release, it should come as no surprise that the franchise has enjoyed the highs as well as suffered the lows. That is why, despite huge excitement from half of the fan base, the other half is looking at Days of Future Past with some skepticism.

The new and old of the X-Men franchise turn up for Comic Con.

When Matthew Vaughn was still attached he claimed that only one new mutant would be added to the cast and that the film would take place in the 70s, perhaps including the Kennedy assassination as a plot point. So not much would be changing, just a timeline shift. Then Vaughn left and Bryan Singer was brought back. A decision which itself split fans; yes, he made the critically loved X-Men and X2 but he also faced criticism for making Wolverine the centrepiece, banning comic books on set, ‘ruining’ characters and giving us two very poor superhero movies by leaving The Last Stand to make Superman Returns. As the man who first brought the X-Men to the big screen Singer immediately set out to bring back his old friends and subsequently brought back (deep breath) an older Professor X, older Magneto, Wolverine, Colossus, Rogue, Kitty Pryde, Iceman and Storm while also adding Bolivar Trask, Bishop, Blink, Thunderbird and Quiksilver. Basically, took everything Vaughn had said before and did the complete opposite.

So Days of Future Past contains both X-Men teams. The originals and the team from First Class (minus a few of the characters Singer wanted nothing to do with, surprise surprise) and it will involve Wolverine being sent back in time to the First Class team in order to prevent the devastating future which the present day team now finds themselves in. A world where Sentinels have been created to eradicate all known mutants.

Colossus, Bishop, Professor X and Magneto in the first promo shot from Days of Future Past.

After Days of Future Past, what will happen to the teams? Does the X-Men universe then break into two strands? One containing the present team and one from the past? And where does the recently announced X-Force film fit into all of this? Presumably, the past team are able to prevent the destructive future from happening. This would lead you to guess that the film series would carry on with the First Class team as the team of the future would no longer exist, right? However, the sad thing is, I can see Days of Future Past ending with First Class doing whatever they need to and then the film skipping forward to this new future with the old team (or new team depending on how you look at it) and then Singer carrying on from there.

With Singer back at the helm and his first decision being to bring back the majority of people he had worked with before it does seem like if he stays in charge there will be only one direction this franchise moves in: Bryan Singer’s. The old team have been brought back together and it seems likely that this will be the one to go on, leaving James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult behind (although Fassbender and Lawrence probably won’t mind being as though they’ve actually got brilliant careers going for themselves). There are rumours that the X-Men franchise will be brought to an end eventually with an Age of Apocalypse film and if those rumours are to be believed then surely that will involve the present team and not the past.

Behind (literally) the scenes shot of Wolverine

The X-Men universe and continuity is already a joke. Therefore, having two strands of the universe going at the same time with two different teams, two different Xaviers and Magnetos seems on the whole like a horrifically bad idea. Surely, only one team moves forward, but which one? My hope is First Class. While I am pleased to see the original cast members coming back to get the send off they deserve after their reputation was tarnished by The Last Stand, that team has already had it’s day and told its stories; I want to see the younger Xavier and Magneto continue to transform into the people they become.

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With the shock announcement that Disney have bought Star Wars and plan to release a completely new trilogy beginning in 2015 it is no wonder that speculation has already begun about who would be the best choice for director. Let’s look at some of the contenders:

Christopher Nolan

Fresh from directing one of the most lauded trilogies of all time in The Dark Knight Christopher Nolan could pretty much get any gig that he wanted which, let’s be honest, makes complete sense. Every one of Nolan’s films so far has gone down a treat and with Inception he certainly showed that he is more than capable of making a truly magnificent science fiction piece and this is something that the next instalment of Star Wars needs to be!

 

Bryan Singer

In a world as big as the one that Star Wars has built for itself the ability to handle and direct an ensemble cast is a must. With X-men and X2 Singer took on a similar challenge and managed to make a couple of the best superhero films to date. Therefore, this shows that Singer has what it takes to work with a large cast and bring out specific characters. Although, with the recent announcement he is set to helm Days of Future Past then he may be out of the question.

 

Brad Bird

Bird made his name at Pixar where he was given the go ahead to direct The Incredibles and obviously because it is Pixar, as well as the fact that it is brilliant, he received a lot of praise for his work. Earlier this year Brad Bird was responsible for reviving the Mission: Impossible franchise with Ghost Protocol and made the Tom Cruise franchise a relevant and important one once more; could he do the same for Star Wars?

 

Guillermo Del Toro

The fan knows fantasy, he knows special effects and can create huge blockbusters. Del Toro is well known for his ability to draw up strange creations and to let him loose on the world of Star Wars would be, for want of a better word, pretty orgasmic. Most notable for Hellboy and Pan’s Labyrinth Del Toro is set to announce his return to the world of huge blockbusters with Pacific Rim next year.

 

Jon Favreau

It was Favreau’s work with Iron Man that convinced Marvel (and importantly Disney) that superhero films were worth backing and proceeding with, culminating in The Avengers. With Iron Man 2 perhaps Favreau did have too much to do and it may be a case of that happening again with Star Wars: it would be a risk but one that could be worth taking, especially as the name of Star Wars is going to bring in the audience anyway.

 

Joss Whedon

A God among geeks. Does much more need to be said about the man’s talents? It is practically impossible for Whedon to direct Star Wars unfortunately as he has a pretty tight schedule with Marvel’s Phase 2 in place at the minute but a future Episode of the huge science fiction franchise, why not?

 

Duncan Jones

The least well known of all of my choices but not at all less talented. With Moon and Source Code in his back catalogue Jones has shown that he is more than capable of telling some brilliant science fiction stories. I would love to see Jones achieve some success and get a chance to show mainstream audiences his talent although maybe this would be a step too far a little too early.

 

Obviously, most of these directors are very commercial and well known to audiences already with a proven record of directing hit films and creating believable and memorable characters whilst exploring the world that their films inhabit. This is an important trait when deciding who is going to continue the Star Wars franchise but there may be some hidden gems hiding in cracks and crevices somewhere… or even in plain sight. So let me know, who would you like to see direct the seventh instalment of Star Wars?

Well you don’t really need to look hard to find the big news of this week and when the announcement came yesterday I think it took everybody by surprise! Not content with already owning Pixar, without a doubt the best animation company in the world, back in 2010 Disney paid $4.2billion to take over Marvel Entertainment. And now on top of all that Disney have forked out around $4billion once again to purchase LucasFilm meaning that Disney now owns Star Wars. News which will no doubt be seen as both positive and negative among fans.

Disney have announced that with the rights going to them they are planning to release a new Star Wars film in 2015, with the next instalments coming every other year. These would effectively be Chapters 7, 8 and 9. With the horrible reception that the Episodes 1, 2 and 3 received you can see why fans would not want any more damage done to their cherished sci-fi western series, yet Disney do seem to get everything right; just look at what they’ve achieved with Marvel! There is no shortage of stories and characters in the Star Wars canon and new stories in such a wide and real world can be easily thought of for those with that ability. With a release date set for 2015 you have to imagine that something is already in the works and a director could soon be announced with only three years to work on the project. It is unknown as of yet if any previously seen characters will return and in what form.

Another piece of information from this deal is the fact that George Lucas will not be directing. This will be well received from fans, no doubt, who perhaps feel that in recent years Lucas has done more harm than good to the series and is using it basically to just milk the name for as much as is humanly possible. With science fiction doing so well right now with all the superhero movies being released and the reinvention of Star Trek Disney obviously feel that they can bring something new to the table with Star Wars and that news can only be good.

The deal struck here also concerns the ownership of Industrial Light & Magic, the special effects company will also be traded into Disney’s hands, along with the rights of other LucasFilm productions such as Indiana Jones although Disney have said that Star Wars is the only series they plan to continue at this time. And with Disney having produced Pirates of the Caribbean and National Treasure recently you can see why they don’t want to be seen to be doing too much of the same sort of style by throwing out Indy too.

So that’s the real big news of the week.

But there has been some other big news that may have escaped many people’s notice thanks to all of this Star Wars stuff. Not so long ago, Matthew Vaughn stepped down as director of X-men: Days of Future Past and speculation was rife as to who would replace him. Thankfully, his replacement has been found in the form of Bryan Singer(!), the man behind the camera of X-men and X2 which will no doubt please fans! This can only spur rumours on of cast members returning from the original trilogy but anyhow, it is great to see Singer back with the X-men.

The X-Men series has come under a lot of criticism in it’s time despite the critical success that X-Men, X2 and X-Men: First Class has enjoyed. So if three of the five films have gone down well then why do fans of the X-Men continue to be critical of the series?  A lot of the criticism comes from the messed up continuity of the franchise and if you look hard enough you will find plenty of issues with the continuity throughout all five films; X-Men: The Last Stand came under fire for ruining a lot of hard work that Bryan Singer had set up in the first two instalments and X-Men Origins: Wolverine upset fans by just not being very good and ruining Gambit, a character that fans had wanted to see on screen for far too long for him to just be dismissed like he is.

So when The Wolverine was announced to be yet another film focussing on the escapades of Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine the news was met with less than positive response on internet forums. Yet this week, finally, The Wolverine is connecting with fans and getting people actually hyped up due to one little quote that director James Mangold made to Empire magazine. Mangold won fans over by saying “Where this film sits in the universe of the films is after them all, Jean Grey is gone, most of the X-Men are disbanded or gone, so there’s a tremendous sense of isolation for him”. Everybody was assuming The Wolverine would be another prequel because it is set in Japan (the storyline from the comics in Japan happened before Wolverine met the X-Men) and now it appears that everything we thought about this film was untrue.

Everyone wanted a sequel to X-Men: The Last Stand and it seems as though The Wolverine could be the closest thing that we see to this. With this being a sequel it also gives the opportunity for former characters to return to the franchise. Returning characters was hinted at with the other prequel titled Days of Future Past but it seems that maybe fans were misled and Patrick Stewart’s and Famke Janssen’s comments about returning to the franchise could have been meant about The Wolverine rather than Days of Future Past. I, for one, would love to see some of the old characters return and it might be able to give an explanation to what happened to Cyclops, explain Professor X’s return and feature more of Angel perhaps. Unfortunately, I don’t think that this will happen though because the film will be set in Japan.

One of the main things that has been hinted at is that Wolverine would set up the Jean Grey School for Gifted Youngsters and whilst this would be a very touching moment for the character and could set up some more stories for future X-Men you can’t help but feel this SHOULD have been done before the prequels of First Class came into existence. It seems as though The Wolverine will be a stand alone film and you have to hope it will be because right now there are too many strands of the same franchise going on:

X-Men prequels – First Class, Days of Future Past

Wolverine Prequels – Origins

Original X-Men timeline – X-Men, X2, The Last Stand

Wolverine sequels – The Wolverine

That is four different strands of the same franchise and you can see why so much confusion and continuity errors will be made! However, James Mangold says that he wanted to set the film in the timeline so you imagine he will try to stay true to events that have already happened. Mangold has been hit (3:10 to Yuma, Walk the Line) and miss (Knight & Day) in his career so far but hopefully The Wolverine will be a hit! Regrettably, hopefully The Wolverine will be the last we see of Hugh Jackman too and the X-Men franchise is finally brought together and made simple once again.

Last year FOX released X-Men: First Class and up until release nobody really knew whether it was a reboot or a prequel to the original X-Men trilogy. After it’s release and the cameo appearances from Hugh Jackman and Rebecca Romijn still nobody knew whether it was a reboot or prequel and that continues to be a mystery as anticipation for the sequel X-Men: Days of Future Past grows with speculation that characters from the original X-Men trilogy could be in line to make a surprise return to the franchise, something which the Days of Future Past storyline from the comics would allow.

In Marvel’s comics the Days of Future Past storyline became one of the most successful X-Men titles of all time and, along with the Age of Apocalypse and House of M, is a storyline that all X-Men fans have wanted to see on the big screen. The story switches from present day to a future where the X-Men failed to stop Mystique’s Brotherhood of Evil Mutants from killing Senator Kelly; in the future mutants are a dying breed as the United States are ruled by Sentinels with the mutants placed in internment camps. The present day (or past) X-Men are forewarned about this by the future version of Kitty Pryde whose mind travels back in time into the body of her younger self.

Obviously there are a few characters missing if this was to take place; both Kitty Pryde and Rachel Summers both had large parts to play in Days of Future Past in the comic books yet neither appeared in First Class and Rachel Summers hasn’t even been hinted at at all throughout the history of X-Men films. This wouldn’t be too much of a problem as the 90s cartoon version of X-Men portrayed this storyline with Bishop taking on the Kitty Pryde role, although Bishop is another character yet to make it to the big screen. However, Patrick Stewart has hinted recently that he could reprise his role of Charles Xavier and so perhaps there is a chance there to make Professor X the centre piece with Stewart’s older character finding a way to contact his younger self played by James McAvoy.

Famke Janssen has also hinted that her character could return to the X-Men continuity (which is already a mess if you want to get into the nitty gritty details, FOX really haven’t even tried to make it all add up to the correct answers) and this shouldn’t be a surprise because, yes she may have been killed by Wolverine in the awful X-Men: The Last Stand but she also ‘died’ in X2 and has died countless times in the comic books but she just keeps on coming back! I have to be honest and say that I would have really liked an X-Men 4 done properly after the travesty of The Last Stand, seeing what took place afterwards with Beast and Angel staying on at the mansion, the return of Professor X, what happened to Cyclops? It may have been poor in comparison to the previous two films but The Last Stand left ideas there for another sequel and I would like to see Cyclops, Storm and Wolverine all back on the big screen (that would also save us any more individual Jackman fuelled Wolverine efforts). But would it be right?

Obviously the storyline makes it possible for the older characters to return and continuity shouldn’t bother FOX as it never has done before but perhaps with the appointment of Mark Millar now as consultant on FOX’s Marvel properties he may manage to reign them in a little. Matthew Vaughn (director of First Class and producer of Days of Future Past) has previously stated that he only wanted to introduce one main character in the sequel and although he said that a very long time ago it would make this possibility of returning X-Men seem less likely, but would you really count the return of the original X-Men as an ‘introduction’ per say?

I would have liked to have seen an X-Men 4 and maybe a Days of Future Past film would be a good way to sort of make it happen and tie up loose ends for fans that want answers but if FOX have any sense I think they should stay away from this idea. The continuity has been tampered with too much and I think now is their chance to make First Class the real start of a reboot and cut all ties with the original trilogy. There are still plenty of characters they could introduce to still make the Days of Future Past storyline anything like the comics by introducing Bishop for example. The X-Men roster is always growing so there are countless ways to take this story.

What do you think?

Casting is a vital part of the film; if you get the wrong actor to play a character it can go horribly wrong and the whole movie could fail because of it. Never is this more true than in the world of comic book movies. Millions of fans all over the world are already in love with the characters before they are brought to the big screen and if you cast someone that the fans are not happy about they will not hold back, you shall know about it! But when casting goes right, it brings out some of the best performances and best characters in the world. Here are my top eight perfectly cast comic book movie characters.

8. Chris Evans as The Human Torch

Known to many comic book fans now as Captain America, Evans made his first appearance in comic book movies in the awful Fantastic Four films. Despite both films being criticised heavily by almost everyone, fans and critics alike, nobody could criticise Chris Evans as Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. He outperformed the rest of the cast by a country mile and bought a much needed charm and sense of humour to the role.

7. Ed Norton as Bruce Banner

When it was announced that Ed Norton would not return for The Avengers as Bruce Banner fans were outraged and with good reason. Norton’s performance as the troubled scientist who turns into the Incredible Hulk was brilliant. Norton had a lot of hard work to do because of the negative fan reaction to Ang Lee’s 2003 interpretation of the character but the casting of Norton and his incredible performance won the hearts of many Hulk fans.

6. J.K. Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson

The original Spider-man trilogy, directed by Sam Raimi, may not have been the most perfectly cast Spider-man film in the world but J.K Simmons as J. Jonah Jameson was a masterpiece. He looked identical to the comic book portrayal of the character and fans loved his performance. A highlight of the, soon to be rebooted, Spider-man franchise.

5. Christopher Reeve as Superman

Does this really need explaining? The man IS Superman. There has never been a better Superman before or since on neither the big screen or small screen. Reeve was an excellent casting as the Man of Steel and is still celebrated among comic book fans.

4. Heath Ledger as The Joker

Ledger won a posthumous Oscar for his appearance as the Joker and rightfully so. Ledger managed to bring this psychotic vision of The Dark Knight’s arch nemesis to the screen and make him genuinely scary. It was a sad loss when he passed away but he will always be remembered as the Joker and one of comic book movie’s finest castings.

3. Chloe Moretz as Hit Girl

Many people don’t think of Kick-Ass when they think of comic book adaptations but this is where the origins of the story lie. Chloe Moretz is great as the ‘hero’ Hit Girl. She is a small girl who packs a powerful performance and is the star of Kick Ass without a doubt. She has a huge career ahead of her built on this performance.

2. Patrick Stewart as Professor X

Straight off, Patrick Stewart looks the part, down to a tee. But his performance further proves why he was the perfect choice to play the mentor to the X-men, Professor X. His calm and cool demeanour brought a lot of character to the role and then in the second instalment, X2 (one of the best comic book movies ever made) he was able to show off the emotional side to his character even more. And as well as that, his chemistry with Ian McKellen’s Magneto was a joy to behold. A fine casting decision.

And finally…

1. Robert Downey Jnr. as Tony Stark

Perfection!

The perfect casting of a comic book character if ever there was one. Downey Jnr doesn’t just play the character, he actually is Tony Stark. He has the look sorted; he has the charm, the wit, the charisma and you believe his intelligence. Iron Man was the beginning of the whole Marvel Universe which comes together this summer with The Avengers so a lot was riding on this first film and Robert Downey Jnr drew the plaudits right from the offset. Tony Stark came to life in the Iron Man films and made Downey Jnr a household name again; his performance was a joy to behold and I sincerely hope he is Tony Stark for a long time to come.

Honourable mentions

Ian McKellen – Magneto

Kelsey Grammer – Beast

Ron Perlman – Hellboy

Jackie Earl Haley – Rorschach

Anthony Hopkins – Odin