AFTER HOLLYWOOD let its faith in comic-book movies lapse in the wake of the “Batman and Robin”/Joel Schumacher disaster in the late ‘90s, the X-Men saved the day. Director Bryan Singer proved that superhero material, when taken seriously, could make a great movie, and “X-Men” (2000) helped usher in a new era of comic-book cinema.
There have been highs (“X-Men,” “X2”) lows (“X3: The Last Stand”) and successful new beginnings (“X-Men: First Class”). Now, the mutants are making their way back with “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” as the new trailer debuts today.
Here are Comic Riffs’ 5 “X-Men” Takeaway Questions and Answers:
1. How close will “Days” be to the great comic-book tale from which it gets his name?
Time travel. Wolverine with gray hair. Kitty Pride/Shadowcat. A dark future for mutants that needs saving from the past. Many elements from the first trailer hint a strong resemblance to the original comic book story written by Chris Claremont and rendered by John Byrne. But as the case with many cinematic adaptions, it’s not a carbon copy. Which is fine.
Seeing the original “X-Men” movie stars merged with those from “First Class” is quite striking. Especially when a younger, clearly less-guided, not remotely as mature Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) tells his older self from the future (Patrick Stewart) that he doesn’t “want your future.”
Older Professor X sends Wolverine to the past while telling him: “I was a very different man. Lead me. Guide me. Be patient with me.” Yeah, because Wolverine is all about patience. The interactions with Logan and young Professor X should be particularly interesting.
2. Are we getting a glimpse of X-Force?
With Bishop (Omar Sy) and James Proudstar/Warpath (Booboo Stewart) in this film, could we be getting our first peek at an X-Force spinoff?
Rumors have swirled that an X-Force film is in the works. But would it be based on the current (2013) team now appearing in Marvel comics, or would it take inspiration from the original X-Force team of the ‘90s? If Bishop and Warpath are in a movie, surely Nathan Summers/Cable can’t be too far off from making his big-screen debut. Right?
3. Where are the Sentinels?
“X-Men” film fans have been hotly anticipating the Sentinels — the large, mutant-hunting robots that are brought about to end the “threat” of mutants. The look of the Sentinels has already been seen online, but the robots are nowhere to be seen in the first trailer.
That is somewhat of a letdown, but there’s still a lot of special-effects work to be done. Surely the Sentinels will make an appearance in a future trailer.
4. Is the “X” franchise in good hands with Singer back in the director’s chair?
Singer, you’ll recall, abandoned the X-Men franchise when he was presented with an opportunity to bring the Man of Steel back to the big screen with “Superman Returns.” “X3” was left without a director, Brett Ratner was brought in the fix things up, the movie was rushed and not well-received (much like Singer’s “Superman Returns”).
So: “Days of Future Past” is somewhat of a shot at “X” redemption for Singer. He clearly cares about the characters, he has been heavily involved with the film’s online promotion, and he has to be motivated to give X-Fans the movie they weren’t delivered with “X3.”
5. Does this trailer stoke hopes for the biggest X-movie of all time?
The intent sure is there, but this trailer didn’t “bring the boom” as brilliantly as the first trailer for “X-Men: First Class” did. But there is clearly much of significance still to be revealed (especially in terms of special effects).
Prediction: The next “Days” trailer will be the one that especially excits mutant-lovers.