In the wake of Marvel’s releasing their Captain America: Winter Soldier trailer last week, Fox, not wanting to be outdone, tried reminding geeks everywhere that they’re cool too by releasing the first trailer for their upcoming X-Men opus, Days of Future Past. This latest installment, directed by returning prodigal son, Bryan Singer, brings the two casts from the original X-Men trilogy and the First Class movie together in a story “based” (the film continuity is already so estranged from the source material how can we not use the word “based” in any capacity other than “loosely”) on arguably one of the best X-Men narratives ever written, Chris Claremont’s Days of Future Past.
From what we know “future” Professor X and Magneto have it pretty tough with what’s been hinted at as a full on war against mutants (Sentinels!!!) and enlist future Wolverine to somehow have his mind’s psyche travel back in time to the 70’s and inhabit his past body in order to inform “past” Professor X and Magneto of the horrors to come and try to alter history, thus changing the bleak future into something a bit more cheery.
Yeah, I know that sounds pretty convoluted, but as far as X-Men story lines go it’s actually one of the more straightforward ones.
And, yeah, it’s one of the all time best. Therein lies the rub.
I am terrified by how bad this can go down. And the trailer didn’t give me much “hope.” Although it didn’t leave me feeling any worse about it than I already do, so I guess that’s a plus.
Here are three things I walked away with (or didn’t walk away with) from the trailer.
1) The trailer didn’t get my adrenaline pumping. Essentially the whole thing was comprised by either quick shots of the bazillion characters they’re utilizing (more on this later) or dialogue that didn’t really offer any new information than what we already know. There was really no action to get me jonesing for the film’s release, especially in contrast to the Captain America 2 trailer that not only gave us a preview of the film’s plot, but also wetted our appetite from some pretty amazing action sequences. Sure, this is only the first trailer, but if trailer 2 rolls around without seeing some crazy giant robots reigning hell on past and/or future X-Men I’m going to grow increasingly more indifferent.
Side note: how many more scenes of Wolverine being shot and his body pushing out the bullets are we going to need to see in X-Men trailers? Seriously. It’s not impressive. Show us him growing a whole limb back or something already…
2) There is a crap load of mutants in this film. I mean it was bad enough with just one X-Men timeline, but now by throwing in a handful of First Class’ cast…GOOD GOD. Sure, in theory that sounds pretty cool to have ALL these characters on screen…but have we not figured out yet that the more characters we have in a story actually detracts from any real character development and often times plot development. It is not the more mutants the merrier—it’s the more, the mediocre. X-Men 3, anyone? I know Avengers was an ensemble film (I can’t help but feel Days of Future Past is trying to compete directly with Marvel’s Avengers), but Marvel took time and planning to create a cohesive continuity with well-developed characters within their cinematic universe. And we all know continuity isn’t something Fox’s X-Men film universe has much of. (Read this article. It’s awesome and accurate.) Singer has gone on record to say that he’s aiming to “fix” a few things with this installment, but anything Fox does besides salting the earth and starting on fresh plot of soil at this point just seems like a hail mary.
3) Bryan Singer still loves his leather. While the X-Men’s future is drab, their wardrobe is as stylish (if you call tight leather pants on men stylish) as ever.
The final shot of the trailer features old Xavier face-to-face with young Xavier, begging his younger self, “Please, we need you to hope again.” I cannot help but feel this is a plea to the audience as well—imploring us to not give up on the franchise, to believe in the promise of this film.
I just don’t know. I guess only time will tell as more trailers follow and the film sees release on May 23, 2014. Then we’ll know for sure if Bryan Singer’s X-Men Days of Future Past can change the past and save the future of its franchise. In the meantime, welcome to the waiting game…“I hope you survive the experience.”
I realize this is a pretty harsh review, but it’s honest and its mine. Do you agree or disagree? Let it be known in the comments section below. Let’s geek talk, friends.