Are the wheels ALREADY coming off the re-energized "X-Men" series?

Bryan Singer’s original two “X-Men” movies (you know, the ones that still technically happened) are both very solid examples of their genre… for their time. The costumes are almost universally awful, the aesthetic is inappropriately drab and sterile, everyone looks a little too much like models up on the catwalk at a superhero-themed fashion show, but there’s some great performances and both films have good screenplays that “get” the material and most of the characters. Made before Raimi’s “Spider-Man,” “Batman Begins” and especially “The Avengers;” they were imperfect but as good as you could hope for at the time.

“X-Men: First Class” was a better movie on every concievable level – the best version of X-Men outside of the comics and, to be frank, probably better than most of the comics at this point. It finally seemed like Fox had figured out how to handle these properties. Now word is coming down that Matthew Vaughn has opted not to direct the already in-development sequel, “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” and that original helmer Bryan Singer might be stepping in to replace him.

Uh-oh…

I’m not necessarily anti-Singer, and he’s going to need a big hit if “Jack The Giant Slayer” is as disasterous as it’s been reputed to be, but this sounds like trouble. And no, not only because I don’t trust him not to regress the series’ aesthetically back to the dour, dreariness he took it to in the first place. “Past” was reputed to be a time-travel story set up to iron-out the continuity issues between the orignals and “Class,” possibly establishing a new present-day status-quo rooted more in “Class’s” sensibilities.

Meanwhile, the second attempt at a solo “Wolverine” movie is now being described as taking place after the events of “X-Men 3” and not totally junking “Origins” like everyone thought it was. That’s unsettling, since “Origins” was pretty solidly deleted by “First Class” as well.

All of this comes on the heels of Fox hiring comic scribe Mark Millar (whose comics occasionally make good movies once someone else completely rewrites them) to “manage” their mini-universe of Marvel properties, another development that doesn’t inspire a lot of confidence.

12 thoughts on “Are the wheels ALREADY coming off the re-energized "X-Men" series?

  1. Anonymous says:

    It's been said before that Millar writes as though he dislikes comics fans…which is pretty much the problem with any movie he designs. Movies with no sense of joy or whimsy about superheroes are just lame. That said, Bryan Singer is a pretty solid director. No reason to give up hope yet.

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  2. Anonymous says:

    Uhg…The Avengers….everything got it wrong till then!…..EXCEPT NOT.

    The Avengers is becoming more overrated than Titanic and Avatar combined.

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  3. Nathan says:

    @Anon
    Say what you will about the movie, but you have to admit that The Avengers did get at least the superhero look right. The all black and leather costumes from the first Xmen would not work today(unless that is their default costume in the comics) since today's audience understands that a realistic costume choice doesn't have to be a boring choice.

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  4. lemonvampire says:

    Singer is definitely capable of delivering on the more colorful aesthetic established in First Class. Just look at Superman Returns. Sure it was considerably more dour than the previous Superman films, but it definitely still had its share of bright colors and whimsical humor.

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  5. Adam says:

    As soon as I got the news on both the First Class sequel and The Wolverine, this was basically my reaction to them (video safe for work)…

    Is it too late to ask Marvel Studios to take their toys back from Fox?

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  6. Cyrus says:

    I'm in agreement with lemonvampire: Singer DID do right by Superman, in fact, I'd consider it one of the best superhero flicks of the last decade. There were a few hickups (Routh and Bosworth being too young, some CG that hasn't aged well at all), but conveyed a genuine sense of wonder while handling its central conflict with a surprising level of maturity.

    Ultimately, I think it will be Fox who decide how the X-Men series will proceed in terms of tone. They are an incredibly controlling company with such a strong focus on marketability, that they make other studios look downright bohemian. If bright and cheerful is the new grim and moody, then the franchise should be okay for a while, if not for the right reasons.

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