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.
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.