Full disclosure: I look forward to Days of Future Past more than any other Marvel character-based film since the first Spider-Man movie (yes, including The Avengers). Plenty about it has me excited.
It seems overstuffed in a good way, with plenty of top billers accepting a (seemingly) lesser role to participate in a fairly unique project. We will see two fantastic Professor Xaviers (James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart), two fantastic Magnetos (Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen), and a Jennifer Lawrence. Hugh Jackman is Wolverine. Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, and Halle Berry will also reprise their roles. Not to mention the return of Colossus(!), Havok, and Beast. Oh, and aroo!
The film also sees the return of its founding director, Bryan Singer. The franchise started off strongly with X-Men and X2, both directed by Singer. It took a beating with the next two films, The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine. X-Men: First Class and, to a lesser extent, The Wolverine brought the series back to form. The director of First Class, Matthew Vaughn, returns in a writing capacity.
Singer has stated that he intends to “fix a few things” from The Last Stand. Hopefully, this includes the return of Cyclops (would anyone actually care if they simply deus ex machina’d him back in?) and Jean Grey/Phoenix. The latter seems more likely than the former. But, overall, the series looks to be moving in the right direction.
Of course, plenty gives me pause.
The movie could collapse under the weight of its actors and plot. We’re talking about an Ocean’s 11 crew full of A-list stars who have to share screen time not just with themselves, but almost ten other mutants (not to mention human characters). The film could spread itself too thin with an unwieldy amount of actors and timelines, depriving us of a real experience with any of it.
The Avengers, X-Men’s closest analogue for an ensemble superhero movie, successfully juggled big names. However, the likes of Robert Downey, Jr., Chris Hemsworth, and Chris Evans had already featured in their own films, a luxury almost none of the X-Men have. Short shrift for one of the heroes wasn’t the end of their tale. Days of Future Past doubles that roster with only Wolverine’s having starred in his own film (or two).
Speaking of, a legitimate fear lingers that Days of Future Past will focus too much on Jackman and Berry, a flaw in previous films. The trailer does nothing to dispel the idea that Wolverine will be front and center. While not necessarily bad, two of the last three X-Men movies have focused solely on the man known as Logan. His outsized presence can and will prevent the other characters from breathing.
While I’ve never had a huge problem with Halle Berry’s Storm, I’ve never found her to be all that interesting. Like Jackman, Berry’s presence could come at the expense of other characters. Yes, Storm plays a major role in the X-Men universe. But, her presence can shrink if Cyclops’ can.
Finally, the matter of Bryan Singer. Notice how the trailer lists him as “the director of The Usual Suspects and X-Men,” no mention of his last superhero film, Superman Returns, or anything else in the last decade. His last directorial effort, Jack the Giant Slayer, didn’t exactly light up the box office or movie-goers. Can he, like the series of late, rediscover his form?
All worries aside, I think it will all come together. If only because I can’t bear the thought of it failing to.