It is the most wonderful time of the year for nerdkind. New York Comic Con just happened. The video games are getting amazing. And this is the time of year when we start hearing about next year’s summer blockbusters. The hype train is just pulling out of the station and we are all on board. From Guardians of the Galaxy casting news to Amazing Spider-Man 2 leaked footage, there is plenty to be excited about, but one movie has risen above the rest as the hype monster of 2014. That movie is X-Men: Days of Future Past. And it is a problem.
Sure, there are a lot of things about it that look great. We are getting an interesting story with a giant ensemble of X-Actors. I mean, in the last few weeks we have gotten so much Patrick Stewart/Ian McKellen Twitter love that we are just really excited to see the cast again. They could be remaking Eat Pray Love and I would probably see it. The thing about this hype train is that if it builds too much momentum, all of this anticipation will make anything but the best movie look lame. And this movie does not seem to be the best. People say “But Days of Future Past looks perfect. Why are you worried?” Well I present the
8 Reasons We Should Be Worried About Days of Future Past
…and none of them is the recently debunked rumor that it would be shot in 48 FPS high frame rate.
1. Time Travel is Really Hard To Pull Off
Time travel movies tend to be either great or terrible and the terrible seem to severely outnumber the great. For every Primer there are ten Butterfly Effects. This seems to be the case because, along with characters and story, the writers have to create and manage all these crazy new time travel rules. Can people go backwards and forwards? Are you creating alternate timelines? How many bunny costume guys are there? All of these questions have to be answered and all of the answers have to make sense together. And you can’t just try and add more Terminators to smooth everything out because then you also have to add some Timecops and it gets confusing. The point is that time travel is a very complicated plot device.
Days of Future Past is a movie about a time traveling Wolverine attempting to stop some sort of dramatic mutant event that eventually leads to Sentinels. People say “Yeah, but comic books are better at time travel” Then I throw Age of Ultron in their face and they weep uncontrollably. If that weren’t enough, Singer also plans to use the time travel element to “fix a few things [with Days of Future Past]. It won’t be its primary function but there will be some fixing.” That is a tall order. And because of reports from the set, we know that the old Xavier and Magneto shot a scene with the young Xavier and Magneto which means that we are bound to experience a paradox in this movie. Time will only tell if this paradox is the dumb kind like Old Spock in Into Darkness or the weird kind like Oedipus McFly in Back to the Future. I can guarantee someone has already written some slash fiction of that second one. Hopefully that someone isn’t Matthew Vaughn.
2. There’s a Storm Comin’
Ugh. For those who are new to the game, Halle Berry was about a third of everything wrong with X3. One third was the script and the other third was Bratner, who probably also had a lot to do with the script. Okay, Bratner gets two thirds, but that other third was Halle. You see, between X-Men and X3, Halle Berry blew up. She was in a movie that won her an Oscar. She was in a Catwoman movie. She was even in the worst James Bond movie ever for about six years. That’s right, she was on top of the world. And because of her string of miserable failures and that Oscar, the story goes that she demanded more screentime and Marsden was left in the cold. He eventually left to be a part of an even higher profile superhero disaster (we’ll get to it) but the fact remains that Halle Berry destroyed the balance of the team by being too big of a star.
This is part of a bigger problem. These ensemble movies keep producing stars that eventually become too big for the sequels. It’s okay if your star is also the main character (RDJ) but when your big star is a small part of a bigger team and her power is making the wind blow, it’s hard to justify giving her a bigger part. Her character doesn’t deserve it. It’s also really hard to justify not making her a huge part of the movie. She is going to bring a giant chunk of your audience and they are going to buy tickets and shirts and other merchandise. So the money eventually wins and Storm becomes second in command behind Mr. Team Player himself, Wolverine? And you’re thinking “Yeah but she learned her lesson.” Fair point. But what about Ellen Page? Or what about Jennifer Lawrence? Thank god Daniel Cudmore’s career didn’t explode between now and then or we would be watching the most unbalanced X-Men movie ever.
3. Bryan Singer Might Have Lost It
Like a no nonsense judge, when I heard about this movie I was skeptical. “I’ll allow it counselor, but watch yourself”, I thought as I looked over my glasses and down my nose towards the sequel to the movie that we all liked but also didn’t really love. It wasn’t until, like an overacting Jim Carrey, something melted my cold heart. Bryan Singer was back on as director. “Yay!” I thought. “He directed the two good ones. He can do this!” It was kind of like when I heard Joss Whedon was going to direct Avengers. The man can do no wrong. Besides Buffy and Firefly, he wrote part of Captain America and directed Serenity and came up with Dollhouse and Dr. Horrible and apparently also wrote Toy Story. Bryan Singer is just like him! Or…wait a second.
Bryan Singer might have lost it. Sure he did the two good X-Men movies and the Usual Suspects but let’s look at the facts. What has he done lately? He directed Jack the Giant Slayer, and we all know how that turned out. Actually, does anyone know how that turned out? I kinda forgot it was released. He also made Valkyrie, a movie that managed to take the fun out of killing Hitler. But hmmmmm. I feel like I’m forgetting something. Something big; like a big stupid island made of Kryptonite. Oh yeah. He directed Superman Returns, the first reboot that immediately justified another reboot. So maybe we should stop pretending Singer is the X-Men X-Pert before he gets a messiah complex because A) he might not be that great anymore and B) those don’t turn out well for X-Fans.
4. Giving Us What We Want Can Be a Bad Idea
We have been wrong before. We wanted the Star Wars prequels. We wanted a Green Lantern movie. We wanted Venom in Spider-Man 3. Fans shouldn’t influence studios decisions to such a degree. It’s mostly because the studios aren’t prepared for everything we want but if we want it enough, they have to try. Sam Raimi didn’t want to do Venom but we whined and Raimi wrote him in anyway. You know why he didn’t want to do Venom? Because he didn’t like or understand the character. Ergo, Venom was a big pile of crap. Look at it this way; You can want me to do a backflip. You can beg and you can plead and eventually you can pay me a ton of money and I won’t have a choice. It doesn’t mean I’m going to land on my feet.
X3: The Last Stand is a great example of this principle. We wanted Juggernaut so badly. But we also wanted Dark Phoenix. But we also wanted Colossus. But we also wanted Angel. The list goes on and on. Fox and Bratner just seemed to go, “Okay well whatever you guys want” and then made that movie. I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a suggestion box outside of the studio and passersby wrote plot points like “I’m the Juggernaut bitch” and “Kill Cyclops” which Bratner just put in the movie because why not? And did everyone forget about Deadpool in X-Men Origins: Wolverine? They took his mouth and replaced it with eye blasts?! We wanted Deadpool so badly. Another thing we have wanted forever is a Sentinel and it looks like we’re going to get it. But we also wanted Bishop. But we also wanted Quicksilver. But we also wanted Warpath. Does anybody see a pattern?
5. We Are 3 for 6 on X-Men movies
People are really good at only remembering the good stuff. “Music was so much better in my day,” they say. Yeah well that’s because you had your own Pitbull but everybody just forgot about him. They only remember the Beatles. In twenty years my generation is going to be complaining about how all the new music is trash compared to geniuses like Jay Z while conveniently forgetting about non-geniuses like J-Kwon. The problem is, we also do that with the X-Men movies.
There have been 6 X-Men movies and 3 of them have been good. You’ve got X-Men, X2, and First Class on the good side. Then on the other side you’ve got The Last Stand, Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine (Which wasn’t close to as bad as those other two but wasn’t good. Come on. Viper? For real?). Anyway, why are we even letting Fox make more of these? It seems like Days of Future Past is trying to be the X-Men version of The Avengers. The problem with that comparison is that if half of the Phase One movies were garbage, why would we have cared when all of those characters from some bad movies got together in one big bad movie? We wouldn’t have. So why are we pretending that this is the second coming? Which brings me to my next point.
6. Our Expectations Are Way Too High
This one is on us. We want a good X-Men movie so bad that whenever one comes around that doesn’t have “Wolverine” in the title, we lose it. We have been talking to all of our friends who know who Bishop is. We have read the entirety of the Trask Industries website (which is pretty cool). We have even explained to our significant others the circumstances that led to Quicksilver being in both DoFP and A: AoU. We get way too excited and it’s bad. Remember how excited we got when we heard they were doing the “Wolverine goes to Japan” storyline or how excited we got when “Ryan Reynolds was cast as Deadpool”? Look how that turned out.
Now I’m not saying don’t get excited. I’m saying don’t get your hopes up. We haven’t even seen an official trailer yet. Let’s get excited when some reviews come in. And if you want to get excited about a comic book movie, Thor: The Dark World released a trailer where Thor appears to execute Korg. Now that movie is looking pretty exciting and we haven’t even seen Kurse yet. I mean, Alan Taylor seems to really know what he’s doing with the property, and Eccleston does not get enough credit for being awesome. So lets take this one step at a time fans and concentrate on what we have in front of us…oh that reminds me…
7. The Posters Are Stupid Again
This one I really don’t get. For all of its faults, and there were many, The Wolverine did one thing right. They made a poster that was so good, people wouldn’t stop stealing them. That’s a damn good poster. It seemed to graduate from the general boringness of the X-Men posters, which I imagined were created like this; “Everyone stand here in front of this blue area in a line at varying distances behind Hugh and look directly at the camera making a scary face. Great. Okay now switch positions. Not you, Hugh. This is gonna be the sequel’s poster. Now lets get these to editing so they can tilt it a little.”
Then, for First Class, they fired that person and replaced him with someone who I can only assume is blind but had explained to him or her what posters are supposed to look like and also how Photoshop works. We got these. Faces of the newer actor poorly blended with the older actor. They are undoubtedly the worst posters ever made for a movie that wasn’t garbage. Undoubtedly. And now the DoFP posters are again the face of the new actor blended poorly with the old actor. And yeah, it’s better – but it isn’t very good. The eyes don’t line up just right and they seem kinda weird if you look at the for too long. But gee, I guess I’m not a big time Hollywood poster maker and I have an incredibly basic knowledge of DoFP that start with “Wiki” and ends with “Pedia”, so I couldn’t have come up with a better design for this poster on my own.
Come to think of it, I’ve only seen one actual drawing from the comic. You know the one. It’s the one where Wolverine is protecting Kitty from what is offscreen and is probably a sentinel. You know…they’re standing in front of something. What could it be. Oh yeah. IT’S A POSTER! The one with all the dead mutant’s faces with “slain” and “apprehended” written on it! Its literally the only thing I knew about that series before the movie was announced. But Fox doesn’t need the comics bringing all that baggage into the publicity. It would get in the way of the faces within faces.
8. No Cyclops
I understand people don’t necessarily like Cyclops, but he needs to be there. He’s THE X-Man. He has been around in the comics since the beginning. He has been on almost every X-Team as the leader. Yeah, he has generally been somewhere between annoying and very annoying, but that is the point of Cyclops. He is the straight-edged leader who is constantly clashing with bad boys like Wolverine and Gambit and the movie needs that dynamic.
Regardless of everything I just said about Singer, he seems to get Cyclops. Making X-Men movies without good ol’ Shades is just boring. Wolverine does whatever he wants because there is no one to tell him to “Stay away from his girl”. Professor X looks like a huge dick because normally Scott gracefully absorbs that dickishness like a dick sponge. And there is no one for Jean to be in love with…or married to. I was never sure in the movies what exactly was going on there. I feel like it was unclear. And yeah, Jean should find a way back to the team too except I feel like we got too much of her in X3 and don’t get me started on The Wolverine. Okay, I’ll start. She shouldn’t have been in The Wolverine and especially not in lingerie. Okay, I’m finished.
Previously by Matthew Nando Kelly: