The film industry’s love affair with comic-book adaptations is showing absolutely no sign of decelerating. After the 2000 success with the inaugural X-Men motion picture the market exploded, and by 2003 we were seeing up to four superhero films in a single year. By the end of 2011, five will hit major theaters, including a prequel to the mutant saga, X-Men: First Class; which is the only release that is not a new franchise or remake, and therein lays the danger. Even though First Class does not come out until June, what audiences have been shown and led to conclude thus far is a reckless project.
While the story was conceived by former X-Men director, Bryan Singer, the screenplay has four names attached to it. One film being written from so many minds often proves disastrous – too many point of views at work. Leading the crew, however, is Matthew Vaughn, the rising-star director who brought crowds the Kick-Ass screen adaptation in 2010. With a short but impressive filmography under Vaughn’s belt, one should be fearless of how First Class will turn out. But, in an MTV interview, Vaughn stated this movie is in continuity with the eleven year old franchise: X-Men (2000), X2: X-Men United (2003), X-Men: The Last Stand (2006), and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009). This has recently been confirmed by Singer’s facebook Q&A sessions. Uh-oh! Whereas, before, there were overt but understandable inconsistencies versus the comic storylines and the movies, Vaughn is now walking on the line of continuity errors within the film-franchise’s timeline itself. In X2, a quick flash of a still human-looking Dr. Hank McCoy (aka Beast) comes on a bar television screen, and in The Last Stand we’re presented with a full-fledged blue, furry Beast. Ironically, First Class’s trailer shows a “normal” McCoy transforming into a blue Beast. In short, across the complete timeline, Hank McCoy goes from normal to blue, back to normal and then back to blue? It is also insinuated Erik (aka Magneto) falls from hero to villain, and abandons Charles Xavier’s cause and ranks by the end of the movie, despite the fact in The Last Stand, he’s clearly accompanying Xavier to recruit a young Jean Grey (who supposedly does not appear in this film). If plot holes are bleeding through into a trailer, chances often are the movie itself is bursting with them. At a first glance, this film may end up disappointing some long time fans of the series from both mediums.
But, as stated, First Class doesn’t hit theaters until June, and nothing is for certain or subject to judgment by anyone just yet. And, the facts are the director’s chair belongs to a respectable talent, as does the head screenwriter credit (Jane Goldman, who also worked on Kick-Ass). The teasers are hard to swallow, but there is hope behind the lens.