X-Men: First Class Goes Mod

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As you might have noticed from my past article on Marvel’s mistakes regarding Captain America, Thor, and The Avengers, I’m not too optimistic on Marvel’s positioning of their upcoming films. That’s why, when they announced an adaptation of Jeff Parker’s phenomenal X-Men: First Class, I emitted a large sigh from my big, fat mouth.

But then Bryan Singer let slip some details to Ain’t It Cool News this past weekend. First Class is to be set in the 1960s which, for me, sealed the deal. Better yet, the casting suggests that neither Cyclops or Jean Grey will be present in the film, which should anger me as a comic book nerd. We all know that those two characters have been there since the team’s inception, and it would be a travesty not to include them in a cinematic retelling of the team’s origin.

So why am I rejoicing at the news?

Because it’s different, and it suggests that this film isn’t a reboot of the X-Men film franchise. As bad as the third film and Wolverine were, excluding these characters suggests that continuity will be somewhat conserved. Of course, there’s the matter of Emma Frost appearing in Wolverine, but I’m willing to bet that instead of First Class being a reboot, Wolverine will simply be ignored, much like Superman III and IV were for Superman Returns. My biggest issue with what comic book films have become is that the studios are willing to forgo everything that came before if it means bigger and better box office returns, throwing out the integrity of the filmmaking in the process.

Perhaps it’s the involvement of Bryan Singer, or maybe the fact that Marvel doesn’t have direct control of the X-Men film franchise. Either way, I’m overjoyed at this interesting direction chosen for First Class. Setting it in a different era with new characters in continuity with the old movies satisfies nearly everybody. People like myself; I’m interested in the social context of mutant rights, and setting the development of the team amongst one of the most socially and politically active decades of American history could prove brilliant. Singer even mentioned JFK and Malcom X! For the hardcore X-fanatics that simply want to see their favorite characters brought to the big screen, the shuffling of cast allows that to happen. And for fans of the movies that simply don’t read comics (read: losers), the new film will make sense in context with the previous three.

Granted, all of my speculation comes from a relatively off-the-cuff interview with Bryan Singer, and it remains to be seen if the filmmakers will make full use of the decade in which they’ve set their film. But with Thor, Captain America, and First Class all hitting theaters from Marvel next summer, I’m banking on originality to to overcome the “guaranteed” money makers.

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  • Richard Boom

    Richard Boom Aug 27, 2010 at 4:00pm

    hear hear! I cannot wait all the same!

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