With the exception of the two Wolverine movies - the 2009 one and the one that, as of this writing, hasn't come out yet - I've seen every installment of the franchise. Last Stand left me feeling disappointed, and when First Class came out in 2011, I thought it was a 90% reboot. Yes, it was a prequel and, yes, Hugh Jackman made a wonderful cameo appearance as Wolverine, but beyond that, First Class felt like it stood apart from the rest of the series in terms of style and storytelling. It was very clearly something new.
A sequel was inevitable. When has Hollywood ever said no to a follow-up on a successful film? Originally, I'd heard that the next film would be about the Kennedy assassination with Magneto controlling the bullet that kills JFK. Then it changed to the Civil Rights Movement and the Vietnam War. Whereas First Class was set in the 1960s with the Cuban Missile Crisis, the sequel was going to move forward towards the 70s.
Then Days of Future Past was announced.
Bryan Singer was back on board, which I thought was interesting. Keep in mind, I thought that First Class was a reboot, no significant ties to the previous films, and thus it seemed strange that crew from those movies would come back. Then Patrick Stewart was cast, and then Ian McKellan. Halle Berry. Hugh Jackman. Anna Paquin. Ellen Page. Now, I'm not a big comic book guy, but I knew enough about the story that two generations of X-Men were going to come together.
But I was still skeptical because, again, I just assumed that these people from the previous films were cameos, that they'd pop up in a scene, say hello, and be on their merry way.
Again, I was wrong.
Days of Future Past looks to be the X-Men version of The Avengers where you've got characters from very distinct films - First Class and the Bryan Singer-spearheaded trilogy - merged together in one piece. I think it's a brilliant move. To me, the core of X-Men has always been the conflict between Professor X and Magneto. Their younger and older selves are unmistakably different people, and it'll be interesting to see them interact. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan have already established themselves in their roles. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were very good in First Class; Fassbender's performances have never failed to astound me.
As far as the details of the story goes, you're guess is as good as mine. I have no idea what the movie is going to have in store for us when it comes out next year. We might have a scenario like what J.J. Abrams did with Star Trek in which characters from the future travel back in time and break history into another direction that neither the old nor the young can predict. Old Professor X might try to persuade Young Magneto the value of peaceful resolution. Old Magneto might try to convince Young Professor X that violence solves everything. If I were in the writer's chair, that would be my suggestion, but I'm not. I'm happily part of the audience. Still, the possibilities and the not-knowing are making me smile with anticipation even now as I write this post.
And yes, folks, it looks like Bryan Singer is going to finally stop teasing us and deliver Sentinels.