This past weekend, on a whim, I decided to see X-Men: First Class. I wasn’t sure if I was going to catch it in movie theaters or not; the last two installments in the franchise, including the much-anticipated Wolverine movie, were decidedly meh and I wasn’t incredibly interesting in sitting through more at movie theater prices. However, I noticed it was getting good reviews at Rotten Tomatoes, and decided to take a chance.
I’m glad I did! It really was a breath of fresh air for the franchise. And instead of being an absolute reboot, it mostly hangs together with the previous films, while still leaving room for any number of additional movies. Which got me thinking: now that I have a little more confidence in the franchise, what might I like to see in future films?
Well, the logical first place to look is the comic source material. First, some full disclosure: while I consider myself a casual fan of the X-Men concept, I’ve never read more than a handful of the comics. I was introduced, like many kids, to the X-Men through the 90′s cartoon (by the biggest X-Men comics fan in the fifth grade, a girl named Danielle who I think became a comic artist). Most of my knowledge about the “real” X-Men storylines has sort of been drawn from the giant hive consciousness that exists in the geek world (seriously, have you ever known the details about a TV show and then realized you’ve never seen it?).
So I’ve reached back into my memories that may-or-may-not exist, and I’ve asked a friend or two, and most importantly I’ve researched on the Internet – and here are a few of the storylines/elements that piqued my interest:
Yes, I know this is something that’s difficult to do in a movie and have it taken seriously. You don’t want it to look like the Power Rangers, and the whole “detect mutants” thing is asking for some bad pseudo-science. But think about the Tripods in War of the Worlds – giant robots can be really scary, if done correctly. In the hands of the right director, it would not be just another Transformers.
There are a few storylines that deal with time-travel, alternate timelines, and changing the future – Age of Apocalypse and Days of Future Past, for example. While I wouldn’t actually want a movie set in an alternate timeline – those are only interesting because you’re seeing well-known characters behaving differently – working in the present to prevent a terrible future could be fun.
Hmm, if we have time travel, maybe we ought to take full advantage of this opportunity and repair some of the damage from past films. Okay, just the third one.
Seriously, though, with these mutant powers time-travel is not a stretch and could be interesting to explore. And with time-travel you can handily include characters from all the films (well, the ones we like). No, I don’t think I’ve been watching too much Doctor Who…
Take the Plunge
A common element throughout the X-Men movies is that of the potential harm from the government; that the mutants could meet the same fate, or worse, as other groups that have been persecuted throughout the past. Well… it’s been five movies now, and I’m ready to see something different. Comics can get a little over-the-top, but they’re not afraid to burn their own world or have serious negative consequences (‘course they can always fix it later if they needed to, soap opera-style). Either have the government take serious action in the future or, better yet, maybe have the mutants battle an entirely different, privatized force. The government can’t be the only ones who fear mutants, after all. Either way, the viewing audience is comfortable with mutants and their current place in the world, and it’s time to move forward.
Let me clarify: I am not talking about setting a movie in space. But problems that are not of this world – alien bacteria, Phalanx, viruses – are a handy obstacle that could be mutant-specific (or a problem that only mutants can handle).
One More Thing
…I want to see Magneto rip the adamantium out of Wolverine. I can’t be the only one who wants that in a movie, right?
What about you? What (or who) do you want to see in a future X-Men installment? And which ‘generation’ should be involved?