The latest trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past dropped this morning, and it hit like a, well, like a magnetically lifted stadium dropped from a great height (I’m not sure if that still counts as a home game or not). This look at Days of Future Past is easily the best of the bunch so far, taking us from a bleak future dystopia overrun with killer robots, back to the era when Xavier was still walking, not to mention sporting a truly excellent leather-jacket-and-shades combo. More importantly, the trailer gives us further looks at Days of Future Past’s massive cast, an unholy stitched-together Frankenstein’s monster marrying the world of Bryan Singer’s two original X-Men films with the prequel setting of the surprise hit X-Men: First Class. (And anyone who mentions that other X-Men movie that came in between will get such a slap.)
We don’t typically cover the barrage of comic-book movies that are all the rage these days, except when it’s something like Guardians of the Galaxy or Thor: The Dark World which both have at least one foot firmly planted in science fiction. So as much as we might normally leave the X-Men coverage to our sister site Cinema Blend, we just can’t say no when the latest trailer is so packed full of time travel, giant murderous robots, and a bleak vision of the future.
Days of Future Past sees the return of director Bryan Singer to the world of the mutants, in a film designed to bridge his first two films with 2011 prequel X-Men: First Class (but seriously, nobody mention X-Men: The Last Stand). The flick is based on the classic Days of Future Past storyline from the comics, which originally ran in 1981 and was co-plotted by Chris Claremont, John Byrne, and Terry Austin. It had Kitty Pryde traveling back in time from a bleak, dystopian future where mutants had been all but exterminated by giant robots called Sentinels.
Let’s make a few things clear right away. We love theaters, we love television, and we love DVDs and Blu-rays. That said, we also love online streaming. And so we present this new weekly feature spotlighting the more important new science fiction-related releases of the past week from such sites as Hulu, Crackle, Redbox Instant, and the granddaddy of them all, Netflix. So without further ado, here is the best that legal streaming has to offer…
The Hunger Games (Netflix)
This ridiculously popular first entry adapted from Suzanne Collins’ mega-hit franchise tore up theaters, making it the 13th highest grossing film of all time, not adjusting for inflation. Though the sequel will of course be bigger and better, Gary Ross’ efforts here are accommodating for almost all audience types. Boys like Jennifer Lawrence’s hottie heroine, girls like Liam Hemsworth, and someone probably likes Lenny Kravitz dressed like “Prince from outer space.” Chances are, you’re beyond sick of hearing about this flick, so just know that if you’re into watching kids beat the shit out of each other, watch Battle Royale. For slightly less violent urges, this is the film for you.
Hard though it might be to believe these days, super-hero movies weren’t always big business. Prior to the comic-movie renaissance launched by 1998′s Blade and set ablaze by Bryan Singer’s first X-Men movie, the thought that we’d ever see big-budget movies based on Thor or Green Lantern were just fanboy pipe dreams. The notion that we’d see the creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer directing a $220 million Avengers movie was outright ludicrous. But even before superhero movies became a box-office trend, there were major Hollywood players that saw their appeal. Case in point, James Cameron, whose aborted treatment for a Spider-Man movie has been fluttering around the internet for ages. If you’re a fan of GFR, there’s a good chance you’ve even read it. What isn’t widely known, however, is that Cameron also considered making an X-Men movie at one point.
The tale of an X-Men movie that could have been comes from legendary Marvel writer Chris Claremont (as reported by The Wrap). Claremont was responsible for one of the best-remembered comic runs of Marvel’s merry mutants, writing Uncanny X-Men from 1975-1991 and co-creating characters such as Rogue, Phoenix, and Mystique. He spoke at a Columbia University panel this past Saturday, where he dropped the Cameron bomb. Apparently Claremont and Stan Lee pitched the idea for an X-Men movie to James Cameron back in 1990, soon after Cameron launched his Lightstorm Entertainment production company. “Just think about this for a minute: James Cameron’s X-Men. Directed by Kathryn Bigelow. That’s what we were playing,” said Claremont. Unfortunately, the project was accidentally thrown under the bus when Stan Lee changed the subject to Spider-Man. As Claremont explains:
File this one under the category of “Nice Problems To Have.” Actress Jennifer Lawrence, who you might have seen playing young Mystique in last summer’s rather awesome X-Men: First Class, is about to become a huge star courtesy of this weekend’s The Hunger Games release. That film, as you may have heard, is poised to be a gigantic hit, which means Ms. Lawrence will become a bona fide hot commodity. The battle to lay claim to her schedule is already shaping up, according to The Hollywood Reporter. Apparently studio insiders are whispering about a potential scheduling kerfuffle between the next Hunger Games installment and the new X-Men sequel, with Lawrence caught right in the middle.
As I said, as far as problems go, “Which multi-million-dollar franchise do I commit to first?” can’t quite compete with “Where am I getting the next meal for my children?” but such is the surreal landscape of Tinseltown. Lionsgate wants to shoot the HG follow-up Catching Fire this summer, which could cause it to butt up against Fox’s planned fall shoot for the untitled X-Men: First Class sequel. Supposedly nobody’s breaking out the torches and pitchforks just yet, and one of Lawrence’s reps says that both studios are “making accommodations for her.” If it did come down to a stand-off, however, THR’s insiders suggest that Fox’s option on Lawrence would trump Lionsgate’s, since Lawrence wasn’t cast in The Hunger Games until well after she signed on the line which is dotted with Fox.
You can see Lawrence as heroine Katniss Evergreen in The Hunger Games, opening in theaters this Friday, March 23rd.