Trailer Reaction: “X-Men: Days Of Future Past”

X-Men-Days-of-Future-Past Prof-X poster.jpgI’m rarely one to condone the repetitive milking of the same money grubbing cow, but it appears that 20th Century Fox may have found some cream amidst their cash crop. Yesterday welcomed the first trailer for one of next summer’s biggest tentpoles, X-Men: Days of Future Past, a time-traveling mega-movie that intends on continuing both the original X-Men movie franchise and Matthew Vaughn’s prequel film, X-Men: First Class. Pulling from the comic source of the same name, placing X-Men and X2 director Bryan Singer back at the helm, and uniting a cast of brain-melting proportions, this surely sounds like the stuff dreams are made of. Excitingly, the first trailer provides a breathtaking look at this incredibly ambitious film, making me more excited for a comic book movie than I’ve been probably since my youth. My mind is rushing with thoughts and excitement, so I’ll let you go ahead and do the same. Check out the trailer below and scroll down to my notes afterward:
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Why We’re Excited: Getting the Band Back Together: If you thought The Avengers assembled the cast of all casts, think again. This upcoming X-Men adventure has a cast so loaded, it’s a little intimidating seeing all of these faces stitched together over just two minutes and eighteen seconds. To put it into perspective, the cast brings a total of eight Academy Award nominations and three wins, a surplus of Golden Globe nods, a multi-Emmy nominee and winner, along with the immeasurable awesomeness of Patrick Stewart and the sure-to-be-Oscar-nominated-this-year Michael Fassbender. We begin with the X-Men that began this franchise – proudly heading into its eighth film – sending the face of the cinematic X-Men, Wolverine, back in time in order to change the future. From there, Vaughn’s cast begins to appear with a super sinister Fassbender wreaking havoc, an emotionally distraught Jennifer Lawrence seemingly questioning her involvement, and a Ron Kovic-looking James McAvoy sinking into depression. Brilliantly, the future X-Men seem to have been affected by the actions of the past X-Men and the consequences of what was occurring around them – this brings the supposed villain, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and the Sentinels into play – and it is Wolverine’s task to set things straight. From there we get glimpses of explosive action set pieces set in both the past and the future, culminating with the paradoxical meeting of both McAvoy and Stewart’s versions of Professor Charles Xavier. Aptly set against the scores of John Murphy (Sunshine) and Hans Zimmer (The Thin Red Line & Inception), this trailer plays to all of our geekiest desires without spoiling any of the many lingering questions or quivering expectations. Even if you decide to just get a visual glimpse of the trailer and you turn the sound off, it’s hard to not revel in the audacity of combining this amount of talent on to the same screen. I watched this trailer three times in a row without breathing…or that’s what it seemed like. This is without question the most excited I’ve been for a superhero movie in years. “From the director of The Usual Suspects and X-Men:” It’s not uncommon for filmmakers to miss the mark after they step away from what they know best. Director Bryan Singer has had an interesting trajectory as a filmmaker with his past films barely resembling the ones he’s released recently. As the trailer states, this is the man whose career began with The Usual Suspects, one of the most beloved thrillers of all time, and then went on to direct the original X-Men, which arguably set the stage for all comic book and superhero films to come in the naughts, and the sequel X2, still holding up as one of the best superhero films to date. Since leaving the X-Men franchise, Singer’s career has been steadily heading south. His Superman Returns did the opposite of its intentions – it borderline killed the franchise – while Valkyrie was an empty tale of war-set espionage and this year’s Jack the Giant Slayer wound up far too ‘kiddie’ for its own good. Needless to say, Singer’s in need of a comeback, and sometimes that means redirecting back to what the man knows best. While my fingers will stay crossed that this doesn’t wind up being a Prometheus case where a desperate Ridley Scott returned to the universe he created and delivered face-palming results, many of the pieces seem to be in place for Days of Future Past’s success. With this hefty a cast, and exemplary source material, Singer has also taken to the Twitter-sphere constantly discussing set news and tickling the fanbase with photos which displays a good sense of confidence. While certain filmmakers like to hide in the shadows and keep their productions close to the chest – we’re looking at you J.J. Abrams and Christopher Nolan – Singer has been very press-friendly. Ultimately, we’ll be dancing with excitement until the May 23rd release date. Oh, we almost forgot to mention that First Class director Matthew Vaughn oversaw the screen story. So there’s that too… Making an Impact: While cultivating excitement and looking to deliver upon production buzz is surely part of the intention when releasing a first trailer, there’s also the debate as to whether dropping a full trailer or a teaser trailer is the correct move. Many times, you’ll find franchise films beginning their marketing campaigns with a good ninety second teaser featuring just a collection of images, but every now and then confidence will strike and our first glimpse will end up amounting to a full trailer. X-Men: Days of Future Past goes with a combination of the two options, the first trailer is a two minute and eighteen second teaser trailer. We get the ominous voiceover, the vague plot setup, the collection of images, the action and peril, the quick glimpses of supporting cast members, etc. but nothing is totally spoiled or given complete clarity. I admire Singer’s and 20th Century Fox’s approach to this first look because it appropriately establishes the scope of the product and manages to frame the endless cast of actors into a story that us non-comic aficionados are simply guessing at. This trailer is, more or less, the same footage that premiered at Comic-Con a few weeks back, but it’s easy to see why Hall H went into a frenzy after it dropped. I went into an independent frenzy in my apartment after I watched it the first time and it’s frustrating to grasp the fact that the release is still about eight months away. Nonetheless, props to this first trailer for doing exactly what trailers aught to do, but what most superhero movie trailers fail to do: Get the blood pumping way, way, way in advance. What is your take on the first trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past? How many times in a row did you watch it? Or are you still waiting to be convinced?  We want to know. Article by Mike Murphy

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