By Niall McArdle
X-Men: First Class was an enjoyable popcorn movie that explored the early days of the not-yet-stuck-in-a-wheelchair Professor X (James McAvoy), still-a-good-guy Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and all of their friends. Set around the time of the Cuban Missile Crisis, it was a nostalgic look at the 1960s, the Cold War and John F. Kennedy. The trailer for X-Men: Days of Future Past makes it clear the heady days of the 1960s are over. The party has ended: welcome to the depression of the 1970s. In other words, break out the flared corduroy:
The film is set to be an overstuffed, mind-bending, time-travelling piece of nonsense loaded with mutants but short on logic. Director Bryan Singer has decided to cram as many of the franchise’s lead actors as he can into the film. Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry and Ellen Page get all mutanty, as do Jennifer Holmes and Nicholas Hoult.
In line with several recent superhero films, the trailer opts for closeups of actors looking somber. There is despair and bombast (it also steals music from Sunshine and Inception to overwhelm you with emotion)
It’s a fairly standard sci-fi premise: It appears that the future (actually, the present) is in peril and the only way to fix it is to go back to the past. The main thrust of the film seems to be about old Professor X convincing young Professor X “to hope again”, so you can expect MacAvoy in a wheelchair with his 1970s threads and beard and hair to get all Ron Kovic on us before he’s told to stop feeling sorry for himself and save the future.
Wolverine is still the go-to mutant, and perhaps the only X-Man who can carry a film on his own. You know exactly how X-Men: Days of Future Past is going to go. Wolverine will claw a few people. Professor X will be telepathic and preachy. Storm will, of course, make it snow; Magneto will angrily bend spoons; Mystique will be blue and naked.
At this point you have to wonder how many more mutants the world really needs. But amazingly, even though the film is already stuffed with old favourites, they’ve decided to bring in new characters, including one called Bishop, played by French actor Omar Sy, and one called Blink, played by Chinese superstar Bingbing Fan. Perhaps Twentieth Century Fox’s mutant power is canny casting that helps the box office in international markets.
UPDATED MARCH 25: They have released a second trailer. It looks as if much of the action takes place in Paris and Washington. It still doesn’t look any good.
A handy guide to the whole mess of mutants here:
X-Men: Days of Future Past hits cinemas next summer and will make a fortune.
If we’re lucky the film may be as enjoyable as this: