EDITORIAL: 5 Pros And 1 Con Of Matthew Vaughn Not Directing X-MEN: FIRST CLASS 2
Check out 5 reasons why Matthew Vaughn not directing the X-Men: First Class sequel is a good thing (And One Reason Why It's Not). A 'pros and cons' list, if you will.
And so the news comes. Acclaimed director, Matthew Vaughn is out of the director’s chair for his own First Class sequel. A lot of people are lamenting this development, but truth be told, I couldn’t be happier. Now, I liked First Class fine. I thought the film was good for an action movie, and I also declared it the best comic book flick of that summer. But as an X-Men movie, I have to be honest- it’s downright blasphemous.
So I have here, 5 reasons why Vaughn dropping directing duties here is a good thing. (And one reason why it’s not)
1. Matthew Vaughn would have messed it up. He doesn’t care about the source material, remember? This is a guy on record for stating he could give a sh* about the comic books. He was only using the characters to do something he always wanted- make a Bond movie. It’s kind of scary to think that as crappy as X3 was, it still has elements that are truer to the comics than First Class ever did. I would remind myself why I’m excited for this Days of Future Past concept in the first place. Would he even follow it? Is it even possible, after everything that’s been changed? Can he show some semblance of honoring one of the greatest X-Men stories ever written, or will he just do whatever he wants like last time?
2. The chances of tying the movies together is much greater now. Much course-correction needs to steer this series back on track, and put this franchise back together. The thing with First Class is that it isn’t clear exactly what it is. A prequel? A Reboot? They tried to be neither and both at the same time, and that’s left the movies murky and confusing. No doubt with the success of Marvel and Avengers, more of an effort is being made to link comic books movies and establish universes from everyone else, too. Rumors have already brewed about returning original faces. Surely with Bryan Singer back at the helm, this is more likely than ever.
3. A better handle on character. One thing I can’t deny, X-Men First Class really lacked in this department. Michael Fassbender was great as Eric, and his stuff with James McAvoy’s Xavier is pretty good. But look what happened to Emma Frost. Sebastian Shaw practically twirls a mustache; he’s such a cliché bad guy with a corny scheme. Moira MacTaggart wanders through the movie looking lost. And the first class of kids… Not enough time is spent with anyone besides Magneto (not even Charles- this is Eric’s revenge movie, basically). Say what you want about Singer’s Wolverine-centric films, those movies have still had a better sense of the X-Men ensemble.
4. Better sequencing. This is kind of hard to define, but for me, the success of Singer’s X-Men movies is the sum of its parts. I’ll never forget Magneto’s stand-off with the police, turning their guns on them. Or Wolverine clawing Rogue after waking up from a nightmare. Of course, Nightcrawler’s White House attack is now classic. As is Logan’s rager protecting the kids at the mansion. The introduction of Rogue, Magneto’s prison escape, I mean, I can’t point to too many scenes this thrilling in First Class. Eric at the South American bar, and his lifting of the submarine are as good as it gets. Even the opening at the nazi camp was just copied, because the original was done so well. It’s not just the action. It’s these great “mutant moments” that First Class didn’t have enough of, and I look forward to seeing again with a new director.
5. Back to basics. At its core, this thing should always be about societal issues- that’s X-Men at its best. People credit Chris Nolan for take Batman and comics to a realistic universe, but I argue that Bryan Singer’s grounded approach to X-Men was first. He pitted the characters ina world with real consequences and public reaction. And still managed to honor the comics. From the mutant registration act, to God Loves, Man Kills. Even X3 is not only inspired by the Phoenix story, but also borrows elements of Joss Whedon’s “Gifted” series from Astonishing X-Men. First Class was primed to really tackle this, especially being set in an era full of social strife like the 60s. But this isn’t even really an issue in the film (It’s mentioned in ONE line by Shaw in passing) and it felt like a missed opportunity. When we get into Days of Future Past, its not just about seeing sentinels. This is the worst case scenario our heroes can face under the attack of persecution. I’m interested in which ever director is interested in this.
The new movie, if nothing else, was fresh. What happens to the setting? Are we tied back to bland costumes? So here’s the thing about Singer. In hindsight, in some ways, he can be blamed for getting X-Men off to the wrong foot right from the start. Wolverine is too tall and pretty, Cyclops is second-string, and what did he do to my babe Rogue? It’s always interesting to see a new perspective on these characters and this world, and Matthew Vaughn succeeded in this way. I may not have liked that Mystique and Xavier were BFFs (what?), but watching a more proactive Charles use his powers in new ways was exciting. The strongest moments of the film for me, was the training at the school, and I only wish there was more of it. That 10 minute sequence of the film, is what the whole First Class movie should have been about all along. If Vaughn were to stay on, at the very least, we could see where his vision is going. I mean, it’s hard to complain about old continuity when a new continuity could develop into something great, too.
I would be remiss to not keep in mind that Vaughn is still on the project, as a producer. So it is likely Days of Future Past won’t be that drastic of a departure from what we’ve been getting from FOX so far. Singer or Vaughn? Producer or director? With both of them still involved in a creative capacity, we’re basically just splitting hairs. The bottom line is X-Men needs to go back to Marvel anyway, right?
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