I get the feeling X:DFP is either going to be amazing or an overstuffed Last Stand-like disaster. Still, it’s yet another testament to just how decisively fanboys have won the culture war when they’re making a movie of one of the most iconic X-Men tales with both casts from the previous films — the McAvoy/Fassbender/Lawrence team of First Class and the Stewart/McKellen/Jackman team of the first three films. An ensemble movie and no mistake.
Update: Even more X-Men: Now Singer is teasing the return of Cyclops and Jean Grey.
Ten days into the new year, it’s past time to knock out GitM’s best-of-2011 list. To be honest, last year’s movie crop was somewhat underwhelming, and as always, there are a few more gaps I’d love to have plugged first — Cedar Rapids, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, Take Shelter, Warrior — but, for what I saw last year, here’s the best of ‘em…
Most Disappointing: Had I more faith in Zack Snyder beforehand, this would go to his thoroughly terrible Sucker Punch, and, alas, the unfortunately botched Green Lantern came close to taking this spot as well. In the end, though, this goes to Jon Favreau’s misfire Cowboys and Aliens. Cowboys! Aliens! Daniel Craig! Harrison Ford! And yet, this one came out duller than dirt.
Worth Netflixing: The Adjustment Bureau, Beginners, The Conspirator, A Dangerous Method, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Pt. 2, Hugo, The Ides of March, J. Edgar, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, The Tree of Life, The Trip, Win Win
Best Actor: Gary Oldman, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy; George Clooney, The Descendants; Michael Fassbender, Shame
Best Actress: Rooney Mara, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, Charlize Theron, Young Adult; Mia Wasikowska, Jane Eyre
Best Supporting Actor: Uggie, The Artist; Christopher Plummer, Beginners, Eric Bana, Hanna; Benedict Cumberbatch and Tom Hardy, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy
Best Supporting Actress: Shailene Woodley, The Descendants; Jessica Chastain, The Tree of Life, Melissa McCarthy, Bridesmaids, Cate Blanchett, Hanna
Unseen: 30 Minutes or Less, Albert Nobbs, Anonymous, Another Earth, Apollo 18, Arthur, Arthur Christmas, Atlas Shrugged, A Very Harold and Kumar Christmas, Bad Teacher, Barney’s Version, Beastly, The Beaver, Bellflower, Biutiful, Carnage, Cars 2, Cedar Rapids, The Change-Up, Colombiana, Conan the Barbarian, Coriolanus, The Darkest Hour, The Debt, The Devil’s Double, The Dilemma, Dolphin Tale, Don’t Be Afraid of the Dark, Dream House, Drive Angry, Dylan Dog: Dead of Night, Everything Must Go, Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close, Fast Five, Footloose, Fright Night, The Guard, The Hangover Pt 2, Happy Feet 2,The Help, Hesher, Horrible Bosses, I Am Number Four, Immortals, Incendies, In the Land of Blood and Honey, In Time, The Iron Lady, I Saw the Devil, Jack and Jill, Killer Elite, Kung Fu Panda 2, Larry Crowne, The Last Circus, Like Crazy, The Lincoln Lawyer, Margaret, Margin Call, Martha Marcy May Marlene, The Mechanic, Melancholia, Moneyball, Mr. Popper’s Penguins, My Week with Marilyn, New Year’s Eve, Our Idiot Brother, Paranormal Activity 3, Pariah, Paul, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides, Priest, Puss in Boots, Rango, Real Steel, Red State, Rio, The Rum Diary, Sanctum, Scream 4, Sleeping Beauty, The Smurfs, Something Borrowed, Straw Dogs, Take Me Home Tonight, Take Shelter, The Thing, The Three Musketeers, Tower Heist, Transformers: Dark of the Moon, Twilight: Breaking Dawn, The Way Back, Warrior, We Bought a Zoo, We Need to Talk about Kevin, Winnie the Pooh, Your Highness, Zookeeper
And so the studio decided to replace Vaughn with veteran hack Brett Ratner, who, true to form, subsequently delivered an egregious cash-grab of a movie. (To be fair, Ratner’s hands were tied by a terrible, death-heavy script that never should’ve been greenlighted.) Thus was destroyed much of the goodwill Fox had built up with Bryan Singer’s X-Men and X2: X-Men United, and the studio’s reputation was cemented as the place where otherwise decent comic book properties are squeezed for an opening weekend box office haul and then left to die. (See also: Daredevil, Elektra, and Tim Story’s two terrible Fantastic Four films.)
So when news broke in May of 2010 that director Matthew Vaughn would be returning to the X-franchise for X-Men: First Class, Fox’s Mad Men-era reboot of Marvel’s most famous mutants — due out the following summer! — the fanfolk out there had to wonder: Would the consistently solid Vaughn, now with Stardust and Kick-Ass under his belt, actually be able to churn out a high-quality X-film under even more ridiculous time constraints? The answer, happily, is yes. Jaunty and briskly paced throughout, this globe-trotting X-adventure has the comic book energy and sense of fun its predecessor lacked. And even with a bevy of C-lister mutants on the roster (more on them in a moment), X-Men: First Class could very well be the best X-film in the franchise. (It and X2 would have to slug that out in the Danger Room, I think.) If nothing else, it’s the second surprisingly solid Marvel film this summer — let’s hope Cap can make it a trifecta.
Just as J.J. Abrams and co. made the best of the Star Wars prequels in Star Trek, one great decision Vaughn and his six-deep story and writing team make is to unabashedly borrow from other genre influences. Vaughn himself has described the movie as “X-Men meets Bond,” and that he molded “a young Magneto on a young Sean Connery. He’s the ultimate spy — imagine Bond, but with superpowers.” And it works, in part because Fassbender, like the young Connery, has charisma to spare. For the first half-hour or so, it’s inordinately good fun watching the young mutant master of magnetism (and languages) channel Bond-by-way-of-Simon-Wiesenthal and scour the globe for ex-Nazis to get payback for his parents (not to mention, in a clever switcheroo, Dustin Hoffman in Marathon Man.)
But 007 isn’t the only genre influence at work here. As it does in the comics, if you think about it, the earliest iteration of Xavier’s School for Gifted Youngsters here also has a touch of the Hogwarts magic, especially when our first team of young mutants — here, Mystique, Beast, Havoc, Banshee, a Pixieish Angel, and Darwin — show each other their powers. And, of course, there’s more than a bit of an Obi-Wan-Anakin-and-the-Emperor triangle going on with Professor X, the big M, and Kevin Bacon’s impressive Big Bad, Sebastian Shaw, albeit with less whining and green screen-induced thousand yard stares.
Speaking of Bacon: You really can’t say enough about the exceptional cast of X-Men: First Class. It would be very easy to imagine this film falling on its face if folks other than he, Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence were carrying the acting load here. As it is, you don’t get the sense from any of them that they feel like they’re slumming it here. (Sadly, one does gets that sense from January Jones as Emma Frost, a.k.a. the White Queen. She’s as wooden as Betty Draper and is…not good. The originally cast Alice Eve, or Rosamund Pike, would have been better.)
The only real qualm I have with X-Men: First Class, and it’s ultimately a minor one, is that this isn’t actually X-Men’s First Class — likely because Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Iceman made it into the first few films — and the roster they chose here feels rather budget. (Havok and Banshee, for example, have pretty much exactly the same power when you get right down to it, and other than Banshee’s “sonar” moment, everything they do here could’ve been done by Scott Summers.) Still, the beauty of the X-franchise is that the roster is always getting rejiggered in some way or another — even death is merely a setback — so they can always bring more intriguing heros on for X-Men: Second Class. Let’s just hope Fox has learned to keep Vaughn, or another director of his caliber, in the director’s (wheel)chair this time.
In case you were wondering, that’s skinny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans + CGI) above, and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) apparently enjoying some downtime below.
Also not to be forgotten, we have another official pic of Marc Webb’s Amazing Spiderman. Looks good in a dark room, at least.
Also backlogged for a week or so: After a not-so-great initial photo leak, Matthew Vaughn of Layer Cake, Stardust, and Kick-Ass talks about what to expect from his X-Men: First Class. “It’s got a lot of teenage angst. The Twilight girls will like it.” Hrm.
Update: Just as I finished posting this, a promo image leaks from Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men First Class. From left to right: “Michael Fassbinder as Magneto, Rose Byrne as Moira MacTaggert, January Jones as Emma Frost, Jason Flemyng as Azazel, Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Lucas Till as Havoc, Zoe Kravitz as Angel Salvadore, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, and James MacAvoy as Charles Xavier.” Looks…crowded.
“‘We’ll use many of the same characters as we have all along, and we’ll be introducing some new ones,’ Nolan said cryptically.” Lots of big doings on the fanboy front recently: First up, the next Batman movie has a (lousy) title: The Dark Knight Rises, and Chris Nolan has announced the Riddler will not be the villain. (He earlier wrote off Mr. Freeze.) So whomever Tom Hardy turns out to be, it’s not Edward Nigma. (My current guess is he’s Killer Croc, with a yet-to-be-cast Catwoman as the main villain.)
Riddles may not feature in Gotham, but they will soon be spun in deepest Wellington: In happy news, New Zealand will be returning as Middle Earth for the upcoming Hobbit films. “‘Making the two movies here will not only safeguard work for thousands of New Zealanders, but will also allow us to follow the success of the ‘Lord of the Rings’ trilogy in once again promoting New Zealand on the world stage,’ [Prime Minister!] Key said.“
Those are the two big upcoming guns. But, also on the docket, James Cameron officials signs up for two more Avatars for 2014 and 2015. Well…ok. I can think of other worlds I’d rather see him tackle than Pandora again.
And, with Black Swan opening very soon, Darren Aronofsky announces his next project (after, um, Wolverine 2), will be called Machine Man. “Machine Man, not to be confused with the Marvel Comics character, concerns a tech engineer who, tired of going through life average and unnoticed, replaces parts of his body with titanium upgrades of his own design. He then discovers that he isn’t the only one with plans for his new body.“
A publicity still from Kenneth Branagh’s Thor featuring Odin, Thor, and Loki, a.k.a. Anthony Hopkins, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston respectively, materializes on the tubes. Well, I’ll defer my full assessment until I’ve seen the characters move around under cinema lighting, but, to my mind, these outfits don’t look so hot. I guess they were going for Kirbyesque, but they look too plastic-y and space-age to me. (Also, Loki needs horns badly, but they’re too iconic not to show up in the final movie, I’d think.)
Elsewhere in comic-to-film-news, EW gets a look at Ryan Reynolds as Green Lantern (again, too early to tell, but this CGI-approach could work), and, in lieu of Eric Bana and Edward Norton, Mark Ruffalo may well be Hulking out for Joss Whedon’s Avengers. (Eh, fine.)
Update: Forgot to mention the recent goings-on with Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class. Joining McAvoy, Fassbender, and Eve as Xavier, Magneto, and Emma Frost are Kevin Bacon and Jennifer Lawrence (of Winter’s Bone) as the Big Bad (Mr. Sinister?) and Mystique respectively. Also along for the ride: A Single Man‘s Nicholas Hoult as Beast, Friday Night Lights‘ Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee, Hannah Montana‘s Lucas Till as Havok, and purportedly Kick-Ass‘s Aaron Johnson as Cyclops, altho’ that last one is still up in the air.
In the Jonah Hex review below, I mentioned the intriguing casting of James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as Professor X and Magneto respectively. Now, Matthew Vaughn’s X-Men: First Class circles ’round its White Queen in Alice Eve of She’s Out of My League and Sex and the City 2. Haven’t seen either of those, but she looks the part…although I still might’ve gone with Rosamund Pike myself.
“Vaughn’s involvement had been on and off, with negotiations resuming yesterday thanks to the involvement of producer Bryan Singer. Another factor had been Fox’s desire of wanting to have a finished film for next summer, making the search for a director who can deliver a quality film a priority.“
Hmm…strange. Elsewhere in comic-to-film news, Layer Cake, Stardust, and Kick-Ass helmer Matthew Vaughn — who memorably left X3 before it became a Ratner hack job — is now back with the mutants for X-Men: First Class, i.e. the Professor X & Magneto backstory. I’d kinda soured on the X-franchise after the last two Fox ventures — never even saw Wolverine — but Vaughn instantly makes this interesting again.
“Standing 5 foot 3, weighing 300 pounds (thanks to that metal skeleton), he’s a hairy-backed fashion victim from a country nobody takes seriously. But look around any high-school or college cafeteria during lunch hour at the armies of hairy-backed, height and weight disproportionate fashion victims and you’ll quickly realize that these are his people. If you’re a nerd, a loser, an outcast, or a misfit then there’s only one all-purpose tough guy for you. Wolverine: He’s just like us. Only Canadian.“
Over in Slate and in honor of his new solo movie (which I’m still planning to skip — I’m sure it’ll be mildly entertaining on TNT in a few years), Grady Hendrix doffs his hat to the enduring popularity of Wolverine. If you say so, bub. When I wasn’t crushing on Kitty Pryde — I was always more of a Nightcrawler kid, so i’ll take your word for it. At any rate, Hendrix’s evisceration of the trademark Claremont style is pretty funny (although I’d disagree with him that Wolvie is Claremont’s Malcolm X — That would be Magneto.)
Times are tough, bub. In a clear sign that the economic downturn is affecting actors and celebrities as much as it is ordinary working people, Danny Huston and Liev Schreiber pay off their mortgages alongside Hugh Jackman in the new trailer for Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Ok, I kid, this doesn’t look completely terrible. But some of the shots here — particularly Jackman walking away from the explosion, hanging on to that chopper, or otherwise engaged in wire-fu — definitely have that C-movie, Punisher: War Zone feel to them. And after the directorial switcheroo that brought about the lamentable X3: The Last Stand (which has an equally overburdened title, come to think of it — what’s with the colons?), I’m not all that inclined to look charitably on Fox’s handling of this property anymore.
Fanboy-wise, I had mostly checked out of X-Men by the time they began revisiting Wolvie’s origin every other year — most of the stuff I do remember involved Kitty Pryde and feudal Japan — so I can’t really speak to what’s going on in this clip in terms of comic continuity. That being said, I’ve always thought the cajun mutant cardslinger Gambit (here, Friday Night Lights‘ Taylor Kitsch, no pun intended) was a pretty goofy, throwaway character, n’est-ce-pas, mes amis? It is interesting to see (I think) Emma Frost pop up for a second, but, again, I’m much more familiar with the character in her old, Hellfire Club incarnation, before she pulled a Magneto somewhere along the line and got retconned into a X-member. (And I always thought, movie-wise, they should’ve cast Rosamund Pike for the White Queen, particularly in her ice-castle incarnation from the otherwise-completely-forgettable Die Another Day.)
Mutie alert: Despite a few all-too-brief glimpses of a better (or at least more enjoyable) movie scattered therein, Brett Ratner’s X3: The Last Stand is, as the fanboy nation suspected, a truly terrible film. In fact, with the possible exception of Ian McKellen hamming his way through Magneto, it’s hard to think of anyone who brought above their C-game to this woeful project — the directing is workmanlike, the effects look cheap, the shots have that Canadian backlot look to them, the score is hamhanded and distracting, the actors seem bored, and, worst of all, the script is flat-out embarrassing. What’s more, if you harbor any affection for the comic (and particularly the Dark Phoenix arc ostensibly in play here, although it’s been cross-wired with Joss Whedon’s early run), you’ll probably just leave irritated. In short, X3 is just the type of lowest-common-denominator, dumbed-down rush job that gives both summer movies and comic movies a bad name: Think Fantastic Four.
Compounding the aggravation, X3 seems like it might turn out reasonably decent for the first ten minutes or so. The film begins with two flashbacks: The more interesting one, although it steals much of its subtext from Raimi’s Spiderman, involves a teenage Angel trying to clip his wings (the other features not-quite-ready-for-primetime de-aging CGI.) But then we’re thrust into a really clunky Danger Room sequence, involving Sentinels that have all the terrible grandeur of an industrial-strength flashlight and a Corman-esque Colossus that screams straight-to-video. (Apparently, the Danger Room was built in Professor Xavier’s Bargain Basement.) And, from there, it’s just down, down down. As it turns out, Worthington industries (run by Michael Murphy of Tanner), with the acquiescence of the President (a man who’s prone to looking into the camera and exclaiming “God…help…us.” whenever needed) has, as per Whedon, created a “cure” for mutants, prompting outrage (Storm, Halle Berry), confusion (Beast, Kelsey Grammar), relief (Rogue, Anna Paquin), and righteous megalomania (Magneto, McKellen) among the varied facets of mutantkind. Meanwhile, as tensions mount and the timely metaphors fly thick, a bedraggled Cyclops (James Marsden) ventures out to Alkali Lake — site of the climax of X2 — where he, surprisingly, encounters Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) alive and well. Ok, maybe not well…
As you can see, X3 is playing with at least two quality story arcs out of the X-Men canon here, so you’d think it’d just have to ride them through. But, alas, screenwriters Simon Kinberg and Zak Penn — who, make no bones about it, deserve the lion’s share of blame for this drek — go crazier than Chris Claremont in his post-Mutant Massacre burnout phase. (Speaking of mutant massacres, no less than [Major Movie-Ruining Spoiler] SIX major characters — Cyclops, Xavier, Mystique, Magneto, Jean Grey, Rogue — are eliminated by the end of this flick, which, even given the lax standards one must accord this universe, seems both ridiculously brutal and exceedingly lazy writing.) Virtually everybody here — and particularly Xavier and Magneto — has at least one speech, quip, or action that seems totally out-of-character. (For her part, Halle Berry plays Storm as if she were Halle Berry.) Neither the good guys nor bad guys’ plans make one lick of sense. And, even despite all the X-Men on hand here, the film is overflowing with undifferentiated throwaway characters who all look and act like tattoo-riddled redshirts.
By the way, did I mention this film looks cheap? Oh, hell yes. Beast looks like a cross between a Metallica roadie and an alien on a Sci-Fi channel miniseries. Dark Phoenix — who, by the way, not once exhibits a phoenix flame — instead occasionally unleashes the terrifying cosmic force of scrubbly bubbles (a la the distintegrating vampires in Blade.) And the wire-fu…oof, it’s just plain sad. So, is there anything good here? Well, very briefly, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Juggernaut (Vinnie Jones), Madrox (Eric Dane), Moira (Olivia Williams)…that’s about it, and it all totals about ten minutes of screen time. In short, after the surprisingly delectable heights of Bryan Singer’s X2 (Nightcrawler in the White House, Magneto’s escape), this film is at best a tremendous disappointment, and at worst an insult to the fan base. If this and FF is how Avi Arad and Marvel have decided to treat their best (non-Spiderman) properties from now herein, make mine DC.
Today’s trailers: Crockett & Tubbs reunite as Colin Farrell and Jamie Foxx respectively in the full trailer for Michael Mann’s film version of Miami Vice (This isn’t much of an improvement on the teaser, frankly.) And, Dell offers seven minutes of clips from X3: The Last Stand, of which all but 90 seconds or so (thanks to Ian McKellen, who’s clearly at home scenery-chewing his way through this badly-written drek) looks and sounds cringeworthy. From this, it seems the real problem with X3 may be less Ratner than the so-far really clunky script by Simon Kinberg & Zak Penn.
The Religious Affiliation of Comic Book Characters, with a handy graphic of who’s a member of what “legion.” The site also includes impressively detailed individual entries on each character — not only the big guns like Methodist Superman, Episcopal Batman, Catholic Daredevil, and Buddhist Wolverine, but also everyone from Presbyterian Wolfsbane to the Mormon Power Pack. (Via Triptych Cryptic.)
From Beauty and the Beast to a Beast of a different color, USA Today posts some stills from X3, including one of Kelsey Grammer in costume. I for one never imagined Beast as an irate leprechaun. Update: The brand-new teaser for Ratner’s X3: The Last Stand (Yep, that appears to be the title) is now online. Keep an eye out for Juggernaut and Callisto (also both in the official photo gallery), Dark Phoenix hangin’ with Magneto’s crew (the Brotherhood), and what looks to be a fastball special.
In other comic-film news, more X-Trouble on the horizon: In keeping with schlockmeister Brett Ratner’s earlier-professed desire to sex up the X-Men, X3 adds two come-hither mutants: Mercedes Scelba-Shorte of America’s Next Top Model as M/Monet St. Croix (from Generation X, which is after my time..they’re the new New Mutants, I guess) and Ashley Hartman of The OC as Emma Frost, the White Queen (formerly a villain, until reconceived during the Grant Morrison run.) I guess this means we’ll never get a full Hellfire Club X-film, which is particularly depressing after reading a fanboy dream-cast Deadwood‘s Ian McShane as Sebastian Shaw, the Black King, in the AICN talkback. That would’ve been ten kinds of perfect.
The X3 cast fills out with Michael “Tanner” Murphy, Bill “Predator” Duke, and Olivia Williams as Angel’s Dad, a White House politico, and Moira McTaggart respectively, as well as House of Sand and Fog‘s Shohreh Aghdashloo as Dr. Kavita Rao. Hmmm. I really like the Olivia Williams casting (even if she isn’t Scottish), but, in general, X3 is starting to sound more and more like an overstuffed rush job.
Some trailers for movies I doubt I’ll see: Jim Carrey and Tea Leoni keep up with the Joneses via armed robbery in Fun with Dick and Jane, Eomer and The Rock wield BFGs in the totally unnecessary film version of Doom, and suburban housewife Julianne Moore pens her way to big bucks (much to the chagrin of man-of-the-house Woody Harrelson) in The Prizewinner of Defiance, Ohio. Ho-hum. Also in film news, Ellen Page is Kitty Pryde in X3, which sits better with me than the idea of Eli of Freaks & Geeks as Angel.
In recent casting news, Geoffrey Rush joins Spielberg’s Vengeance (with Eric Bana and Daniel Craig), Laurence Fishburne boards MI:3, and Alan Cumming announces he won’t be back as Nightcrawler for X3. Well, good to hear at least the blue fuzzy elf will miss the Ratneresque carnage Fox is about to perpetrate on the X-Franchise.
Likely to help squelch the rampant bad buzz since the Ratner hiring, Fox releases this X3 teaser poster. I dunno…the AICN guys got their hands on a spoiler-laden script review, and right now it seems this might turn into a fiasco of Fantastic Four-like proportions.
With Matthew Vaughn gone, is Marvel really going to put X3 in the hands of Brett Hackner? Oh, lordy, that’s terrible. Apparently, the film will include three surprising deaths and a sex scene to boot. Well, shucks, I hope they find a way to fit some car chases in there too. I always thought X-Men needed more car chases. Update: It seems official…Ratner’s in.
Some strange fanboy news afoot on this day of Sith: Avi Arad announces Kelsey Grammer will play Beast in X3. Also, Angel and Kitty Pryde have yet to be cast, although Maggie Grace of Lost is apparently in the running for the latter. (On the villain side, we already knew Vinnie Jones is Juggernaut.) That’s…weird. But y’know, I could actually see it working.
In Marvel film news, the Fantastic Four trailer from ShoWest makes it online (nope, still not feeling it), and there’s more talk of the villains for X3 and Spidey 3: Dark Phoenix and (as I guessed…booyah) The Sandman respectively.
Thanks to ShoWest and otherwise, there’s been quite a bit of fanboy news to come down the pike in the past few days…
Big doings for the cast and crew of Layer Cake, a Guy Ritchie-like London crime film coming out this summer. Its director, Matthew Vaughn, will take Bryan Singer’s place in the X3 director’s chair, and its star, Daniel Craig, is apparently on the short list for the new Bond (along with Nip/Tuck‘s Julian McMahon.) Of those two, I’d go with Craig.
Lots of fanboy trilogy news at ComingSoon today…Famke Janssen talks about the likelihood of Dark Phoenix in X3, word of a likely Episode III cameo breaks, and New Line announces it’ll shoot Books 2 and 3 of His Dark Materials back-to-back should the first one prove a hit. “New Line says the ‘Materials’ trilogy would soar far beyond the $350 million the studio spent on ‘The Lord of the Rings’ trilogy.” It’s good to see New Line continuing to make big gambles on fantasy adaptations, but still…it sounds a bit like the guy who doubles his money on black in Vegas, then goes ahead and throws it all back on the table. Ah well, our gain, I suppose.
Sigourney Weaver as Emma Frost? It probably won’t happen now that Bryan Singer’s X3 team has moved to Superman, but that would’ve been fun casting.
In comic film news, Halle Berry drops out of X3, because, as her agent puts it, Berry’s “an Oscar winner and she wants roles that test her.” Yeah, like Catwoman. She may be replaced by former FF contender Christina Milian. Speaking of which, the same article also announces the current short list for FF casting: Ioan Gruffudd (Lancelot of King Arthur) as Mr. Fantastic (maybe…seems a little too young), Rachel McAdams (The Notebook and Mean Girls, y’all) as Sue Storm (that definitely could work), Chris Evans (Not Another Teen Movie) as the Human Torch (ok, whatever, this could be any young actor), and Michael Chiklis (The Shield) as The Thing (depends on the makeup.) Update: Apparently, 3 of these 4 are now signed, with only Invisible Girl left to cast, and Jessica Alba’s making a run for it.
Also regarding X3, will Jessica Simpson play Dazzler? Well, it might work as a Colossus-type cameo. I can think of at least two dozen other muties I’d prefer to see as leads, though.
“It seems a pretty sunny and conservative and confident moment, despite a hangover of vulnerability from 9/11 and the recently stalled economy…That’s precisely the time when antiheroes are needed and comprehensible.” How the Dubya era paved the way for Marvel’s movie ascendance. A bit goofy, but ok.
I’m not sure how it’ll play to people who didn’t grow up on the comic, but last night’s midnight showing of X2 was much better than I had anticipated. Offhand, I can think of three setpieces (Nightcrawler at the White House, the assault on the mansion, and Magneto’s escape) that were the closest thing to fanboy pr0n I’ve seen in ages (LOTR notwithstanding), and that’s not counting all the great little flourishes and knowing winks throughout. In fact, to a person, everyone returning from X-Men (which I was lukewarm about) seemed more comfortable this time around — even Halle Berry, although she’s still miscast. And both Alan Cumming (Nightcrawler) and Brian Cox (Striker, the bad guy) fit in nicely. Sure, the film drags a bit in the last twenty-five minutes or so (as they set up X3), but overall Singer & co. hit this one out of the park…a very auspicious way to kick off the summer of Hulk and the Matrices. (Of course, the crowd helped too – when in the first five minutes Wolvie is backpacking in Canada, and the guy at the end of the row said something like, “Why doesn’t he call in Sasquatch or Puck for back-up?,” I knew I was with my people.)
A whole slew of new X2 pics arrive online, including this shot at right of Alan Cumming as Kurt Wagner/Nightcrawler (who looks an order of magnitude better than he did here and here six months ago.) A few spoilers scattered throughout.
Probably the biggest thrill of the Daredevil experience, the X2 trailer is now online. I’m not sure how they’re going to introduce all these characters enough for a layperson’s liking, but it looks like great fun for fans of the comic. Update: Faster than a Wolverine-Colossus fastball special and brighter than a Dazzler stage show, it’s now officially online in Quicktime.
Former Authority scribe Mark Millar offers his vision for revamping Detective Comics. (Via Neilalien.) What with Marvel finally feeling the movie mojo (Daredevil notwithstanding), it’s kinda sad to see DC languish these days. I remember the days when DC/Vertigo were pretty much firing on every cylinder while the X-Men were dinking around the Australian outback and Marvel was trying to garner new readers by having the Secret Wars Beyonder traipsing around dressed like Phillip Michael Thomas. How the mighty have fallen.