Look… I know that we are just two years away from the blockbuster apocalypse.
I know franchise films, especially anything superhero related that doesn’t have Joss Whedon’s name attached to it, only seem to be getting worse. I’m learning to dread my favorite directors being sucked up into Star Wars, The Justice League and the increasingly generic disappointments that their spinoffs and sequels will be. But, in spite of all that, X-Men: Days of Future Past has me on the hook.
Hear me out. First of all, we have Peter Dinkilage, Game of Throne’s own Tyrion Lannister, as Bolivar Trask, C.E.O. of Trask Industries and creator of the genocidal Sentinals. Second, and most importantly there is the return of Bryan Singer, a director that seems to actually understand what this franchise ought to be. The fact that Singer chose to adapt Days of Future Past to film is telling. It gives Singer a clean, convenient, wibbly wobbly timey wimey way to make a “convergence” sequel in the style of The Avengers without the benefit of this having been the plan for The Wolverine, First Class and Brett Ratner’s reprehensible X3 from the beginning. It also gives Singer the opportunity to not only tie up loose ends, but to redeem Ratner’s aborted attempt at filming the Phoenix Force arc in X3 with Cyclops dead twenty minutes into the movie and the Hellfire Club completely absent. He can do this by doing another classic X-arc right. I’ll say it again: Singer gets this franchise, and this pitch perfect bit of viral marketing (which can be found on the Trask Industries website) shows it.
Now I’m a big fan of these viral marketing campaigns, my favorites being Nine Inch Nails’ alternate reality game for Year Zero and the Cloverfield Slusho campaign. The reason? They invoke a rumbling, Lovecraftian fear of the unknown while demonstrating a deep understanding of what makes these properties, whether industrial metal albums, horror movies, or superhero flicks, great. Every grain of subtlety and detail in the Trask Industries website gives me hope for Days of Future Past. If Singer is as determined to restore X-Men to its former glory as he claims to be, he might help us to reclaim hope for the blockbuster in general. At which point we could finally let him forget all about Superman Returns.