Despite the avalanche of trailers, clips, photos and interviews that have recently flooded the web in support of X-Men: First Class, it's worth noting how much the X franchise (which, after all, kick-started the resurgence of superhero cinema in 2000) has been overshadowed by the lead-up to The Avengers. But although I'm as eager as any fanboy to see that team finally assemble on screen next year, Matthew Vaughn's new film boldly, stylishly and masterfully makes an argument for the children of the atom resuming their place as the homo superior of Marvel movies - not to mention providing crackerjack entertainment that can take its place with the most effective of modern blockbusters. But is it the best? Let's examine the evidence:
Marvel's mutants go back to school, a teen assassin kicks serious butt and Al Pacino introduces us to his little friend in this week's batch of DVD releases.
In the wake of a lawsuit filed by Mike Tyson's tattoo artist, Warner Brothers has announced that they will likely alter the Tyson-like ink that Ed Helms sports on his face in The Hangover Part II for the movie's DVD release later this year. Which got us thinking -- what other digital alterations would we like to see made to recent films? Thanks to the magic of computer technology, we can fix some key problems and -- who knows? -- maybe make a better movie in the bargain.
Most comic-book movies set their virtuous heroes and dastardly villains loose in the present day. But there are also quite a few that rewind the clock and transport audiences back to another time and place. Case in point: the latest Marvel movie Captain America: The First Avenger, which takes place almost entirely during the early years of World War II and pits Cap against a squad of Nazi-affiliated soldiers led by a Hitler-esque bad guy, Johann Schmidt a.k.a. The Red Skull. Here are some of the other comics-inspired features that double as period pieces. (One note: We're looking at outings involving colorfully clad heroes only, so more serious comic-to-film translations like From Hell and Road to Perdition have been left on the cutting room floor.)
If you like your comic books with a little primetime soapy action that the Parents Television Council disapproves of, prepare to get excited: Josh Schwartz, the creator and executive producer of Gossip Girl, Chuck and The OC has just been tapped to write the next film in the X-Men franchise, X-Men: First Class. Though 20th Century Fox is keeping mum on details of the project, word has it that the film will focus on the students of Xavier's Institute for Higher Learning and could bring back some prominent characters from some of the previous X-Men films, like Rogue, Iceman, Angel and some not-so-prominent blink-and-you'd-miss-them characters like Colossus, Jubilee and Shadowcat.
Casting news about Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class has been trickling out bit by bit for a while now, with various actors attached to the project and then just as quickly unattached. Aaron Johnson was rumored to play Cyclops for a while, but that didn't pan out, and then Alice Eve was rumored to play Emma Frost, the telepathic White Queen, but now she's been replaced... by January Jones. While we aren't sure the Mad Men star can channel Emma's wicked sense of humor, she certainly nails the character's regal bearing and icy demeanor every week as Betty Draper. Which got us thinking -- rather than casting the X-Men one actor at a time, why not cast the whole team in one whole swoop, using the talented cast of Mad Men? After all, the characters of Mad Men are all larger-than-life, wear snappy outfits and, like the X-Men, they first appeared in the early 1960s. Here's what we'd like to see.
It's a commonly held fact that everything tastes better with bacon. Similarly, every movie is improved by adding Kevin Bacon -- the man is a fine actor, and he elevates every project he becomes involved in. So why hasn't he been drafted to appear in a superhero movie before this? I mean, we're glad he's going to be in X-Men: First Class, because we weren't sure if the movie was going to be any good, and now we know that it will at least be better. (We can even kind of picture him as Hellfire Club president Sebastian Shaw, which is who he's rumored to play.) But we wish he'd come in to class up superhero movies before now, because there are plenty of higher-profile ones that could have used a side of delicious Bacon. Here are six degrees we wish Bacon had on his comic-book movie transcript.