Thursday, May 06, 2010

Kicking Mutant Ass

We already know that the rights arrangement between 20th Century Fox and Marvel virtually ensures Fox cranking out new entries in their decade-old (wow, really?) X-Men movie franchise, or risk the property reverting back to the comic giant (and, by extension, Disney).  Having bemoaned the series' qualitative collapse here and here, when I first heard about X-Men: First Class, the latest attempt to extend the big screen brand, I was all ready to go with my "X-tinct" and "X-crement" puns.

Then, inexplicably given the studio's stranglehold on this property for the past five years, they did something smart.  First, they patched things up with once-and-former X-helmer Bryan Singer (who, let's be honest, probably needed them as much as they need him), then they let Singer take creative charge, envisioning a prequel/reboot that shows the parting-of-ways between former friends and future nemeses Professor X and Magneto, and the eventual formation of the mutant super-team (minus Hugh Jackman's Wolverine, who's still headlining his own parallel franchise).

While the studio had hoped Singer would again take the reins behind the camera, scheduling conflicts with his Jack the Giant Killer for Warners made it necessary for him to instead work on the X-prequel in a producing capacity, which brings us to the latest -- somewhat surprising -- developments.  After some back-and-forth last week that left things tenuous, it's now official that Stardust and Layer Cake's Matthew Vaughn, whose comic-based Kick Ass is still in theaters, is the man to work with Singer and bring the X-Men back to the future.

Of course, those with long memories might remember that Vaughn was the first director signed by Fox after Singer departed X-Men 3 for Superman Returns, but Vaughn himself left (for either personal reasons, problems with the studio, or the studio's problems with him, depending on who you ask).  In the past, Vaughn has made no secret about his displeasure with the X3 that eventually got made by Brett Ratner, so this may well be his "put up or shut up" opportunity.

With this project essentially representing a brand new series, Vaughn will have his work cut out for him, especially since Fox has already slotted First Class into June of next year as one of their summer tentpoles.  That leaves Vaughn with an insansely-abbreviated production window to go from zero to a hundred, and as the last two entries (and Vaughn's own X-perience has shown), this isn't exactly a franchise that rewards directorial independence.  I probably should know better by now, but here I am still I'm hoping it works out and we get something great.

1 comment:

The Mad Swede said...

I'd actually missed that Vaughn was responsible for Kick-Ass. I'd planned on seeing it down the line, but will definitely speed that up. Loved Layer Cake and found Stardust enjoyable too.

Could be a save for X-Men film franchise which I soundly dropped after the piece of dung called X-Men 3.