Welcome to “Trailer Tuesday” where I talk about trailers for upcoming movies, since I’ve always found trailers to be endlessly fascinating.
Those of you who saw Thor: The Dark World last weekend were treated to an unusual trailer for the next X-Men movie. It’s a trailer that’s different than what I expected, which I think serves it well. Take a look, and read on for my thoughts:
First let me say that I think the music in this trailer is beautiful (“The Surface of the Sun” by John Murphy and “Journey to the Line” by Hans Zimmer). Trailer music is such a difficult thing. If it’s too obvious where the music came from it can be distracting, and meanwhile it’s difficult to match the tone. Kudos to whoever assembled this trailer for their choice in music.
All other things aside, the trailer does what trailers are supposed to do, which is inform the viewer about the movie, which is based on one of the most popular story arcs of the X-Men comics of the 80s. The film obviously follows the events of The Wolverine, tying directly into that film’s best scene, which happened to be after the credits. At some point in the future the X-Men, along with a resurrected Professor Xavier and a reempowered Magneto, are facing some sort of apocalypse, and the solution is for Wolverine to mentally travel back in time and alter the course of events. Specifically, he needs to inspire a young Xavier.
That’s all the plot setup that’s necessary, as there are only two main purposes of this trailer. One of them is showing off the insane cast and the other is this:
It’s safe to say that the first two X-Men films kicked off the superhero craze that is still riding high today. The first film was fresh and funny and had a stellar cast, while the second was deep and thoughtful and much more exciting and full of pathos. And while Bryan Singer eventually left the series to direct Superman Returns, there’s no doubt that the popularity of the X-Men as a film saga owes a lot to him. The Last Stand may have been mediocre at best, the two Wolverine films were varying degrees of bad, and the reboot, First Class, was popular but not overly successful (and I’m not personally a huge fan of it), but Bryan Singer’s name still has some punch behind it. After all, he’s the man who has gotten the band back together one last time for this event.
In fact, Singer’s name, in combination with the all-star cast, makes this new film feel far more like an event than a sequel. It’s not quite on the level of The Avengers, but it does feel like something different. I can’t think of any series that has followed a similar trajectory, with 3 main films, two spinoffs and a prequel/reboot. Days of Future Past almost feels like one of those special reunion episodes from a TV series that has been on the air for 15 years, where the original cast returns alongside the new cast and with that one guy who has hung around the whole time (Hugh Jackman).
I’m honestly in love with this trailer’s tone, regardless of my feelings about the film itself. It conjures up nostalgia for when the X-Men films felt new, reminds us of the promise that the story holds, piques our curiosity about how the two time periods will mesh, all while capturing a sense of melancholy and loss being suffered by heroes in both time periods. Laugh if you want, but I’m impressed. Before this trailer I held merely a curiosity about how a film like this might turn out, but after this trailer I feel like I have some sort of longstanding emotional investment in the film.
Of course, the other half of this trailer is about is showing off this cast. There are a few newbies, many of whom seem to be working for Magneto:
There are the First Class versions of our characters:
And finally there’s the original cast, a surprising number of whom are returning (including some we don’t even see in this trailer).
I’m sure future trailers will continue highlighting the cast, while also trying to play up the plot and the action, not to mention showing off the Sentinels, whose effects probably weren’t ready in time for this trailer. I would expect our future glimpses of the film to feel more ordinary, and less special. I’m not the biggest X-Men fan around, even if I do love X2: X-Men United, but suffice to say that this first trailer for Days of Future Past made a big impression on me.
What do you think? Are you excited for X-Men: Days of Future Past? Do you realize that this cast has 8 Academy Award nominations among them (and 3 wins), not to mention many Emmy wins and nominations and other acting awards? How about the Razzies (::cough:: Catwoman)? Does Bryan Singer’s return to the series make any difference to you? How does a film event as unique as this compare to something like The Avengers? Do you like the tone set by the trailer, which feels different than most superhero films? What do you think of the touch of grey in Wolverine’s hair? Let me know in the comments!