What is it with superheroes and redheads?
I was fourth in line to see the July 2000 premiere of Bryan Singer's X-MEN, back when the group was just a rag-tag team of super-powered outcasts saving a few diplomatic, New York party-goers and staying under the public's radar (also when the character, Storm, still had a Moroccan accent). Sixteen years and eight movies later, Singer is once again calling for the team to suit up and save humanity from the clutches of the alleged first and most powerful mutant in history, aptly named, Apocalypse.
In my opinion, the level of quality in the X-MEN film franchise (including the origin stories) has been anything but consistent since Bryan Singer's departure after X2 (2003). A few of them seemed to follow the theme of more CGI effects, cranked up cliché, and predictable plot structure, leading to X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, arguably the worst of the franchise, and muffling it for another three years before branching off into the much anticipated, yet not much better X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE. My beloved Hugh Jackman always delivers a solid performance, but his healing factor had its hands full recovering from its last few films.
So, what changed? New director (obviously), new story universe (younger characters), and (perhaps the most critical) an entirely new cast. Director Matthew Vaughn and casting director, Andrea Kenyon, knocked the X-Men train back onto the tracks with the incorruptible Jennifer Lawrence, the evocative James McAvoy, and human chameleon, Michael Fassbender in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, setting the stage for a proper "passing of the baton" from Stewart to McAvoy in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST.
Fast forward two more years and Fox is doomsday-prepping with their two best weapons: Bryan Singer, the man who lit the match, and the McAvoy cast, the kids who fanned the flames. Top it off with the can of gasoline that is Olivia Munn as the femme fatale, Psylocke, and you've got yourself one heck of a barn fire.
I'm very excited to see these proven players stack the heat and give it their all. As a loyal X-Men fan, I will be at the cinema for this one with my Milkduds in one hand, and my "The End is Nigh" picket sign in the other.