I still fondly remember Wizard Magazine in the 90s and their regular “Casting Call” features where they whipped of fantasy cast for comic book movies. This was at something of a golden age for the X-Men comics, when Jim Lee and Chris Claremont’s X-Men #1 launch was one of the biggest things to happen to comics and comic readers could only dream of a movie like The Avengers ever being made.
When we finally got an X-Men movie in 2000, it wasn’t anything like what superhero movies are now but it was good enough to launch the comic book craze on the big screen. While some people like to credit Spider-Man for that, it was really X-Men that kicked it off.
The first movie was followed up by X2, which everyone loved, and then Fox took a steaming dump on the franchise with The Last Stand. There were stories at the time about how the current head of Fox despised superhero movies (he felt they were below him), which is why they cut the budget of the original X-Men and pushed up the release date in an attempt to sabotage it. The movie was a big enough hit that a sequel was a must, but when Singer departed the franchise for Superman they saw their opportunity to “kill” it with the third movie.
The Last Stand killed off key members of the cast, and while you can use the excuse that characters die in the comics all the time, it was obvious it was done in the movie in an attempt to make it the “final” X-Men movie. That way Fox could move on to more important things, like sequels to Big Momma’s House.
As bad as The Last Stand was, people turned out in droves to see Fox crap on the franchise and people wouldn’t let X-Men die on the big screen no matter how hard Fox tried to kill it.
Then a couple of things happened. The first was the surge of Marvel Studios at the box office, raising the bars for all comic book movies, while at the same time there was a changing of the guard at the top of Fox. Those people who despised superhero movies were gone, and that means the stage was set for a rebirth of X-Men.
So when Bryan Singer returned for Days of Future Past, most fans hoped he would retcon X-Men: The Last Stand out of existence to bring the series back to where it was with the excellent X2. The result was an excellent solution that works as a reboot of sorts for the X-Men franchise, while also eliminating the events of The Last Stand out of existence.
I won’t spoil what happens, as that ending is a huge crowd pleaser, but you can really see how Fox has now positioned the X-Men franchise very well for future movies and even spin-offs. We know they’re doing an X-Force movie, and they can actually do Cable now without much alteration to his origin. This really feels like a nice bit of closer for the old cast.
Even though X-Men: Apocalypse will apparently only use the First Class cast in the 80s, fans should be very happy that the events of The Last Stand never happened.
Another thing that’s great about Days of Future past is that after fourteen years we finally get the Magneto from the comics on the big screen. Everything up to this point was almost Magneto. They get close, but not until now we get the full unleashed Master of Magnetism. The costume was teased at the end of First Class, and in this movie the comic book Magneto is finally realized. For X-Men fans, that should get you very excited about X-Men: Apocalypse.
You can’t blame X-Men fans for having a bit of fear whenever Fox brings out a new movie in the series, especially after The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but this movie shows things could be looking up for the franchise.
In a way this is them apologizing for what they did to fans with the third movie, and I could definitely say the apology is accepted.