‘ I wish them the best,’ Butler tells MTV News of returning for ’300: Battle of Artemisia.’
By Kara Warner
Gerard Butler in “300″
Photo: Warner Bros.
The first sequel is the important one. It’s where a director, having established the rules of the game in the first movie, is given the chance to push outward and explore the world. Connections are followed up on; characterization is deepened; giant plots are put into motion now that the origin story is out of the way. For comic book movies, the first sequel is where classics are defined. It’s no small coincidence that three of the superhero films universally considered to be among the best over the last decade — “The Dark Knight,” “Spider-Man 2,” and “X2: X-Men United” — were first sequels that vastly outpaced their predecessors.
The “X-Men: First Class” series is about to commit to its first sequel. Last week, producer Bryan Singer announced to some surprise that the subtitle for the follow-up would be “Days of Future Past,” referring to the comic arc that’s widely considered to be among the best stories ever laid down in the X-pages. The story, for the uninitiated, involves a dystopian future in which mutants have been rounded up into Sentinel-patrolled concentration camps, and a former member of the X-Men who travels to the past to stop things from going wrong.
While Singer was predictably mum on details, writer Simon Kinberg told Collider that “it’s extraordinarily ambitious. It is unlike the other X-Men movies and yet very much a celebration of the X-Men movies.”
The “celebration of the X-Men movies” line seems key; as “First Class” is merely the first of a series, it seems like Kinberg could be alluding to the previous trilogy that concluded back in 2006. As I covered last week, it’s no small secret that Fox might not be done with those movies, and could be looking to reconcile them with the newer films into a greater X-verse.
However, it’s Kinberg’s other line — the comment about extraordinary ambition — that should have any X-fan both excited and cautious of what could come. Ambition by itself is a noble pursuit, especially when it comes to delivering a blockbuster action film. But the X-verse is so large and all-encompassing that it’s a very careful game to be played when figuring out what elements to draw out into a single cohesive story. It’s the difference between an “X2,” which successfully incorporated several disparate elements — the Phoenix, Wolverine’s past, Nightcrawler, Magneto’s imprisonment — and an “X3,” which felt over-crammed with new characters and unresolved storylines. Now that the “Days of Future Past” title tips us toward what type of ambition might be in play, it’s even more reason to get our hopes in check. Because time travel is such a finicky plot device to play with, as are multiple continuities, and it’s almost enough to wish they’d just play it safe and leave it to the current world.
It’s understandable to want everything and more. It’s a result, I think, of the long wait between these movies and the way the Internet has driven us to cannibalize every new tidbit of information for something more. It’s not because we can’t wait; if we couldn’t, we’d all be in strait jackets. It’s more like we want every new detail to validate some jam-packed ideal of what the movie could be. References to unseen characters (peep the hysteria regarding a screenshot of all the mutants being tracked in “X2″), meaningful interactions between everyone, action scenes that show the full breadth of every power, and so forth. So often, comic book movies are judged by fans for what they don’t accomplish rather than what they do; just check out any message board, if you need confirmation.
When I was a kid, I remember saying something to my mom about wishing that “Star Wars: Episode I” would be eight hours long; in my head, two-and-a-half hours was far too little. (As it turns out, it was far too long.) But it was because I wanted everything to happen, for every plotline to be stretched to its maximum appeal, for every possible character interaction to take place. It’s the same thing with comic book movies. When the lights darken and the credits start rolling, I want to imagine that every minute of the next two hours will be as brilliant as the best comic come to life. It’s not a thought I have when watching something like “Midnight in Paris,” that’s for sure. I want Singer, Kinberg, and director Matthew Vaughn to succeed — based on “First Class,” I think they can. But I hope that in trying to give audiences the moon, they build something that can get off the ground.
Do you have confidence in the “X-Men: First Class” sequel? Let us know your hopes and fears in the comments section below or on Twitter!
Bad news, Marvelites: word of an “Avengers” Director’s Cut hitting theaters later this year has been greatly exaggerated.
At Comic-Con, we had a few minutes to chat with director Joss Whedon and he told us that it’s “not true” that an extended version of his mighty superhero film would be returning to cinemas later this year. We spoke with him about a whole lot of other topics, too, including his big “Firefly” reunion at the show, his plans for “Much Ado About Nothing,” the possibility of “Doctor Horrible 2” and more. Check it all out in the video below!
If you’re a child of the ’80s and ’90s and are asked what your favorite campy Halloween movie is, your answer will likely be “Hocus Pocus.” The film followed three witches from the Salem witch trial days who sold their souls to the devil in order to stay beautiful forever. Pretty light stuff, right? But the movie managed to combine silliness with comedy in the way only ’90s movies could, and ended up being one of the most beloved cult classics of that time.
Based on the fact that the movie is replayed every year around Halloween on the Disney Channel, it’s fair to assume that the studio is a fan of “Hocus Pocus’s” continued popularity as well. That’s why it shouldn’t come as a surprise (even though it does) that a new report from the folks over at Moviehole says that a sequel called “Hocus Pocus 2: Rise of the Elderwitch” is on the way.
Since it’s been almost two decades since “Hocus Pocus” first hit theaters, it seems safe to assume that none of the movie’s original stars will return to this project. After all, three witches played by Bette Midler, Sarah Jessica Parker and Kathy Majimy don’t have quite as much impact as they used to. Moviehole hears that “Rise of the Elderwitch” will focus on “a new cackling evildoer whose been unfortunately let loose again on suburban America.” Is it safe to assume that she’s the titular Elderwitch?
Rumor has it that the sequel is still in its early development stages, and we’re sort of hoping it stays there. “Hocus Pocus” works because of its frivolity, campiness and obviously fake sets, and nothing that could come out of our CGI-heavy movie culture could quite recreate that. There was a certain naivety present in movies from the ’90s that isn’t around anymore, and we aren’t really interested in a gritty reboot of the classic storyline like every other remake is nowadays.
What do you think of this planned sequel? Tell us in the comments section below or on Twitter!