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X-Men: First Class Continues to Take Shape

Written by: Tony Lazlo, CC2K Staff Writer

ImageHey, remember the X-Men wing of the Marvel movie universe?

Over the last decade, comic-book movie fans have watched with joy as Marvel Comics finally saw some of its character brought to life on the big screen in grand fashion. It started with Bryan Singer’s strong (though admittedly brief) X-Men, and was followed by a very well-cast Tobey Maguire in Spider-Man. Singer followed up his original mutant flick with a more full-bodied epic in X-Men 2 while Sam Raimi delivered another acknowledged classic of the genre in Spider-Man 2 … and then the wheels came off both franchises.

The third chapters of both the Spider-Man and X-Men franchises both failed, critically and (to a lesser degree) financially. The X-Men franchise had one last gasp with the decent but flawed X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which still holds the North American record for most extended shouts of the word “Nooooo!” to the heavens.

Both franchises are getting rebooted – a phenomenon generally regarded as a new one in Hollywood, though I submit that it’s been around for years in the form of remakes and the occasional sequel. For my money, Star Trek II was as much a reboot of that franchise as it was a sequel to part one.

In any event, let’s set aside the Spider-Man reboot for now to focus on the X-Men franchise, which is finding new life in the prequel X-Men: First Class. Two more actors reportedly joined the cast this week: Alice Eve as Emma Frost and Caleb Landry Jones as Banshee (rumor).

The other major players include James McAvoy as Charles Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr, aka Magneto. Those cast members alone make this project worth watching for me, and I’m also excited to hear about the possible involvement of Aaron Johnson of Kick-Ass fame. The only rumors I’ve heard have him playing Cyclops – another good call.

The X-Men franchise doesn’t have the advantage that the Avengers movies have right now, which is a broad scope and overall continuity, and as a comic-book fan, I’d still want to see a crossover movie between both franchises, but if First Class is anything like J.J. Abrams’ Star Trek reboot – energetic, funny, well-cast – we’re in for a good movie.