The prospect of the upcoming X-Men: Days of Future Past is an intriguing one. The X-Men franchise has been trying to feel it’s way forward after the series ended with X-Men: The Land Stand, and subsequently delved into the prequel/reboot tend, made popular by Batman Begins and Casino Royale.
Reboots to me are fine, and can be potentially reinvigorating to a franchise, as per the two examples above. I am not however, a huge fan of the prequal idea, as by definition it’s kind of hemmed in by the closed nature of the story, so it feels like an interesting diversion, rather than a progressive continuation.
Not that a prequel can’t cover new ground – a film like Prometheus demonstrates that new ground can be explored in a prequel (if not always logically) and take the universe in new directions, but invariably, I always find that they end up being more limiting than anything else.
A film like The Godfather Part II can tackle the idea of a prequel rather well, as it’s integrated with the sequel in a way that works narratively and thematically as a piece, making a much richer and deeper experience as a result.
This brings us to X-Men: Days of Future Past, which will revolve around time-travel, and how past and future X-Men will have to unite together to prevent the assassination of a leading senator and a subsequent Sentinel apocalypse. By doing this, they are, like The Godfather: Part II, bringing together the prequel and sequel idea into one film, but with a unique approach as it’s all one narrative, in turn ensuring future sequels, and organically bridging the two franchise branches. This will also provide an excellent opportunity for new and interesting dynamics between actors playing the same part together in scenes.
Additionally, the idea of preventing a senatorial assassination, and playing that out against the backdrop of the 1970’s, a decade soaked in political turmoil and cultural upheaval, is an exciting one, as is the Sentinel Apocalypse, which has been long overdue at this point, after being teased in X-Men: The Last Stand.
Ultimately, I think the film will work both as a beautiful bridge film and a prequel/sequel (presequal?) all wrapped in one. I can’t honestly think of a another example of this kind of thing that’s been done narratively in a film, and I very much look forward to seeing how it pans out.
Just no toad jokes in this one please…