After the rash of casting announcements that came earlier this month for X-Men: First Class, we now have an update on some basic plot details and the general feel of the film, and it actually sounds pretty intriguing. As most of you know, the movie is based on a comic book series that focuses on stories about many of the X-Men as young students at the Xavier School for Gifted Youngsters. It is being treated as a prequel in a way, although it’s unclear whether or not it will maintain continuity with the existing X-Men movies. However, the major announcement here is the fact that the movie strays from the comic in that it will be set entirely in the 1960s.
Harry Knowles of Ain’t It Cool News spoke to producer Bryan Singer over the phone last week, and he learned that they’re using this as an opportunity to present a “silver age Marvel story”, complete with colourful and outlandish costumes. The story will focus on the friendship between Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr and their eventual falling out, set against the backdrop of the political upheaval of the ’60s. They don’t mention if the X-Men will take part directly in any historic events, but they do say that “John F Kennedy is the President of the United States. Martin Luther King and Malcolm X are on TV doing marches.”
Singer mentions James Bond movies as a point of reference for the feel of X-Men: First Class, with Matthew Vaughn being “technologically inspired by James Bond’s tech of the time” and the movie will have an international feel, with The Soviet Union being involved in some way. Comic book fans will also be interested to hear that the Hellfire Club will figure heavily into the story, an upper class secret society led by Sebastian Shaw (Kevin Bacon).
I have to admit, I wasn’t feeling particularly enthusiastic about this film up until now, but it’s becoming clear that Matthew Vaughn wants to do an X-Men movie that sets itself apart from the rest. I’m guessing that Watchmen is a bit of an influence as well, but either way, setting the movie in the ’60s sounds like an inspired choice. The big question is, can a period comic book movie still achieve mainstream success? What do you think, does this news make you more or less excited about X-Men: First Class?