If any of you saw X2 [known internationally as the more sensible X-Men 2] I’m sure you remember the following scene starring the very talented Alan Cumming as the mutant Nightcrawler:
The YouTube uploader’s choice of music aside, I think we can all agree that a) that was awesome, and that b) we all like watching people teleport. If we look back a little more recently to the 2006 fever dream that was X-Men: The Last Stand we see that the bamf-ing blue mutant was not actually present among the plethora of mutants presented.
It’s reported that while Cumming was looking to return, and had it in his contract to do so, things ultimately didn’t work out. Associate producer Dave Gorder explained that, “We would have liked to have Nightcrawler back, but there are certain trade-offs you take with the story. Nightcrawler is an expensive character prosthetic makeup-wise and also visual effects-wise, and so you want to have a story-arc that justifies that expense. And you also want to make the actor happy that he has a significant role to don the makeup and the effects and do the stunt work.”
It’s cool, though. At the same time The Last Stand was being developed so was X-Men Origins: Wolverine, which came out in 2009, yet another very sub-par movie about Marvel’s most persecuted type of superhuman. In it we were able to witness will.i.am’s major film debut as John Wraith. John Wraith also teleports.
Worried that we would forget that there are mutants who have the ability to get from one place to the next in the blink of an eye, in 2011 we were given the film that helped redeem the franchise, X-Men: First Class.
Instead of Nightcrawler director Matthew Vaughn gave us the next best thing: his daddy. Jason Flemyng plays Azazel, whose name they chose to pronounce “Ah-ZAY-zel,” who is for all points and purposes a red Nightcrawler.
Oh, and apparently he’s supposed to be one of an ancient horde of demonic humanoid mutants from biblical times, but that’s besides the point, I guess.
The next installment in what I’m starting to realize is a very long-running franchise is the sequel to First Class, titled X-Men: Days of Future Past. It seeks to tie together the vastly superior “reboot” to the not-very-good third movie, The Last Stand via time travel.
Now you may be wondering why I’m telling you this, and I want to thank you for humouring me. Due to it’s time travel-y nature Days of Future Past is bringing back a lot of the old cast, including Patrick Stewart, Halle Berry, etc. Obviously this would be a great time to get Alan Cumming back into that blue makeup and have him up and bamf-ing about, right?
People were getting pretty excited about Cumming reprising his role, which apparently was news to him. Instead the role of resident teleporting homo superior goes to Chinese actress Fan Bingbing.
Bingbing is reported to be playing the mutant Blink, who, in addition to being able to de- and rematerialize instantaneously can also throw javelins of teleportation energy, which cause their targets to teleport as well. I can’t promise that this will make it into the movie, but it is undeniably a pretty cool thing.
What is the deal, though, with FOX’s preoccupation with throwing teleporting mutant after teleporting mutant at us? We all think Wolverine has a pretty neat set-up with his adamantium claws and healing factor, but we’re not getting him in a different size, colour, and gender in every movie. Heck, teleporting’s apparently so popular that the NBA has managed to get in on this a little bit.
I’m not really writing this with any specific message in mind, more just reporting a trend. It makes sense that FOX has noticed what people like, but the fact that we keep getting it film after film is getting rote. 20th Century FOX was even the studio that distributed Jumper! A movie solely about teleporters!
Maybe if, after Days of Future Past has a sequel greenlit [it probably will], we can take a break from the mutants that jump in and out of existence and maybe lend the spotlight to, I don’t know, Chamber or something. He’s pretty cool. Maybe we can even let the original teleporter get a little credit; it’s been four movies.