vaughn_firstclass

The moment I found out Matthew Vaughn was helming X-Men: First Class was the same moment the film jumped toward the top of my ‘most anticipated of 2011′ list. Vaughn’s only directed three films so far—Layer Cake, Stardust, and Kick-Ass—but those alone have made him a filmmaker well worth keeping tabs on.

Interviews with Vaughn only bolster this claim. Recently, the director spoke out on the current state of superhero films, and his thoughts are quite prescient. Read what he had to say after the break.

The LA Times scored the interview. In it, Vaughn admits that he took First Class because it may have been his last chance to helm a big-budget superhero film—something that he’s been keen to do for a long time.

His reasoning?

I think we’ve kind of crossed the Rubicon with superhero films. It’s been mined to death and in some cases the quality control is not what it’s supposed to be. People are just going to get bored of it. I think [the opportunity to do one], it’s only going to be there two or three more times. Then, the genre is going to be dead for a while because the audience has just been pummeled too much. It is a crowded room. It’s too crowded.

Hearing Vaughn speak so openly (read: disparagingly) about the very genre he’s attempting to make a movie in is bizarre, but welcome. His words have certainly heightened my respect for him as a socially conscious moviegoer, and I would like to think this means, come time for First Class‘ release, we can expect another genre-savvy departure from him, a la Kick-Ass.

My one concern is that he took on the film solely because, following his departure from the third X-Men and Thor, this marked a last-ditch opportunity to tackle a legit superhero property. However, past interviews with Vaughn suggest he wouldn’t be so quick to indulge a whim like that. Several years back, prior to his attachment to First Class, he shed some light on why he left X3 (via the Telegraph):

What happened with X-Men was I didn’t have the time to make the movie that I wanted to make. I had a vision for how it should be, and I wanted to make sure I was making a film as good as X-Men 2, and I knew there was no way it could be. I just suddenly knew it wasn’t the right thing for me to do. It was a tough decision because it was a hell of an opportunity. But I was trying to make a career as a director, and I didn’t want to be the guy accused of making a bad X-Men movie.

This bodes very well for X-Men: First Class. He already turned down one X-Men movie due to studio constraints, so it doesn’t seem likely that he would’ve taken on this one without feeling creatively in tune with what was required of him. On the flip side, it should be noted that the general attitude toward the X-Men franchise has changed drastically following the release of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, so it’s not as though he has the same standard to live up to this time around. Vaughn was aware of this when he accepted the project, I’m sure.

From the same interview, he adds:

As it happens, I could have made something a hundred times better than the film that was eventually made. It sounds arrogant, but I could have done something with far more emotion and heart.

In an age where every working man and woman in Hollywood seems incapable of sharing any experiences that don’t require reiterating the same artificial nonsense—”Oh yeah, everybody was just great, I had so much fun, the whole experience was just amazing”—Vaughn’s candor is greatly appreciated. And given how thoroughly lackluster The Last Stand was, I’m inclined to believe him. But with some luck—and a lot of talent—Vaughn may just be able bring about the X-Men series’ redemption. I certainly look forward to seeing him try.

X-Men: First Class will hit theaters on June 3, 2011.

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