CATEGORIES Movies
After the success of 'X-Men' and 'X2: X-Men United' -- mega-blockbusters that managed to thrill both audiences and critics alike -- fans of the Marvel franchise were understandably disappointed when Bryan Singer bowed out of 'X-Men: The Last Stand' to direct 'Superman Returns' and was replaced by Brett Ratner. Well, fret no more, for Singer has gone on record saying that he's signed on to return to 'X-Men' territory as director of the origin flick, 'X-Men: First Class.' After the success of 'X-Men' and 'X2: X-Men United' -- mega-blockbusters that managed to thrill both audiences and critics alike -- fans of the Marvel franchise were understandably disappointed when Bryan Singer bowed out of 'X-Men: The Last Stand' to direct 'Superman Returns' and was replaced by Brett Ratner. Well, fret no more, for Singer has gone on record saying that he's signed on to return to 'X-Men' territory as director of the origin flick, 'X-Men: First Class.'

But before we get into that, let's take a moment to assess the current state of the 'X-Men' franchise. Though 'The Last Stand' was a financial success, many critics and fans were outspoken in their dislike for Ratner's treatment of the story. As recently as October, Ratner was still defending his work on the movie. According to Digital Spy, Ratner said [of Marvel fans]:

"You can't make these people happy. I'm kind of the anti-Christ to these comic book geeks ... If I buried the franchise, how the f**k did they make a 'Wolverine'? I mean, that's ridiculous. And they're making three other f**king 'X-Men' movies. Mine kept the franchise alive!"

Ouch. He just had to bring up 'Wolverine.' That stings.

Let's focus on the good part, that bit about more 'X-Men' movies. Of course, the hope of many an X-Men fan has been that Bryan Singer might make his way back to the franchise -- and it appears they have reason to celebrate this morning. At last night's 'Avatar' premiere, Singer announced that he would be returning to the series. He said to myspace.com:

"I'm ramping up to do a movie called 'Jack the Giant Killer' at Warner Bros, and I just yesterday signed a deal to do an 'X-Men: First Class' origins picture, which is kind of cool. I'm very excited."

'First Class' will be about Xavier's first class of mutants, a group which includes Angel, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Beast, and Iceman. 'The O.C.' and 'Chuck' creator Josh Schwartz is penning the script, which promises to be darker in tone, in keeping with the earlier films.

So, is the 'X-Men' franchise back on an upswing? Will Singer's return please Ratner's unpleasable 'comic-book geeks'? Weigh in with your comments below.