Remember how disappointing the film adaptation of “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” was? In addition to not doing justice to the brilliant concept of the comic books series by Alan Moore and Kevin O’Neill, it is also the movie that made Sean Connery quit the business, having realized he had no radar for crap anymore. He had taken on the role of Alan Quatermain in this tale of an early super-group comprised of 19th century literary characters (including Captain Nemo, Mina Harker and Dorian Gray) after admittedly declining the part of Gandalf for the “Lord of the Rings” movies because he didn’t understand them. That role of course went to Ian McKellan, who also played Magneto in “X-Men,” and now here is a mash-up trailer that puts Connery in the part of Magneto for an alternate version of the new prequel “X-Men: First Class.”
Obviously it makes absolutely no sense to have the young Magneto played by an actor older than McKellan, but the logic of the mash-up, made by regular trailer re-cutters Wolfpack Productions, is not the point. For me anyway. The point is to recall just how great “League” should and could have been. It wasn’t too shocking in 2003 to have such a terrible comic book movie from Fox, which had previously disappointed with the first “X-Men” (it’s pretty weak for what it is) and “Daredevil.” But they were more successful with the non-superhero titles like “Road to Perdition” and their first Moore adaptation, “From Hell.” Just a month before “League” was released, though, Fox came out with one of the best superhero films of all time: “X2: X-Men United.”
Many of us wanted the “League” movie to be like a steampunk “X-Men,” but it didn’t satisfy that or any other demand. I admit to having forced myself to enjoy it as much as was possible. I love the concept, and Connery is pretty enjoyable, but it’s as silly and artificial-looking as a Stephen Sommers movie. Now, 8 years later, watching this mash-up has me calling for a reboot.
Out of the 2003 summer movie crop, a number of franchises have already been or will soon be rebooted (“Hulk,” “Lara Croft: Tomb Raider,” “Spy Kids,” “Charlie’s Angels,” both Jason and Freddy). Plus, steampunk continues to rise in fanbase, and a new “League” movie could ride on the tails of such films as the new “Sherlock Holmes” and “The Three Musketeers” (which will do bad, though, I’m certain). And if Fox isn’t hip to going back that far (they should be since they’re doing “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter”), the latest issue of the comics’ “League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” (out this summer) is, like “X-Men: First Class,” set in the 1960s (1969, specifically).
Anyway, “X-Men: First Class” is so far garnering some great responses from those who’ve seen it (I see it tonight, will post thoughts Friday), which is great for its own franchise after falling down again with “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.” This further goes to show that the studio shouldn’t overlook revisiting “The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen” property. Nobody will remember the first attempt a decade later, will they? And if so, it shouldn’t take too much effort to do something that comparatively meets fans’ approval. Here’s that mash-up, now, so you can possibly get on the reboot train with me: