X-Men 3 director fights back against First Class director's trash talk

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Dec 14, 2012, 4:51 PM EST

X-Men: First Class director Matthew Vaughn has been trashing 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand at pretty much every opportunity he's had lately. But now The Last Stand director Brett Ratner is fighting back.

Vaughn was originally supposed to direct X-Men: The Last Stand, but bowed out because he was worried that the production schedule was too tight for him to deliver the film properly. Brett Ratner took over and, even though The Last Stand was a huge financial success (the biggest of all the X-Men movies, actually), critics and fans tore it apart.

According to The Playlist, Vaughn agreed with the consensus on The Last Stand, telling a British newspaper in 2007, "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. 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."

Flash forward to the present and Vaughn, flush with the critical acclaim for X-Men: First Class, is still talking trash about The Last Stand: "I storyboarded the whole bloody film, did the script. My 'X3' would have been 40 minutes longer. They didn't let the emotions and the drama play in that film. It became wall-to-wall noise and drama. I would have let it breathe and added far more dramatic elements to it."

It seems that Ratner has had enough. Over the weekend he tweeted a link to a breakdown of the opening weekend box office gross for all five X-Men movies, with The Last Stand firmly on top with nearly $103 million and X-Men: First Class—which earned an estimated $56 million this past weekend—fighting for last place with the original X-Men.

Just for good measure, Ratner—who never calls out Vaughn by name in any of his tweets—also linked to a chart of all the Marvel movies, which has The Last Stand with the sixth-highest gross of all two dozen titles so far (First Class is number 19, but obviously we have yet to know its final earnings).

But is it really all about money? As The Playlist points out, First Class has faced an uphill battle that The Last Stand didn't. The latter movie followed the first two, excellent X-Men films and had the momentum from those to boost its box office, while First Class is an attempt to salvage the series' quality after the diminishing returns of The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Hell, if box office equaled quality, then The Hangover Part II would be looking at multiple Academy Award nominations in a few months.

Do you think Ratner has a case here just because his movie was a financial success? Or has Vaughn blown The Last Stand out of the water quality-wise with his X-Men movie?