Movie Review: X-Men Days Of Future Past
Directed By: Bryan Singer.
Written By: Simon Kinberg.
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen.
In the near future, mutants are hunted down and exterminated by robotic killing machines known as Sentinels, the X-Men must send Wolverine back in time to stop the creation of these machines and end this war before it ever begins.
[X-Men: Days Of Future Past](movie:203942) is the newest installment in the surprisingly long lived X-Men franchise and it features the original cast but also the new cast from X-Men First Class along with a few new faces. This is a time travel movie, something that has never been done in an X-Men movie. This movie takes place in two places in time, an apocalyptic future where the X-Men are forced to hide for survival and 1973 where machines are being created to wipe mutants off the face of the Earth.
The film opens in an apocalyptic future where mutants are being hunted and exterminated by Sentinels. Most of the X-Men have been killed but a few remain alive. They fight for survival every day against the Sentinels. The X-Men have a plan to send Wolverine's mind back to his younger body in the 70's so that he can convince Charles and Erik to work together to stop the creation of the Sentinels and change the future.
X-Men Days Of Future Past was my most anticipated movie of 2014. I am a huge X-Men fan and when I first heard this story was being made into a movie I was very, very excited. And I am very happy to say that I was completely satisfied with the movie.
This movie serves as both a sequel to X-Men The Last Stand and X-Men First Class because of its time travel element. This means we get both casts and the cast is great! We get Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart and Hugh Jackman back but we also get James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence reprising their roles from 2011's X-Men First Class.
When I grew up, the X-Men to me where mostly set in the future, fighting sentinels and time travelling so imagine my delight when I first heard about this movie. To date, none of the X-Men films have really captured the tone and feeling of the X-Men comics or cartoons but Days Of Future Past does an almost perfect job at capturing that tone, especially in the future scenes.
Now while I did really like the film, it does have some negatives, but it has a lot of positives too, so I'm going to start off with the positives about the film.
X-Men Days Of Future Past is one of the biggest movies of the summer so of course we expect to see a lot of action, and the action really does deliver. We get a fantastic opening scene where the future X-Men are fighting together against Sentinels, all of the X-Men get a moment to show off with their power and that's really cool. In the future we see some new characters as well as some familiar faces. From the older films we get Iceman, Kitty Pryde and Colossus but we see some new characters like Blink, Bishop, Sunspot and Warpath. I doubt any average fan will even recognize these characters but X-Men fanatics should be happy with them, I know I was. Bishop is a character I've been waiting to see for a long time and whilst he doesn't get a lot to do in this movie, he has some really cool moments and Omar Sy did a pretty good job. The standout character out of these four new characters is definitely Blink. Blink has the mutation to open portals which can let her teleport but it also proves very useful in combat.
X-Men is a franchise filled with marvelous and strange characters that all have very unique and stunning powers. So its no shock that the visuals for the movie are excellent. The action scenes looked absolutely brilliant, especially an action scene involving Quicksilver (more on that later). But the future scenes looked very good, with all the different mutants fighting side by side against the sentinels, it was all very nice to look at.
This has always been a very serious franchise, now and again a laugh would come along but for the most part its very serious. Days Of Future Past changes this by having a very dark and serious premise but filling the movie with hilarious moments and lines. A lot of the humor comes from Wolverine's time travelling, where he isn't so used to the time period. Marvel Studios are doing a fantastic job with the humor in their movies and I believe Fox learned something from them by adding some humor, it does keep the pace up and makes for a much more entertaining film.
While all the marketing has been set around Hugh Jackman as Wolverine and he really is the central character, this is the story of Professor X and James McAvoy has a lot to do in this role. While I thought McAvoy got overlooked in First Class because of how incredible Fassbender was, McAvoy steals the show with Days Of Future Past. We have never seen Professor X like this. In the other movies he is a mentor to all the other characters and is very wise but in this film he needs guidance and he has lost his way in life, he lost all the things he cared about and it's very sad to see the state he's in. James McAvoy portrays the character in such a way that is just completely compelling, I was with him through the whole movie.
Jennifer Lawrence makes the return as Mystique, now in full villain mode. In First Class we got to sympathize with Mystique because her story was very sad but we see her make the transformation into the Mystique we know and love in this film. Jennifer Lawrence is my favorite actress at the moment and she is on top form here. I honestly didn't think she would have a large role but she is very important to the story and she was very, very good. She was a shining part of the film. She is making the change to the more villainous Mystique but she is still a good character and her motivations are understandable.
Time travel is one of the hardest things to achieve in a film, it can cause so many things to go wrong and I had my worries about time travel in this movie but Kinberg and Singer do it perfectly. Because Wolverine's mind is being sent back and not his body, that makes things easier but this still seemed like a very hard thing to do. The time travel worked very well and it caused for some really funny scenes. One thing about the time travel that confused me was how it came about. In X-Men 3 we meet Kitty Pryde and she can phase through objects, but now suddenly she has the power to send people back in time, and it really doesn't have an explanation how she can do this but it didn't really bother me. In the original comic book story, it is Kitty Pryde who travels back in time to stop the sentinels but because it wouldn't fit with the franchises continuity and the fact that Ellen Page isn't that big of a name, they decided to make Wolverine the one who travels back, I'm glad they did that. It was nice to see that Kitty was still very important to the story though.
I consider X-Men 2 to be one of the best comic book movies of all time and one of my favorite things about that movie is it's musical score composed by John Ottman. I was delighted to learn he was coming back for this film but he did something very unexpected, he brought back the main theme from X2, a theme we haven't heard in a decade, this made it feel more like an X-Men movie and when it first started playing in the credits, I got a little choked up because X2 is a movie that means a lot to me.
X-Men is infamously known for having a really messed up timeline in its movies, so Singer and Kinberg had a very rare opportunity to right some of the wrongs with the franchise by using time travel, because characters can change the future in this movie, we get to see some things change with the new timeline and for fans of the original movies, it's going to please you, I'll speak more about this in my Spoiler review.
And my last big positive with the movie is something that I didn't think I would like. And that's Evan Peters as Quicksilver. I like Evan Peters as an actor but in the marketing, Quicksilver looked like a joke! But to my surprise and I know to the surprise of everyone who saw this movie, Quicksilver was one of the best parts! He easily has the best scene in the movie and he's the funniest character. I was actually very disappointed when he didn't come back for the rest of the movie. But thankfully its been confirmed that he'll have a bigger part in X-MEN: APOCALYPSE. I was so sure that the Quicksilver in Avengers 2 was going to be better but now I'm not so sure.
Right so time to get into my negatives with the movie.
My absolute favorite thing about X-MEN FIRST CLASS was Michael Fassbender as Magneto, he brought such depth and emotion to the character. But his character just seems to have made a radical change in this film. Not only with the way he acts but more noticeably the way he talks, it seemed like Michael was trying so hard to impersonate Ian McKellen and I think that took away from Fassbender's performance, he was still very good in the film but I didn't see the same character from First Class, he felt too different. He does have one incredible scene aboard an airplane and his performance in that scene shook me to the core.
Because we get too different settings, we get such a large cast and that means a lot of characters. No characters felt forced into the movie, they all fit in perfectly, its just that some characters like Iceman and Colossus didn't get a lot to do, and that's a shame because I know me and lot of fans really love those characters. It would have been nice to get a little more character moments from them.
One thing throughout the film that bugged me was how separate it felt from the other movies, in The Wolverine we got a teaser for Days Of Future Past where Magneto and Professor X find Wolverine and warn him of the future. Wolverine is very shocked to see Charles because he was killed in X Men 3, but there is no explanation as to how he is back alive, we got a little tease of it at the end of X3 but no real explanation. Also in The Wolverine, Logan loses his adamantium claws and has bone claws again but then in the future scenes in this movie he still has adamantium claws, again messing up the continuity of the franchise. The big one was Charles being back alive with no explanation, because X Men 3 is referenced throughout the film and there are even flashbacks to it so it definitely did happen.
Right off the bat we are in the future in the movie, I heard this is set 10 years after The Wolverine so obviously a lot has happened since then but it just felt like such a rapid leap in time and tone, immediately we are know in this apocalyptic future with little explanation and I would have liked a bigger prologue detailing the events that took place between The Wolverine and Days Of Future Past.
This is obviously one of the biggest movies of the summer and it certainly felt that way in many scenes but its big finale didn't feel that big! This is such an important story in X-Men and it's a very grand story but the ending just didn't feel very grand in scope, the location was quite small and I didn't feel like there was a big threat to our heroes. I would have preferred a bigger end finale to really get my heart beating and put me on the edge of my seat but it sadly didn't.
And my last negative with the film was its villain! Peter Dinklage is a fantastic actor and is easily the best part of Game Of Thrones so when I heard he would be playing Bolivar Trask in the film, the man who creates the Sentinels, I got so excited. The problem is, he isn't very intimidating and has no real back story. He just seems to want to destroy all mutants, I understand he wants to save humanity but a back story on how he may have been wronged by mutants would have been very interesting. X-Men has always been about people being different and them being ridiculed because of that, and because Peter Dinklage is a dwarf, that aspect of him could have been used so well for this, because obviously he has had issues in his life with his physical difference, this could have made Trask a much more sympathetic character who people can relate to but they didn't do anything with it and I believe that was a very wasted opportunity. The main baddie by the end of the film is Magneto.....again and Trask is ultimately sidelined and his character just felt wasted.
So there are my positives and negatives with the film. There are equal amounts on each side, but I absolutely loved the movie. The positives definitely beat out the negatives. I'm not sure I'm ready to say its the best X-Men movie ever, and I have seen it twice already, but it's certainly one of the best. I definitely recommend this movie, its a lot fun, its emotional and its easily one of the best movies of the year so far! I'm giving X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST an A!