This holiday weekend was host to the return of the X-Men on the Silver Screen. Financially it was very successful pulling in more than $110 million dollars and far surpassing the opening weekend for First Class just a few years ago. But does the seventh movie in the franchise ward an eighth?
OK, so before I get into this review I have to give you full disclosure. I love the X-Men, there I said it and I'm proud dammit... really though, I love the X-Men. X-Men comics in the '90s really defined my love of comics and started me down the back-issue path, along with that there was the awesome X-Men cartoon from the '90s that took major story lines and streamlined & updated them for kids. So by the time a real X-Men movie was in the theatres I had sat around and thought of the dream cast (thanks for Wizard) literally thousands of times and although I never heard of people like Hugh Jackman before the movie I was generally happy with what I saw on the screen all those years ago. Happiness turned to Fanboy-gasms with X2 though, as we finally got to see a real-live berserker Wolverine and X2 is still one of my favorite comic-based flicks.
From there the franchise got really rocky. In fact, my wife (who is not a fangirl) accompanied me to X-Men: The Last Stand and when the lights came on she looked at me and said it was stupid and I could not disagree, and so the franchise shot me in the heart. After that we were given a Wolverine Origins movie that seemed like it had something going for it, until about halfway through when that train went off the tracks and I was done with the X-Men. Honestly, I was a man scorned, so much that this Evil Geek didn't even bother to see First Class in the theaters because I was sick of Hollywood fucking up the stuff that I loved. Luckily for me, my sister bought that movie and gave me the DVD and I was hooked again. From there I saw The Wolverine and thought it was OK until the third act, but still was a ton better than Logans first flick. So going into this movie, there was a lot riding on this. My faith as an X-Men fan and as a comic-movie fan teetered on whether Bryan Singer could bring it back, and honestly the insane amount of tweets and teasers of teasers didn't give me a lot of hope but I was determined to venture out on May 23rd and see the show! With all that said, what did I think of X-Men: Days of Future Past?
I thought it was F#¢!ing Awesome!
Seriously, I know that I'm an X-Men fanboy as I detailed above, but really the movie was great. I don't know what else to say other than I felt that it was an X-Men story. Now, Days of Future Past is like a book in the bible to many X-Fans and when they took this title many of us didn't know how to take it, and all I can say is that the title and the overall concept from the story stay the same but the details are completely different. As you all know from the previews, Wolvie goes back in time rather than Kitty in his younger body and is put there by Kitty Pryde herself using her power to Time-Phase someone to the past to stop the assassination of Bolivar Trask (the creator of the Sentinels and a downright bigot in regards to mutants) rather than Senator Kelly. Trask is played by Peter Dinklage, and he was probably the character that I liked least in the movie, well him and his cronie; William Stryker. Both of them just didn't like Mutants, but there wasn't ever a real explanation as to why. We all see Stryker's story in other X-films, so I guess he's fine as a young thug here without backstory, but I would've liked to see more out of Dinklage. He wasn't bad in the role, but I'm so used to how much he brings to his role on GoT, that this just seemed like ehhhh to me.
In the future Wolverine works with a group of X-Men that include Kitty, Iceman, Colossus, Blink, Sunspot, Warpath, Bishop, Storm, Magneto and the Professor as they fight to stay alive in a wartorn future where the Sentinels have evolved and have basically destroyed everything. That evolution comes from the mutant power of Trask's assassin, none other than Mystique, who has taken a much darker path than in First Class. After she assassinates Trask, she is captured and her power to shape-change is dissected and put into every Sentinel. Then before they know it, Sentinels are attacking humans along with the mutants and the world goes to holy hell so in step the X-Men to save the day!
One of the coolest things in my opinion was the time travel aspect of the film. From the opening scene we got to see Kitty's abilities and in turn got to see a pretty badass fight scene between some X-Men and Sentinels and eventually got to see their deaths, which were pretty badass! But not to fret, before you know it they're alive again, just a couple days earlier, always trying to learn form their encounters. Pretty soon this group is joined by heavy hitters Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Storm in a mountain citadel where the plan to send someone back to past 50 years gets put into motion. Xavier was the first choice, but it would tear apart his brain, so Logan stepped up to the plate since his healing factor could keep him alive and he goes down the rabbit hole to stop Mystique and right the future. Sounds complicated, right? It's really not, especially to a reader, in fact it made sense to me. Now one cool piece is that the entire film is really taking place in the 70's, but the future team is still out there and the film does shift to them every so often which I was pleased with!
In 1973 Wolverine wakes up in his younger body and has to track down Professor X, who can walk! But..he was hit with a bullet, and is in a wheelchair? Huh? Come to find out, Beast made this formula to un-Beast himself so he could turn his mutation on and off on a whim, that same formula restored Charles' legs, but must be taken regularly and dampens his power of telepathy. So Wolverine has to convince the Professor (who is kind of a junkie at this point) to be the Professor that he knows and loves. From there they have to find another oldie, Magneto! One problem, he's in a concrete cell in the Pentagon! Ever hear of the magic bullet? Ya know, the one that killed JFK? Well, who else do you know that could make a bullet bend? Kind of a cool concept to be honest, but how to get him out? Wolverine knows a guy to pull off that heist, but he's probably pretty young.
Wolvie, Xavier, and Beast go off to find a young Pietro Maximoff, or Quicksilver to the rest of the world. Now I've got another thing to get off my chest... I fucking HATE Quicksilver!!! SO MUCH!!! Seriously, he's always a dick. I really like the power set, honestly I do! The Flash is my second favorite superhero (All Hail Wally West...don't get me started!) behind Batman, so I think super speed is cool, but Pietro sucks! In fact, I don't know a single person who says "Quicksilver is my favorite!" So don't cosplay as Quicksilver around me or else I'll probably be throwing something at you and then saying something like, you're not that fast! Anyway, despite my hate for the character he's actually featured in two big films, both this one and the new Avengers! Huh? Yeah, you see Fox own the rights to all mutants and Marvel can't even say that term in their universe, but since Quickie and the Scarlett Witch are long-time Avengers, they can use them or some such. Either way he falls into the gray area between studios and there has been so much chatter online about him but I wasn't expecting much. Well, with all that said... Quicksilver stole this fucking movie! Seriously, he was really only in one sequence, but Evan Peters pulled off Pietro's dick-head personality but finally in a way that I didn't hate him. Plus, he has one of the coolest scenes that I've ever scene in a movie and have to say that the folks at the CW better watch this movie because the entire Flash series will be compared to this scene the entire first season! Go see this movie to see this scene, seriously... it's one that you'll want to see on the bigscreen!
Okay, we have Wolvie, Chuck, Beast, and Magneto and they're off to see the wizard...I mean find Mystique before she commits murder to stop Trask from unleashing the Sentinels on the world. Gotta say, I see her point of view, but when they get to her to stop her Magneto goes off the farm and just tries to kill her in this huge public display that actually makes life bad for mutants. President Nixon (of course it's Nixon) wants to know what can be done about the mutants and Trask steps in with his vision for a better world. At this point we get to basically see a race to stop the Sentinels in one way, shape, or form from all sides which turns into a badass display of power from Magneto to make a statement of his power to the world (and also reminiscent of Ultimate X-Men's first run.)
Along with everything in the 70's, we still have the team in the future where the future-shapeshifting Sentinels have found their stronghold. Bouncing back between decades, we see both groups of X-Men fighting Sentinels with the future team taking on some crazy damage!
I've been very vague about the details here, but what this movie gives you is a return to the glory of the X-Men franchise as the final scene is really a thing of beauty and even made Martian Luthor Kang misty eyed! This movie essentially is the Star Trek to the franchise and reboots it. So does that mean that X2 never happened? Technically, yes it might mean that, but I will always look at that as cannon but in my mind it means that The Last Stand never happened and we can move forward with successful X-Men movies in the future. The end credits scene was cool enough to stay in the theatre, and laid out the sequel which has been revealed as X-Men: Apocalypse.
All in all, this is a quality flick and one that you want to see on the big screen. Days of Future Past pays homage to both the previous X-Men movies and also some quality story lines, but in it's own way. In fact I gotta say that it was like watching a live action episode of the old cartoon! Bryan Singer really brought the X-Men back and I commend him for it!
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