It is interesting to see what happens in an X-Men movie with way too many X-Men in it. The essential X’s come to the fore: Wolverine, Young Magneto, young Professor X, Quicksilver, The Beast, Mystique. The second tier get glorified cameos: Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) gets stuck in a Vulcan mind meld that only gets sillier as the adventure unfolds. Storm (Halle Berry) and the other black and Asian characters get front guard duty. Older Magneto and X (Ian Mckellan and Patrick Stewart pretending they are doing Harold Pinter by pausing and slowly over emoting) get to be reminiscing buddies without a pub to commiserate in. The rest get a blink and you’ll miss them cameos as war fodder.
In X-Men: Days of Future Past the dire future doesn’t matter because you know Wolverine (Hugh Jackman playing a more tolerant and subdued Logan) will go back and successfully reset the space time/X continuum. That means that the Sentinels, essentially flying coffins that land and turn ash gray fluid A.I.’s, are the only things interesting enough to bother the audience with in the future.
So it is the groovy 70′s that get the brunt of meaningful history in DOFP– and the bulk of the plot is devoted to changing all those X’ies downers into cooperating flower children working towards a better, happier and X tolerant future. The whole thing is a reset for millennial parents not to regret fathering X generation kids.
The estranged parents, I mean, X buddies, younger and grumpier Magneto and Xavier get back to the kind of confrontational state that made the first couple of X-Men movies good. Wolverine is not so much an ambassador as he is a marriage counselor. Young Xavier (James McAvoy acting as if he is on a bad acid trip) is the first to get on board the amalgamated love train allowing The Beast (Nicholas Hoult) to portray hurting, over protective child and Quicksilver (Evan Peters as a hilarious X gen stand in) a gleam of a future hipster techno savvy sibling, who in one brilliant and funny scene is fast enough to alter the destiny of bullets.
The rest of the movie is spent lassoing Magneto (Michael Fassbender looking grumpy and befuddled because he can’t find the proper actorly motivation) from making latent political commentary. He is prone to expressing his political dissatisfaction by lifting Redskin’s Stadium and dumping it onto the White House front lawn. Mystique (Jeniffer Lawrence looking fetching in nude blue body suit and what ever American Hustle leftover she gets to wear), who doesn’t realize the future hinges not on assassination but just letting some one fail, gets to be the X generation rep left to clean up the near post-apocalyptic parental mess. Her reward, she gets to go back to being the Raven Xavier and the rest of us love.
The mutant transformations echo with a touch of melancholy and the special effects are over stylized enough to give everything the needed emotional edge and a slightly clunky 70′s feel.
DOFP tries to be transformational cinema, inspiring the current generation to make the change needed to save and better the world. It only makes sense where it matters.