X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review
The X-Men universe has currently created seven movies to a mix bag of results, The Good – X2: X-MEN UNITED, The Bad – X-MEN ORIGINS: WOLVERINE, and The Ugly – X-MEN: THE LAST STAND, to name a few. But even the worst movie is somewhat engaging because of the interesting characters and the world they inhabit. 2011 rebooted the series to spectacular results with X:MEN: FIRST CLASS, taking Professor Xavier and Magneto back to their younger days when they were just Charles and Erik. I am so very pleased to announce that despite an over-abundance of characters and a tricky time travel plotline, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST succeeds as another exceptional installment, utilizing rich character arcs to progress the ever expanding story and miraculously melds the previous films together.
Combining both sets of casts, young and old, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST tackles a nearly impossible feat, balancing character and story in a riveting espionage tale under extraordinary circumstances. A small band of surviving mutants that include a few familiar faces, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), and a few new faces, Bishop (Omar Sy), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), and Sunspot (Adan Canto) are being hunted by the mutant killing robots called Sentinals. They are soon joined by staple favorites Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
In order to save themselves and the mutant race they must go back in time to 1973 to warn their younger selves to stop the doom that will befall them all. Using Kitty Pryde’s powers to transport one’s conscience into the mind of their past self, they must use the only who can physically withstand such a lapse in time, Wolverine. The task will not be easy as younger Charles (James McAvoy) and Erik (Michael Fassbender) have recently become enemies following the results of “First Class” and the whereabouts of Raven / Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the catalyst toward the dark days, is unknown.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is indeed quite the trip. The screenplay by Simon Kingberg and story by Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, creates a complex narrative that is easy to follow. The film entertains through exciting characters and a fascinating story line that sees a creative prison break, a government infiltration, and an assassination attempt. Director Bryan Singer is a welcome return to the franchise, giving energy and structure to every scene.
Whenever dealing with time travel, there are logistics that just bring on too many questions for believability. Not to mention some of the continuity problems left by the previous films, X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST was setting itself up for failure. Strangely enough, the film navigates itself elegantly through these tricky waters. Of course that doesn’t mean these flaws don’t exist, it simply means the film maturely moves along so that one doesn’t dwell too deeply on these time deficient or life after death type questions. In fact, it ignores these problems while also subtly facing them head on, calling back to every previous film at one point or another. Without giving away too much, I rather enjoyed how it cleverly acknowledged some of the poor choices earlier on and gave us a world where the past and future of any of the films can be considered unclear.
Once again the acting is top notch bringing back possibly the best casting in superhero history. I am a bit more partial to the younger cast as they seem to have been given more character depth to work with and are the appropriate leads for this film. But two newcomers to the cast are definitely worth mentioning. First, Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) is incredibly captivating as the Dr. Bolivar Trask, the scientist and inventor of the Sentinels that will destroy the mutant race. Secondly, the introduction of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is definitely one of the film’s many highlights. His character, along with Peters’ cocky portrayal, practically steals the show in an inventive and funny segment showcasing the character’s speed and personality while the song, ‘Time in a bottle’ by Jim Croce is played over the top.
It’s important to note that while the action is clearly prevalent, the character and story take precedent. This is why X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST succeeds where other superhero films fail. It doesn’t get caught up in unnecessary action but rather tells an enthralling saga through some of the most interesting characters performed by some of the best actors. Go and enjoy what might be the best summer movie this year.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST utilizes the 3D better than most, providing depth and fun for the audience with objects flying toward them. However, the medium still falls short of being necessary for this particular film. While it does help, I think one will enjoy the film nearly equally well by saving a few bucks. With that said, I do think the picture should be seen on the big screen and don’t forget to wait until after the credits for an exciting little teaser.