One of the most anticipated movies of this summer would be the new installment in the X-Men franchise: X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this new chapter, the future of humanity is a dark and desolate place. Humans created a new weapon to hunt mutants, The Sentinels. Things look pretty bleak as the mutants are on the edge of extinction. But the X-Men have once last hope, they send Wolverine back to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants. With a mix of the original cast and new cast, this becomes one epic adventure and race against time for all.
The movie is loosely based on the 1981 storyline of the same name, originally shown in The Uncanny X-Men issues 141 and 142. Taking some small portions from that story is where we find our new story. We have the original cast from the previses X-Men films: Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, and Halle Berry. They have banded together to fight one last epic battle to stop the Sentinels from destroying their race. Their last chance is to send Wolverine back to 1973 and hope he can prevent an assassination that will cause future trouble.
Once sent back in time, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is teamed up with the new cast members from the X-Men: First Class movie: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Holt. Now in 1973, he must reunite Xavier and Magneto, stop Mystique, introduce Quicksilver for future movies, and basically save the world once again. What the movie becomes is one large epic action adventure flick that was very enjoyable, with minor issues which with something this big, that’s pretty good.
The filmmakers have a tough mountain to climb for such a large-scale movie. They need to make sure everyone has enough screen time; all the actors’ roles are well placed and everything stays true to what we have already seen. For the most part, they do a very good job. Whether the role is big or small, each gets their “hero moment”. They find a nice balance between the old and new cast for each storyline to development into a plot that involves both to meet up somewhere in the middle. The future story does take the backseat between the two, but what they accomplish and do in the future storyline is well done. Of course the filmmakers leave the franchise open for more films, and they do “change” something people didn’t like from other flicks. They manage to fix and also create new burning questions that will be very interesting to see in future projects. The future of the series looks very promising.
While Wolverine is in that past, they introduce a new character for the franchise: Quicksilver. A lot of speculation has been surrounding this character in particular, mostly being that the characters copyrights, being he is in this movie and will be seen in next years Avengers: Age of Ultron. How that works out is something only the studio’s lawyers can tell you. But here his character works. He’s not in it much, he’s more or less being introduced to the universe to be used in later movies. Very fast with a quirky sense of humor, Quicksilver is played well by Even Peters. Peters seems to be enjoying the role and gives you just enough of the characters background that you want more. He still looks ridiculous, but you get used to it really fast. The special effects and the use of his super speed power looks great and is very funny. Over all he is one of the highlights in the flick.
Also new to the franchise is Peter Dinklage’s character of Bolivar Trask, who is the mastermind behind The Sentinel program and has a massive beef with mutants. We don’t get a ton of backstory as to why he hates mutants so much, but what we do see makes him a pretty hateful villain. Mixing in the over used character of William Stryker once again, this time a younger version, just at the start of his mutant torturing career. He’s become a regular in these movies just as much as the X-Men themselves at this point. We get it, he made Wolverine, don’t have to keep bring it back over and over again. But never the less, what small part he has is well played by actor Josh Helman.
No need to go on and on about rest of the cast. Most of these actors have done these characters more than twice and they have a pretty good handle on them at this time. Some of the highlights that stood: Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart back and being just as great as they always have been. Hugh Jackman is still Wolverine. The actor and the character are both the best at what they do at this point. Fassbender takes his young Magneto into a darker tone, which he does wonderfully. Jennifer Lawrence’s new Mystique’s body suit/make-up looks odd and doesn’t work well under certain lighting, but that takes nothing away from her performance, which is fantastic as usual.
The special effects for most of the movie are pretty damn good. They used all the money and made everything look right and had a great sense of motion and scale no matter how big the effect was. The look and feel of the 1970’s is pretty fun looking. From the sets, costumes and over all production, a lot of time was spent making it look and feel real. Why Magneto needed to lift an entire stadium is beyond me. They show you the reason why, but it still seems way over done. Not lifting the Golden Gate Bridge over done, but just a tad below that though. The future Sentinels look pretty awesome in motion. They explain why they look so strange and watching them kill is very devastating. They are brutal, making all mutants pay for just being a mutant.
Now there are a few negatives, mostly having to do with poor choices being made by the director and writers. To make things easier for the plot, they changed some massive character traits to certain characters. Now, they don’t change the story or ruin the movie, but they do seem out of left field just to make things easier for the plot. A little more time spent they maybe could have made better choices, such as Beast now being able to “werewolf” between human and beast. Xavier is walking with the dumbest reason ever! And honestly, certain returning cast members show up just to say they were there: Talking to you Halle Berry! But as said, these little things don’t take away anything from the movie on a whole. Just roll your eyes and make peace with it and just enjoy the ride. Then you should be fine.
Once more the X-Men films have been given back to original director Bryan Singer. I think it’s time to pass on the torch to other people. Matthew Vaughn did such an amazing job directing X-Men: First Class, it’s a shame here we don’t get a brand new set of eyes here. Newer blood into franchises can rejuvenate something to great success. Instead, Singer relies to much on his old tricks: same fight choreography, the reuses and over use of his favorite camera tricks, the same DNA credit opening which are done so fast you will get dizzy or worse, and all the same music, which isn’t good.
Most of his tricks are saying “look I’m back”, but what they really say is, I haven’t grown as a director. He’s not a terrible director, he is adequate at best. Here he tries some new techniques here and there, and they are done well, but at the end of the day he is just a standard director who gets way more credit than he should. He’s been blessed with a cast of some of great actors ever assembled here. I’m sure all the Oscar winners knew where to stand without him.
Over all, X-Men: Days of Future Past was better than I thought it was going to be, but unfortunately is exactly what you think it is. The positives out weigh the negatives, and you have a great time seeing your favorite cast members portraying roles you love to see them in. General audiences will love it. Most nerds will enjoy it but have issues. Great special effects and wonderful acting from all that you can forgive of the new BS that doesn’t need to be there. This is a big super action adventure for the summer that is pretty fun.