Review

PH7iVT9tpDw4ad_1_mX-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men film to date. Period.  I know people hang on to X2 like it’s the holy grail of superhero films, and although there have been almost ten years of technological advancements in cinema, Days of Future Past is the true X-Men film fans have been waiting for.  While I think X2 was great, especially for the time, the story in Days of Future Past trumps the former in all ways.  The scope is huge and you’re presented with quite the spectacle,  while the film maintains strong character development.  Seeing Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, for example, come into his own was fantastic and the dynamics between the characters was incredibly compelling throughout.  Bryan Singer has crafted one of most complete, compelling, and visually stunning X-Men films to date, and breathes new life into a franchise that has been declining for the last ten years (since 2004’s X2, although X-Men First Class wasn’t too bad).

The film begins in the year 2023.  The mutants are being hunted by a new breed of sentinels, and have almost become extinct.  In the only way to fix this dystopian future, they decide to send a mutant to the past to 1973 to prevent the sentinel program, run by Trask Industries’ Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage), from ever being conceived.  Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) volunteers because of his regenerative capabilities; he’s the only one who can handle the strain that time travel puts on the body.  With the help of Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Wolverine’s consciousness is brought back to 1973, where he must find the young Magneto (Ian McKellen) and the depressed and out-of-touch Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart).  Wolverines job is not only to persuade professor X to help, but also to find Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), who is now fighting her own battles (leaving not only Charles but Magneto to exact her own brand of revenge).  That’s the basic premise and plot set-up, which had previously been laid out in the trailers so I won’t spoil any more of the plot.  You’ll have to see it for yourself (it’s worth the price of admission).

Xmen-Days-of-Future-Past-ImageBryan Singer’s first two X-Men movies were fantastic.  There’s absolutely no denying that.  X-Men: First Class wasn’t too bad either, and while the production was rushed, it properly set up the next installment.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is able to use First Class’s younger versions of the X-Men that were set up in Singer’s films.  Days of Future Past had the privilege of having three X-Men films and two Wolverine solo films as its establishing character arches.  Singer had to fix some of the continuity errors set up by lackluster and poorly-planned entries, while not getting too hung up on these past films, and moving the series forward.  It’s now clear that Singer was and is the right man for the job, and will have fans excited about the future of our lovable group of rag-tag mutants.  The plot is the most complete of any X-Men film, and the movie feels like it’s perfectly paced, jumping from past to present just the right amount.

968full-x--men--days-of-future-past-screenshotJames McAvoy is marvelous as the pessimistic polar opposite of the older and wiser Professor X.  The same is true for Magneto, played brilliantly by Michael Fassbender.  Hugh Jackman plays Wolverine for the 100th time, and while not the sole focus, he performs with as much enthusiasm as ever.  Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique got some much-deserved screen time, and she was fantastic.  Mistique had some great fight scenes.  And while not one of the key members, Evan Peter’s Quicksilver was one of my favorite characters.  He was hilarious in the role, and one scene featuring his powers at full display was one of the most memorable action scenes I’ve seen in a superhero movie in years.

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X-Men: Days of Future Past has an extremely serious and urgent tone, but blended some well-placed comedy to lighten the mood  and not with cheesy one-liners (while there may have been a few, but you need some in a comic book movie).  The dialogue was sharp, and the jokes often referred to things from previous films and were perfectly placed.  While Nolan’s Batman trilogy was something completely on its own level, Days of Future Past feels like the ultimate comic book movie.  It blows my mind that people would want Marvel studios to control the X-Men franchise, and that’s crazy to me because while there may have been a few misses throughout the years, Days of Future Past is incredible.  There isn’t an overload of mind-numbing action, but still a great amount none-the-less.  The CGI and fight scenes have never looked better in any comic book superhero films.  You finally see some of the characters full powers on display, and it looks stunning.  Whether you’re watching scenes from the seventies or the dystopian future, everything from the sets to CGI is absolutely beautiful.  The future scenes feature a much darker and bleak look, while the past is brighter with more colors covering the screen.  The cinematography is cleverly used to contrast the past and future, and results speak for themselves.

Mixing in with this action are characters that you actually care about.  We’ve seen some of these characters on screen in the franchise for years, so fans will feel emotions when things happen to them.  Along with some of our favorite characters, new ones are just as memorable.  Quicksilver wasn’t featured throughout, but every scene he was in, Peters stole the show.  It has already been announced that Even Peters’ Quicksilver will see an expanded role in the sequel Apocalypse, due to what I’m sure will be an enthusiastic response to Quicksilver in Days of Future Past.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the X-Men film fans have been waiting ten years for.  Since Singer’s X2, X-Men fans have been on an up and down carousel ride, but they can finally rest easy with this latest, most complete installment.  The acting and characters are as intriguing as ever, and the special effects are on another level.  Days of Future Past improves on First Class in every way, and successfully reestablishes hope for the future of the series, so we can forget the past.

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in theaters nationwide May 23, 2014.

 



About the Author

Peter Towe
Peter Towe
A graduate of UMASS Boston, I have successfully put off getting a "real" job, and continue to watch, produce, review, and obsess over movies. I lived in Boston while I completed my degree, and now live in Chicago trying the improv thing.