Many people were nervous about X-Men: Days of Future Past — this follow-up to the wonderful X-Men: First Class, entered a whole new arena, incorporating the reboot First Class with the five of previous films from the X-Men universe (which many people, including myself, despised). Despite reservations about this film combining the greatness of one with the mediocrity of five other X-Men titles, this 2014 joint effort will receive nothing but high marks from yours truly.
The film kicks off in the future where mutants are hunted by a brand of ultra-efficient Sentinels, an unstoppable group that can eliminate even the most powerful mutants. Back are the familiar faces of old (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry), put into an alternate storyline with a grim future. In order to change their current situation, the disbanded mutants send the unbreakable man (Wolverine) decades back to try to change the future, starting with the death of the Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) can send back Wolverine’s future consciousness to his past body, giving him a chance to try and unite Professor Xavier and Magneto to save their future. Will Wolverine be able to change the bleak future for mutant kind?
As I stated above, my distaste for the three original X-Men movies, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and The Wolverine had me quite worried those five duds would smear the success of X-Men: First Class and this sequel. But the two “different” universes blended seamlessly and fantastically. The two worlds work together to create a character-driven narrative (centered on Xavier and Magneto) stretched across two timelines. What makes this film work so well, is how anchored it is within the main characters. There is plenty of drama outside of the powers these mutants possess.
The performances within this project help the script sing a wonderful superhero tune that fans and casual audiences love to hear — aside from the many humanistic elements written into the characters, the performances from James McAvoy, the great Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, and even Hugh Jackman all put X-Men: Days of Future Past on another level past “mindless superhero blockbuster.” Rarely has a superhero franchise been blessed with this type of talent.
The story plays perfectly into the action, which itself is a treat — this wouldn’t be a superhero blockbuster if it didn’t have jaw-dropping action. Unlike Captain America: The Winter Solider, this film has tension in the action sequences due to the unpredictable nature of the transpiring events. The formerly mentioned film was predictable and cliché throughout its action narrative — the complete opposite is true here, with many pieces of action in the latter third of the film leaving viewers on the edge of their seats. There is a sequence when Magneto lifts an entire sports arena off its foundation, an unbelievable sight and display of his vast powers. With Magneto being my favorite X-Men character, this moment was truly gratifying for a fan like myself.
The movie also had plenty of humor and fun laced within the pages of this more “weighty” script. For me, some of the best moments featured the character Quicksilver, a man so outrageously fast he can easily outrun bullets. The most enjoyable scene of the movie featured Quicksilver dashing around a room disarming a squad of police officers — it makes audiences fall in love with this brand new character (to the movies) instantly and showcases the beautiful action of X-Men: Days of Future Past. If one moment stands out to fans, it surely will be this one.
Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past exhibits how superhero movies really should be crafted: focus on the characters and story first, then let the action and excitement fill in after. This is another surefire box office success that has been applauded by critics, a true sign of a remarkable blockbuster film. If you’re a fan of X-Men, I’m sure you have already made a date to see this one — but even casual fans should eat this one up.
Photos via: 20th Century Fox