The summer movie season marches forward with yet another comic book film. This time, myself (Derek) and Denis will be talking about X-Men Days of Future Past.
Like the past reviews this post will be split up into four categories and end with a score of; Seeing in Theatre, Wait for Rental or Pass.
First here’s the basic plot;
X-Men Days of Future Past opens in the distant future where Sentinels, the mechanical killing machines created by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), are now ruling over earth killing and kidnapping Mutants and Humans alike. The remaining X-Men, led by Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) travel to China where they create a plan to travel back in time. It seems that Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) has awoken the ability to send peoples contentiousness back in time.
While the group want to send Professor X back Pride warns his mind will be lost, so Logan (Hugh Jackman) is the only one that can make the trip due to his healing powers.
Once in the past Logan must find Mystique (Jennifer Aniston) and stop her from kill Trask and putting the current series of events into back into motion. But to do so he must team up with the younger versions of Charles (James McAvoy) and Eric (Michael Fassbender).
Even if Logan can unite the two is it enough to stop the timeline from moving forward?
While the overall plot is solid, there are still a few things that don’t really add up. A number of continuity errors and jumps in logic make the film feel kind of rushed at times. However, when you move past “Why does Wolverine have adamantium claws in the Future? (see ending of The Wolverine)” it works. We understand the motivations of the characters, and we get the idea of what’s at stake for the team. The film also does it’s best to bind both film timelines together and aside from a few hang-ups it works. What’s strange is this is the first time the X-Men films have moved into the more Sci Fi heavy stories (i.e. time travel). While some parts might seem silly (like where did Kitty get this power?), the film does it’s job, merging the two timelines together.
So here the thing. Now that I’m sitting here after about six or so hours from watching the movie….I can’t really recall too much of what happened. It all seemed kinda brief when I think about it. We start in the future, go to the past, break Magneto out of prison, stop an attempted murder of Trask, and then another attempted murder and then….credits. It’s not that the plots not well done or anything I just genuinely can’t recall too much. I will say that it was nice that despite Wolverine being the one that was our link to the past, he wasn’t the focus. It was about Mystique, Charles and Magneto. I remember enjoying this film, but when I think back to it I can’t help thinking that this movie was kind of an excuse to fix everything that went wrong in X-Men 3. And now with the future fixed and the past still open to exploring, when will the next one be set?
X-Men films have a tendency to lean towards the camp side, especially in the first two films. This time, the acting is played straight. While, you’d imagine a film this large would entail a huge cast, for the most part it focuses on five characters; Wolverine, Trask, Mystique, Professor X and Magneto (younger versions especially). All of these actors give solid performances with Dinklage standing out the most. Sadly to trail by combat here. The rest of the X-Men appear as cameos only and for the most part don’t do a lot aside from fighting. In fact, the majority of the new team members have few if any lines. In short the important characters were good, but I was expecting a deeper roster of characters or at least more time for them to shine. But the film is only 2 hours and 10 minutes so, what can you do?
The nice thing with the film was getting to mash the casts from both the prequel film and the original films. Rarely did they interact outside of Old and Young Professor X. In addition to the regulars the best player was Peter Dinklage who did great things with what he had available. Trask seems like such an interesting adversary and I would have love to see more scenes that explored who he was and where his interest in Mutants came from. But all the Mutants in the cast worked well and had great moments throughout the film. Jennifer Lawrence was able to explore Mystique more and get her closer inline with the portrayal from the original films. The cast was solid throughout, and I actually liked Quicksilver and hope we could see more of him in the future. I just found that the pacing of the film left us without time to just be with the characters and explore their dynamic a bit more, and I couldn’t see how adding more mutants to the mix helping that.
I think I can safely say that Brett Ratner sucked at directing the third X-Men film. While not every bad choice in the film was his, the stench of mediocrity was all over that one. Luckily Bryan Singer returned to the franchise to fix things. Returning with Singer are Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman the three who wrote the previous First Class film. The combination of the director and writers make Future Past feels like the past X-Men films. The characters are there, they act the way they should and everything feels right. If you like the original films, this will go over well with you. Despite this the films pacing was a bit off. There were a number of cool set pieces but at times the film dragged.
With the effects being a bit lacking in the previous First Class film, this managed to bring the production quality back to the originals. The look of the film, the design of the Sentinels, Hugh Jackman’s CGI muscles. Maybe those aren’t digital effects but please for the sake of my self esteem let me believe for a humble moment that the man who is over twice my age doesn’t look that in-fucking-credible. Anyway, aside from all the great visuals, I can’t really recall the soundtrack being all that notable. Did it even have one? Anyway. They brought that bar back up on X-Men movies, and high fives and ass slaps for that.
This film is far from perfect; the cast isn’t used as well as it could have been, it seemingly ignored some of the plot from the Wolverine and it’s pacing could have been better. That being said, Future Past is still a good film and much better than Last Stand, and at the end of the day wasn’t that the point? SEE IN THEATRE.
First Class helped to bring back the complexity of character and fun from the series previous, and now DOFP brought back the grandiose nature to the film. It looks like X-Men has survived the wrath of the Ratner. Thank God. it was fun, exciting, and actually funny on occasion, and isn’t that what X-Men is all about boys and girls. SEE IN THEATRE
X-Men: Days of Future Past was produced by 20th Century Fox, Marvel Studios, Bad Hat Harry Productions and The Donners’ Company. The X-Men are owned by Marvel Comics.