The X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.
Director: Bryan Singer
2000’s X-Men might be the most important comic book movie ever made, in that it was the launching point for this generation of blockbuster comic book movies, which have been without a doubt the biggest genre of summer films for the past three or four years. After the original X-Men trilogy stumbled in it’s third and final installment [which seems to be the standard for comic book films now, with Spiderman 3 and Iron-Man 3 both scoring worse than their previous installments], the focus was switching towards individual hero films, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine was born to start the new trend. But after some early pirating troubles, rushed production, and other issues, the film was considered a failure, and the X-Men were looking wholly defeated. That was when another first was made: 2011’s X-Men: First Class. A prequel to the original trilogy, First Class found an entirely new cast, save Hugh Jackman, to play the same characters and bring all of the origin stories together into one film. And it worked. First Class is probably the best X-Men film to date. Finally, as people awaited a follow-up to First Class, people wondered how they would move forward in time towards when the original X-Men took place with this new cast. In one last final original, first-of-its-kind film, the creators of First Class combined the First Class cast with the original trilogy to create the biggest ensemble action/adventure film cast ever put together in: X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The film tells the story of the future, and the past. In the future, the war between mutants and humans is almost over, due to extinction and genocide, mostly carried out by advanced robots called Sentinels, made to locate the mutation gene and eliminate the carrier. The X-Men’s last hope is to use a technique from Kitty Pryde [Page], that can send Wolverine’s consciousness back-in-time to warn their past selves of their future extinction at the hands of a brilliant scientist bent on destroying mutants, Dr. Bolivar Trask [Dinklage]. But even with the knowledge of things to come, Wolverine, Professor X, and Magneto can’t seem to change the future and their fate. The only thing that can save them is one mutants choice to spare the life of their biggest enemy.
As soon as the film ended [after the post-credits teaser clip; make sure you stay for it!], I turned to my friends in the theater and proposed a better title for the film: “X-Men: Days of Future Past: The Film Made to Erase the Original Trilogy”. Because in a sense, that’s exactly what this film does. First class took place before the events of the time-traveling, and the only films caught in the middle of the time traveling and fate changing are the original X-Men films of the trilogy. But they don’t erase the trilogy entirely, because they bring back the original cast, almost all of them, to reprise their roles: Halle Berry’s Storm, Anna Paquin’s Rogue, Daniel Cudmore’s Colossus, and even James Marsden’s Scott Summers, Famke Janssen’s Jean Grey, and Kelsey Grammer’s Hank! They effectively erase the events of the first X-Men films, which creators admitted to not liking in retrospect, and have left the door wide open for all of the old cast to come back and make another film. I’m not sure what they’ll do with the First Class cast in future films, but if any franchise can bring people back from the past, it’s this one.
Days of Future Past is also another first within the X-Men franchise, in my opinion, in it’s plot development, direction, and pacing. All of the previous films seemed to be really heavy and took their time with details and development, but while watching this film, I couldn’t help but find those same aspects a little shallow. It’s funny, because I can’t really come up with any empirical evidence to this feeling of mine [maybe it’s because I’ve waited four days to write the review after seeing the film], but it felt a little rushed in it’s presentation, and the story didn’t really hold my interest like First Class did. Then again, the story isn’t really setting out to create a new plot-line, but actually erase the one we know. It’s just a strange dynamic that wasn’t great for me. Despite that fact, this film was fun as HELL.
A phrase that is commonly used in film review is “popcorn flick”, or a movie that you can sit back, relax, eat some popcorn, and just have fun without heavy critical thinking or a high level of understanding. Although some smarts are needed with any film involving time-travel, this film is just a lot of fun, and this mostly comes from the crazy amount of characters and the cast. Having Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen back again is a God-send; Hugh Jackman has perfected the role of Wolverine in what is probably his 7th performance of the role; the final scene with all of the old X-Men is a nostalgia overload. The action is great, seeing all of the powers in use is always a blast [especially Quicksilver, who has to be the biggest source of laughs and fun in the film], and there is some good drama and interpersonal struggle, which is a must in all superhero films. Although I think there were some things that could have been left out to help the pace, almost all of the content has value in one way or another.
In the end, I find myself longing to watch First Class again instead of re-watching Days of Future Past, because it is definitely the superior film, but this new movie is a load of fun, and has HUGE implications on the future of the franchise, and is probably the most important X-Men film to date.
3/4 – While not the best X-Men film ever made, Days of Future Past is probably the most important one, and is a ton of fun for fans of the film and comic franchise.