Currently sitting proudly at a 91% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes (the highest approval rating out of all 7 films in the series), it’s impossible to deny the fact that Bryan Singer’s latest installment in the X-Men franchise, Days of Future Past is a major hit. It’s an example that sequels CAN be better than their predecessors. A testament to the fact that just because a series has more than a handful of bad eggs and mistakes, it can right it’s wrongs without a full reboot (ahem). And although it’s no perfect movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past is EXACTLY what the franchise needed. In an age where superhero films are becoming consistently more and more complex and compelling, X-Men needed this film to bring it back up to speed.
DoFP begins it’s story in a dystopian future ravaged by the power and menace of the Sentinels, or rather the vastly evolved forms of their 70s counterparts, which adapt depending on the mutants they’re targeting. In all truth, they’ve become an unbeatable foe. One of the first scenes in the film depicts most of the would-be protagonists essentially slaughtered by the Sentinels, establishing early on the hopelessness of the films grim reality. But Kitty Pryde, played by Ellen Page, has found a way to send one’s consciousness back into the past to prevent the future. Although she only dares going back a few weeks to a month at a time in fear of ripping apart someone’s mind, Wolverine allows her to use his body, as it heals just as quickly as it’s ripped apart. In so doing he is sent back to 1973 to convince Xavier and Magneto to stop the dreaded events that will eventually unleash the Sentinels on humanity in the first place. If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already noticed I’m giving away big spoilers to the plot, and only those who’ve seen the film should actually go forward with the review, as I’ll only steep further into spoilery territory.
And anyone who’s seen the film will no doubt be raving about one or two of the new mutants introduced. The first I’d like to mention is easily Blink, who’s ability to create portals is one of the most stylistically cool and strategically brilliant ways to ever fight a battle with partners on screen. One could also make the case for Bishop, who’s ability to absorb energy and use it against his enemy via a very large gun was excellent. Or Sunspot, or Warpath, or Spike, or whomever. So many great cameo(?) appearances from characters who’ve been noticeably absent thus far into the series.
But the new mutant that really takes the cake for me (and really everyone who’s seen the film) had to be Quicksilver. Ever since slo-mo action scenes were made popular by The Matrix, we’ve seen some extremely cool usage of the now-cliché trope. But this was something different – something we’ve heretofore never seen on the Big Screen, surprisingly. Sure, we’ve seen Superman slow down time in superspeed on Smallville, but to a degree this beautiful and, well… cool? No. This is the first true speedster we’ve encountered on the Big Screen and it was jaw-dropping. Show-stealing cool. And the line about his mother once knowing a guy that could control metal – fantastic. The excellent way they approached the character of Pietro Maximoff makes me slightly worried that Marvel won’t be able to reach that level of spunky, hilarious, angsty, too cool for his own good brilliance that Fox put into their version of the character. Not that I want them to replicate that take on the character. Rather I want them to bring out a more serious side to Pietro. We’ll have to see though.
But, despite stealing the show and having, easily, the most visually stunning scene in the film, it actually became the biggest disappointment in the film. Ten minutes after his glorious entrance he’s swiftly ejected from the film. He was such a huge help to the team! Why would they get rid of him like that?! “Sure kid, you can help us break into the Pentagon, but after that we’ve got grownup stuff to do in Paris, so scram. But thanks.” That’s essentially the unspoken gist of his random departure, and after that I really only wanted more Quicksilver.
That’s not my only qualm with the movie. When Simon Kinberg was writing this script he must’ve been thinking, “boy, everyone really loved that corny scene where Magneto lifted the entire Golden Gate Bridge in X-Men: The Last Stand merely to transport a handful of mutants to that little island… How do I top that? Let’s have him lift up a stadium this time, without even straining a vein in his forehead JUST to have it wrap around the White House so nobody can get in!” No. I’m sorry. You can’t explain this scene logically to me. I won’t listen. There were so many other ways of barring the public’s entrance to the White House at that very moment. But Magneto needs to make an entrance. An entrance that’ll cost countless hundreds of millions to fix. And when he snuck onto the train with the Sentinels… What the heck was he doing on that beach in the first place? How’d he get there? Why didn’t he just sneak onto the train when they were loading up the cars? He was there when they were doing so! Frustrating stuff for me. And Mystique. Talk about a rebel with a “cause”. Aside from a shed tear in the beginning, her one-man war was just so unmotivated it was hard to sympathize with the lovable character they developed in First Class. And riddle me this: IF she kills Trask in the unaltered timeline, who had the bright idea of using her DNA to push the sentinel program forward to be able to adapt to any circumstance? It’s not until after her murder attempt was foiled that Trask realizes the genius of using her blood, brain tissue, etc. to further his machines. And let’s just not get into the overflowing continuity errors that X-Men is now infamous for, because they’re going to have them regardless.
But that’s all part of the beauty of DoFP in particular. Despite my issues in the above paragraph, it is an excellent film. But that’s not all. Instead of rebooting a franchise with so many plot holes, this film actually went back in time and undid many of them. Seeing the faces of Iceman, Rogue, Storm, Kitty, Colossus, Magneto, etc. from the original films was a magical experience, a flashback to my childhood in many respects. These are characters I loved. But when Jean Grey turned around. And Scott. And Beast, and Xavier… It was hard for me not to get emotional.
I loved X-Men: Days of Future Past. And as I’ve mentioned, although the film is nowhere near perfect, it is the best X-Men movie by a large margin… Well maybe not that large of a margin. But I enjoyed it. So much so, I had to see it twice before nailing down a proper rating. What did you think of the movie? Sound off below. Oh yeah, check out this video of each of the many cameo appearances and references the film made. There’s quite a few. (Strangely none are Stan Lee).