X-Men: Days of Future Past: the best X-Men film in a decade

xmen days of future past

This is one I’ve been looking forward to for quite some time. Yes, I know I probably said the same about The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but this was the superhero film I was really waiting for because I do love me some X-Men. But after a very strong start with X-Men and an even stronger second outing with X2: X-Men United (which you can read my review of here on Zoë’s lovely blog), X-Men faltered big time with the atrocious X-Men: The Last Stand. And it didn’t get much better with X-Men Origins: Wolverine.

But a ray of light poked through when the surprisingly good X-Men: First Class came out. It may not be as great as the original two films (in my opinion), but it was just the breath of fresh air the franchise needed. A few of the same characters, but with brand new faces and stories. And now here we are with the latest X-venture. (Oh, and somewhere in there The Wolverine came out, but I still haven’t seen that. I hear mostly “meh” things anyway.) Mixing elements from the original three films and First Class, Days of Future Past very easily could’ve been a train wreck. Lucky for us, it’s a well-crafted thrill ride that easily ranks among the franchise’s best.

Synopsis: “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.” Borrowed from my favorite movie site, IMDb.

xmen dfp 1

The Good: I just love that this film successfully bridges the first three X-Men films with the First Class storyline because it brings together so many of the characters we adore—even multiple versions of some of those characters! Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are, of course, old pros at playing Professor Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr a.k.a. Magneto, but it’s so great to see them alongside James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, who play their younger counterparts. McAvoy’s Xavier and Fassbender’s Magneto have a markedly different relationship than that of their older selves, and it’s interesting to see the contrast—particularly with Xavier, who is a much darker man in 1973. My favorite bit between Xavier and Magneto involves a very intense plane conversation…but I won’t spoil it for you. Also, I’ve said it before, and I very well may say it again: Hugh Jackman is Logan a.k.a. Wolverine. He’s just as wonderful in this as he always is. And you get to see an awful lot of him…like, a lot. Oops. But I shouldn’t spoil that either. 😉 My personal favorite moment with Wolverine is his first interaction with young Hank McCoy a.k.a. Beast (Nicholas Hoult), which doesn’t go quite as well as Wolverine had hoped. It’s great. Other familiar faces include Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), and a few others that pop up later (you’ll see ). Also, after a fairly tame start in First Class, Raven Darkholme a.k.a. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) becomes much more like the badass we all know from the first three X-Men films. There are several cool new mutants (Blink, Warpath, Bishop, and Sunspot), but the best newbie by far is Peter Maximoff a.k.a. Quicksilver (Evan Peters). I had doubts—particularly about his look—but Peters plays him with such hyperactive, bratty enthusiasm that he’s an absolute riot. Some might fear that the time travel element of the story weighs the film down, but I actually think the story is very cohesive. It clips along at a fast pace with lots of humor, but it isn’t afraid to slow down and get in some nice emotional moments, too. It’s a blast.

Favorite scene: Quicksilver puts on headphones and gleefully goes to work. That’s all I’m saying.

xmen dfp 2

The Bad: Honestly, I loved this film. But if I have to find a few qualms…I guess I’m 50/50 on the ending. Certain things are great—like how the film manages to correct some of the huge mistakes from The Last Stand (ah the benefits of time travel). But, like First Class, I feel that the ending ties up a little too quickly and too neatly. And speaking of endings, how about that post-credits scene, eh? For comic book readers, it might not be hard to figure out what’s going on, but for the rest of us…well, be prepared to Google it. Haha. I will say, however, that now that I know what it’s all about, I’m pretty excited for the next film. I was slightly disappointed that Peter Dinklage, who plays scientist and sentinel creator Bolivar Trask, is fairly underused in this film. Anyone who’s seen Game of Thrones knows how awesome he can be. Still, he does well enough with what he’s given. Aside, from that, my qualms are fairly specific issues that I can’t raise without spoiling some plot points, which I simply won’t do. There are a few hiccups here and there, but even so they’re very, very minor.

Least favorite scene: There’s one point where Magneto is standing on top of a train and the green screen is painfully obvious behind him. Honestly, it made me cringe. Did anybody else notice this? Maybe the theater just had a bad projector or something…

To Sum It Up: Days of Future Past is fantastically fun. This very well could be the best superhero film of the year and maybe even the best X-Men film to date (although I’m still very partial to X2). The clever plot, cool mutants, and sharp script all come together brilliantly under director Bryan Singer’s guidance, and the five-star cast certainly doesn’t hurt either. This is a must-see for X-Men/superhero fans. Seriously, you will not be disappointed. I already want to go see it again. 🙂

My Grade: A

 

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60 thoughts on “X-Men: Days of Future Past: the best X-Men film in a decade

  1. Your enthusiasm really comes through here Cara. I think we both enjoyed the same bits. The plane conversation was the closest the film got to the emotional exchanges between Xavier and Magneto in First Class. I still think First Class is the better film though!

    • You two – did you not crack up when Wolverine (on the plane) drollfully says – “are you gonna pick up that shit?”

    • Yeah I really loved this one. I’m surprised you think First Class is better! I thought this one built on it in all the right ways. That plus correcting the mistakes of The Last Stand were the big things that won me over. Maybe more Xavier/Magneto bro time wouldn’t have hurt, but honestly the plane scene was good enough for me. You always have to go against the crowd, don’t you, ya rebel? 😉

  2. Luckily I know some of the comic storylines (and I already know the title of the next X-movie) so I could figure out the post-credit scene. The person I was seeing it with is a big comic book geek and he was literally freaking out about it….like a five year old. Would not have been surprised if he’d started clapping gleefully.

  3. Pingback: X-Men: Days of Future Past | digitalshortbread

  4. Way to go Cara, you summed this up brilliantly. I just got with mine, and I have to say we are spot-on here. This movie just kicked-ass.

    But i’m really having trouble remembering the bit with Magneto on the train/the green screen moment. Refresh my memory: was it towards beginning, somewhere in the middle or toward the end?

    • Yaaayyy so glad to hear you liked it, too, Tom! Great minds, my friend. 😉 The moment I’m talking about is toward the middle of the film–Magneto is dealing with the sentinels on the trains. He climbs on top and the scenery behind him is just very…green screeny. Haha. I dunno–maybe it was just me…

  5. Good review. I liked the film, I mean I have some problems from a total comic nerd point of view but yeah its good.

    The visuals and 70’s timeline worked really well and the acting was really good. Quicksilver steals the show.

    This wasnt greatness but Apocalypse might 😀

  6. Sounds like you definitely enjoyed this more than I did. I feel this film was only made so that Fox could fix the mistakes and errors in their franchise by means of time travel while claiming they followed the comic! Fox should be ashamed of their trickery. The whole ‘X-Men’ series should be left dormant for years, with an eventual re-boot by someone who actually respects the series and continuity! Sorry about my rant – your write up was great though!

    • Oh man. You’re pretty down on the X-Men, aren’t you? Haha. Personally, I thought this film was awesome, and I really liked and appreciated the fact that they used it to correct some of the mistakes of The Last Stand (a.k.a. the mistakes of Brett Ratner lol). I know next to nothing about the comics, so maybe that’s why I’m more ok with everything. Sorry you didn’t like it!

  7. I didn’t notice the use of the green screen at all during the train scene! Which is unusual because I usually do notice that kind of stuff, sometimes I feel like I’m almost actively looking for it. Did you see it in 2D? Anyway, heartily concur with the review. 😉

  8. Great review, Cara. Your favorite scene is a also my favorite scene. Quicksilver’s personality really shone through without him even talking.

  9. X2 still rocks my socks off, but this one was still pretty awesome in its own right. Just about did everything right, I’d say. Good review Cara.

  10. Excellent review here lady! Love how hyped you get! I think most people had doubts about Quicksilver’s look, but dammit he just stole every scene he was in, I loved it. Evan Peters rocks though. I am a huge fan of McAvoy, so this was naturally just a place for me to have way too much fun, and this movie worked so much! IT WAS FREAKING FANTASTIC!!! I also just want to go see it again, but so not on my cards!

    • We are soooo in agreement. 😀 You never know! Maybe you’ll get a chance to sneak in another showing! So happy you liked this one as well as I did!!!

  11. I’m always google-ing post-credit scenes in these superhero films – the WiFi can’t work quick enough! Very intrigued by this one though, sounds tasty. DoFP is such an enjoyable film. Excellent review Cara!

    Adam.

  12. Awesome review, glad to hear you had fun with this movie. I think my favorite performance is McAvoy and the best surprise is the use of Quicksilver. I also liked the use of Blink’s powers; that opening fight with the future sentinels was a pretty awesome way to start the film, I wouldn’t have minded another fight like that in the 70′s timeline.

    • Thanks so much! Yes, McAvoy is pretty great in this, isn’t he? I especially loved that scene he got with Patrick Stewart–so awesome! Quicksilver beat all for me. He was just PERFECT. Hahaha. And yeah I’m glad they included Blink because the use of her powers was really, really neat. I suppose there wasn’t quite as much fighting in the ’70s timeline, was there? Maybe we’ll get a nice brawl in Apocalypse. 😉

  13. I thought this movie was alright. I watched it and got bored in certain scenes that I thought were way to long. This is just another Wolverine fest. Storm barely played a part in the movie, Colossus was there just to get his ass whooped, Beast was alright, but I wasn’t impressed [ I was actually disappointed because he is my second favorite X-men next to Gambit], and while the movie was enjoyable I don’t think it’s memorable. I want a real X-men movie not another Wolverine movie and that’s exactly what we got here.

    • Whaaaaat? We must have been watching different films, my friend. Lol. I thought it was great! Wolverine was a main character, yeah, but I actually felt like it was much more about Professor X and Mystique. As for Storm and Colossus, I wasn’t expecting much from them since I knew the past would be the main storyline. Beast could, perhaps, still be developed a bit more, but I thought he was great in what he did. Sorry to hear you were disappointed!

  14. Definitely a good flick, but I think it has a few more flaws than you do, starting with having far too many characters. That Quicksilver scene, though: yeah. Awesome!

    • There are a lot of characters–particularly in regards to the futures–that could stand to be developed a bit more. But I just had way too much fun to care. Quicksilver had better return!! 🙂

      • Amen on Quicksilver.

        And I think all of the characters needed better treatment, including the leads. Magneto and Mystique’s stories are rushed. Professor X gets the best treatment, but even his initial decision to help Wolverine is too fast. Beast is naught more than a loyal lap dog who will do whatever he’s asked, no matter how dangerous the request. And so forth. Singer saddled himself with too many characters AND too much plot – it’s a dangerous combination that results in under characterizing everyone.

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