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.
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.
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