Monday, June 9, 2014

Silver Screen Selections: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Director: Bryan Singer
Released: May 23, 2014
Genre: Action / Superhero


The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past - to save our future.

[From Metacritic.]


Days of Future Past picks up from where both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class left off. It begins in the far future, where robotic monstrosities known as Sentinels have driven mutants to near extinction, but quickly transitions to a past timeline taking place a few years after the events of First Class. Both timelines share characters but, aside from Wolverine, not actors. Though Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stuart are both just as wonderful as ever, it's the younger versions of their characters, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, along with Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, that carry the movie's emotional weight. Fassbender is perhaps a little underutilized, and the decisions he makes over the course of the movie aren't always as sensible as you'd expect for someone who will eventually age into Sir Ian McKellan, but he performs his scenes with appropriate gravitas and intensity.

The future's best offerings are a number of group fight scenes between the surviving mutants and the sentinels. These are, in my opinion, some of the best group fights put to screen. The mutants synchronize their powers beautifully, and a special shout goes out to Blink, played by Fan Bingbing, whose portal-throwing escapades are the star of the show.

The past timeline is lighter on the action, but it does have the best scene in the entire movie courtesy of Evan Peters' Quicksilver. I won't give anything away, but this particular scene is so much fun I'm tempted to rewatch the movie just to see it again.

The most disappointing thing about this movie is that it doesn't use Kitty Pryde, played by Ellen Page, as its time traveler, as was the case in the original comic book storyline. I can see why they didn't, Wolverine being one of the bigger draws to the X-Men movies, but it would've been nice to have at least one more lady, and a leading lady at that, in the male-dominated past timeline. As it is, Kitty ends up being more plot element than character. Still, even though I'm not the biggest fan of Wolverine, I can't help but like Hugh Jackman's portrayal. He brings a levity to Logan's bubs and snikts that makes him more palatable than many other interpretations of the character.

As in every time travel movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past is riddled with temporal inconsistencies that run the risk of driving more nitpicky viewers mad. Many of these didn't occur to me until after I'd left the theater, however, and none of them were bothersome enough to damage my opinion of the film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is a highly entertaining film, probably one of the best in the superhero genre. It has less laughs than The Avengers but a much more solid overall plot. Best of all, it retcons the horrid X-Men: The Last Stand out of existence and gives the series plenty of room to grow. Well worth a trip to the theater if you can make it and a future rent if you can't.

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