“I don’t want your suffering! I don’t want your future!”
X-Men: Days of Future Past joins together our favourite mutants from the groovy 70’s along with the X-Men we grew up with, who are now all living in a post-apocalyptic nightmare. There were so many ways this movie could have gone wrong, it was such a big idea based on a fan favourite storyline, bringing together character many people adore. But it worked, it worked well.
I’m pretty sure that no one in the world dislikes Wolverine. He has got to be the best superhero of all time. I’m sure Fox knows this too as he keeps appearing in films. But it’ll be a while before I’m sick of him. The reason I mention Wolverine is because he has become the face of the X-Men franchise, just look at the banner above. Wolverine joins the future X-Men and the X-Men of the past together in this movie, but that doesn’t necessarily make him the protagonist. DOFP does a brilliant job of balancing the huge roster
of characters. Like The Avengers each character gets his/her moment to shine. Unlike The Avengers however, there is much more badassery and it actually feels like something is at stake. In fact characters die in this movie. Well, they “die”. With the whole time travel plot a character’s death is not always the end, but it still makes for tense fight scenes.
The film begins in the future as the last of the mutants are about to be wiped out. The X-Men defend their base in Moscow from the terrifying future Sentinels. These highly advanced robots more closely resemble the weird aliens in A.I. than the sentinels from the comics. But they look so cool, and they are genuinely terrifying. Knowing that they have very little time left, the decision is made by the X-Men to send a mutant back in time, stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) before she tries to kill the creator of the Sentinels and is subsequently captured with her genes being used to create the new breed of super powered sentinels. Got it? The movie makes it a lot simpler. It can’t be Professor X however as he would not survive the trip back. This leaves the job to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page and her new time travel ability) sends Logan’s consciousness back into his younger self in the 70’s, bone claws and all.
Now whilst it’s amazing to see Patrick Stewart back as Charles Xavier and Ian McKellan back as Magneto, the real bulk of the film takes place in the 1970’s. James McAvoy’s Xavier is an alcoholic mess being looked after in the abandoned school by Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicolas Hoult). To stop Mystique, Logan must recruit both Charles Xavier and Magneto (Michael Fassbender). The trouble with that is that Magneto is 10 floors underneath the Pentagon for killing the President. To attempt a successful prison break Beast, Logan and Professor X get the help of Quicksilver (Evan Peters). Now I want to mention Quicksilver as he drew a lot of criticism when the first few pictures of him were released. Now the majority of people are saying he is one of the strongest arts of the movie. His scene is just jaw-dropping, it really is a sight to behold. It’ll be interesting to see how Quicksilver is in the next Avengers. All I could think through the scene in DOFP was that I wouldn’t want to be Aaron Johnson right now.
The performances are all brilliant in DOFP. The returning stars as good as they’ve ever been and the newcomers hold their own. Mystique gets a lot to do in DOFP. In fact the entire plot revolves around her. Jennifer Lawrence is great, unsurprisingly. She is more like the Mystique from the original X-Men films than she was in First Class. Another nerd favourite Peter Dinklage puts in a great performance as Bolivar Trask, creator of the Sentinels.
(This next paragraph contains SPOILERS. Skip to the end if you haven’t seen the movie yet!) The time travel element of the movie stays accessible. It’s always a worry with films with this subject matter that the time travel inconsistencies and questions will overtake the plot. It’s handled well here. Things are bad in the future, Logan goes back in the past to change them, he changes the future. It is that simple. Bryan Singer also manages to do the impossible, he fixes the continuity. The way he does this is, well let’s just say that we don’t have to worry about X-Men: The Last Stand anymore. Or any of the previous X-Men films for that matter. The timeline is changed completely. It’s a massive retcon that I was worried would annoy me, but admittedly it is handled very well. The X-Men that have died over the years come back for a touching scene at the end. I never thought I’d be so happy to see James Marsden don his Cyclops glasses.
There are plenty of small references and easter eggs throughout. My favourite is the cameo from Kelsey Grammer’s Beast. That made me incredibly happy. This whole movie felt like a celebration of the X-Men. It feels as if this is the event that the franchise has been working towards. Some plot threads are left unexplained, like why is Xavier still alive? But it is quickly forgotten by the sight of the bustling X Mansion at the end. X-Men was a big part of my childhood and this movie does not disappoint. Fox has proved it can hold its own against the Marvel behemoth and, for me, the X-Men beat the Avengers every time.
Reviewed by Jack 😀