Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past
I know in previous reviews I have confessed to not really being into comic book movies but I must admit X-Men is my weakness on this front. So it was no surprise to those that know me that I ran right out to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. In this instalment, the X-Men assemble to fight a war of survival of the species across two time periods.
The characters from the original X-Men trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past in order to change the present and future for the best. Patrick Stewart (Charles Xavier/Professor), Ian McKellen (Erik Lensherr/Magneto) and Hugh Jackman (Logan/Wolverine) all take up their previous roles to perfection. James McAvoy (Charles Xavier/Professor) and Michael Fassbender (Erik Lensherr/Magneto) play the character’s younger counterparts in the past who join Wolverine to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) in a major historical event.
First off, do not go into this movie ‘cold’ as it were. Watch all of the previous X-Men movies before wading into this film as anyone coming into this franchise without previous experience is going to be left utterly bewildered. I’m sorry that I had not re-watched the other movies before going to see this one as it took me a few minutes to sort out what was happening.
Beginning in the future where giant mutant hunting robots, Sentinels, have effectively wiped out all of humanity, the few surviving X-Men manage to send Wolverine’s conscious into the past to possess his own body in 1973. His mission is to stop Mystique from murdering Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the Sentinels. Wolverine needs the help of the younger Xavier and Magneto who are not on the best of terms in the 70s.
While it sounds complicated the storytelling is so smooth that it is easy to follow. Seven films deep into the X-Men universe, Days of Future Past spends time correcting the course of its own series as well as setting up further instalments. While it spends so much time re-doing its cinematic past and plotting its feature, the present does seem to get side-lined somewhat.
That is not to say it is a bad movie. I enjoyed it. The actors are now firmly embedded in their roles, Jennifer Lawrence is clearly given more screen time due to her rising star status. New additions Quicksilver (Evan Peters) and Blink (Fan Bingbing) leave a bigger impression than the First Class supporting mutants did.
I am also pleased to see Peter Dinklage of Game of Thrones fame given a serious straight role, another rising star who I think we will be seeing a lot of in the future. There is a lot to like and enjoy here and while it doesn’t quite reach the success of X-Men 2, this gives hope that the franchise is returning to that level of quality again. The Apocalyptic sequel is already in the work and I, for one, are looking forward to it.
Photos c/o x-menmovies.com, chicagonow.com