“In the future, you and I will be good friends. You just don’t know it yet.”
There isn’t much we can ever do about the past; it is what it is. But if you’re Kitty Pride and the X-Men? It may be possible to rewrite history. X-Men: Days of Future Past introduces us to a grim future. Robot beings known as sentinels have been created by humans to eradicate all mutants and possible future mutants (those who are humans but possess a mutant strain). Fighting is futile, as these sentinels can absorb and replicate mutant powers. Just before death, Kitty is able to project a person’s consciousness to the past; this serving as a warning to ready themselves for the next attack.
This isn’t a solution though, more like a very temporary fix. To solve this problem, the X-Men devise a plan in which one person will have to travel to the past and stop the sentinels from ever being created in 1973. Logic would say Professor X is the man for the job, but the mission will require someone whose mind will not break under duress. The best man for the job is Logan, and in order to take down these harbingers of death, the wolverine will have to mend old differences between and among iconic mutants, and ultimately stop an assassination from occurring. It is a tall order to say the least.
Full on disclosure here. X-Men Days of Future Past is a well-done film, with good amounts of impressive action sequences, solid acting, and some shockingly heavy moments. And yet, I cannot shake the feeling that I was a little disappointed after the credits rolled. I was wondering if my enjoyment of this or lack thereof would be impacted by not re-watching the X-Men movies of the past (X-Men, X2, and The Last Stand), but my concerns were alleviated. There is enough done by director Bryan Singer of previous X-Men fame to catch up those uninitiated or forgetful. But with that said, X-Men: First Class is the one film to view out of this series before checking this out if not done so.
So if the disappointment isn’t due to a lack of familiarity/remembrance, then what can it be attributed to? Hard to say, but I may just have to accept the fact that I am a little weary of the X-Men now. Perhaps the humans versus mutants battle is played out to me, and likewise with the allegory of mutant acceptance and racism/discrimination, among others. This sounds like bashing of the movie and the X-Men as a whole, but realize that this is still a great movie, just not one that the Movie Man was enamored with.
Rant over. As hinted at, there are many positives to DoFP, one being the direction. While First Class director Matthew Vaughn did a great job with restoring a sizable chunk of luster back to the X-Men name, this belongs to Bryan Singer. Like old Yankee stadium being “The House That Ruth Built,” this comic book movie franchise is “The House That Singer Built.” The passion and care he exhibits for this is crystal clear and it is good to see him back at the helm. His hand is a steady one but also one that is capable with capturing cinematic flair.
As for the actual story itself, the gist of it made sense. Some went over the head for whatever reason and became messy, but at its core it is easy enough to follow. Movies featured around time travel more often than not end up being a jumbled mess to me at least, but here I would say it is just somewhat muddled in places. Surprisingly enough, the past and current/future characters never truly interact that much. After seeing the trailer I believed DoFP would have both the young and older counterparts at the same time in the same place, but that isn’t to be the case. It is for the best that this route was not taken, as there may have been some complications if this occurred.
Much like First Class, DoFP is rooted in expertly crafted characters brought to life by committed actors. Michael Fassbender returns once again as Magneto, this time playing a more ruthless and hardened individual whose compassion is all but nullified here. His ex-friend/nemesis Professor Xavier is handled by the brillant James McAvoy, and he give the best performance of the movie as a self-doubting, attempting to regain what was lost individual.
Jennifer Lawrence, while great in the previous installment, has much more to do here in a lone wolf type role. Rounding out the main cast is none other than Hugh Jackman as Wolverine. As expected, he brings tons of charisma to the part and acts as the comedic presence in opportune times. But, his character shift is one to take note of. Instead of being the hothead aggressor, here Logan is forced to be the glue that not only holds the crew together, but the catalyst for its potential redemption. A really nice flip from what has been seen in previous installments. There are more characters that could be talked about as this does bring the past characters to the present/future, but DoFP belongs to younger Mystique/Magneto/Professor X, and Wolverine. Not to take anything away from Stewart, McKellan, and Berry, but it is time to phase their characters out.
The villain(s) came off as a little underdeveloped unfortunately. Peter Dinklage is the creator of the sentinels, and while he exhibits strong acting chops to his character, there was really no meat as to why he is so hell bent on eradicating mutants. The sentinels themselves are nothing more than mindless drones (figuratively and literally), but for a PG-13 film, they were menacing and even kind of frightening with many of their kills. Every time they popped up I thought of the Husks from Mass Effect 2, who were also mindless but just as intimidating.
To most, X-Men: Days of Future Past will be everything that is wanted and then some. For me, it just didn’t hit the spot like I thought, but that is OK. In the minority with this one, yet still recommended as a whole.
Photo credits go to screenrant.com, geekyrant.com, & moviefanatic.com.
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