X-Men Days of Future Past
20th Century Fox
Posted 5/25/14 12:22 AM ET
Directed by Bryan Singer
Screenplay by Simon Kinberg
Story by Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, and Jane Goldman
Based on Days of Future Past (Uncanny X-Men # 141 - 142 (Volume 1) by Chris Claremont and John Byrne
X-Men: Days of Future Past is so many things at once to so many diverse fan tastes. To hardcore comic purists, that want each scene to match up to the books panel for panel, it is likely an abomination that should never have seen the light of day. For hardcore fans of the canon that Fox has created over the course of the previous four X-Men and two Wolverine films, this is the Holy Grail of live action X-Men features; deservedly so in fact. For those, like myself, that are hardcore fans of the comics and long for an X-Men that is fact a little more on point to the comics with backstory and personality elements either left out or significantly altered, but can still enjoy the movies for what they are and still geek out to seeing the X-Men in live action. Counting myself as the one of the third group of X-Fans, I can wholeheartedly say this movie is the best X-Men movie since X-2: X-Men United. For the great departure from the original story that was the classic Days of Future Past, this film gets so much right following the past mistakes of this franchise *cough, X-Men: The Last Stand, cough* that I was very pleasantly surprised while sitting in the theater watching this.
Fan Bingbing as Blink (Clarice Ferguson) - Courtesy 20th Century Fox
One downside to the movie, before we get back to the good points, is that many fan favorite characters were teased to be in the film, and while that is true many of them count as little better than cameos like Blink. While useful in the opening battle sequence, and incredibly fun to watch use her teleportation discs in combat is given minimal dialogue and is modeled on the main (616) Marvel Universe version instead of the beloved Age of Apocalypse version. Colossus, also, is horribly underused once more; and still looks like shiny crap in his metallic form, like a living mirror with almost no details to his facial features while transformed. It is also unfortunate that minimal features can be made out while Iceman is finally in is all ice form here and there through the segments of the film that take place in the future. Also, Quicksilver looks as bad the promo images made him out to, and his personality is watered to smartass teenager instead of aloof jackass out for his agenda and obsessive protection/possession of his sister Wanda, the Scarlet Witch. There a funny line that alludes to the fact that Magneto is his father though that couldn't fit if Peter was in fact closer to being Pietro (his name in the comics for anyone reading that doesn't know).
There are shining moments when it comes to special and make up f/x in this movie though, things that outshine X-Men: First Class. Namely Beast and Mystique, Beast now looks like Beast; no more bad recycling of Ron Perlman's prosthetics from the original Beauty and The Beast TV series from the 1980s. And thanks to a handy plot device, that actually is almost straight out of the comics, Nicholas Hoult doesn't have to be in make up the whole movie. Jennifer Lawrence also looks ten times better as Mystique! Her scales look like they are part of her skin this time around, and they don't look like they're falling off her cheeks this time so her face looks like Mystique and not a rushed make up job on a half-assed cosplay. Lawrence is also about twenty times more comfortable in the role of Raven Darkholme now, which is good since this version of Days of Future Past revolves her around more than the trailers lead on. For this reviewer's money, that's actually a good thing. Mystique's characterization is that of a true freedom fighter for equal rights of her peers and fellow homo sapiens superior.
Nicholas Hoult looking a million bucks worth of better as Hank McCoy/Beast in his beastial blue form- Courtesy 20th Century Fox
While many fans are angry that Wolverine is seemingly taking the lead once more over the rest of the X-Men and in this case Kitty Pryde in particular, it worked within this very alternate take on the classic Days of Future Past story arc. While not perfect, I reiterate, this is the best X-Men film since X-2 and may lead to a much better franchise from here on out. Keeping spoilers out of this review is actually quite hard, but trust me. I have renewed hope for the live action X-Men films, hope I haven't had since watching the very first one when I was 13 and worshipped the X-Men above all others but Spider-Man on the altar of Marvel Comics. While I am one of Marvel's staunchest supporters I am also one of its hardest critics when it's called for. And while the hardcore comic fan in me screams this film has no right to be called Days of Future Past, I understand the marketing and the alterations made to the story for the sake of saving the X-Men film franchise until a full reboot is required as was done with Spider-Man.
Xaviers past and future meet in the mindscape - Courtesy 20th Century Fox
Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past is visually pleasing in most ways, is surprisingly fulfilling story-wise (in context of the film canon), and not only reinvigorates the floundering franchise, gives hope of better films to come, and makes X-Men: The Last Stand bearable to watch; again, trust me. Forgive it its flaws in both visuals (Colossus and the examples of some tech in 1973 that are more advanced than what was scene in X-Men and X-2: X-Men United) and story. When going to see it, remember a few things: Magneto is a dick, celebrate that Ellen Page is back as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat (even though she doesn't get nearly enough screen time), Wolverine is still a great character despite how overexposed he is, and don't compare it to the original Days of Future Past. Enjoy it for what it is in spite of its flaws, a pretty damn good superhero movie that flows between two time periods as well as a Doctor Who episode and appreciate it for getting us all closer to the X-Men film we deserve! Oh, and stay until after the credits. So worth it if like me this one made you excited for more X-films again.
- Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine
- Patrick Stewart as Future Charles Xavier/Professor X
- James McAvoy as 1973 Charles Xavier/Professor X
- Ian McKellan as Future Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto
- Michael Fassbender as 1973 Eric Lehnsherr/Magneto
- Jennifer Lawrence as Raven Darkholme/Mystique
- Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe/Storm
- Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat
- Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake/Iceman
- Nicholas Hoult as 1973 Hank McCoy/Beast
- Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask
- Omar Sy as Bishop
- Daniel Cudmore as Peter Rasputin/Colossus
- Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver
- Fan Bingbing as Clarice Ferguson/Blink
- Adan Canto as Roberto da Costa/Sunspot
- Booboo Stewart as James Proudstar/Warpath
Further cast omitted to prevent spoilers...
- Michael Meade