It’s strange to me to think that there are seven X-Men movies. It certainly doesn’t feel that way, and I think that has to do with the quality. Even though I wasn’t against The Wolverine when it came out, I’ve found it has very little re-watch potential. The same can be said for First Class, even though part of me knows that’s blasphemy. All that said, the X-Men movie franchise has not, as far as I can tell, been in any danger of stopping.
X-Men: Days of Future Past feels like new ground and back-to-basics at the same time, and I think that’s what makes this, in my mind, the most rewatchable X-Men movie since the original. Like all superhero movies, I enjoyed the hell of out it for the pure spectacle alone, problems and all.
The film starts in the near future, where mutants are hunted to the point of extinction with super Destroyer-like Sentinels. Professor X and Magneto have put aside their differences in a last ditch effort to save their kind. They send Wolverine back in time to the 70s to convince their younger selves to change the future.
Seeing the opening credits in the signature style, now complete with rather vivid 3D, I felt right at home. Improvements are evident right away, as we see several awesome mutants kicking ass. Iceman is at full power, and Blink’s teleportation might actually rival Nightcrawler in coolness. The way they send Wolverine back makes for a fairly good ticking clock. You know they have to have stakes in both timelines, that’s how movies work, but it doesn’t feel forced because they set everything up right.
Hugh Jackman does a sort of disgruntled uncle/mentor role now that he has all the information, and it works. While I would have liked a bit more explanation on how exactly Charles Xavier got as low as he did, his relationship with Wolverine is perfect. I really enjoyed their chemistry. Of course, the chemistry between Charles and Erik is as good, if not better, than First Class. Michael Fassbender nails the key to a good Magneto again: being evil, but being borderline sympathetic at the same time.
The unexpected star of the show, however, is Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. He’s not in the film nearly enough, but I still feel bad for Aaron Taylor-Johnson, who has to follow this act in Avengers: Age of Ultron. This was just a perfect Quicksilver, bearing in mind I haven’t read any X-Men comics. After his stint on American Horror Story, which I highly recommend, I am excited to see what Peters does next.
One should mention Peter Dinklage of course, as the scientist Tusk. What’s most impressive about his acting is that he did not make me think of Tyrion Lannister once, and I think about Tyrion all day long.
Jennifer Lawrence’s performance should also be mentioned, and you may start to notice one of the minor problems with the film. It is densely populated. Luckily, most of the characters are old favourites, so we don’t need much time to understand them, but the people in the future are only for action. Blink and the others get no more personality than the robotic sentinels. Of course, we’ve seen glimpses of some of them before in The Last Stand, which is perhaps why it feels so wrong to not expand on them at all.
All the action in the film is good, and again it’s Quicksilver who is just amazing and funny to watch, even if it is for just one scene! A few plot holes were spotted, but none of them pulled me completely out of the movie.
As always, the X-Men movies always include the theme of oppression and racism. This time we also get a hefty dose of anti-drone symbolism, which according to some online writers is a trend in big productions. The sentinels are a bit of a stretch. It’s hard to get your head into a world that would accept these robots, even during the Cold War. Also, Tusk seemed to have magical access to all areas of the government. The future-sentinels were badass, even though their ships had a ridiculously massive design flaw. The versions in 1970 were just too reminiscent of Iron Man 2.
Despite a few flaws, Days of Future Past is a return to form, and a new beginning, all in one. Dice roll: 5.