Poster

Amidst a largely disappointing summer season, X-Men: Days of Future Past delivers on the promise of a summer blockbuster: providing ample mindless entertainment. While this movie isn’t without its own fair share of flaws, the latest X-Men effort is arguably the best in a long series of mostly worthwhile films. Let’s all agree X-Men Origins: Wolverine never happened. The world is just a better place that way.

Considering that The Wolverine was such an awful mess as well, it’s hard not to walk away impressed with this successful blend of two separate casts in a relatively straightforward time-travel plot.

X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn’t waste any time setting up the story and plunging forward. In this dystopian future, Sentinels (robots) track down and destroy mutants, but they’ve also been designed to hunt humans who help mutants. The introduction displays countless bodies dumped in what appears to be a makeshift mutant landfill. Charles Xavier, Wolverine, and our favorite band of merry mutants attempt to act as a counterforce against the Sentinels, but it’s always a battle they can never win.

Kitty Pryde (played by Ellen Page) can send a person’s consciousness into their younger self, but this form of time-travel is limited because going back more than a week or so will irreparably hurt that person.

If only there was an indestructible mutant that can heal himself. Oh yeah, that’s Wolverine.

In a true stroke of either genius or luck, the writers get to use their biggest movie star (Hugh Jackman) as the connection between past and present. More screen time for Hugh Jackman is never a bad thing for box office success. As a result, the story once again works around the dichotomy between the relationship of Professor Xavier and Magneto, which really has been the driving force in all the traditional X-Men movies. In this version, the audience gets to see this relationship play out over time with different actors.

You can have a movie jam-packed with action sequences and amazing visual effects, but this movie works because of the performances of James McAvoy (Xavier) and Michael Fassbender (Magneto). At this point, no one should be surprised that Fassbender put forth an amazing performance since he’s one of the best working actors. However, I was kinda taken back by James McAvoy. Given the ability to act as the emotional center, McAvoy runs the gamut and comes out shining on the other side.

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, both Xavier and Magneto are basically fighting over the soul or at least the moral core of Mystique as the story is fixated on going back into the past to prevent Mystique from assassinating Dr. Bolivar Trask (played by Peter Dinklage)—who invented the Sentinels in 1973. The primary reason the Sentinels prove to be unstoppable murderers of mutants is Mystique being captured after the assassination and the incorporation of her unique DNA into the Sentinels.

Jennifer Lawrence does a solid job in human and mutant form as Mystique. And blah, blah, blah.

Mystique

I enjoy watching a half-naked Jennifer Lawrence as much as any pre-pubescent male, and her jiggle was impressive and on full display during this movie. But please endure a short rant…

What the fuck were they thinking with Mystique’s makeup? I understand Jennifer Lawrence has become a genuine movie star after the commercial success of The Hunger Games, but there’s a better way to cut down on the makeup time while still putting forth a more quality product. From shoulders to feet, the sequins on her body suit stand out like it’s part of a crappy arts and crafts project. And I can point to scenes where the awkward orange wig does not sit proper. Yes, this is very nitpicky, but it’s an observation of a distracting component of a majorly successful, multi-million dollar summer blockbuster.

Maybe it’s just my hyper-vigilance. I hope so.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is more of the same in the current surge of comic book movies with a certain gritty realism—inspired by The Dark Knight (directed by Christopher Nolan). However, it also puts a slight twist with the time-travel plot, which gives the audience the illusion of something new.

That’s a credit to Bryan Singer.

I haven’t read much into the Bryan Singer scandal to know if it is bullshit or not. Appearing on an episode of Face Off—a reality competition show based on special effects movie makeups—for Jack the Giant Slayer, I came away with the impression that Singer was a little odd on a personal level. But that’s not an indication of anything other than being goofy. In terms of directing, Singer’s slightly off demeanor may even help him present his movies in a more interesting light with a unique perspective.

Magneto

In particular, one of the most impressive portions of X-Men: Days of Future Past is the character introduction of Quicksilver. I was admittedly among those horrified of the initial preview of this character. The images released beforehand showed Evan Peters as an Asian hipster with light purple hair.

It all looked so fucking awful.

Even though the outfit still left a lot to be desire, it didn’t seem so out of place in the context of the movie as well as the specific set designs of his mom’s basement and the Pentagon, which are the only two scenes featuring Quicksilver. In fact, the action sequence of Quicksilver breaking out Magneto from the Pentagon will remain the most memorable scene from this movie years down the road. I can’t envision another actor successfully pulling off the portrayal of this particular vision of Quicksilver. Evan Peters exuded charisma and actually transformed an unlikable character into someone who’s at least tolerated.

Quicksilver1

Quicksilver2

Quicksilver3

The other new mutants (Bishop, Blink, Warpath, and even Sunspot) did not get that same treatment or any true effort to flesh out more backstory. But with a remarkable blend of solid story and a few action scenes, this movie is a perfect recipe for a summer blockbuster. Don’t expect an Academy Award winner, but this new X-Men movie has easily been the best, most enjoyable I’ve seen in theaters this summer.

Now that the stage is set for X-Men: Apocalypse, it’ll be interesting to see the big screen treatment of such an infamous villain. Growing up as an avid fan of X-Men (reading comics and watching the 90s cartoon), I would love to see Sinister added to the mix as well. There are so many more mutants could be introduced, and I think most fans would love to see the next movie feature a more diverse array than the same old characters. With the focus on the younger cast, that could be a real possibility in X-Men: Apocalypse.

But if the announcement of Channing Tatum as Gambit, I do not have much hope of the next movie achieving this same level of entertainment. Like everyone, my favorite character has always been Wolverine, but Gambit is a close second. Channing Tatum is a very odd choice and I don’t see this turning out too well. For now, just enjoy the X-Men universe where Channing Tatum doesn’t exist.

Gambit

4.5 out of 5 stars

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Comments
  1. CMrok93 says:

    It’s a very fun and exciting movie that reminded me why I loved this franchise so much in the first place. Nice review.

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