X-Men: Days of Future Past Review
A Blast From the Past
X-Men: Days of Future Past is an ambitious film uniting both members of the old cast from the original trilogy and the new younger faces of X-Men: First Class. The plot follows Logan aka Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as he is sent back in time to the 1970’s to prevent the assassination of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and avert a dystopian future in which nearly all mutants have been hunted down and killed.
Although the plot follows the character of Wolverine for the most part, the true stars of the film are Mystique or Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) and Professor X (James McAvoy). Whereas Fassbender’s Magneto stole the show in First Class, in this film McAvoy steals the limelight with a truly emotional character arc with one highlight especially being a scene shared with the future Professor X (Patrick Stewart) that contains some fantastic acting on both parts. It’s a testament to the screenplay and the writers that the film mostly manages to juggle the high number of characters and complex plot relatively well. While it was nice to see some of the old cast return, they are very much left aside while the newer cast along with Jackman deal with events unfolding around them.
As with many great ensemble films, this film gives each character something to do while even introducing new characters in the process. One notable example is Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who has some truly humorous and spectacular sequences. The action is excellent and the Sentinels, particularly in the future, are a formidable foe. Bryan Singer returns to this franchise with his last film being X2 and admirably picks the mantle back up without any cause for concern. There is enough fan service there to please those who like the comics and enough story and character to keep the average cinema audience entertained. The film also contains enough lighter or comedic elements, an important point in a film about a dystopian future where there is a danger of too many darker themes.
A minor issue I had with the film was that it did feel a little bloated. The X-men franchise is well known for its wide and varied cast. Part of the fun of these films is seeing all the different mutants, their powers and what they can do. But with new mutants introduced every film, you could see why this could be a problem. I was a little disappointed to see some characters from X-men First Class removed entirely from this plot, with their absence being explained away quite arbitrarily. In addition, many characters are reduced to simple cameos. It will be interesting to see how this is addressed in X-Men: Apocalypse which is slated for a 2016 release. And yes, there are moments that hint towards this next film, particularly if you stay for the end credits Easter egg.
Nevertheless, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a fantastic return to the X-Men franchise for Bryan Singer. Although some of the film feels like course correction after the much disliked X3, there is plenty here to enjoy. Xavier’s relationship with Raven is a fascinating one and is explored more in this film, seeing Logan interact with past versions of characters is as amusing as it is interesting and the action looks great. If you’re looking for an X-Men film done right, you could do a lot worse than Days of Future Past.