X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST… almost the quality of THE AVENGERS

Posted on July 16th, 2014
Posted on July 16th, 2014

by Coop Cooper

In the near future, the world is all but destroyed as out-of-control robots known as ‘Sentinels’ hunt down and eliminate the last of the mutants. Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) hatches a plan with a handful of surviving X-Men to stop the Sentinels by using a form of mental time travel to prevent a key event in 1973 that lead to the mass production of the killer robots. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the only one with the brain-healing capacity to survive the trip, has his knowledge/memories transported back into his younger body in the 70’s and goes about tracking down the 60’s-era X-Men team which has disbanded since averting the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. In that same timeline, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) wages a one-woman war with the U.S. Government, ultimately targeting Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), a scientist who created the Sentinels and has been experimenting on mutants to discover how to best destroy them.

While this film is riddled with plot holes, continuity issues and time period discrepancies, it is a huge shot in the arm for the “X-Men” franchise which had flagged since the release of the reviled “X-Men 3: The Last Stand” and the disappointing Wolverine-in-Japan movie from last year. In 2011, the franchise semi-rebooted with the prequel “X-Men: First Class” which was a resounding success. Now, in a bold move, the past and present story lines have been combined into one film, aided by a fortunate storyline from the original comics, which has created a completely new storyline that has corrected much of the damage committed by “X-Men 3”. It might even (thankfully) bring back popular characters who were callously killed off or practically omitted from that third film.

EVERYONE gets a cameo in this film. Every X-Men character, alive or dead or forgotten, gets a shot here and even some of the most popular actors like Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan get no more than ten minutes of screen time. Some even get cameos as corpses or in the case of Nightcrawler, all you see are his hands, but it is impressive how much director Bryan Singer was able to squeeze into the story. Equally impressive is how Singer was able to keep the recent accusations of his involvement in a Hollywood pedophilia sex ring from affecting this film’s box office numbers. Regardless, it will more than likely hurt his future involvement in the franchise.

The film primarily belongs to Jackman, Lawrence, James McAvoy as the young Professor X and Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto. They all do a predictably wonderful job, but I’m not sure if I’m liking this new touchy-feely Wolverine character change. I have no problem with Jackman, especially considering this might be his last time to play the character (I think his contract may be up), but he spends a lot more time explaining the situation than tearing things up with his claws. Lawrence could have a long career as Mystique if she wanted it, but why would she as the biggest female star in Hollywood? This is probably McAvoy and Fassbender’s last X-Men movie because there’s really no room for them after the resolution, so it’ll be interesting to see who gets the focus in the next one. It was also great to see new, interesting characters introduced like Chinese actress Fan BingBing as the mutant teleporter Blink. Her inclusion is less interesting when you realize the producers probably shoehorned her in to appeal to viewers in China just like Marvel Studios did when they added her in extra scenes to “Iron Man 3” to appease that market due to her star power overseas. Dinklage is great, period. I’d watch him in anything.

The most fun sequence of the film comes thanks to Evan Peters playing the new character Quicksilver who has the power of super-speed. He defeats an entire kitchen full of Secret Service agents in a split second, yet we get to enjoy it from his perspective as he moves bullets out of the way, makes the agents punch themselves and even takes the time to give one of them a wedgie. Peters is so terrific in the role, it’s going to be awkward when Quicksilver returns in the next “Avengers” film played by a very different-looking Aaron Taylor-Johnson. In fact, you probably already saw Taylor-Johnson playing a cameo as Quicksilver briefly during the credits sequence in “Captain America: The Winter Soldier”. Why is this happening? Because Fox Studios owns Quicksilver, the mutant, as a part of the “X-Men” property and Marvel Studios owns Quicksilver – who can’t be referred to as a mutant – as part of the “Avengers” property. This is going to cause a heck of a confusing crossover conflict that’ll never be resolved, but hey, that’s showbiz.

This film clears the way for the next X-Men movie called “X-Men: Age of Apocalypse” featuring the powerful mutant villain Apocalypse whom you get a glimpse of at the very end of the final credits of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. “X-Men: DOFP” is a landmark movie in the X-Men franchise and should not be missed by fans of any of the previous movies. However, I still think Marvel Studios is doing a slightly better job at handling their franchises and material than Fox.

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

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