Friday, June 6, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

The X-Men film franchise has possibly been the longest running superhero film series after The Marvel Cinematic Universe which comprises all the movies surrounding The Avengers. X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) acts as a sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class, it's the seventh X-Men movie, and ties the original trilogy and prequel together beautifully. It's also the best film in the franchise in my opinion!
Sentinels, robots that were created for the purpose of hunting down mutants, were released in 1973. 50 years later the Sentinels would also hunt humans who aid mutants. Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and his X-Men try their best to deal with the Sentinels but the modern robots they face are able to adapt and deal with all mutant abilities. Xavier decides to go back in time to change things. He asks Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), who can send a person's consciousness into the person's past, to send him back, but she can only send someone back a few weeks because if she sends someone back further it could harm them. So Logan (Hugh Jackman) decides to go back himself because his healing powers might be able to withstand it. Xavier tells Logan that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is responsible for the Sentinels' adaptive powers. When she learned about the Sentinels, she sought out and killed Bollivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the man who created them. Xavier also tells Logan that Mystique would be caught and studied, and her shape-shifting abilities would be added to the Sentinels, thus granting them the ability to adapt. Logan must go to the younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and ask him to help; the problem is that Xavier was despondent at the time and was taking a drug which allows him to walk but takes away his powers. Logan is asked to find young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and enlist his help also to prevent the Sentinels from ever being created.
Days of Future Past has a huge cast. A lot of actors return to reprise their roles from other films in the franchise, some as main characters and others as brief cameos. We also get a lot of new faces, too. Peter Dinklage is a actor born with achondroplasia, a common form of dwarfism, and is known for his role as Tyrion Lannister in HBO's Game of Thrones series. In Days of Future Past, he's the main antagonist, and is a business man through and through. He sees a potential to market something and is literally creating a threat out of mutants, who are virtually unheard of in the 1970's. He has no real hatred of mutants himself; he's just trying to market a product and goes to several countries' governments trying to sell his robots. I don't recall the original Trask having dwarfism, but Dinklage plays the role beautifully.
Another new face is Evan Peters as Quicksilver. This is a different actor portraying the same character we saw in the post-credits scene in Captian America: The Winter Soldier. Disney owns the Marvel Cinematic Universe while Fox owns the rights to X-Men, so these two versions of Quicksilver are not actually connected to each other. I wish Quicksilver was in the movie more; he was a really fun character. He can think and move at supersonic speeds, and is annoyed that nothing else moves at the same speed he does. The way he uses his powers is remarkable and creative, and he provides some comic relief to the movie.
The special effects in Days of Future Past were phenomenal. The 1970's Sentinels looked a lot like how a big robot from the 70's would look, while the future Sentinels were downright terrifying. In fact, future Sentinels were possibly some of the scariest movie killer robots I can think of; easily on par with the Sentinels from The Matrix series or the T-800 from The Terminator. The action scenes were fantastic, though a couple scenes with the future Sentinels were pretty violent. Had some shots lasted a little longer or if they had been much more graphic, the movie could have received an R rating. It did not, of course, but they were kind of pushing it. I suppose that dismembering someone made of metal is considered less graphic than dismembering someone made of flesh. Either way, I'd be mindful of the age of any kids you take to see this movie.
Time Travel stories can get really confusing with alternate time lines, paradoxical dichotomies, and questioning determinism and free will. This one is actually pretty straight forward. That's not to say the story is simple, it just doesn't become needlessly complex due to the time travel element. Having said that, there are a couple of continuity errors between this and other X-Men movies. This is such a good and solid movie that I have decided to believe that those continuity errors were put in place for the sole purpose of correcting really bad story decisions in previous movies. Days of Future Past is a solid story on its own.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is probably my favorite X-Men movie to date. It ties all the other movies together, tells a really good story, features some excellent acting, interesting characters, and some fun cameos from familiar characters. This is such a satisfying X-Men movie that if they were to end the franchise here, I would have nothing to complain about. They won't be ending the franchise here; stick around for a post-credit teaser. While Days of Future Past is great, it's not a particularly good place to start watching the X-Men movies. Make sure you watch X-Men, X2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men: First Class, and maybe Wolverine before diving into this one. You needn't bother with X-Men Origins: Wolverine, that movie was really terrible and doesn't influence the story line here. I recommend catching Days of Future Past in theaters if you can. It's also worth owning once it hits Blu-Ray.

There are still a lot of X-Men storylines and characters that movies can showcase, what would you like to see in an upcoming X-Men film? Comment below and tell me about it!

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