X-Men: Days of Future Past
Distributed by: 20th Century Fox
Reviewed by Melissa Minners
I haven't been a fan of the X-Men movies. In fact, up until now, I had only watched one fully. In theaters in the year 2000, X-Men really didn't impress me all that much and so I vowed not to watch the rest of the films...until I saw promos for X-Men: Days of Future Past. This movie seemed to be based upon the storylines I read when I first started to buy X-Men comic books, but I still wasn't sure whether or not I wanted to see the film. The movie's soundtrack decided me.
Opening in a dystopian future in which mutants are public enemy number one, hunted down by Sentinels, giant robots with the ability to absorb mutant powers and use them. Mutants are now kept in detention camps or murdered along with the humans who befriended and defended them. Very few have survived imprisonment or death. Among them, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellan), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Storm (Halle Berry). They seek out another group of survivors led by Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) and find them in a Chinese monastery, where Kitty has been practicing in projecting present day presences into the past with the idea of changing the future.
Professor X plans on using this ability to stop the Sentinels and prevent the human/mutant war from ever beginning. He has traced the start of the war back to 1973 and the assassination of the original Sentinels' creator Bolivar Trask (Peter Diklage). Infuriated by his experimentation on mutants like herself, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) hunts Trask down and kills him, only to be captured and used in experiments that will harness her ability to mutate and make the Sentinels a much more powerful army than Trask could ever have imagined.
Professor Xavier had planned to travel back to 1973 himself, but Kitty Pride warns against it, citing the fact that traveling back that far in time could literally tear the professor's brain apart. They realize that the only one suitable for this task is Wolverine as his regenerative powers would prevent his brain from being destroyed by the process. While Logan travels back in time, the X-Men prepare to make their last stand with the Sentinels, holding them off until Logan can complete his task.
But the going won't be easy for Wolverine. He must find a way to pull the Professor of the past (James McAvoy) out of a severe depression brought on by the loss of his friends and loved ones and the use of his legs. He then has to somehow convince Professor X of what will happen in the future and the need to unite with a much younger Magneto (Michael Fassbender), the Professor's sworn enemy. And Logan must do this all in a preciously short time, without getting himself too worked up in the process as his rage could cause his brain to scramble and he would be lost to them forever.
Okay, so the storyline is not exactly what I read when I bought those X-Men comic books years ago, but X-Men: Days of Future Past was an incredibly fun, fast-paced action film all the same, featuring some of my favorite characters from the comics. James McAvoy is excellent as the younger Professor Xavier, a man with incredible intelligence that wants nothing better than to drown his sorrows and hide from his powers. Michael Fassbender is remarkable in his role as Magneto, managing to maintain his ominous stature while still displaying some compassion here and there. I was worried that these two wouldn't be able to pull off portraying younger versions of characters fans already knew in the forms of Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan, but the duo really stepped to the plate and the writing helped out quite a bit. I felt that Jennifer Lawrence made a terrific Mystique with her ability to express emotion through her facial features, despite all that blue makeup. She was believable in the role made famous by Rebecca Romijn. In fact, I think she may have performed the role better than that of her predecessor.
As for that writing, I found the storyline, while different from the comics on which it was based, to be very engaging. The idea that one event, meant to do the world some good, can set off a domino effect of events that will eventually cause the very people it meant to help the ultimate destruction, was very intriguing. I liked the way they explained Magneto's 1973 captivity in this film. The idea that he was somehow involved in President Kennedy's assassination was quite interesting and I loved that the writers used Magneto to explain the conspiracy theory about the bullet's trajectory. There is a shocking revelation made later in the film regarding Magneto's involvement in this tragedy that I found quite interesting (not gonna tell as it could ruin some things for those who want to see the film).
Fans of the comic books will delight at appearances by Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Blink (Fan Bingbing), Sunspot (Adan Canto), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Ink (Gregg Lowe), Toad (Evan Jonigkeit), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and, my personal favorite, Bishop (Omar Sy). With the exception of Beast, there isn't much in the way of character development with these guys, but they sure are a lot of fun to watch in action.
The Sentinels in this film are incredible. Comic art doesn't do the ominous nature of these mutating robots justice. The art of special effects makes these behemoths quite terrifying and X-Men fans are bound to find the Sentinel experience in this movie to be more than satisfying. They were more intense than I could ever have imagined...and I have a pretty good imagination. I was suitably impressed.
One thing I absolutely loved about X-Men: Days of Future Past is that I only really ever saw the first movie. Sure, I read the comics and watched some of the cartoon series, but they are quite different from the movies. That being said, I still could enjoy this film. You really didn't have to see any of the original films to enjoy this one. Sure, there are events that play out at the end of the film that folks who never saw the other movies might find a tad confusing, but you basically understand what has just happened and what Logan is now experiencing (can't say too much or I'll give the ending away).
All-in-all, I found X-Men: Days of Future Past to be fun roller coaster ride full of fast-paced action with an intriguing storylines. Fans of the comic books will love this movie, unless they are of the type who want movies to copy the comics exactly. Fans of the previous X-Men films will be quite satisfied with this new addition to the series.