“While previous films have been criticised for their heavy use of Wolverine as a focal point, seeing that character interacting with young Xavier and Magneto appeals to the fan-boy inside all of us and offers some of the film’s funniest moments.”
X-Men Days of Future Past Review
By Matt Allen
Cast: James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Jennifer Lawrence, Hugh Jackman, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters
Director(s): Bryan Singer
Screenwriter(s): Simon Kinberg
Running Time: 131 minutes
The X-Men films, much like the X-Men themselves, are somewhat of a mixed bag. That being said, since the soft-reboot of X-Men: First Class, confidence in the franchise has risen dramatically. With the departure of Matthew Vaughn, it has been left down to original director Bryan Singer to step in and put things to rights for Professor X and the gang. What better way to do that than adapt the fan-favourite time hopping story arc Days of Future Past.
In an apocalyptic future that sees mutants hunted down and killed by shape-shifting robots known as Sentinels, the remaining X-Men opt to send Wolverine’s (Jackman) consciousness back to 1973 in an effort to stop the events that will eventually lead to the genocide of the mutant race.
Time travel is a tricky thing to get right – just ask Marty McFly. As a story telling device it can sometimes be employed lazily to thinly plaster over plot holes or conveniently explain the inexplicable. However, recently it has been used to creative effect as a way of revitalising a franchise for a modern audience.
Just look at J.J. Abram’s Star Trek for a prime example of a film that uses this method to its advantage and allowed itself a completely clean slate from the original series. Similarly, X-Men: DOFP has taken this opportunity to repair some of the damage done by one Mr. Bret Ratner in the poorly received X-Men: The Last Stand. (Other franchises, such as Terminator, may wish to take note.)
The script moves deftly between timelines and opens with a sprawling fight sequence between the Resistance and the Sentinels that even rivals the glorious Night Crawler opening in X2 proving immediately that Singer is on top form for his return.
Writer Simon Kinberg does well retain the motives of characters in the past despite the fact that the ideologically opposed Xavier and Magneto must join forces to defeat a common enemy, their methods still remain true to their character; all is not forgotten simply because there is a new threat on the horizon.
The core of the First Class cast all return – Xavier (McAvoy), Hank McCoy (Hoult), Magneto (Fassbender) and Mistique (Lawrence) – while others are glimpsed and more are missing entirely. While previous films have been criticised for their heavy use of Wolverine as a focal point, seeing that character interacting with young Xavier and Magneto appeals to the fan-boy inside all of us and offers some of the film’s funniest moments.
The most notable addition to the team is the controversial inclusion of mutant speedster Quicksilver (Peters) aka Pietro Maximoff. The character, also set to appear in an alternate iteration in Joss Whedon’sAvengers: Age of Ultron, has been accused of only appearing in the script after the announcement of Marvel Studio’s plan.
The unusual legal position of the character (technically he belongs to both properties) means that both studios would be able to use the character and from afar it certainly seemed that Fox were jamming him into the script out of spite. However, short-lived though they may be, Quicksilver’s scenes are some of the most impressive of the film. Sufficed to say, Whedon and his team at Marvel Studios have their work cut out for them if they plan to top the current portrayal.
Perfectly executed and genuinely thrilling throughout, Bryan Singer’s effort atones for the sins of the past and paves the way promisingly for future instalment X-Men: Apocalypse.