X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)


So many freaks, it felt like being in Saturday detention once again.

In the post-apocalyptic future, mutants across the globe are hunted down and killed by giant robotic Sentinels, who are able to modify their powers depending on what mutant it is they are fighting. This makes the idea of mutants’ extinction almost a reality, forcing Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) to come up with a master plan: Send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time to 1973 to find the young version of himself (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender), and convince them to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the creator of these deadly Sentinels (Peter Dinklage). That’s a lot easier said then done, considering the last time Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr saw one another, they almost killed each other, leaving the former unable to walk. But, with Wolverine thrown into the mix, they hope that they can smooth some things together and finish their master-plan, all in time before the Sentinels come around in the present day, and kill all that’s left of the X-Men. And to make matters worse, retro-era Magneto is predictably giving everybody a bit of a hard time when his ideals don’t mesh so well with the rest of the group’s. Oh, these Mutants, when will they ever learn to get along.

So, in other words, what this movie is trying to do is allow Bryan Singer to come back to the franchise that was basically consider “his”, and go back in time to where he could not only make us forget about the stink of the third and Origins, but also, show that this franchise can go on, even without him or many others attached to it. And, for the most part, it’s a noble effort on Singer’s part because you can tell that he honestly does “get” these characters, their plight, as well as their stories. Singer, all of his modern-day controversies aside, knows what it’s like to be looked at in a weird way, to be a social outcast, and what it means to be pushed away from the rest of society, which is not only why these characters still work for us, but also why the movie moves as well as it does.

"Yeah. I did that. Get at me."
“Yeah. I did that. Get at me.”

Because see, what Singer does so amazingly well here is that he gives us all of the characters we’re supposed to care about and allows them to have their smallish scenes of character-development. They’re nothing gigantic to where this becomes something of a character-driven piece; a little sign of compassion, anger, rage, depression definitely helps this go a long way. However, it’s enough to where there’s some sort of emotion backing all of the wild and insane action that happens throughout the most part of this movie. Which definitely makes this movie all the more satisfying and fun to watch – exactly how a superhero summer blockbuster should be.

Sure, I may have liked the Amazing Spider-Man 2 more than some, but there’s a reason for that: Not only did the movie keep me excited, but it seemed like it genuinely knew what kind of movie it was being. Nothing more, nothing less – a quintessential, 90’s superhero movie that just so happens to be made for Generation Y. It worked for me, but it didn’t work for others. So hey, whatever. Anyway, what I’m trying to get across is that while that movie knew it was a shallow piece of entertainment and didn’t try to go anywhere it wasn’t supposed to, Days of Future Past knows that it’s more than just a piece of carefree, sugar-explosion entertainment that one pays nearly-$20 to see at the end of a shitty day to make themselves feel better.

There’s real, actual heart and emotion to this piece, that not only has us reeling for the characters whenever their lives are at danger, but makes the stakes feel all the more higher.

Jeez, who woulda thunk it, right? Having a blockbuster in which we were given characters we genuinely sympathized with and for? Naw, get outta here!

But that’s what’s so wild about this superhero movie: It not only kicks, moves, and runs around like an action movie, but it also breathes like a superhero movie, in which we get to understand and see our “heroes” for all that they are worth, regardless of if we like them or not. Don’t get me wrong though, this isn’t a total drag-fest in which Singer continuously hits us over-the-head with sadness and darkness, like in the vein of Christopher Nolan, because there a few ounces of light, fun, and frothy comedy to keep our spirits up and afloat; but there’s also plenty of drama to make us feel like the ride is plenty worth while.

And the ride is exactly what matters here, especially in the eyes of someone like Singer, who feels like he’s gotten the whole band back together. Which is not only great for him and those struggling-actors who need a bit more extra cash thrown into their bank-account, but it’s also great for us. Personally, I remember growing up on the first two X-Men movies and fondly remember seeing each and every character introduced to me. Granted, I was young and didn’t know much better, but when I did decide to re-visit both of those movies, I found myself rarely at all disappointed. Some tonal issues here and there messed me up, but that was just the older, more-advanced movie-viewer inside of me speaking; the young, ten-year-old kid, however, was going nuts and in total joy of what he was seeing.

That’s why when certain faces show up in this movie like Halle Berry as Storm, or even Shawn Ashmore as Iceman, I genuinely felt happy; not because people are still actually hiring Halle Berry and Shawn Ashmore, but because I was finally seeing the mutants I used to watch as a kid, back on the big screen, in all of their wildest form. It made me feel like a kid again which, as we all know, usually comes with its huge dosages of nostalgia and late nights of sobbing into my pillow. So yeah, it’s great to have the band all back together again, but what’s even better is that they’re all in the hands of someone who knows what to do with them.

Not some freakin’, low-rent, spoiled-brat chump who I will leave unmentioned. But you know who it is I’m talking about.

Like I was saying though, yeah, this movie. What works so well about not only seeing the cast back on the screen, altogether once again, is that they definitely work wonders with delivering some corny dialogue. Maybe less so for Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, who really does deliver some of the movie’s best and funniest lines when it’s just him having to get used to the 70’s and all; but definitely moreso for class-acts like Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen who have always made their long-winding speeches of unity, acceptance, and banding together actually seem honest and interesting. There’s no difference here, it’s just that they aren’t on the screen so much, considering that most of this movie takes place in the 70’s.

She must be feeling blue...
She must be feeling blue…

This is where we get to see the younger-versions of Magneto and Xavier who are, once again, played wonderfully by both Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy, respectively. Fassbender feels like he’s constantly on the verge of dropping his good-guy persona and straight-up turning evil on everyone’s asses, while McAvoy gets to play Xavier as a bit of a drugged-out bum that needs some sort of inspiration to keep him going. It’s nice that First Class was able to get these two in the first place, because they work pretty damn well here in this movie, even if some of their dialogue is rather clunky. Just a bit though. Nothing too much.

And yes, before I go on too much, I will say one thing, and that’s everybody’s favorite figure in the media, Jennifer Lawrence, is fine as Mystique, however, I feel like she’s given a role that’s rather one-note. The whole aspect surrounding Mystique’s character in this movie is that she’s constantly angry about something, and while we know what that something is about, it doesn’t give us much reason to like her character or even see J-Law doing much for that character. There are certain shadings to her anger, but nothing to the point of where I felt like this was the Oscar-winner coming out of her performance and making this something more; just pretty standard stuff that could have gone a much longer way.

Hell, while I’m at it, I could even say the same thing about the movie. See, what got me so wrapped up in its emotion was the characters and the fact that I was seeing all of my old, favorite mutants, back on the screen, together, once again. That made me happy and a bit emotional, but for the story itself, there wasn’t that push I really wanted. It never really seems to be about much, except for just being about maintaining one’s extinction? I mean, I guess? I don’t know, let’s work with that, shall we?

Anywho, I know it’s a dumb nit-pick and all but it’s what kept me away from loving the hell out of this thing. But it’s definitely the superhero blockbuster you should see this summer. Although, probably, the Amazing Spider-Man 2 is only a couple of steps away.

No takers? Okay, cool. I’ll shut up about that now.

Consensus: With an utter sense of glee and joy with Bryan Singer at the helm, X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only a fun and exciting summer blockbuster, but is also a somewhat heartfelt, emotional ride that brings back all of the characters we once loved and adored, for another installment. Whether or not it’ll be the last, it doesn’t matter. What matters is that everybody’s back and the smiles it brings to the fanboys’ faces.

8.5 / 10 = Matinee!!

"Back the office, once again. Shit."
“Back the office, once again. Shit.”

Photo’s Credit to: IMDBColliderJobloComingSoon.net

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35 comments

  1. I personally thought this was average at best! All it set out to do was erase Fox’s mistakes, it should really be titled ‘X-Men: The Giant Eraser.’ The cast were okay, but I blame Singer for this debacle!

  2. Like what you say about the characters here Dan – they were all given their little piece of development which was a tough gig considering how many there are! Shame Raven was the only one who was left one note as you say. Lawrence did blast me with her charm but there was definitely more to see from her.

  3. Good review. I can’t wait to see this movie.
    I want to ask you, though, what did you think of the action sequences? I remember that my favorite part of the X-men trilogy was the second one, but still, Singer’s movies never get to impress me with epic battle scenes or action sequences. However, I liked the trailers of DOFP in this aspect a lot and now I’m a bit confused. What should I expect?

  4. Great review, Dan! And what a fantastic movie. Personally, I disagree with your sentiments regarding Mystique: the development there is subtle, but it’s there. In my opinion Lawrence brings a lot of emotion to the character through facial expressions and body language. I felt her struggle because of it.

  5. Well written and very entertaining to read as usual! Cannot wait to see this tomorrow night! That is precisely what I love about Singer! Makes you care about the characters! Sounds like a job well done!

  6. Heh, I reckon you liked this a lot more than I did. I mean, I enjoyed it, it was all big silly fun, and I agree about Jennifer Lawrence, who doesn’t really have much to do, but in the end it didn’t really come together for me. Although that may just be because I am always resistant to time-travel narratives, which are almost impossible to make coherent. Still, nice review!

  7. Very well spoken! nice review Dan. Looking forward to see this movie, hopefully this weekend 🙂 Would you check out some of my reviews too? if its not much to ask. Keep it up

  8. Great review! You’ve made me want to see the film, which is actually difficult to do.

    I’ve been hesitant to go see this film, b/c the marketing has been so terrible and I don’t like Bryan Singer. I don’t like how Singer abuses the comics that he’s making movies about. He proceeds to ball them up and throw them in the trash. He has even banned comics on the set of his films, which I don’t get. I’m not saying that a film needs to be an exact adaptation, similar to ‘300,’ but it should capture the essence of the comics, like ‘The Avengers.’

    That said, I keep hearing great things about the film. So I may have to forgo my Bryan Singer disdain and see the film.

  9. I saw this last night and really enjoyed it. It’s not one of those movies that can act as a stand-alone – you definitely need to have some familiarity with the general story, which I’m worried will really alienate some viewers. But I was impressed how well Singer blended together humor and emotion and badassery. Great review!

  10. I’m with you Dan, this one is tinged with emotion and characters that we care about. Despite trying to do a lot and faltering on occasion, Days of Future Past manages to keep us attentive and engrossed throughout. Great review!

    Adam.

  11. It’s a shame Singer’s personal life has overshadowed this film’s release. I really liked his work on the original X-Men films, and have anticipated this one quite highly because of it. Glad to hear it doesn’t let us down.

    Terrific review, Dan, a great read indeed.

    • Has his personal life overshadowed it? Other than us movie blogger’s does anyone really know about it? Or even know who Brian Singer is for that matter?

  12. I think most the the reason we are some invested in these characters is because there is such an extensive franchise behind this movie. And I mean that as a good thing; this is a true culmination of what a superhero franchise can do. I do sort of agree with you on Mystique, but it didn’t bother me much to be honest. There were other characters to latch onto emotionally.

  13. I didn’t got in expecting to like DoFP since I wasn’t a huge fan of Singer’s other X-Men films, but I agree that this one is pretty damn good. There’s a deeper story going on here and the emotional stakes are high for sure. I think you’re right about Singer identifying with these outcasts and that lending some credibility to the picture. I thought the special effects were well-done and I even liked the 3D. It even manages to tie together all of the X-Men movies cohesively, but a side effect of that it is heavy exposition in the dialogue which for me got boring at points. Finally I agree that of all the mutants, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique had the least interesting thing going on. Good stuff Dan.

  14. Good review. I liked the film, I mean I have some problems from a total comic nerd point of view but yeah its good.

    The visuals and 70’s timeline worked really well and the acting was really good. Quicksilver steals the show.

    This wasnt greatness but Apocalypse might 😀

  15. This franchise has just as many good chapters as bad ones. X-Men, X2: X-Men United, and First Class are the movies worth watching. Days of Future Past (DOFP) is one of the better entries. Possibly the best one in fact.

    I agree with you. Bryan Singer gets these characters. Personally I would also include Matthew Vaughn as well because this basically picks up about 10 years after First Class ends. In DOFP Writer Simon Kinberg brilliantly takes what he wants from the previous films and ignores what he doesn’t like. That is the key to any good retcon.

  16. Because I feel familiar with these characters from previous films it made it easier for me to invest in them. I think my favorite performance is McAvoy and the best surprise is the use of Quicksilver. I also liked the use of Blink’s powers; that opening fight with the future sentinels was a pretty awesome way to start the film, I wouldn’t have minded another fight like that in the 70′s timeline. Great review Dan.

  17. Cool review man, I agree with most of your points. I really liked this film, it just felt like a correction of the franchise and the film came together far better than I expected. And for me I feel like this film came together more cohesively and set up for a sequel far better than the last Spider-Man film.

  18. I genuinely love this film and it took me right back to those days after the original films when we used to play at being characters from the films. It was all I could do when I left the cinema not to run around pretending to be Jean Grey again. 😉

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