by Matt Sernaker, Managing Editor
I don’t know about you guys, but there isn’t another movie that I have been more excited to see in 2014 than X-Men: Days of Future Past. To the uninitiated, this story is considered to be one of the crown jewels of X-Men mythology. You have time travel, you have giant evil robots, and you have a glimpse into a future that could have been. Taking on the task of bringing this incredibly powerful story to life is veteran X-Men Director Bryan Singer (X-Men), and good news everyone, he brought some friends along as well. Residing in a dark and twisted future are Sir Patrick Stewart (Professor X), Ian McKellen (Magneto), Hugh Jackman (Wolverine), Ellen Page (Kitty “Shadowcat” Pryde), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Halle Berry (Storm), and Daniel Cudmore (Colossus) of the original X-Men Trilogy. As if that cast wasn’t enough, James McAvoy (Professor X), Michael Fassbender (Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique), Lucas Till (Havok), and Nicholas Hoult (Beast) return as the younger “First Class” of X-Men in the early 1970’s. Past and future collide as the X-Men race to stop the implementation of the Sentinel program, headed up by Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, Game of Thrones).
In a dystopian future, robotic creations known as Sentinels have taken over the planet. These mutant-hunting drones have not only decimated the mutant population, but have also destroyed most of humanity in the process. A last ditch effort to change the timeline is hatched by Professor X and his “BFF” Magneto, with a little help from Kitty Pryde, who now has the ability to send a person’s consciousness back in time (I am not making this part up. Yes I am aware that she doesn’t have that power…but I am not sure Bryan Singer is. Can you say plothole?). Kitty uses her powers to send Logan back in time to the 1970’s to stop the assassination of Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask by none other than Mystique. Her actions set off a chain of events that led to the creation of the darkest timeline. Wolverine sets out to reunite young Professor X and Magneto, who have both faced some traumatic events since we last saw them in X-Men: First Class. Can Logan alter history before his future friends are wiped out?
How does this compare to the past X-Men cinematic installments? Bryan Singer beats the odds and utterly kills it with this iteration. Without question, this truly is an ensemble movie. Fans were worried about the decision to have Wolverine travel back in time instead of Kitty Pryde, but luckily it does not become “The Wolverine Show.” Jackman takes a step back in this film, and becomes more of the go between for the audience. The film primarily features more of the First Class cast, but manages to get a large amount of screen time for all of the major players. Not only do we get to see appearances by X-Men past and present, but we also get to see some lesser known X-Men characters take center stage for the first time. The two surprise superstars of this movie are Quicksilver (Evan Peters, Kick-Ass) and Blink (Bingbing Fan, Iron Man Three). Peters gets the best moment of the movie, which culminates in a slow motion sequence, while Fan will wow audiences with her portrayal of the fan favorite teleporter. Warpath (Booboo Stewart, Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2) also gets a shout-out for some pretty fantastic moments. While Bishop and Sunspot also appear in the movie, these two were not treated with as much care as the creative team didn’t really have a true grasp on their power sets.
Now the moment we have all been waiting for: the Sentinels are finally here! Fans are not only treated to the classic purple Sentinel designs, but we are also given a pretty awesome interpretation of the “Nimrod”-style future mutant hunting bot as well. My first experience with the X-Men in general was with the 1990’s Fox Animated Series, which featured the Sentinels as the first big threat. Seeing these robots on the big screen in such a well thought out manner really was worth the wait. I don’t think anyone will be disappointed with the treatment of this classic X-Men villain (other than Morph…RIP).
With the exception of the majorly ridiculous Kitty Pryde issue noted earlier in the review, the only other frustration that I had with the movie was the status of Xavier and Beast in the 70’s. The use of a miracle serum to alter their abilities just felt way out of character for both of them, and also just felt like an incredibly cheap solution to move the story forward.
Overall, this film in many ways is one big middle finger to Brett Ratner (Director of X3: The Last Stand) who almost destroyed the franchise with horrifically bad decisions. Singer uses this movie to fix the glaring mistakes that Ratner made in X3, and also to use the story to do a soft reboot of the future, allowing the First Class cast to have new adventures without being forced to shoehorn cannon components from the original trilogy. There are many amazing cameos throughout the film, and there is enough here to leave fans excited for more. If you do not stay all the way through the credits, you will miss out on the first glimpse of the next installment, X-Men: Apocalypse, coming in 2016.
ComicsOnline gives X-Men: Days of Future Past 4.5 out of 5 time travel epic adventures.
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