Comic Review Special: X-Men: Days of Future Past!

DOFP

Is the new X-Men film more of a X2 or an X-Men Origins: Wolverine? Find out now! 

rs_634x939-140324091106-634.jennifer-lawrence-x-men.ls.32414X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage

Directed by: Bryan Singer

SPOILERS

To say that X-Men: Days of Future Past is director Bryan Singer’s apology for leaving the franchise to direct Superman Returns is an understatement. Deftly balancing the cast of the original X-Men trilogy of films and the cast from First ClassX-Men: Days of Future Past is an incredible achievement in the fact that it not only wraps up the past films in a satisfying way, but also sets up some potentially awesome things for X-Men films to come. If you’ll excuse me, I’d like to use this opportunity for one last swipe at Sony’s handling of my beloved Spider-Man: this is how it’s done Sony! PAY ATTENTION!

In the near future, the mutant and human population is bordering near extinction. Thanks to advanced Sentinels that can adapt to the powers used against them, the remaining X-Men are literally fighting for their lives. With no more options, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) must go back in time to prevent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolívar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the event that starts the construction of the Sentinels.

Using Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) phasing abilities, the two mutants have discovered a way to transport someone’s brain back into their younger body, effectively sending them back in time. Unfortunately for Prof. X, the procedure is extremely difficult, and could end up killing the person. So, the task falls on Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), to go back to 1973 and prevent the present that they all live in. But, can Wolvie bring Prof X and Magneto’s younger selves (played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) together again, when one is at his lowest point spiritually, and the other in locked up in a high security prison?

From the beginning, Days of Future Past is an absolute blast. The action comes fast and surprisingly brutal. For a PG-13 rated film, there’s an awful lot of extremely violent kills that the future Sentinels perform. We don’t spend much time with the future X-Men though, and fans of the original trilogy should know that Storm (Halle Berry), Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) are the definition of supporting players. Days of Future Past is primarily a sequel to 2011’s underrated First Class, and a bulk of the story focuses on this cast and time period. Thankfully, seeing Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, and Jennifer Lawrence again is a supreme treat, and the fact that they all get to play off of Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is icing on the cake.

There’s a lot here to unpack, and while I won’t go into extreme SPOILERS, I do want to mention one character that stood out the most to me: Quicksilver. I know, I know. Trust me, I was like all of you, making fun of those god-awful Empire magazine pictures. But Evan Peters is so much fun to watch that I take back everything bad I said about those pictures. Quicksilver’s powers are handled in a fantastic way, and his big action set piece is one of the highlights of the film. Even now I think back to his big moment and smile. He’s not in it for much of the film, but he’s fantastic for the parts that he’s in.

There’s a real sense of epic scope to DOFP that I honestly haven’t felt since Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. As you can probably tell from the trailers and my summary, there’s a LOT going on in this movie, but amazingly Singer is able to keep it all not only coherent, but entertaining as well. This is a comic book movie that doesn’t shy away from the over the top comic book elements that it’s based on. There’s no over explanation of the premise of time travel. Patrick Stewart explains it early on and you immediately buy it. DOFP is also not afraid to have a little fun too. Like Joss Whedon’s AvengersDOFP walks that amazing tightrope of “fun” and “serious”, and because of that it’s the most entertaining movie of the summer season so far.

Everything you’ve wanted to see since the first X-Men movie back in 2000 (!) is here. Want to see Magneto really cut loose with his powers? The guy lifts an entire goddamn STADIUM for the final battle. Want to see an army of Sentinels descend on our mutants? Yup, you get that too. Tired of Wolverine hogging the spotlight? Well, he’s still the reason for bringing Xavier and Magneto together in 73, but once Fassbender joins the crew, Logan takes a back seat to Charles and Erik. (in fact, Wolverine isn’t even in the final climatic battle!).

Speaking of McAvoy and Fassbender, the two return to their roles without skipping a beat. McAvoy does an absolutely incredible job as the tortured young Charles Xavier, and of course, Fassbender is still an ultimate badass. The scenes that these two share are absolutely dynamite. The two play off each other beautifully. However, the real show-stopping moment comes when our two Xaviers come face to face. As Patrick Stewart looks into the face of McAvoy and tells him “we need you to hope again”, it’s impossible to not be moved.

So yes, it’s fair to say that I was completely blown away by Days of Future Past. But, it’s not without its problems. We never get a real reason for how Professor X is alive and wheeling around since the events of Last Stand, and no, you don’t find out how the future Wolverine’s claws are adamantium again. The film also directly contradicts events in X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but to be honest, it seems like no one counts that film as canon anyways. I also wasn’t a fan of Beast’s ability to “hulk out” and turn into his blue furry self when he gets mad. However, the rest of the film is so good that it’s easy to overlook these problems.

We’re probably never going to see the X-Men cross into the Marvel Studios world, but as long as Fox can churn out films as good as Days of Future Past, I’ll be happy. This is Bryan Singer’s apology for allowing X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine to happen. In fact, those who feel burned by the series after seeing those films should ABSOLUTELY see this one. Much like Marvel’s AvengersDays of Future Past isn’t just a great comic book film; it’s one of the best films the genre has to offer.

(Oh, make sure you stay until the end…you’ll probably have to explain the awesome end credits scene to your non-comic book reading friends).

The Good:

-Incredible Cast

-Story is a ton of fun

-Redeems the franchise

The Bad:

-Doesn’t answer every question you’d have

-Beast’s “Hulk out”

 Verdict: A

 

Jonwahizzle is a jack of all trades: educator, and comic book slinger for Jetpack Comics Follow him on twitter and check out his blog, The Collective: Examples of Nerdery for more!

12 thoughts on “Comic Review Special: X-Men: Days of Future Past!

  1. Solid review man, I agree with a lot of your points, although I’m not bothered by Beast’s hulking out moments so much as I was scratching my head a bit trying to comprehend why a serum that only suppresses mutant powers would be able to restore Xavier’s ability to walk again. After all, his problem was not a side effect from his powers, but a physical damage caused by a gunshot. And all in all it felt kinda unnecessary to have him walking again, but eh, like I said in the forums, that’s more of a nitpick than a real problem.

    But there sure are a lot of things to nitpick if you want to, like the fact that they never even bother to give you a single line explaining just HOW is Kitty pride suddenly able to have that power to make people travel back in time. And the fact that well- Quicksilver WAS really useful, why wouldn’t they try to persuade him to join them further? They seemed perfectly okay to let him go after that part, and to be honest, I would have liked to see more of him. As well as also seeing a bit more of the other mutants in First class, it was a shame pretty much all of them were killed off or sidelined completely.

    Once again though, honestly the pacing, action and overall structure of the movie is so well done that I do feel inclined to forgive all of those issues, since they do feel small in comparison. This feels like one of those films that are clearly imperfect, but it has so many strengths that I feel very inclined to overlook most of it’s flaws. And that doesn’t happen often for me.

  2. Loved this movie! Its right up there with X2 and First Class as one of the best X Men movies. I know people give Fox (and Sony) a lot of shit about “giving the rights back to Marvel”, but I think DoFP showed that Fox is perfectly capable of doing great X Men movies as long as they’ve got a good director and writer at the helm. DoFP also did what Sony failed to do with ASM2… open up more possibilities for future movies in the franchise while still succeeding in making a good satisfying movie that can stand on its own. I’m also pretty happy that DoFP seems to effectively erase The Last Stand and Origins from the movie timeline. Yay!

    That being said, all the X Men deaths in the future scenes at the hands of the Sentinels were absolutely brutal… effectively showing the audience how much of a terrifying threat the Sentinels are!

  3. I think the most important thing everyone is missing about this movie which makes it fantastic is that it is a complete retcon of X3 of never happening.

  4. This movie fucking ruled! I honestly have no complaints for it and any ones that I’ve seen mentioned here or elsewhere are because of the shittier fucking movies that came out after X-2 or overall nitpicking of comic book conventions.

    “Why is Xavier walking”? Because a shitty writer and a shittier director killed him off for shock value and to impress in the viewer that Phoenix was a threat. “Why did they send Logan back instead of Kitty Pride”? Because she wasn’t ALIVE in the 70’s. “How is she able to send peoples mind back in time”? Because it’s the same movie a guy can manipulate metal and a woman can change both her shape, voice and clothing and somehow also be a master martial artist and expert spy.

    It’s a comic book movie and even though they are getting to the point of being extremely well-acted and the plots are getting to the point of making valid points that usually only art house and Oscar-minded movies make, they are still comic book movies and they usually have mechanics and sensibilities that you’re meant to mentally allow through your suspension of disbelief vis a vis mutant powers that break the laws of physics, super soldier serums that change guys into green giants and nerdy scrubs into Aryan beefcakes and Norse God-Aliens that get adult Mathilda all hot and bothered.

    Rant over, I loved the movie and like Cap Am Two, it is driving me to go grab some X-Men comics. Now the question is where do I start, the one where Cyclops is a villain, X-Men from the 70’s are in modern times or ex-X students are taken by Arcade to be in Battle Royale. Hmm… man, DC Comics sure are difficult to get into :/

  5. I had all sorts of joyful tingles while watching this. From the insane Mutant/Sentinel fights, to watching “The Last Stand” finally get its rightful dismissal (life has its little bonuses). Great character work, and I loved how the split finale played out, with the ticking clock ‘hold the line’ battle in the future vs. the character based struggle in ’73. It’s neck and neck with X2 for my favorite entry.

  6. While I loved the film to bits, I have to say I still liked X2 a bit more. I just wish they could’ve had a little more action in this one, cause to me it kinda felt like Wolverine had no one to fight, and the 73 sentinels were kinda useless. Other than that and some minor gripes, I couldn’t have been much happier with it though.

  7. Great review man, other than this movie making no damn sense when you think about how it connects to x-men 1 2 and 3, this movie was still pretty good.

  8. I posted my opinions in the forums so won’t go into much detail, but as a fan of Ice-Man, Colossus, Rogue, Cyclops and Kitty the entire movie franchise has also bummed me out and this movie continued it. I really hate Wolverine as well and due started in 6 of the 7 movies so inspite of all its good qualities I found DotFP impossible to like. Also James McAvoy isn’t Prof X, he has hair, a beard, limited psychic powers and is walking around, that’s not Professor X. I can almost see his agent talking the studio out of the wheel chair and shaving.

  9. A few continuity questions I was left wondering about, if anybody knows the answers:

    1) Are The Last Stand and The Wolverine in-canon as of the future segments in DOFP?
    2) If not, fine by me, screw The Last Stand, but if so, how is Xavier alive? How does Magneto have his powers? Why does Wolverine have Adamantium claws and not just bone claws, post-Wolverine?
    3) Not to bring up the post-credits scene, but considering we know that Apocalypse is officially happening, what continuity will the next movie take place in? Obviously, Fassbender, McAvoy, Lawrence, and Jackman are in it, so will it take place in the 80’s, or something? Won’t there be zero suspense, knowing that everything eventually ends up fine as of the sorta-future / reset-button happy ending at the end of DOFP where Xavier is explaining “history” to Logan?
    4) Are we to assume that Mystique assumes the “role” of Stryker in the new continuity and is actually the one that gives Logan the Adamantium skeleton this time around?
    5) What is up with Cyclops’ sorta-future Oakley shades?

    Too bad The Wolverine is no longer canon, it’s actually quite good. I suppose now you can just watch X-Men, X2, First Class, and DOFP, and get a darn good story though.

  10. loved this movie
    some of the deaths were really tough to watch!
    curious to see the anna paquin cut scenes.
    blink and quicksilver were surprisingly great new additions and got to say Hugh jackmans naked scene was worth the price alone
    great cameos at the end
    big smiles, but where do they go from here? past again or new present…or both?(i hope!)

  11. Great review, I agree 100%.

    The serum that fixed Xavier’s legs bugged the hell out of me too though, being such an obvious plot device. But I also understand that 1973 did not have the ADA and having a wheelchair bound Xavier for most of the film would have been difficult to film. There would be a lot more slightly homoerotic scenes of Beast carrying Xavier around.

    I also liked seeing the X-Force members in the future.

    It also makes me think Apocalypse will be a time travel movie as well, and that might be the theme for this next series of X Films. New cast and old cast hoping between timelines, until they have messed with everything so properly they can recast the whole thing when all the time travel shenanigans are all said and done.

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