REVIEW – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Oh, my Lord, this movie. I’m so happy.

 

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Always with the yelling.

Let me tell you why.

(Obviously there are spoilers after the jump.)

Before you keep reading, I do recommend that you watch our PSA on what was really wrong with X-Men 3. So that you can see that I’m a fucking prophet.

You see, long story short, I was postulating that the true purpose of this Time Traveling story was to just completely retcon out the awfulness of X-Men: The Last Stand (AKA the world film in human history). I thought that they were going to just throw stuff out and go on with the as-of-last-week much stronger First Class stories and characters, but it came to pass so much better than that.

Using a twist on the original comic written by Chris Claremont, Wolverine is the time traveler here. Kitty Pryde is able to use her phasing powers to send others back, but the process is dangerous. Anything more than a few weeks back, and it would literally rip the mind apart. And, as they lay out these rules of time travel, you can see the simultaneous realization and resignation in Wolverine’s face. He is going to have to make this trip.

And I’m pretty damned grateful for it.

God Bless Canada (and Australia, I guess).

God Bless Canada (and Australia, I guess).

The story is well done and, even with jumping back and forth through time, flows very well. We come to a point in time where Xavier’s school has been closed because most of the students and faculty were drafted into the Vietnam War at the close of the first semester. Xavier himself is able to walk, but at the cost of his powers, and he’s absolutely fine with it. Charles is lost, himself, with only a decidedly human-looking Hank for company. It turns out that, in looking for a suppression for his own physical mutation, he’ s given the Professor a crutch of his own.

Without delving too much into the story, I’d like to focus on some of the characters and their arcs. First, we have the Professor and Magneto. Charles is in a bad place, practically a junky with respect to this power-supression serum. Captive by his own fear. He’s mourning the loss of Raven, practically his sister, but also the loss of him… AHEM… Friend. Erik. Once Erik is removed from his prison, the two have an altercation on Chuck’s private jet, and as he lashes out at Erik, we see a more than fair point made by Magneto; Charles abandoned them just as much as Erik abandoned him. Basically, the two are in this position, this truly difficult position between love and hate and they have to put themselves and each other aside in order to fight, for once, for the greater good. Together.

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Oh, my gosh, just BANG already!

As for Hank, he’s not terribly interesting in this, but he is a loyal X-Men, and it’s really nice to see a true member of the First Class in the actual first class.

And his make-up actually doesn't look ridiculous for once. Bonus!

And his make-up actually doesn’t look ridiculous for once. Bonus!

And, dubious costuming aside, I loved Quicksilver. And that’s not a thing that I have ever said before. Using Quicksilver to break Magneto out of the Pentagon… Smart, sure. But the sequence itself was sheer brilliance. Between the usefulness of his superspeed when confronted with armed guards who might be just a little bit too trigger-happy, and the attitude of a superpowered teeneged boy with too much time on his hands in the most literal sense of the phrase, and you’ve got a scene that combines action and humour and story in a way that rivals the ever-incomperable Joss Whedon.

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By the way, that’s NOT Wanda, according to director Bryan Singer.

Jennifer Lawrence, as always, was fierce.

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In every colour.

Her arc, I found, was the most compelling. Although Mystique, in nearly every incarnation, is a cold, inhuman, murderous bitch, we get this glimpse of her still as Raven. She’s never killed before. And the entire goal for the first half of the movie is to keep her from doing it for that first time. More than that, though, we see her make a change. Raven doesn’t become Mystique in this movie. She is tempted to follow that path, but instead we see her leaving this story as a hero… I mean, pending that one impersonation in the last shot of the movie, pre-credits. But she actually stops the Sentinel program in a way that lines up with the Xavier method of pacifism, even as, or perhaps exactly because he finally stepped aside to let her decide for herself.

And I was rooting for her to do exactly that throughout the movie.

Wolverine has to keep as calm as he can (HA!), according to Shadowcat, in order for the her Time Travel phasing power to properly work its mojo. Unlike the full of feelings Wolverine of The Last Stand, this Wolverine was one who could still tear a bitch apart, but also who has shown tremendous growth as a character. Wolverine is older and wiser (with a touch of gray hair!) and in a good place in this movie. He has feelings (mostly for Jean), but he’s actually really well adjusted for a dude prone to bouts of berserker rage. And his being balanced is shown no better than in the moments when he’s trying to convince James McAvoy’s very well done portrayal of a young, torturing, slightly tweaking Professor X of the tremendous impact he will have on his students and his world. Using a clever mix of footage from the first three X-Men movies, we see the relationships between Professor X and Mystique, Logan and Jean, and we see Logan’s past, and how, exactly, that horrifically damaged man that he was was able to come back from all of the brinks and also find himself in a position to help lost kids himself.

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So many X’s.

Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask was a singularly driven man, willing to strike bargains with the US and its enemies, as long as someone recognized the mutant threat. In fact, though, we see a moment in his lab where he tells a young William Stryker (awesome) that the cause of mutant suppression might be the thing to finally bring about world peace. A common enemy to bring the rest of the world together. It’s almost a beautiful idea, if you ignore the micro-genocide.

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I swear if he didn’t slip into Tyrion a little bit a couple of times.

And then the rest of the X-Men… Not much really happens with them, in all honestly. The fight, they die. The reset. They repeat. I was happy to see bit part alumnus Daniel Cudmore not only return as Colossus but also get a couple of lines. We also get to see Bobby Drake killed multiple times, so that’s awesome.

Collateral damage.

Collateral damage.

If I had one criticism, in might be in the pseudo science used in the film, but then, it’s a movie about a bunch of mutant human superheroes, so willing suspension of disbelief will help me get through this. If you have trouble with that, just do what I do and imagine that this all takes place in an alternate reality where biology is just that much more accommodating and physics is really just a suggestion.

Oh, no, wait. I did have another complaint. In the end of the movie, when the sentinels breach the temple they’re hiding out at, and the big fight scene happens between all of the future X-Men and the giant, murderous robots, there is a moment when they take a bunch of them out at once and they foolishly think that they’re in the clear for the moment. Lo and behold, of course they’re not, and Storm is the first one taken out. Then Bishop. In, like, thirty seconds. So, both of the black characters get killed within a half-minute, and are the first ones to die. And in kind of bullshit ways. Especially for Storm, but especially for Bishop. I mean, power overload? Are you serious? Mother-fucker explodes and everything…

Well. It just stands out.

But also, maybe they just killed Storm off because Halle Berry’s portrayal was a bit… Not so great. She seemed unsure of herself. Like, missing beats and stuff. “Oh, do I have powers now? Right now? Oh, okay. Hold on, let me throw my head back.”

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Bitch, why do you look worried? I’m sorry, but did you FORGET that you’re STORM?

Meh.

And then that one little glimpse of Rogue, of her standing there with Bobby… I flipped the screen off at that point.

Also, how in the world was Professor X both alive and in his own body?

So, yes, a few complaints, but overall, and with the end result being that The Last Stand IS NO MORE, this movie with its cohesive storyline, excellent characterization, amazing actors, and visually stunning effects was more than good. It was satisfying.

Mmmmmmm… So Happy…

So, welcome back to the helm, Bryan Singer, and writers Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn, and let’s keep this franchise going for as long as humanly possible. Because is every movie is as amazing as Days of Future Past was, this could be the retconned continuation of a beautiful film series.

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About pattyinreallife

I'm a graphic artist, writer, film-maker, and avid baker. I sing in the car and laugh at the worst/best moments. I am the coolest nerd you will ever meet. Try not to let your jealousy show too badly.

Posted on May 24, 2014, in 2014 Movies, Marvel Comics, Movie Reviews, X-Men, X-Men Days of the Future Past and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 12 Comments.

  1. christenagarcia

    Don’t forget the amazingness that was Hugh Jackman naked, especially that shot of his ass.

  2. HOW ARE YOU NOT GOING TO TALK ABOUT THAT POST CREDIT SCENE?! MY INNER CHILD GOT MORE HYPED UP THAN THAT ONE TIME HE SNORTED 2 PIXIE STIX!!!

  3. First of order of business, I’ll rank the X-films to show where I think this latest feature sits in relation the rest.
    X-Men = 6/10
    This one lost points for the stupidity of Toad, Sabretooth, and writing Wolverine as a royal prick to Cyclops -that was waay overplayed. As the main character, Wolvie has the sympathy of the audience (and especially that of the Jackman lovestruck girls therein) whose attitude is manipulated against Scott, painted up as the “dick” just because Wolvie says so when the reverse is true. Sadly, I actually knew girls who were hypnotized thus.
    X2 = 8/10
    This was a solid, verrrry impressive effort with few drawbacks… other than more abuse of Scott Summers and the audience rooting for Wolverine to steal Jean away from him -cheering when Mystique entered his tent as Jean. Fuck that, and them! Cyclops was the first X-Man, a great leader, he could flay the flesh from Logan’s bones if he wasn’t so ethical, and I like Marsden! Those Fuckers!
    X3 = 3/10
    I do actually own a copy of this so I can watch all of ten good minutes of film here : Kitty, Colossus, Storm frying Callisto a couple of times, and Magneto throwing lots of cars around. I’m probably being too generous with this rating, and I can easily dock another point off if you buy me a beer.
    Wolverine Origins = 5/10
    This was pretty flat, and had a mediocre script. Wolverine is never really in danger from anything, not even Deadpool, and it’s a bad idea to reveal his origin, much of which is ‘meh’; he’s far more interesting with a mysterious past. This is the same problem in the comics just rehashed onscreen. Dialogue was poor, Stryker miscast (too old for that time), it was lame, but still better than X3.
    X-Men First Class = 7.5/10
    I really loved this sorely-needed reboot-of-sorts a lot– the music, the acting, the era, everything but disangelic Naughty Fairy, ultra-uncreative Nightcrawler rip-off Halloween Devil, and the Beast. I just dont like the blue monkey Beast in any film -he adds a cheez factor of 1.6. There are literally dozens of hitherto unused mutants out there and they had to pick those ones ?!?!
    The Wolverine = 7/10
    A fairly entertaining adaptation of the Claremont/Miller miniseries plus the X-Men 172-3 continuation (sans the X-Men who were involved -namely Rogue and Storm). This lost points for BADLY misadapting, miswriting, and miscasting Viper as a blonde (!?) , and Yukio (more than I want to say), and for reminding us of X3 with subconscious apparitions of Jean Grey. Thanks a lot! Much better than Origins though and a step back in the right direction.
    X-Men Days of Future Past = 8.5/10

  4. BTW Patty, the 2nd, 4th and 9th images are showing as broken links here. There’s a few broken ones in the subsequent posts too…

  5. First of all, I have to say that this is a great review, Patty! You express yourself so well and you’re truly a delight to read. I feel like I hit the jackpot when I stumbled across this blog!

    I TOO am X-tremely pleased with this latest film, more so than with any of the other adaptations of the Uncanny X-Men, my favorite comics team of all time! It was really first rate and competitive in terms of overall production quality with the latest material coming out of Marvel Studios -finally! And that’s no small feat! Congrats to 20th Century Fox for rising to the challenge! This latest effort was well: conceived, written, directed and acted, and its fx and action scenes were utterly superb!

    Once again, (and as usual -ho hum), Magneto stole the show with truly awesome displays of his powers, and its always a joy to watch Mystique’s nimble martial arts prowess kick the shit out of people! What a pair they are! I miss Rebecca Romijn but Jennifer Lawrence is the rising star and a guaranteed seller having come into her own with Silver Linings Playbook, so there’s no debate on who to cast as Mystique now at all. I wasnt too fond of her in First Class but now that she’s grown up and her performance was excellent, I have no complaints!

    So many scenes were brilliantly written, but the one which stands out the most to me was Professor Xavier’s almost Buddhist dialogue between his older and younger self across the psychic bridge of time. That was absolutely profound!

    As for the story itself, the original comics classic involved a Mystique-led Brotherhood of Evil Mutants attempting to assassinate Senator Robert Kelly before he could push through his Mutant Registration Act which leads to a government Sentinel program and a holocaust for mutants and humans alike. Obviously, part of that story was borrowed for the first X-Men film and Kelly was ‘used up’, but they found the *perfect* alternative by integrating from another older story written by X-Men creator himself -Stan Lee- from X-Men 14 , 1965, the first appearance of Bolivar Trask and the sentinels! A brilliant solution which made my heart swell!

    The casting choice for Trask seemed very odd to me at first -the dwarf from Elf? Trumpkin from Prince Caspian? Are they serious? I prayed that his height wasnt going to be a story element, but within minutes of watching his superb acting, I was sold and gave it no more thought, and thankfully it didnt matter to the story.

    And speaking of heart swells, I couldnt help but get a little emotional when I saw the aged cast of the earlier X-films back on the screen -I missed them, much more than I realized! I was so pleased to see Ellen Page reprise as Kitty Pryde too (one of my favorite characters) I just wish that….(looking off into the horizon wistfully) …oh nevermind. Anyway, Kitty Pryde’s powers allow her to phase her body (and other bodies she touches) through matter. She NEVER had consciousness time travel abilities which are completely different in nature from phasing- moving consciousness is psionic! In the two Days of Future Past comic books, she travels back in time with help from Rachel Summers, the daughter of a married Scott and Jean Grey Summers in that alternate future. Like her mother, Rachel possesses telepathy and telekinesis. [Much later Rachel eventually wills herself through time, joins the bewildered X-Men, and adopts the mantle and power of the Phoenix! ]

    So Kitty wasn’t needed -Professor X could have done it for Logan, or anyone there, Wolvie’s just the most popular character and actor. The whole bit about him being the only one physically resilient enough to weather the process is just bogus nonsense and the excuse which ensures that he gets the job. Fiiine, okaay, geezuz, the women just cant wait to see his ass!

    Now to address some other items in your review:

    While I’m no (cinematic) Beast fan, I agree that the makeup was indeed slightly better this time -perhaps because of the willed transformation effect? And you are right, it’s appropriate to have a true founding X-Man in the mix.

    Quicksilver was FREAKIN’ hilarious!!! I was sad that he had to part company so early but I suppose that he would have been too much of a zany distraction on the more serious plot development. Hours later, I was in stitches for quite some time when I really contemplated the wall of Twinkies and Ding Dongs in Quicksilver’s lair! I value writing that’s so hopelessly insane!

    Yes suspension of belief (and science degrees) is requisite for reading comics and watching related films. I do however appreciate when things get some kind of pseudo-scientific explanation which sounds good to the layman, or when they make at least some kind of remotely plausible sense. That said the idea that this 1970’s supergenius needs Mystique’s organic DNA and bone marrow so that he can make artificial, adaptable killer robots was a little bit hard to bear and a distraction which broke the illusion of the film for a minute. That’s easier to buy in 24th Century Romulus, not ’70s Earth. Then again, Mystique’s ability of copying people’s clothes, instantaneously adding or removing mass is impossible too so…. time to throw our hands up and place the brain over on the shelf for a bit so we can ride their wave of imagination.

    As for the quick demise of “important” characters, first of all I really dont think Storm nor Bishop would have been included at all if the filmmakers were racist -at least not as powerful mutants -maybe as servants? I see it this way -they were the first line of defense because they are the strongest with ranged attack capability, and they took the brunt of the onslaught outside their hideout, so they died first. Additionally, they are not important characters in THIS story; they are there to be killed, nothing more. In the comics, Storm got a couple of panels, and nothing glorious. One of the aims of the story is to retcon everything, so staging an epic and grandiose death for Storm would be a pointless waste of time and energy in a movie which is already over two hours and chalk full of more important characters. In fact, the only future characters who were *essential* to this story were Wolverine, Professor X, Kitty, and…perhaps Magneto. If they had wanted to simplify it further, they could have easily eliminated old Magneto and Kitty, and used Xavier to send Logan back. The other X-Men were there to die, to show that the super-sentinels were capable of killing everyone, and movies are better and more emotionally impactful when lots of protagonists are killed, right?

    I think that Storm’s behavior was appropriate to this situation as well. This was not a routine mission out of the comfort of the X-Mansion during the good old days -they were on the run in a desperate struggle to survive against an enemy which they had zero hope of ever defeating in combat. The only reason they were alive up to that point is because they kept using the time travel warning system to evade the killer sentinels. That option was out since they were going for the Big Fix, so she knew that she had to sacrifice her life to buy her friends some time against invincible foes, and well, that’s a little disconcerting, isn’t it? “Oh shit, time to die!” (looking back over her shoulder) “Are you guys fucking done yet!?”

    You asked: “Also, how in the world was Professor X both alive and in his own body?”
    Where else would he be? Everything post 1973 is a new reality so he was never disintegrated by Dark Phoenix in X3.

    My question is – why does Logan’s consciousness from the alternate Sentinel-apocalyptic future invade Logan’s body of the new reality and what happened to the Logan consciousness which lived from 1973-2023? Just overwritten? I like a good paradox but this scarcely qualifies as one at all, just a mistake!

    Stryker is a young guy, but he’s replaced by Mystique at the very end, so how does Wolverine get his adamantium upgrade? And there’s lots of problems reconciling this film with Origins which seems to be ignored or mostly retconned before the feature begins. The masses are mindboggled and debating the effects of the retcon:
    http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?s=1b68315f1c8f77980139ad5b6983ea17&t=480107
    http://forums.superherohype.com/showthread.php?t=479923

    I myself ran to my DVD drawer and anxiously checked to see if my X-Films were still there and… they are. I was kinda hoping X3 had dematerialized but then, if it was never made, I wouldn’t have even thought to check for it… is this because it was made *after* 1973?

    • pattyinreallife

      The fact that Logan seems to have lost all of that life experience is disconcerting. Frankly, I can’t figure out whether the post-credits scene is meant to indicate that the Apocalypse storyline is going to happen between 1973 and the present or if it’s meant for the next film, using the original cast in the present. And the fact that Mystique was posing as Stryker is a whole other thing… It’ll be interesting to see how it plays out.

      Also, just to clarify, I didn’t question the Professor being alive in the fixed future, but rather questioned how he could be alive in the Sentinel-ravaged timeline. He died in X3! And post-credits scene of THAT movie notwithstanding, he at least should’ve been in a different body/sans powers. That was probably the biggest actual plot hole for me.

      Thanks again for all of your indepth comments! Glad you like the blog!

      • Rumor has it that the Apocalypse storyline will take place in the ’80s, using the First Class cast.

        Prof X DID transfer to a different body in the end-credits bonus scene (that’s beyond dispute and cannot be discounted), but more than likely it was temporary before he got flipped into a clone of his original body. What clone? Moira McTaggert ran a mutant research facility and advanced genetics lab on Muir Isle, Scotland (in the comics), with tissue samples of all known mutants, so this could have happened there. Then how did he do it? Well… out of body experiences and astral projection could be construed more as a psychic skill than a mutant abilty, and/or, they enlisted aid from another telepath like Psylocke. Such things have happened in Marvel Comics frequently…and its the only explanation I can think of.

        New body should mean he can walk too, right? Unless he was reinjured which they did in the comics too, when new writers took over the book and felt he should be back in a wheelchair because that’s “classic”. Writers were always undoing and retconning one another’s messes and now its happening in film. (sigh) Can’t believe it’s actually reached this point. First Class didn’t honor X3 events either -remember Prof X and Magneto both WALKING into young Jean’s house TOGETHER as friends and allies in 1980-something?

        Perhaps another time travel story of some sort occurred before DoFP to save Xavier from being disintegrated by Phoenix in the first place. Maybe Dr. Strange cast spells around this shit too –magic can fix anything! LOL Frankly, I didn’t want to hear any painful and clunky exposition in the film about this. It would have been extraneous and potentially confusing for most of the audience. Thus, they obviously decided to skip over historical details from X3 because it really has no direct bearing on the actual DoFP story they were trying to tell. It’s not essential to the plot, and would only serve to try to update a (already screwed up) continuity and maintain accordance with previous films which they were going to retcon anyway. Those members of the audience who are actually keeping track (and what percentage is that?) are just meant to assume that Xavier got out of that pickle somehow.

        The film’s awesomeness rating has to decrease for little things like this which is why I didnt give it a 10!

  6. “Also, just to clarify, I didn’t question the Professor being alive in the fixed future” Of course you didn’t, you’re not stupid, and no offense was meant either. i wrote my comments really late at 25% brain power.

  1. Pingback: X-Men: Days of Future Past – Let’s Talk About That Credits Scene | The Fangirl Perspective

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