Action Movie Fanatix Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men Days of Future Past banner

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Daniel Cudmore, Bingbing Fan, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Lucas Till, Evan Jonigkeit, Chris Claremont, Len Wein, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Kelsey Grammer

Director: Bryan Singer

2014  |  131 Minutes  |  PG-13

“I’ve been in a lot of wars.  I’ve never seen anything like this.” – Wolverine

I’ve been pretty critical of the entire X-Men movie series in the past.  I figured that X-Men: Days of Future Past would be more of the same from Fox and the returning Bryan Singer but the trailers and rave reviews had me thinking I might just be in for something special… something that could transform my views on this movie franchise once and for all.  I wish that was the case but again I’m left feeling like I’ve watched a good movie but a poor X-Cuse (sorry) for an X-Men movie.

In the future the last remaining mutants are hunted by futuristic robots called sentinels.  Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) sends the consciousness of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back 50 years in time to the year 1973 to try to stop this future from ever happening.

OK.  Before we get too far into this, my review is going to be SUPER spoiler heavy so if you have not seen the movie and don’t want to be spoiled read my first paragraph again and come back when you’ve seen the movie.  You’ve been warned.  ‘Nuff said.

It was awfully ambitious for Fox to attempt this story.  Time travel stories are always a bit of a stretch and tend to be the target of plot hole finders.  It also pushes this series even further into the sci-fi realm which could have been a turnoff for the general audience movie goers.

The opening future scenes of Days of Future Past are pretty spectacular.  The way the leather clad mutants – Bishop, Sunspot, Iceman, Warpath, Blink, Colossus and Kitty Pryde – are working together to combat the future sentinels is amazing.  This is the absolute best example of how the X-Men should have been fighting all along.  They are a team… a unit… they should fight like one.  Unfortunately most of these characters get little more than a line or two in the entire movie.

The brief glimpses of the future look pretty good but it’s really not much more than a flyover, flashes of a few people’s faces and then the future “X-Men” in a crappy looking warehouse.  I had been looking forward a very specific scene from the Days of Future Past comics that never happened.  The graveyard scene would have been a fantastic way to expand this universe a little bit, tease us fanboys and even connect the X-Men to the Fantastic Four.

X-Men Days of Future Past comic graves

Through the past 17 years since The Last Stand Kitty Pryde hasn’t aged a day, even though the near immortal Wolverine has sprouted some gray spots above his ears… but she has gained a power that she has never ever used in the comics… the ability to send people’s minds back in time.

X-Men Days of Future Past image

So, since every X-Men movie is focused on Wolverine, an explanation is made up to send his consciousness back in time rather than Professor X or Magneto, both of which would have made a ton more sense than Wolverine.

The very first thing Wolverine does when he goes back in time is to kill three thugs.  Even though these guys are low lives you would think that killing three guys, regardless of social standing, would cause ripples to rip through time changing the future as he knew it.  Nope.

Off he goes to find mutant-heroin addict Charles Xavier, prompting him to spout the now infamous “I don’t want your futuh!” line.  Wolvie gets in a lame fight with “you wouldn’t like me when I’m angry” Hulk Beast, showing off Bryan Singer’s affinity towards bad wirework.

From here we get about an hour’s worth of an X-Men movie focusing on Wolverine, Magneto, Mystique and a depressed Xavier.  Where are the X-Men?  Well, we’re still in the past where the X-Men haven’t been formed yet.

This omission of the X-Men from the Days of Future Past story is one of many major changes that were made to the story.  Another is the target of Mystique’s assassination attempt.  In the comics she kills Senator Kelly (the one from 2000’s X-Men) causing Trask to release the sentinels but here she kills Trask himself causing the government to finally listen to him about the dangers of mutants.  These and many other drastic changes were made necessary, not because of the comic to film conversion, but because of the huge changes that had been made in previous films.

I get the feeling that the focus of these movies is on who/what ever the writers and directors decided could have some unique back story created for, not who was the focus in the comics and not who actually already had a unique back story in the comics.  Rather than crafting stories around the comic book characters that have existed for decades, the Fox-Men filmmakers continue to twist these characters to fit the needs of their stories.

We still haven’t seen Magneto’s penchant for evil because the eternal enemy of the X-Men has spent so much time teaming up with them in these movies.  At some point we are going to have to see Magneto smashing stuff and trying to eliminate / dominate the human race.

X-Men DOFP Quicksilver Carls Jr

A lot of talk has swirled around Quicksilver.  Since the very first time we saw his atrocious outfit he has been trashed and deservedly so.  His outfit is terrible.  But as soon as reviews started coming out for DOFP, many people’s tunes changed, calling his scene a show stealer.  Now, his scene is pretty cool but I wouldn’t call it a show stealer by any means.  That honor still goes to the opening battle for me.

X-Men DOFP Quicksilver

After the middle of the movie dragged on for what felt like far too long, the finale feels rushed and anticlimactic.  If you’ve seen the trailers you’ve seen the coolest parts.  Magneto lifts a stadium, it miraculously grows to an enormous size and surrounds the White House and Magneto uses the ’70s sentinels for the one time they are used in the movie.  It’s cool but ruined by the trailers and nowhere near as cool as the opening battle or the Quicksilver scene.

I will say that the story is decently crafted despite the obvious plot holes and pacing issues.  The main 4-5 actors are putting a full effort in but everyone else is left in the background.  The effects, aside from the post credits scene and Mystique’s makeup in daylight, are better than anything we’ve seen in this series yet.

Believe it or not I didn’t completely hate X-Men: Days of Future Past.  It is more or less what I expected.  It’s well crafted and acted but it’s still not an X-Men movie.  I’m still waiting for a proper X-Men movie and I’m not holding my breath.

4 thoughts on “Action Movie Fanatix Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

  1. Yeah… I read and watch a lot of scifi so I was definitely frustrated with that time traveling element. Time travel, when used right, should act like a character in the film or show. This is just a cheap gimmick…

    • Agreed. Honestly, the movie as a whole was a cheap gimmick to try to make the fans think that they were getting what they wanted out of the series.

      Don’t like The Last Stand? Bam. It never happened.

      Wanna see Iceman ice slide? Bam. Here’s 3 seconds of ice slide.

      Want Bishop? Here he is (minus any character or dialogue).

      Want to see one of the most famous X-Men stories of all time on film? Here it is (in name and vague plot points).

      • And it sucks because the ice slide was SO cool! ….pun not intended but accurate. It also really sucks because Bobby is such an interesting dynamic character… in the comics. He’s the funny screwball who isn’t afraid to stick up for his friends, and a lot of that has to do with his father being a bigot and… and… gah, I would have never known if I hadn’t read all these wonderful comics with him in them! He’s now one of my favorite X-Men. The more comics I read the longer my list gets…

        Also, I feel as if Bishop’s inclusion was mostly there to name off all the characters that didn’t get dialogue. “Sunspot! Charge my battery, I left my cable at home.” “Again? Sheesh, you should put a bell on it…”

        In honesty I don’t feel as if they screwed up this X-Men story as much as they did the Dark Phoenix Saga… but then again, I haven’t read Days of Future Past, so I could be completely off base. I know they missed the point of the comics completely which is dissapointing

      • I’d agree. Dark Phoenix Saga was screwed up way worse than this was. You should definitely find the DOFP comics. It’s only two issues and has been reprinted tons of times. Easy read.

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