Tuesday, May 27, 2014

X-MEN DAYS OF FUTURE PAST Review: Fox Gets it Right With This Period Piece, Time Travel Movie



It should be widely known by now that Marvel Studios is making its comic book movies with a genre theme attached to each. Thor was their fantasy film, Iron Man 3 was a technological thriller, Captain America: The Winter Soldier was a political thriller, Guardians of the Galaxy will be a space opera and Ant-Man will be a heist movie.

Now that X-Men Days of Future Past has been released, you can safely say that Fox excels at making their X-Men ensemble films as period piece theme movies. Set in the 70s, X-Men Days of Future Past is the follow-up period piece movie to X-Men: First Class's 60s period piece film. While some fans have mixed feelings about X-Men: First Class, its follow-up is clearly the best X-Men film Fox has put out since X2: X-Men United.

You've probably read online how there's such a big cast of actors and many have questioned how director Bryan Singer would give each enough screen time. A valid concern going into seeing X-Men Days of Future Past but Singer delivers by nearly taking the concept that every actor besides Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence are simply making extended cameos in the film.

Despite the ridiculously large cast and while Wolverine, Mystique and the young Charles Xavier and Magneto get the most screen time... it doesn't really seem like they do because of the great balance of characters. Heck, even Wolverine isn't as prominent of a character in the movie even though he is the lead name on movie's credit roll.

This is really a movie that is the continuation of X-Men: First Class's story of the relationship between Xavier and Magneto, just as it should be, with Wolverine being the icing on the cake. While Wolverine is the key cog in this time machine movie, it is his job to get both Xavier and Magneto on the same page in order to stop Mystique from killing Bolliver Trask—which convinces the government to initiate Trask's Sentinel program and leads to the eventual fall of the mutants in the future timeline.

The future is quite desolate and while the mutants are trying to fight off the Sentinels, their exit strategy is for Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) to send Bishop (Omar Sy) back in time a few days to warn everyone and thus slightly changing the future so the remaining X-Men can live on and figure out how they can stop the Sentinels from winning.

While there are plenty of plot holes to nit-pick from—like how Professor X has his body back in the future time line—the bottom line concept of the movie works. And it works well.

The real star of this film is the relationship between Xavier and Magneto. Xavier is a lost soul who is dealing with the loss of his legs and sacrifices his powers to walk again. Meanwhile, Magneto is still fighting the good fight to help mutants survive. However, he is imprisoned at the start of the film for allegedly killing John F. Kennedy. Magneto states he was trying to save the President since he too was a mutant (nice twist!).

Magneto's mutant cause is always clear and this makes him one of the best anti-hero roles in any comic book movie. Even all the way through to the end of the film, Magneto is more of a hero than any other character in X-Men Days of Future Past due to his noble cause of loving his fellow mutants and his wanting to help his new race to survive. Obviously, Magneto takes his cause to extreme levels and Wolverine, Xavier and Beast need to step in to stop Magneto from killing humans.

By the end of the film all the thoughts about how this ambitious movie set in two different time lines comes to a close and is not too confusing or too complex for the casual moviegoer or X-Men fan. Matter of fact, the climax of the film erases everything done in X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine so new stories can be told after Days of Future Past's 70s time line.

Somehow, someway Singer and writer Simon Kinberg (who also wrote X-Men: The Last Stand) fix all the wrongs of the X-Men movie universe while finding closure for the original X-Men time line and cast but also tease bigger things for X-Men: Apocalypse in the post credits scene.

Bring on Apocalypse!


8.5 out of 10




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