Sunday 25 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review!!!

Do I need to travel back in time and stop myself from watching this or is it worth the price of admission?? Find out in our review!!!

X-Men, X-Men, X-Men, hmmm…  My enjoyment of the X-Men series has had its ups and downs to say the least.  My first real introduction to the world of the X-Men was in the form of the 1990’s cartoon, which to this day is probably one of the best cartoon series ever made.  It was great and after delving into the comics I realized that the characterization of Wolverine, Cyclops, Xavier, Gambit, Jean, Rogue, Storm et al was pretty much spot on! 

So when I heard about the first X-Men movie in 2000, expectations were understandably high.  But in classic Hollywood style, it was a shambles!  Sure it was great seeing the team on the big-screen but they had messed around with a lot of the ages of the characters and the dynamics of the team itself was way way off.  The first film, honestly, was pretty boring.  X-2 on the other hand is a pretty great film though it should probably have been titled Wolverine and friends.

X-Men: The Last Stand will go down in history as one of the biggest disasters of cinema.  It pretty much killed all interest in the franchise until director Matthew Vaughn made the ballsy move to make another X-Men movie in 2011, the outstanding X-Men: First Class.  This was a great prequel with some surprisingly poignant scenes, scenes that made us want to root for Magneto.  It was pretty powerful stuff.  

The first standalone Wolverine movie was another shambles.  The second standalone Wolverine movie was enjoyable but still not really the Wolverine fans wanted, it did however link to Days of Future Past with its post-credits scene.  Fans were once again intrigued by the X-Men and seemingly ready for another X-Men movie.

This was a chance to start fresh with a clean slate, start X-Men again and do it right.  But the studios decided not to do that, instead they opted to tie it back to the original actors and series.  I was shocked to say the least, they should’ve used X-Men: First Class as an opportunity to give fans the X-Men movie they wanted.  Sony re-did Spider-Man (for better or for worse) and this was the perfect opportunity to do the same with the X-Men. 

I have been pretty vocal about my general dislike of non-Marvel made Marvel movies such as the X-Men and Spider-Man movies.  My expectations for Days of Future Past were not high. 

Well, I should probably eat my hat on this one.  Is Days of Future Past any good?  Yes, yes it is!  After all my ranting above, why did I end up enjoying this so much??  Well, I think I’ve kinda stopped caring that it’s not the X-Men I’ve always wanted, my expectations were probably appropriately primed, which in turn allowed me to enjoy this significantly more than I thought I was going to.

In 2023 all of mankind is on the verge of extinction thanks to giant invincible killer robots known as Sentinels.  The future X-Men have pinpointed a moment in the past which they feel was the turning point in mans history.  The assassination of Bolivar Trask in 1973, an anti-mutant activist lobbying for politicians to activate his anti-mutant Sentinel programme.  If vetoed, the Sentinels would identify and systematically kill all mutants by recognizing their genetic signature.  The future X-Men figure that the assassination of Trask, instead of stopping the Sentinel programme, actually ensures that fearful politicians go ahead with it.  The Sentinels would kill all mutants and then start to kill normal humans too, recognizing and identifying those humans who would eventually be able to give birth to mutant children. 

Under the threat of imminent Sentinel attack, Kitty Pryde is able to use her powers to send future Wolverine’s conscious mind back into the body of 1973 Wolverine in an attempt to find young Xavier, Magneto, stop the assassination and hopefully avert the extinction of mankind!  Can he do it??  Well you’re gonna have to watch to find out!

So what did I like about Days of Future Past?  Well, I think part of what made this enjoyable is the actors themselves.  They’ve been playing these roles for 14 years now and the familiarity is like seeing old family.  I’ve always liked Hugh Jackman as Wolverine, even if not quite the Wolverine of the comics, it’s still fun watching him in the role.  Days of Future Past is no exception.  Seeing Wolverine in 1970s US is pretty cool albeit without his adamantium.  Fassbender and McAvoy are once again great as young Magneto and Xavier.  The best surprise was Evan Peters as Quicksilver, I never imagined a super fast character could be so cool and wonder how Aaron Taylor-Johnson will play the character in the the Avengers version of the character. 

The best thing for me was the ending.  Combined with an outstanding score (check out Xavier’s theme on YouTube), the film just ends on a really satisfying note.  And yes, there is a post-credits scene.

What I didn’t like so much are the Sentinels themselves.  Despite all the future scenes showing the Sentinels in action, they just don’t seem particularly impressive or scary, they're also much smaller than they are in the comics and cartoons.  If anything, it’s the future mutants who seem surprisingly weak.  Surely they can put up a better fight?

Though there was probably too much Wolverine in previous X-Men movies, in this movie there seems to be oddly not enough.  In the comics Kitty Pryde sent her consciousness back in time, whereas here it is Wolverine.  I think that’s a fine choice but in the midst of all that is going on, I did feel that his character was really lost in the mix. 

It also took me a while to get my head around young Magneto’s character arc in the movie as he seems to undergo a strange change of behaviour, as well as the films twisted time-travel ending, but after thinking it through it does all kinda fit into place and make sense. 

Peter Dinklage is pretty great as evil mastermind Bolivar Trask as is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.  But I still don’t get why Mystique is always naked?  Though I doubt fans will be complaining.

In the cartoons it was Bishop that goes back in time so it was nice of Bryan Singer to cast Omar Sy (The Intouchables) as Bishop, even if his presence never amounts to anything more than a guest appearance, as is the case for Fan Bingbing as Blink.  I believe she has no dialogue in the entire movie. 

On the whole this is a pretty enjoyable movie and probably the second best X-Men movie to date (X-2 still ranks 1st). 

Not counting Captain America: The Winter Soldier, this is so far the best summer movie this year, but with Guardians of the Galaxy around the corner, we’ll have to wait and see if it can keep that title.

Well worth the price of admission, check it out!

Rating 4 out of 5


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