Days of Future Past Charts Bright Course for X-Men
Seeing Bryan Singer name on the directorial credit for X-Men: Days of Future Past brings so much joy. Since his departure after 2003’s X2: X-Men United, the franchise has had its fair share of ups and downs. Thankfully, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a triumphant return to what made the 14-year-old franchise work from the start.
In the year 2023, the X-Men face extermination from the giant robotic Sentinels. Many of the iconic characters we’ve come to know over the years are dead. The few that remain are constantly on the run, moving from one refuge to another. After yet another Sentinel attack, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Bishop (Omar Sy) and few others reunite with the franchise’s main mutants.
The originals, Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) are evading Sentinels in China. In a last ditch effort, the remaining X-Men send Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine back in time to 1973 to stop the Sentinels from ever being created in the first place.
Days of Future Past is a massive canvas, bigger than anything tackled previously in any other X-Men movie. It was a genius move to bring back Bryan Singer as director, who gave audiences two of the strongest installments to date. Even after an 11-year absence, Singer remains on his game, delivering the game-changer this franchise desperately needs.
What makes matters even more interesting is how the original cast and the cast from acclaimed X-Men: First Class are all under the same roof. Besides Singer’s first two films, X-Men: First Class is an undeniable highlight that breathed new life into the series three years ago. Days of Future Past builds upon the events of First Class quite effectively.
When Wolverine returns to 1973 to alter history, we find a younger Professor X (James McAvoy) in a dark place, cut off from the rest of society alongside Beast (Nicholas Hoult). Since the events of First Class, he’s a broken man and ironically enough, it’s up to Wolverine to light the spark.
Professor X is faced with the ultimate gauntlet, teaming up with former ally Magneto (Michael Fassbender). Making matters worse, he’s forced to bring down his childhood friend Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), who’s hateful actions set in motion the Sentinels’ creation.
Days of Future Past is highly dense in its attempts to rewrite the non-Singer installments. Though with such a vast ensemble, many characters are sacrificed for glorified cameos. Halle Berry’s Storm is utterly useless in the future scenes as are Iceman and Colossus.
Newcomer Evan Peters stands out as speedster Quicksilver. His insertion is rushed, but it’s nothing more than a setup for the 2016 sequel. Then there’s also Peter Dinklage (Game of Thrones) as Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask, who proves his dramatic weight once more. Trask is one of the few human characters of the franchise who is executed fairly well as a grounded antagonist. And we can expect no less from the talented Dinklage.
In a way, Singer is apologizing to fans for the direction the franchise went after his departure. But Days of Future Past does an impressive job getting the series back on track. Days of Future Past is not a perfect X-Men movie, nor is it the best in the franchise. It is however, a roaring good time that we as audiences desperately needed.
Days of Future Past remains yet another cog in the X-Men franchise, setting up the 2016 film X-Men: Apocalypse. The series is back in good hands. 2016 needs to get here really fast.
GRADE: A- (4.5/5)
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Matt Marshall is a YouTube movie reviewer who hosts MNMreviews. He has a B.A. in Communications/Journalism from St. John Fisher College and resides in Rochester, NY.