X-Men: Days of Future Past helps audiences forget the disaster that was X-Men: The Last Stand
Back in 2006, the vast majority of X-Men fans were left devastated after they watched X-Men: The Last Stand on the big screen. The film, which was directed by Brett Ratner after Bryan Singer stepped away from the franchise to direct Superman Returns was considered to be a major letdown for fans of X-Men and X2. Without going into grave detail, Ratner’s take on the X-Men mutants left audiences greatly upset as all their favorite characters were just thrown into a film that had no idea how to make use of any of them. Nearly 5 years later in 2011, Matthew Vaughn directed X-Men: First Class. First Class restored hope in the franchise and X-Men fans could not wait for the next film to be released. Now, only 3 years later, Bryan Singer returns to the director’s chair to bring us one of the most anticipated films of the year.
X-Men: Days of Future Past takes place in a very dark era for mutants everywhere. The sentinels are killing mutants all over the globe and the only hope for their survival is Logan (Hugh Jackman). With the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Logan travels back to the year 1973 where he must stop Dr. Trask and his sentinel army.
There is no denying that the marketing for X-Men: Days of Future Past was anything short of epic. After seeing just the initial trailer, I was 100% excited to see the film and couldn’t wait for my screening. Days of Future Past is definitely the X-Men film that a lot of X-Men fans have been waiting for since Singer walked away from the franchise in 2006. However, I must admit that while I did enjoy this film, it was definitely not my favorite film in this franchise, even though I can predict many fans will be labeling this as the best X-Men film to date.
Now, I bet you are wondering, why isn’t Days of Future Past my favorite X-Men movie? Well, the truth is I just wasn’t as enamored with the story as much as I wanted to be. Simply put, I felt the story was a bit too simplistic for its own good. I could honestly tell you the entire film in just a few sentences and something about that rubs me the wrong way. I am not saying there was anything that most normal moviegoers would consider wrong with the story, but rather that the film played everything too safely. There was no risk within this film and that kind of bothered me as well. It should also be noted that not everything is fully explained and die hard X-Men fans will notice a few plot holes that never get addressed by the time the film comes to a close.
The film definitely has a lot of mutants in it, however, almost all of them felt like glorified cameos. The only characters that got a lot of screen time were Wolverine and 70’s Magneto (Michael Fassbender). The film’s marketing leads you to believe that Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is going to be a big part of the story and while she does serve as a crucial plot point, truth be told she is barely in the film. I would honestly say that Lawrence is on-screen for a total of 20 minutes and she doesn’t do much besides morph into various individuals despite the plot being based around her character.
Lawrence’s Raven is not the only character that doesn’t get enough screen-time in Days of Future Past. To me, it felt like every character including Charles Xavier (James McAvoy/Patrick Stewart), Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Bishop (Omar Sy), Quicksilver (Evan Peters), as well as many others were just all in the film to make a brief appearance or simply there as plot devices. Again, this isn’t all bad, however, based on the marketing, one would expect to see more of these characters and hope they would have a more active role within the film then they did. It needs to be said that all the marketing shows these epic sentinel battles yet in the actual film just like everyone else, they are barely shown.
Despite my complaints about the simplistic nature of the story and the lack of most of the film’s characters, I did enjoy a lot of the aspects of the film. To me, it is pretty clear that Singer loves the X-Men series and really pays attention to the details. There are a lot of throwback moments to the previous films within this one and I think fans will greatly appreciate that. I personally loved the entire look and feel of the film. Every scene looked fantastic and Singer’s direction captures the 70s era as well as the dark era that mutants were now living in perfectly. The special effects throughout this film are also absolutely fantastic and without a doubt, the best visual effects in any of the X-Men films to date.
While I do still believe that it was a shame that the other X-Men didn’t get as much screen-time as Jackman and Fassbender, I am thankful that the characters that film decided to focus on were two of the strongest performers. Hugh Jackman and Michael Fassbender are great at portraying these characters. Fassbender never ceases to amaze me simply because he can play a villain, a slave owner, or a sex addict with such ease. I think Jackman is so good at playing Wolverine at this point in his career that he can probably play this character in his sleep. Wolverine is always likable and always the bad ass. It is clear that Jackman’s portrayal of this iconic character is a fan favorite because he pretty much highlights every X-Men film that he is in and even as a cameo in X-Men: First Class.
Some of the film’s finest moments are definitely spread out through the film in order to ensure that audiences stay invested. I had two favorite scenes within the film and the one scene will be the one everyone will be talking about once the film opens in theaters. The scene I am referring to is the Quicksilver scene at the Pentagon. It was very humorous and my audience ate it up like they were having Thanksgiving dinner. I personally think that Evan Peters did a good job and gave the character’s personality a solid mix of sarcasm and awesomeness. I think X-Men fans will be on the fence about the overall look of the character, however, no one will deny that his key moment in this film serves as the best scene in the entire film.
The other moment that really stood out and was the most memorable was when Magneto invaded Washington, DC. This film felt like a classic X-Men scene straight out of one of the first two films that Singer directed. I loved the whole speech that Magneto gave to the mutants and loved the entire scale of how big the scene felt. What is strange about the scene, however, is that it is really suppose to be focused on the sentinels and Raven yet Magneto steals the scene away from everyone.
All in all, I enjoyed a lot of X-Men: Days of Future Past, but was a bit disappointed with the overall film. While the film was visually stunning and enjoyable as a whole, it did suffer a bit due to the lack of character screen-time and the simplistic nature of the story. I think while most fans will adore the film and label it as the best X-men to date, die-hard fans will criticize the plot holes and lack of character focus. With all that being said, Days of Future Past is still a fun time at the movies and definitely worth the price of admission. In my humble opinion, I would rank Days of Future Past as number 4 out of all the X-Men films to date.
MovieManMenzel’s final rating for X-Men: Days of Future Past is a 7.5 out of 10.
Be sure to stay for the end credits scene. It features Aaron Taylor-Johnson as Apocalypse who as the fanboys and fangirls know will be a big part of the next film in the series.