The X-Men movies have been good for the most part so I was eager to see Days of Future Past from the moment I became aware of its production. Besides, there’s Fassbender in Days of Future Past, and I’ll rarely pass up a chance to soak in some of that. It doesn’t hurt that the guy’s got talent, either. In addition to Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence is in the film and we should all be in full-on love with that woman by now. I know I am and I was excited to see her do more with the role of Mystique.
Normally, I don't go alone to the big blockbuster flicks. Today, my husband Christoph came with me. He likes action and adventure, so he'll join me when I'm going to watch something in that genre that I need to review. I would even venture to say that he’s more committed to the franchise than I am. He’s seen all of the movies and I can’t say that I have. There were a couple in there that weren’t capable of holding my attention for more than 20 minutes. I’m fickle, what can I say?
Excited for what looked to be a mind-bending trip into the past from the future, Christoph and I headed to our local theater to check out this latest installment in the X-Men saga. Once we arrived, we hurried in, found our spots and settled in. We were eager to be entertained. We had come looking for a good time and we expected the X-Men to deliver.
X-Men Days of Future Past starts out in the future for a change. We meet up with a handful of X-Men as they defend their turf from what appear to be futuristic and unstoppable killing machines. Our mutant friends seem to have met their match and that’s confusing because mutants always come out on top. They’ve got cool powers, cooler costumes and even better nick names. They’re’ the X-Men, they don’t lose fights, but that’s exactly what it looks like is happening at the opening of this film.
In not too distant future, the X-Men are a dying breed, as are the humans which carry the genes that would result in mutant offspring. They're dying because of those killing machines. They're dying because the Sentinels are exterminating them.
In the opening scenes it’s established that the X-Men have no alternative, but to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time, to convince the young Professor X (Patrick Stewart)and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to join forces to save the mutant race. Together, they must somehow manage to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the Sentinels. If Mystique kills him, events will be set into motion that will ensure Trask and his Sentinels destroy the mutant race.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is the story of Wolverine’s journey back in time to the 1970s. This is it, either Wolverine succeeds in reuniting Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender) and reigning in Mystique--thereby saving all current and future mutants--or he could fail, and they’re toast forevermore.
This installment of the X-Men series keeps the momentum of this franchise going strong. The story has enough twists to keep you on your toes and tap dancing far from boredom. Hugh Jackman, returning as Wolverine, does an excellent job reprising his role as the short temptered, sharp tongued and quick witted, brutish leading man.
Jennifer Lawrence is cunning, dangerous and mostly noble as Mystique. She brings us an enigmatic anti-hero that you can’t help but root for. Lawrence’s portrayal of Mystique is cold, calculated and captivating. She has perfected Mystique.
Michael Fassbender also does an excellent job at conveying the hard nature of the young Magneto. He brings us a portrayal that is tough, shrewd and somehow vulnerable. It’s unclear how much Erik feels, but it’s certain he has a heart in there somewhere. There’s something slightly sinister about Michael Fassbender that fits perfectly into this role. He’s an excellent Erik.
Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magneto bring a sense of gravitas to the X-Men that classes up the joint. They are successful once again in invoking the ghosts of the two most powerful X-Men. Overall, the entire cast brought forth strong performances.
James McAvoy's performance was especially notable for me because I didn’t particularly appreciate his work in X-Men: First Class. I’m not quite sure where I felt he was lacking, I just know he didn’t feel like a young Charles Xavier, to me. Fortunately, in this latest cinematic installment, he’s spot on. Not only does he deliver an emotional and passionate performance, he gives us a glimpse of what it was like to struggle with failure and emerge a leader. I can now call myself a real McAvoy fan, he converted me with his performance in this film.
Technically speaking, the visual effects in this move were stunning. One scene in particular makes watching this movie in IMAX or 3D worth the price. Lastly, Quicksilver (Evan Peters) was an excellent addition to this cast of cinematic X-Men and you’ll see why, when you encounter that scene I’m talking about. You’ll know it when you see it--I won’t ruin it by describing it for you.
X-Men: Days of Future Past, has all the trappings of a successful blockbuster. It’s fun because the action sequences are complex, thrilling and well executed. The plot intrigues by telling the same story from two different chronological standpoints. The acting is exceptional and it was easy to get lost in the extraordinary world that Bryan Singer (Director) created with this film.
The problem with getting lost in the story, is that it’s too easy to get lost in the timeline. There were several times during the movie when I had to lean over and ask Christoph where we were in “time,” and what part of the plan the X-Men were executing. While the plot unfolds swiftly, there are so many moving parts that some rather critical details become muddled.
The story is fun, the acting is good and the action is intense. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough newness here to really wow me. I like a familiar story as much as anyone, but it’s time to innovate more when it comes to movies. Also, there were times when this film felt like it was trying too hard to be a vehicle for Jennifer Lawrence. I adore her as much as everyone else, but movies aren’t about one person, they’re about a story.
Go see this one if you want action coupled with good acting and exciting storytelling. It may not change your life, but it’ll be a good time.
X-Men: Days of Future Past – B+
B+ = Give this one a go for sure. You will most likely enjoy it and if /when it comes on cable, you will probably watch it through to the end regardless of your starting point.