The X-Men have been a part of my life from as far back as I can remember. Wolverine cutouts on my wall when I was a kid, playing the arcade game in an ACTUAL arcade, growing up watching the Fox animated series, collecting the Toy Biz action figures! These famous mutants and I go way back!
So when it was time for X-Men to come to the big screen, I was of course beside myself with excitement. But you have to realize that these were the early days of comic book movies! After Blade, X-Men was the first real, successful, attempt at making a superhero film. These two franchises paved the way for what was about to come for Hollywood. The genre would never be the same again, like it or hate it. This was all thanks to director Bryan Singer, who went on to also direct the sequel, X2, and now returns to take the helm on the X-Men’s latest adventure!
The X-Men movie series has been an interesting ride. Bryan Singer, director of Days of Future Past, started the X-films by creating this brand new universe just when comic book movies were starting to pick up speed. Surprisingly enough, most fans were able to “deal” with the liberties that Singer took with the characters and story plot lines. Then there was the (up until now) best film of the series, X2.
Singer would leave the series and Fox would poop out the third mutant movie, X-Men: The Last Stand. Though it introduced some key characters, many hated the film. Trust me when I say that DOFP addresses many of the issues created by that film. Of course being a X-Men movie fan has had its other low moments, we won’t talk about X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Fourteen years after the original was in theaters, the X-Men are back in Days of Future Past. With things looking more on the bright-side with last year’s The Wolverine, there was a lot of hope put into what Singer could deliver now that we have two different timelines of X-Men out there. Two you say? Yes.
In 2011, X-Men: First Class hit theaters with a whole new cast, new mutants, and taking place in a whole new time period, the 1960’s!! Telling the story of Professor X when he was first starting off, how he met Magneto, and where Kevin Bacon played one of the best James Bond villains of all time. You know that movie that we all loved, even though it basically takes everything that we know about the true X-Men origins and throws it out the window.
Beast and Prof X are the only two true founding members from the comic book series. Newcomers don’t be fooled, the girl who calls herself Angel is not the original. Watch The Last Stand for a more “accurate” version of the character. But this movie was fresh, it was fun, it revitalized the series, and not to mention, Michael Fassbender plays a great Magneto! I re-watched this movie before I went to see DOFP and let me tell you, the two films are nothing alike.
WARNING: MINIOR SPOILAGE LAY AHEAD
Let me clarify, when I say “nothing a-like”, I mean X-Men: Days of Future Past IS the definitive X-Men movie. First Class is great, Days of Future Past is excellent! DOFP was my most anticipated movie of 2014. Even more than Captain America 2, way more than Spidey, Guardians of the Galaxy, and even the Michael Bay movies. Even more than Cap or GOTG?! Yes.
With Marvel Studios I can’t expect anything less than awesome! They deliver, and they deliver well! But as long as some of my favorite characters of all time are in the hands of another studio, then I will always hope for the best! It has truly been a crapshoot for the past decade, but now all of a sudden Fox is taking their comic book movies seriously, and look at what’s happening!
Bryan Singer returning to direct the X-Men meant one thing, we would see some of our favorite mutants from days far gone. Many people asked, and criticized, how are you going to fit so many characters into two hours worth of film? In a world where creators are chastised because they have three villains in their movie, what would one director do with such a huge stable? Singer’s first challenge was to incorporate his classic team with the one from First Class. Time travel was the perfect way to accomplish this, and what’s the perfect X-Men time traveling adventure ever? Days of Future Past.
The movie starts off in the future where Sentinels have laid waist to civilization. Hunting mutants to near extinction, the robots turned on their masters as well. Don’t get on the negativity bandwagon when it comes to these CGI monster! Yes they are different from their comic book counterparts, but they look and act amazing! Their ability to replicated and adapt to any mutant power is amazing, and it’s actually a major pot point of the film. We are introduced to the future X-Men, consisting of Prof X, Magneto, Iceman, Colossus, Kitty Pryde, new comers Sunfire, Bishop, and Blink. It’s really exciting to watch the mutants use their powers in the movie, and most importantly work as a team when doing so. Some of the coolest scenes are throughout the film when Blink uses her ability to create portals, Singer gets creative when it comes to showing that effect off! I had really hoped that the future scenes at the beginning of the film would at least reference the Fantastic Four or something, like I have said before a good idea would be to show their graves. I think that Fox lost out on a big opportunity to show a shared universe here, but that doesn’t take away from this film at all. But the future is really well done and the destruction looks intense! Funny thing is that I was sitting in the theater wondering how they got from The Wolverine to the point where they started off in the new film. As you may remember, in the end-credit scene of The Wolverine, Prof X and Magneto show up at an airport to recruit Logan to aid them. Turns out this is what it was for, crazy thing is everything apparently got bad in just a decade! The Wolverine takes place in 2013 and the future is supposedly is 2023.
The X-Men have built a device that can send someone’s memories back a short time into the past. By using this technology they have been able to survive, and move around plotting their next move. They decided that in order to save the future they have to change the past. I really don’t want to reveal too much about the logistics of who they have to stop and why, but there are some changes to the source material here as well. Changes that I think make the story even better than the original! Unlike the comics, it’s Logan not Kitty who goes into the past, Kitty is actually the conduit to that timeline and Logan is the only person who can survive the jump. So our adventure begins with Logan going into the past to stop an event that will ultimately lead to the extinction of mutant-kind. That’s about as far as I can go without spoiling more than I should for you. You know the premise, now go see the film!
Days of Future Past is a smart and refreshing sequel, it is now one of my top five comic book movies of all time. I hope that I can get to a more spoiler-rich review sometime next week to talk about some of the plot points in the film. Comic book movies have begun to divert from their source material, creating their own rich timelines and continuities. I think that is one of the healthiest things that has happened to this genre. When you have the freedom to play around in a sandbox the outcome can be well rewarding. Moving the main story to the past is the best movie this franchise has made. Not only that, but telling a story in each decade is an amazing concept as well, especially when the past two films have done an amazing job at emulating the timelines.
Front and center of this movie is Jennifer Lawrence‘s Mystique, who plays a much larger and emotional part than she does in the comics. JLaw owns the screen every time she’s on camera. Oh and remember how everyone complained about Quicksilver? Well that was one of my favorite parts of the film and when it was over I wished that he was in more of the movie. There is even a nice nod to his relationship with Magneto, for those of you who have been wondering. One last thing, Peter Dinklage is a great addition to the cast as Boliver Trask. His “large” presence as the classic character only helps to enhance the total experience.
Soundtrack-wise, Singer’s “usual suspect”, John Ottman, is along for the ride. With a movie season filled with amazing (Spider-Man) soundtracks from top-notch performers, Ottman’s did not stand out, but maybe it was muted a bit by the excellence that was happening on screen! I’ll have to check out it out on Spotify.
Since its announcement I had my doubts about this film. It’s easy to get frustrated when some studios understand how to treat “their” characters, and some do not. It would seem that Fox has invested in the correct talent and opinions now to get the job done properly. My faith has been restored and it really excites me to think where the franchise could be going from here. A lot of wrongs have been made right and new possibilities have opened up through this movie. Make sure you sit through the entire credits! 2016 is too far away!
Go see X-Men: Days of Future Past now! Go see it this holiday weekend, go with family, friends, fellow mutants whatever. I’m going to stop geeking out on you now, but take it from someone who takes his X-Men very seriously, I LOVED THIS MOVIE! This is the time of the Geek my friends, so enjoy it!
X-Men: Days of Future Past: A+