X-Men: Days Of Future Past in now the 7th X-Men movie to come out since the year 2000 and is directed by Bryan Singer, who also directed the 1st 2 films . I mentioned in a tweet that I might have a different perspective on this film. So what is it? Up until this 1, I hadn’t seen an X-Men film since 2006. I saw the original trilogy, the last 1 being X-Men: The Last Stand, which I saw in cinema. Despite that, I remember none of the stories. My knowledge of the characters was kept fresh through other media, including the rediscovery the ’90s cartoon on lovefilm, and a little Facebook RPG game known as Marvel Avengers Alliance.
I was hesitant about seeing this film at first, fearing that I would be bombarded with a lot of information that required First Class, the Wolverine movies and even a revisit to the original series for me to understand. But then it occurred to me; this is Marvel! Marvel is fun, whether you know the whole story or not. I saw Despicable Me 2 before its prequel, and it didn’t stop me from enjoying it or becoming a fan afterwards. So, I took a dive into the unknown…and you know what? It paid off!
X-Men: Days Of Future Past is effectively Marvel’s version of Back To The Future, and it brings the 2 sets of films together, meaning I was at least half way there for simply seeing the 1st 3 at some point. It starts off in the year 2023, where I assume X-Men: The Last Stand left off, in a world that has become a much different and darker place. The sentinels (mutant-killing robots) have effectively become the master race, being impossible to kill with mutant powers and unstoppable for humans, who are now effectively their prisoners. Through the mutant Kitty Pryde (played by Ellen Page), who has helped the surviving mutants evade the Sentinels by sending their consciousness back in time to warn them, an idea is pitched that has the potential of changing everything. Wolverine (reprised by the only man who can play the character perfectly, Hugh Jackman) volunteers as Marty McFly to go back to the year 1973, where his consciousness enters the body of his younger self. His goal is to then, somehow, prevent Mystique (aka the naked blue lady with red hair played by Hunger Games actress Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (played by Tyrion Lannister himself, Peter Dinklage), whose death would have created sympathy, and in his memory, his sentinels project would have received a go-ahead from the American Treasurers who now see Mutants as an enemy to humanity.
I dare not spoil it, but only to set it up. Without a doubt, this film was great fun. An awesome experience, even if I only saw it in 2-D (as someone who wears glasses almost full time, 3-D is just alright, possibly a bit overrated. IMAX however…we should have invested much more in that!). The story on the surface looks like Inception, but it’s actually simple. It makes sense, it’s tight, it presents us with memorable scenes (particularly anything involving Quicksilver and Wolverine) and it has a lot of great humour in it, lightening the tone for the PG-13/12A rating.
They also maintained the rating by using some very clever lighting and editing techniques, particularly in scenes involving Mystique for obvious reasons. The cinematography itself was excellent, and once again I’ll mention Quicksilver. Some excellent presentation of the character’s powers. Some very good CGI as well. Also a great use of colour filters, going from the dark and drained future to the much warmer looking 1973.
The music is done by John Ottman, who also did the score for X2 (X-Men 2). He maintained several of his memorable scores, including the main theme, and he did a great job. Among the soundtrack also includes Time In A Bottle by Jim Croce…which is played during “that Quicksilver scene”. As well as Roberta Flack’s “The First Time I Saw Your Face”, which plays when Wolverine enters a world now long gone.
Acting-wise, I thought everybody was great, and character-wise, while there isn’t much development in the mutants that appear in the future (including Halle Berry reprising her role as Storm), we’re certainly well catered for when it comes to younger-selfs and mutants from the past. Wolverine once again plays the tough but also funny lead in both worlds. James McAvoy is brilliant as young Charles Xavier, the professor, who in his unhappiness now dabbles in drugs to make him seem more normal and held together. And it’s possible that Evan Peters as Quicksilver may have stolen the show. Which for me, now, leads to a new question: How will Aaron Taylor-Johnson be able to top this? Then again, look at who’s writing the screenplay and being the director?
One thing X-Men: Days Of Future Past has done, is put me in the mood to watch the rest of the movies, which is now something I plan to do, and maybe get some more comics (Astonishing X-Men Volume 1 by Joss Whedon already on the way from Amazon). Is it as good as The Dark Knight or The Avengers? I’m not sure if it is, but when I go through the other films in the series, I wouldn’t be surprised if I find that this is the best X-Men movie.
Rating: ****3/4 (out of 5)