Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

A movie review article by: Jeffrey Roth

The Rundown: A worthy sequel to X2: X-Men United, as opposed to its actual sequels, XM:DoFP does a great job of combining the old crew from the first three movies with the new X-Men of X-Men: First Class. Derived from a classic bit of X-Men history, DoFP will have that classic X-Men feel for those familiar with the comics as well as new surprises for the uninitiated.

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When I first heard about X-Men: Days of Future Past it was as a result of the post-credit sequence from The Wolverine, which, for the record, was also a really sweet X-Man movie. I went into this movie not knowing what to expect. On the one hand, the new cast for X-Men from X-Men First Class was exceptionally good, and that movie had done a lot to restore my faith in the X-Men as a movie franchise. On the same note, the previous two movies featuring any of the original X-Men cast had left me with a bad taste in my mouth. So it was with a mixture of curiosity and skepticism that I went and enjoyed the latest installment in the X-Men movie series, Days of Future Past.

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The plot of XM:DoFP starts in a distant future where Mutant-kind has been heavily persecuted and hunted by large adaptable robots called The Sentinels. The Sentinels either kill or enslave any mutant they find, as well as any potential carrier of the mutant gene. The last surviving X-Men have managed to stay alive and free with the help of Kitty Pride, whose unique powers have now extended to being able to transport the consciousness of someone into the past. These powers drive Professor Charles Xavier (played by Captain Picard himself, Patrick Stewart) and Eric Lencher (known as Magneto, and played once again by the amazing Ian McKellen) to seek her out and ask that she send someone into the past to stop the Sentinels from ever being created. They elect to have Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) make the trip as his healing powers make him the only one able to survive the harrowing journey into the past.

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Now, to really give this movie the attention it deserved I decided to take a look at the source material to see how the movie measured up. So I picked up the trade paperback and read through the two-three issue arcs that make up “Days of Future Past.” While the movie definitely resembles the story from the comic, minus a few details, it is definitely its own animal. While some of the details they changed didn’t make a lot of sense to me, I found that incorporating the comic’s harrowing tale of a journey through time to stop a dystopian future into the world of the currently existing X-Men movies was well done.

Bryan Singer is obviously comfortable in the X-Men universe, as his previous film in the series, X2: X-Men United is considered by some (ok, mainly me) to be one of the best comic book movies of all time. A lot of the experience and reverence for the material is evident in the choices he makes, especially when it comes to character.

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Speaking of character, the return of the cast from X-Men: First Class is amazing. The transition from the younger versions of characters to their older counterparts is mostly seamless, and the charisma and entanglements set up in the first movie carry over amazingly into this. Not to mention seeing the rise of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), the further development of Eric Lencher (Michael Fassbender) into the villain Magneto, and the emotional trials of a much younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy); all of these elements lend more tension and drama than the initial concept would have been able to.

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XM:DoFP is an awesome action movie, an awesome X-Men movie, and an awesome comic book movie. There’s plenty of fan-service for us comic book nerds, and seeing the Sentinels on-screen in all their glory was frikkin sweet. My criticisms of this movie are fairly minor, such as giving Kitty Pride the power to transport people in time for no reason. I mean, there were a bunch of ways they could have gone that really didn’t require that to be the case. The Sentinels never speak is another minor point, but there’s still plenty of time left for them to evolve, and for a movie featuring Master Mold as the villain to be possible. This movie does a great job of setting the series back up from where it was right at the end of X2, on top of the world. I hope Fox and Marvel can deliver with even more X-Men goodness.

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PS – Huge shout-out to Evan Peters as Quicksilver, every scene he was in he steals the show, and while his role in the overall plot could be considered somewhat minor, it was a pleasure to watch him on screen.

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