May 29, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review



            It is hard to believe, but the Age of the Superhero Film began almost 14 years ago with X-Men.  Sure, the previous decades saw Batman and Superman films, but X-Men began an era where superhero films were ubiquitous.  Through six films the X-Men film series has often labored to stay alive both in the minds of critics and audiences.  It began with two good (if a bit forgotten) films followed by a rough series of years (except for the rare diamond in the rough such as in X-Men: First Class).  So while there wasn’t much hoopla over the release of the seventh film in the series, X-Men: Days of Future Past, in comparison to a similar superhero event film such as The Avengers, it was still nice to see the film series that kicked off this Age of the Superhero get its Avengers moment.  Unfortunately, the nostalgia factor isn’t enough to erase the sins of the past in X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Days of Future Past has some great set pieces and a game cast but they are not enough to save the film from an inability to fit in logically with the rest of the series.

            X-Men: Days of Future Past takes place in a future where mutants have almost been completely wiped out by the Sentinels.  Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) plot to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the future to stop a young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklahe), which is the event that sets the Sentinel Program in motion.  The film is directed by Bryan Singer and is written by Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn.

             It was nice to see Bryan Singer back behind the helm of an X-Men film again as he just feels so at home in the role.  His style that made the first two X-Men films is in spades here as if he never truly left.  Unfortunately, the story and scripting is not nearly as good as the directing.  With such a complex storyline, just one small mistake could bring this entire film down.  It is sad to say it but there are clearly numerous instances where studio notes (or some sort of decision that was made purely to make it more marketable to audiences) were instituted into the film.  Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique oddly has a massive role that doesn’t fit in with what that character had done previously in the films.  Action set pieces are put in places where a small amount of explaining of how certain characters got to certain places would have sufficed better. 

            The end product is a movie that may look good but is often infuriating.  Fortunately, the film does quite a great job at putting this series back on track for future installments.  The series is certainly at a better place creatively than where it was when Days of Future Past began, and the film once again proves that Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence will be worthy successors for the roles of Magneto and Mystique respectively.

6.5/10

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