I thought it died. Crashed, dismembered, burned, scattered and then left to be buried by time. I mourned. I grieved. Then the following years there were cruel reminders that temporarily filled the void, but after they were over, I was still left with the pain from the previous scars. It is said that fanboys and girls are much more empathetic to this kind of thing, so we feel deeper, stronger and it lasts longer than your average person. Life after the disaster that was X-Men: The Last Stand was bleak, knowing it ruined the future of my beloved comic series. In order to repair the seemingly irreparable damage, we have to move back. Way back. X-Men: First Class was a reminder of good an X-Men film could be, something we hadn’t seen since X2. Even The Wolverine sated our X-thirsts for a while, but I can’t even begin to explain all the great things X-Men: Days of Future Past did as a film as well as the entire X-Men universe as well. Maybe I should start.
The still hunky (but noticeably older) Hugh Jackman leads the way as his now iconic role as Wolverine. It is the not too distant future and our world has all but been destroyed thanks to the new Sentinel overlords. At first they were designed to combat the mutants, be then became just a tad bit more proactive and started capturing human sympathizers and any human who could pass on the mutant gene. Most mutants that haven’t been locked up are being hunted down and killed. A small resistance made up of Wolverine, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and some newcomers like Blink (Bingbing Fan), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), Sunspot (Adan Canto)and the legendary Bishop (Omar Sy). They are going to make their last stand, and with Kitty’s new time traveling ability (I know fanboys, I know), she sends Wolverine (who was alive during the 60’s, and whose regenerative ability will make sure his mind does rip to shreds on the trip) to the past in an attempt to stop Mystique from killing Trask, which results in her capture and the creation of the super Sentinels (from the adaptive properties in her DNA) that destroy the future. Of course it won’t be that easy, since he has to get the gang back together. ROAD TRIP!
First stop is the Xavier School, which is in disarray and closed down. Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and a drugged out Charles (James McAvoy) is drowning his depression in alcohol and cynicism. Beast has controlled/suppressed his ability but Prof X has completely supressed his by over using Beast’s serum so that he could walk. He obviously was useless when it came time to bust out Magneto (Michael Fassbender) from Pentagon prison, but luckily they had the help of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to pick up the slack/do most of the work. Now they must find Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), who is on a one woman mission to save mutants everywhere, and stop her from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), who has been killing and experimenting on mutants, and who was the person that created the original Sentinels. Also, the longer Wolverine is in the past, the more in danger his friends in the future are put in, with the super Sentinels looming in closer. The most pressing question is can you really change the future, or is their future inevitable? This movie is all about hope, not just for the younger Prof X, but also for the future of the X-Men universe. On both counts, hope was successfully planted.
Let’s not talk about how many Oscar winners and nominees are in the comic book inspired X-Men: Days of Future Past, because the number will just make you blush. One aspect of First Class‘ s success is due to the beyond capable cast that was able to bring each character to life without coming off over-the-top or campy. This film’s success is greatly enhanced by the best of the cast from First Class and X2, tempering the film’s more fantastical themes with grounded performances injecting much needed emotion in the story. Originally the story’s lead was suppose to be Kitty Pryde/Ellen Page, but you won’t mind the change too much because they explain their reasoning well enough. What else can you expect from FOX’s very Wolverine-centric view on the X-Men? Don’t worry, that may change very soon.
You can get away with a lot in the comic book format, but the screen (big and small) is much less forgiving. That’s why I was a little hesitant on how well this story would play out. I was much more than pleasantly surprised to find out how well it flowed on screen, with little if any hiccups or plot holes. Every action was justified and explained (even if sometimes they were explained with a one-liner). Any controversy aside, Bryan Singer was the perfect person to bring back as director to essentially reboot the franchise so that it can continue its story line in the present, and not the past or the future (although I wouldn’t mind revisiting either time periods). Reminiscent of the X-Men film’s heyday, Singer has brought this film to life with the same gusto that made us originally fall in love with our complex mutants. I’m even willing to go as far as to say that he is the Joss Whedon of the X-Men Universe (in the directing area only of course).
If I have to choose something to gripe about, not mentioning all the changes to the source material, it would have to be the superfluous 3D. In theory, there were some moments that could have benefited from some 3D action, but since it wasn’t actually shot in 3D, it was pretty pointless. The times the 3D did the film ANY justice would have to be for the opening and closing credits. The rest of the time you completely forget about it, so it’s not really an inconvenience as much as it is unnecessary.
Despite X-Men: Days of Future Past‘s shortcomings (that are so few you can count them in one hand) and changes to the original story (which I don’t mind at all because Wolverine is still pretty sexy, even though I would have LOVED to have Kitty Pryde be the main protagonist) the outcome far surpasses even your highest expectations. The theme of “hope” is so strikingly pervasive that is jumps off the screen and breathes new life into a franchise that is near and dear to me. By the end of the film, you won’t have to wish or pretend X-Men: The Last Stand never happened, because technically, now it didn’t.
RATING: ★★★★★★★★★(9/10 stars)
IN THEATERS NOW