One of the most anticipated films of the summer and of this year has just hit theaters in time for the long Memorial Day Weekend. Box Office numbers are currently rolling in, and many are predicting that the new X-Men film, Days of Future Past, will be a monster hit during the three-day weekend. The rather unsettling accusations against the film’s director, Bryan Singer, don’t seem to be making an impact against the film’s box office and the film itself, so this will be the last time I speak on that certain matter. But, this film is a follow-up to both the original X-Men trilogy and the stellar 2011 prequel, X-Men: First Class. The reason this film is expected to be the beast it will be economically is that this film combines the casts of the original trilogy and First Class. So not only do we get Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen as Professor X and Magneto, but also James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as the younger versions of those characters. The film has also done a terrific job in the marketing campaign (I can’t say the same for its lackluster posters, but the trailers have all been very effective). The film appears to have a much darker tone than any of the previous X-Men films, and in this day and age of dark and gritty blockbuster film-making, that’s a win-win for everybody (hopefully). So, I just got back from the theater, and here’s my review of X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The film begins in the not-so-distant future, where the mutants that you once knew are nearly extinct. Years ago, a scientist named Bolivar Trask, played by Peter Dinklage, created these mutant hunting robots called the Sentinels, and they ended up wiping out most of mankind in the process. The X-Men, or at least the ones still living, are done to their last options, which is that they send back Logan, also known as Wolverine, played once again by Hugh Jackman, back in time to prevent the Sentinels from ever being created. Logan is transported to the 1970’s, where he meets up with the younger Professor X and Magneto, and along with other cast members from First Class, Logan must stop Trask before the Sentinels wreak havoc on Earth.
Singer returns to direct this film, after taking a break from the franchise after X-2. And thank God that the man came back, because after the rather disappointing X-3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and starting with First Class and last summers The Wolverine, the franchise has officially regained its mojo back, and it’s a glorious feeling. Days of Future Past is an exciting and undeniably entertaining summer blockbuster that should please every one of every age. It’s not only the best film of this summer by far, but it’s the best X-Men film ever made, and it’s easily one of the best films of 2014. Hugh Jackman is the star of this film, which is a welcome return after brutting along in the two standalone Wolverine films (the second one was OK). The character works better in an ensemble, and his chemistry with the younger Professor X and Beast, played once again by Nicolas Hoult, is fantastic, and they work off each other undeniably well. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender give both Stewart and McKellen a run for their money in the younger versions of these characters, with the both actors giving raw and intense performances. Fassbender in the past few years has quickly become one of the greatest actors, well ever, I think its safe to say that now. He chews up the scenery when he’s given the option to, and it’s beautiful when he does so.
McAvoy plays Professor X as washed-up and confused when we first meet him in the film, and like Fassbender, both men after very emotionally drained in the beginning, after the events of First Class obviously. What drives these characters to their emotional cliffs in the film is Mystique, played once again by Jennifer Lawrence in the film. I don’t think I need to boast about how great Lawrence is in the film, because you expect acting like this from the young actress. These, along with Lawrence, are the best performances of this massive ensemble we have going on. Granted, with an ensemble as big as this one, you would think that many key players are pushed to the side while others aren’t, and while that is the case with many of the mutants in the film, it doesn’t hurt the film in any particular way. Those other players aren’t as essential, and I don’t think people will be too angry about it. What Singer and company do very well is that they make great use of the time period aspect of the film, and the time travel as well. It’s hard to nail a good time travel film, and there will be some skeptics with this film, but it’s an effective plot device that works exceptionally will throughout the whole film. The 70’s setting for most of the film is perfect, and there are some great visual gags and references that are pretty great, like a great shot in the film (also in the trailer, so no spoilers here) of Magneto lifting the old Washington Senators baseball field off the ground, which was pretty sweet (fun fact, the Senators are now the Texas Rangers in the MLB, so there’s a little irrelevant baseball trivia for you).
While this is easily the best blockbuster of this summer and of the year, I do happen to have a few flaws with the newest X-Men film. It doesn’t have anything to do with the film itself, but rather the use of 3D. I saw the film in 3D, honestly, it was a waste of money. Singer shot the film in 3D, which is one of the reasons why I even bothered seeing the film in the format, but the 3D was pretty bland for something that could have been used so effectively. I really wished that Singer had used the technology in a much better light or abandon 3D altogether, but apparently you can’t make money off films these days without them being in 3D, so I guess there’s really nothing I can do about that. But aside from the clunky 3D, X-Men: Days of Future Past, is a great summer movie, and if you have time during this long weekend, I highly suggest you go check it out at your local theater. There’s great performances all around, the action is great, the 70’s period is used very well in the film, and it’s just a great time all around during it’s over two-hour running time. But do me a favor and don’t see the film in 3D. You’ll be equally entertained not having to put on those stupid glasses.