Editorial | Review, X-men: Days of Future Past *Spoilers*

***** SPOILER ALERT *****

This review will be discussing plot points which may be considered spoilers. Consider yourselves warned.

The phrase “summer blockbuster” may as well have been coined for X-men: Days of Future Past.  This monolith of cinema was released on Thursday, just in time to dominate the long, holiday weekend, and I went and saw it twice in preparation for this review (mostly because I forgot my notebook the first time, but I digress).

While comic fans probably have a lot of gripes about this movie, and rightly so (yes, this was supposed to be Kitty Pryde’s movie; yes, some of the characters were not true to their comic book profiles), the movie itself was an entertaining ride from start to finish.

The movie opens with Peter Maximoff (although viewers don’t know who he is yet) a random, silver-haired mutant searching through mounds of garbage to scavenge anything useful.  The screen title tells the audience that he in New York City, but the city is unrecognizable.  It’s been ripped apart by the Sentinels, robots equipped with artificial intelligence and all the weaponry needed to destroy mutants, as well as any human whose future offspring would be a mutant.  The Sentinels also have the ability to take on the powers of any mutant they touch, which was somehow derived from Mystique’s DNA.

At least Brian Singer, the director, gave Kitty a pivotal role in the movie, as the person who can send Wolverine back to the past to change events and keep the war—and the Sentinels—from ever happening.  Of course, in the comic book it is Kitty herself that goes back, but the movie franchise chose the fan favorite, Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine, to do the job.

For the most part, actors reprised their roles from previous X-men movies.  There were a few new faces, such as Warpath, Blink, and Bishop, in the future but the movie gave us very little time to get to know them.  I will say that the costumes—especially Bishop’s costume—looked amazing, and I am excited to see more of these characters in the future.  However, the best thing about this movie was definitely the first introduction to Quicksilver.  Peter Maximoff’s super power is insane speed, which he uses to break Magneto out of a concrete prison ten stories below the Pentagon.  He has a flare for dramatic comedy and his very brief screen time was my favorite part of the movie.

Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult), Charles Xavier/Prof. X (James McAvoy), and Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)

James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did not disappoint.  They are both really excellent actors and they did a brilliant job.  Their confrontation on the jet left me sweating on the edge of my seat—I didn’t even realize I had been holding my breath until Magneto released the plane.  Also, Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask was perhaps the most brilliant piece of casting I’ve ever seen.  Often outside-the-box casting can be a mistake, but it certainly was not in this case.  I am a fan of Dinklage anyway, and he (and his superb diction) absolutely stole his scenes–even when he was opposite a naked, blue chick.

I want to emphasize that although there were plot holes and inconsistencies, this movie felt fantastic.  It felt as though I were watching a comic book come to life, and I fully enjoyed the movie from beginning to end.

Unfortunately, there were several plot points that rested on shaky logic:

  • For instance, Ink is somehow able to make others ill, simply by pointing a biohazard tattoo on his palm at them (the tattoo even spins).
  • As though sending Wolverine’s future consciousness back in time to his younger body were not enough of a stretch, somehow young Charles Xavier is able to talk to old Charles Xavier through Wolverine’s future consciousness. I am pretty sure that this plot device was an opportunity to remind audiences of Wolverine’s undying love for Jean Grey, since no movie has shown this since the last Wolverine movie.
  • Magneto has apparently acquired the ability to manipulate railroad tracks to break apart and insert themselves into the robotics of the inert Sentinels without its being noticeable or interfering with their range of movement or abilities in any way.
  • Hank McCoy’s anti-mutant serum now also cures paraplegia.  This detail threw me for a complete loop.

Having said that, I was very pleased at the explanation for why the future was not constantly changing while Wolverine did new things in the past.  Having nothing change until Wolverine’s future consciousness made it back to the correct time made sense and allowed the movie to keep its tension until the very end.  I was also glad that movie makers did not expect the audience to believe that Mystique’s mutant abilities could be replicated from the DNA in a single drop of blood.  Trask calls for more tissue to complete his tests, but then of course, thanks to Wolverine and the gang, his entire Sentinel project is decommissioned.

The Sentinels unveiled in 1973

The Sentinels unveiled in 1973

A few small details that I missed the first night I watched the movie, but caught the second time were first that Wolverine never called Beast “furball,” which made me a little sad.  Also, there was an extra in a Jayne hat in one of the crowd scenes set in the 1970s.  Perhaps my favorite was the cameo by Chris Claremont himself as Congressman Parker.

In the changed future, after Wolverine wakes up, relationships seem to be changing back to where they should be at this point.  Rogue and Iceman are back together, and Kitty and Colossus are shown teaching a class together.  All seems right with the X-men world, and I left the theater (twice) happy and satisfied.  I give this movie four out of five death stars.

4.5 Death Stars
*Edit: Quicksilver is NOT the scavenging mutant at the beginning of the movie.

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Filed under Editorial, Movie Reviews, Reviews, Tracy Gronewold

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