Movie Review – “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

20th Century Fox has released 11 Marvel movies in theatres. Of the first ten, I’d say 2 were really great. Is this the third? There is a scene after the credits, and the 3D didn’t seem to really add anything to the presentation.

Cast and Crew Information

Hugh Jackman as Logan / Wolverine
James McAvoy as young Charles Xavier / Professor X
Michael Fassbender as young Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Jennifer Lawrence as Raven / Mystique
Halle Berry as Ororo Munroe / Storm
Nicholas Hoult as young Hank McCoy / Beast
Anna Paquin as Rogue
Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde
Peter Dinklage as Dr. Bolivar Trask
Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake / Iceman
Omar Sy as Lucas Bishop
Evan Peters as Peter Maximoff / Quicksilver
Josh Helman as young Major Bill Stryker
Daniel Cudmore as Colossus
Bingbing Fan as Clarice Ferguson / Blink
Adan Canto as Roberto de Costa / Sunspot
Booboo Stewart as James Proudstar / Warpath
Ian McKellen as old Erik Lehnsherr / Magneto
Patrick Stewart as old Charles Xavier / Professor X
Lucas Till as Alex Summers / Havok
Evan Jonigkeit as young Mortimer Toynbee / Toad
Mark Camacho as Richard Nixon
Zehra Leverman as Magda Maximoff
Kelsey Grammer as old Hank McCoy / Beast
Famke Janssen as Jean Grey
James Marsden as Scott Summers / Cyclops
Chris Claremont as Congressman Parker
Len Wein as Congressman Davis

Screenplay by Simon Kinberg, story by Jane Goldman, Simon Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn.
Directed by Bryan Singer

Availability Information

This is not legally available for home video. If this uses the industry standard 17 week cycle, it should be available on October 14.

Premise

In 1973, Mystique killed Bolivar Trask in an attempt to prevent a war between mutants and humans. Unfortunately, instead he was viewed as a martyr, and the war was accelerated, with Mystique herself being studied and her abilities getting integrated into Trask’s mutant hunting Sentinel technology.

High Point

While this shows significant departures from the comic canon, it’s a well made movie that captures the spirit of the comics very well. Also, X3: The Last Stand has been retconned out of existence!

Low Point

So many of the heavily advertised mutant characters in this movie were little more than cameos. If you’ve been watching the online clips, you’ve seen 95% of the footage involving some of these characters.

The Review

This is an original take on the X-Men movies. Equal parts “First Class” and the Bryan Singer films, it has a different feel than many of the previous incarnations. They also take the basic idea of “Days of Future Past” and take it in a very different direction. The new direction is thematically comparable to the original story, but virtually all details are changed. I give it 5 out of 6.

The effects are impressive. Slow motion is used effectively in multiple situations, and the seams between physical and digital effects are invisible. Some are subtle, while others are very large scale effects. I give it 6 out of 6.

The story is well structured, particularly for a time travel story. The reason for it to be Wolverine heading into the past is plausible. I don’t understand how Kitty Pryde is able to do what she does at all; the source material used characters that couldn’t exist in movie continuity, so they had to come up with something else. That McGuffin is the biggest sticking point for story logic, but so much time has passed between movies that I’m sure there’s a way to fill that blank. We get emotional moments, character growth and some interesting ramifications. I give it 5 out of 6.

The acting is strong. The “First Class” crew does the heavy lifting, along with Hugh Jackman. The other characters have few scenes, if any. (There are cast members listed above with one or fewer lines of dialogue.) Lawrence, Fassbender and McAvoy carry the vast majority of the movie. I give it 5 out of 6.

The production is very well done, with some interesting choices to give a “stock footage” look to scenes via colour filters. John Ottman does double duty as editor and composer, which helps keep everything moving tightly and married to the soundtrack. Singer has managed to combine his own style with Vaughn’s to send the franchise in a brand new direction. I give it 5 out of 6.

The emotional response was pretty good. The biggest limiter I had was restricted to the specific theatre I saw this at. There was some sort of issue with all front channels, causing cracking and muting nearly constantly throughout the film, which made it extremely difficult to forget I was watching a movie and really get involved. I felt it was a four, but I’m going to add a point for that problem and give it 5 out of 6.

Overall, for the third time in the history of Fox movie adaptations, I’m looking forward to the next chapter because this one was so good. I give it 5 out of 6.

In total, X-Men: Days of Future Past receives 36 out of 42.

10 replies on “Movie Review – “X-Men: Days of Future Past””

  1. Jethro says:

    The retcon is strong with this one (and I’m OK with it). Ok, and Mystique never looked more like she was in a bodysuit – was that just me?

    I did enjoy this movie. I went to see it in the local smaller theatre rather than the usual huge IMAX movieplex and I think I’m starting to understand why some people hate 3D so much.

    Now, yes, 3D has some inherent flaws (like extremely large things with no reference shots look like toys) but other than that it’s a whole lot better at the giant IMAX multiplex than it was at this place. And yeah, it was completely unnecessary for this movie. The only reason I went to the 3D showing was because I assumed that it’d show in the larger auditorium with the better sound system.

    Looking forward to the blu-ray release so I can watch it at home.

  2. Fez says:

    I am not normally a fan of retcon, but this one was a thing of beauty. The high point is definitely justified.

    Blink was definitely thinking with portals. But the way the portal cut that one sentinel’s arm off, you’d think they would have tried to use the portals to destroy the sentinels rather than as a means to hurl themselves around.

    Now I’m interested to know what the next ones will bring, and if they’ll keep going with the past group or the future group or meet somewhere in between.

  3. JD DeLuzio says:

    I enjoyed the film (far more than the recent Spider-man outing), and I accept Kitty Pryde’s ability to, uh, phase-shift people’s consciousnesses to their past as yet another bizarre mutant power. Still, a couple of questions crossed my mind:

    -why not take Quicksilver with them for the rest of the mission?
    -why can’t Mystique morph into someone with a healed leg?

    We didn’t see it in 3-D and, honestly, I cannot imagine how the effects would have improved much of anything.

    • Jethro says:

      > -why not take Quicksilver with them for the rest of the mission?

      Because he’s a kid. Bad enough they had him along for what they did, they can’t just whisk him away to France.

      • Fez says:

        From the way he was asking what they were doing, I half expected him to run there and arrive before they did.

        • Jethro says:

          Hehe, well, he can probably run on water, but… huh. How fast /can/ he run? Now I’m curious. I mean he’d have to pretty much maintain that speed for the entire time or he’d sink. I think I saw references that he’s basically as fast as the speed of sound, which would still mean running for several hours… or walking for even more.

          Could he actually run across an entire ocean?

          • You can’t apply science to this Quicksilver. Momentum isn’t conserved, there are no atmospheric disturbances as he runs, etc. It looked cool, but the effects of his speed are whatever the writers need at this point. So, the only answer we can determine to “can he run across the ocean” is “what do the writers think will make a better story when that comes up”?

        • JD DeLuzio says:

          It just felt odd that he never figured into the plot to, you know, save the entire world, ever again, without any real explanation. On several occasions he would have proved quite useful.

          (Yeah…. He’s a kid. He can’t be trusted. But they used him to break into the Pentagon).

          Makes me look forward to the Flash series.

  4. Blackadder says:

    I really enjoyed this interpretation. My only complaint was that the sentinels in the past didnt look like sentinels. They looked too plasticcy/modern for the time they are supposed to be there for. They had a classic looking sentinel in X3 and as bad as that movie was, the sentinel in the danger room looked like a classic comic book sentinel.

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