The time has finally come and the latest X-Men movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past is being viewed by audiences worldwide. Early reviews from critics have painted a very positive picture of the new movie and, now that I have at last had the chance to see it, I can say that the critics are spot-on. In my opinion, X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only the best X-Men film thus far, it is one of the most skillfully constructed super hero films made to date. Read on for a general, spoiler-free review.
Just in case you don’t know what the movie is about, here’s the gist of it. The future is screwed. Due to some stuff that happened in the past, mutants are being exterminated by the Sentinels. One of the last remaining pockets of surviving mutants – consisting of faces such as Magneto, Professor X, Iceman, Colossus, Kitty Pryde and more – decides that the only way they’re going to win the war is if they send someone’s consciousness back in time to prevent the chain of events that will result in the destruction of mutantkind.
Since Wolverine is the guy that can take the punishment of being whisked through time, he’s the one to go. He must then contact the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto, get them to stop fighting with each other and then everyone heads off to track down Mystique before she causes a war.
There are so many great things about this film that it would take me way too long to go into detail on them all (it’s my birthday today and I don’t feel like spending it writing a 10k word review, thank you very much). So instead I’ll settle on a few of the things that impressed me the most.
First and foremost, every actor did an outstanding job. From the two-minute cameos to the main characters, director Bryan Singer managed to get the best from his actors throughout. Michael Fassbender (young Magneto) and James McAvoy (young Professor X) are the brightest of the stars, but Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) looms close behind. And even though he only gets to show up for one set of scenes, Evan Peters (Quicksilver) is utterly amazing. Some people have been giving DoFP crap for the way the teenage incarnation of Quicksilver looks, but once you see him on screen, all your doubts will disappear. He really steals the show when he’s around. Unfortunately, while Peter Dinklage does an excellent job as Bolivar Trask, he doesn’t get enough screen time to allow us to become invested in the character.
Another thing that Days of Future Past does well is the juggling of its many characters. From the way the marketing campaign was conducted, I fully expected this movie to be a mess of too many face with no screen time. Instead, about half of the characters we see on the umpteen-million posters that were released only show up for a handful of scenes. There are five main characters in the flick (six if you count Quicksilver), which allows Singer to really concentrate on developing them instead of trying to cover so many faces that the movie loses any semblance of order.
By approaching the movie with an emphasis on a limited amount of characters, Singer also allows for a deeper look at the movie’s plot and theme. In the end, this means that the story is told without external distractions. It avoids the lack of focus that almost every other super hero movie seems to suffer from these days. And while some have compared Days of Future Past to The Avengers, I would say the tone is a lot close to Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy than to any other property. Singer brings us a serious and sometimes moving look at a world where mutants must fight against humanity (and each other) to survive.
One more thing before I go – the action in Days of Future Past is brilliant. Singer chooses to not overwhelm us with steadily escalating action (Avengers did that already and did it so well that it’s hard to top), instead creating well-choreographed sequences that rely on being clever and precise as opposed to extravagant and explosive. Days of Future Past also features what is probably the best team-fight sequence ever done, combining clever action with a palpable sense that the characters involved are long-time veterans with a lot of tricks up their sleeves. It was a pleasure to watch, despite there not being a city destroyed it the background or 10,000 ninjas raining from the sky. And the sequence where Quicksilver goes into “speed-time” is amazing. It could have very easily turned into something so goofy as to make viewers wince, but Singer as his FX crew really pull it off.
If you’re an X-Men fan at all, you should definitely go to see this movie. There isn’t much in the way of 3D effects, though, so save yourself the extra $5 and just watch the flat-screen. And, of course, make sure to wait for the post-credits scene. If this is an example of what Singer will be producing in the future, X-Men: Apocalypse is my new, eagerly-awaited super hero flick for 2016.