Movie: X-Men’s Days of Future Past

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past – to save our future.

It wasn’t the mess I was expecting it to be, that’s for sure. I guess it helped that my expectations were low. It might have also helped that it follows X-Men First Class more than it does the original cinematic series. Or it might be because, although Wolverine features very heavily in the promotional materials, the movie is more about Xavier, Erik, and Raven.

Oh, and I must warn you: there will be spoilers here.

We begin in the future, with a few mutants we’re familiar with from the original series and some new ones. But getting to know them isn’t important. What’s important is that they’re being hunted. And that the fight scenes are glorious and not needless. And then we plunge into the story, where they send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his 70s body so he could stop an assassination that would begin the sentinel program.

Yes, the sentinel program. The big ass robots that hunt down mutants and those who sympathize with them.

And getting Wolverine to stop this point in time isn’t going to be easy. Because the assassination will be done by Raven who, last time, sided with Erik. And the only person he can find easily when he arrives in the 70s is Charles. Who isn’t exactly the hopeful professor we left at the end of X-Men: First Class.

In fact, Charles isn’t the only one who has changed. Erik isn’t exactly sweeping the nation with his grand plans for the brotherhood of mutants. And Raven has cut off communication with the two important men in her lives. They’re all in darker places than when we last saw them, and it is this drama, this conflict, this turmoil, that makes X-Men: Days of Future Past a gripping thriller more than just another superhero film.

Well, it isn’t a superhero film at all, if you think about it. The X-Men are fighting for survival. And Wolverine, along with Charles, Erik, and Raven, are trying to right a wrong the only way they know how: by trying peace, by raising fear, and by assassination. But which one survives?

This is not the Days of Future Past that I loved in the 90s. And I wouldn’t say that this is better, because I really loved the comic story that sent Kitty Pride hurling through the past to try and stop a future that happens anyway. But this wasn’t the mess I was expecting after the clusterfuck that was X3: The Last Stand.

Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy and Ian McKellen slays in their performances. Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence were awesome too. But it is Michael Fassbender who really shines in this film–especially during the part in the film where you want to hate him. So much. But you also understand where he is coming from because the actor has put so much nuance in how he delivered the lines that’s supposed to make you angry. And vice versa. At a critical point in the film, where you can see that peace might be an option, Fassbender plays his Erik with a darkness that makes you believe how he becomes the X-Men’s main enemy in the years that will follow.

X-Men: Days of Future Past will never be my favorite Marvel movie. But I commend it for not being a mess, and for staying rooted to the emotions. Four slow claps for you, Days of Future Past.

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