X-Men: Days of Future Past Is a Game of “Guess Who”

In 2023, mutants around the world, as well as the humans who help them, are hunted down and killed by Sentinels. According to Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), the only way to stop the Sentinels is to go back in time and stop them from ever being used by the government. With the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)’s consciousness is sent back to his body in 1973. His mission? Find and unite Young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to stop Young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing scientist Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), whose death forced the creation of the Sentinels.

Like I heard some guy at my theater say as we were walking out of this movie, “They used time-travel to fix all of the crappy movies!”

To an extent, this is true. Remember that terrible X-Men: The Last Stand, where practically all of the characters you knew died? Well, X-Men: Days of Future Past basically hit the reset button and brought them back. Yep, Jean Grey (Famke Janssen), who Wolverine mourned for entirety of The Wolverine,  and her husband Cyclops (James Marsden), are back, meaning they’ll probably be in future X-Men films. The reset also brought back characters supposedly killed off in the time of Days of Future Past, like Rogue (Anna Paquin) and Beast (Kelsey Grammar), who make appearances at the film’s end.

What Days of Future Past‘s reset didn’t fix, however, were the ridiculous inconsistencies that Fox’s X-Men franchise has with all of its characters and plots. I won’t go into all of them because this review would be a goddamn dissertation (hence the link above). But I’ll say this—if you’ve seen all of the X-Men movies, you will notice (Also, this is why Disney is winning the superhero pissing contest).

Now, it’s funny that I bring up seeing all of these movies because I personally thought the biggest disservice this movie did to itself was relying too heavily on its audience’s knowledge of the characters and their plots from the previous movies. While this isn’t an issue for fans of the comic books or the six movies that came before Days of Future Past, it’s kind of a bummer for people who haven’t kept up (But I guess that could be argued of any superhero franchise right now).

Wolverine obviously has the most recognition among followers and non-followers because Hugh Jackman has the most standalone films (which is probably why director Bryan Singer decided to switch Wolverine and Shadowcat in the time-travel scenario, as Shadowcat was actually the one to go back in time in the comic book). From there, I’d say Patrick Stewart’s Professor X, Ian McKellen’s Magneto, and Halle Berry’s Storm are easy to spot, only because they’ve had three movies to develop recognition among moviegoers.

Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is another standout, despite being in one X-Men movie, just because she, as an actress, is so popular right now. As for James McAvoy’s Professor X, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto, or Nicholas Hoult’s Beast…meh. They’ve only had one movie to rival their grown-up counterparts, who we’ve already fallen in love with. But at least their names and powers are discussed ad nauseum so you can keep up with Days of Future Past‘s plot.

I can’t say the same for the other characters. We saw Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Shadowcat, and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) in The Last Stand, and they all got decent screen time to show off their powers, but their names were barely mentioned. So, if you didn’t already know who they were, you probably wouldn’t have been able to follow. It’s even worse with the newcomers, who are unrecognizable to anyone but comic book fans—Blink (Fan Bingbing), Bishop (Omar Sy), Sunspot (Adan Canto), and Warpath (Booboo Stewart). While we saw the extent of their powers, I’m pretty sure most people had to look up their names after the movie, which…what’s the point?

Okay, I should probably say something nice now, shouldn’t I? The slow-motion sequence set to Jim Croce’s “Time in a Bottle”  with the douchey-looking Quicksilver (Evan Peters) was the best scene of the movie by far, which took me by surprise. Also, the special effects with the Sentinels and Magneto’s baseball stadium sequence were cool.

Beyond that, I think what I liked most about this movie was that the mutants were their own antagonists. Yes, you read that correctly. Bolivar Trask (God, Peter Dinklage’s ’70s stache was hot, right?) and his Sentinels were touted as villains, but they were merely driving forces used to help the mutant characters change.  Mystique, Young Xavier, and Young Magneto were the enemies of their future selves because what they did in the past basically ruined the future for, well, everyone. The only way they could change that future was to change themselves. See? That’s actually a pretty decent storyline.

As for the post-credits scene (Look away now if you don’t want it spoiled), I’m not really feeling it. In fact, I was kind of grumpy after it because it was already like 12:30am, and I sat through the entire end credits to watch this lame clip featuring Apocalypse, the villain of the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. All you see is his inferiors bowing to him as he creates the Pyramids of Giza. Don’t wait for me to hold my breath, Fox. And besides, we all know that shit is a lie. Because space robots built the pyramids to hide the Sun Harvester from The Fallen.

Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a decent blockbuster filled with tons of special effects, a gigantic cast of noteworthy comic book characters, and an interesting message about how the actions we make now directly affect who (or where) we’ll be down the road. But if you haven’t seen all of the X-Men franchise movies or read the comic books, then you might be confused often during this movie. Not to mention, Days of Future Past adds more fuel to Fox’s ever-growing list of continuity errors. But, hey, whatever. It’s doing fairly well at the box office right now, if that helps you make your decision.

X-Men: Days of Future Past: B+

For my radio review of X-Men: Days of Future Past on “Pat & JT in the Morning,” visit this link (starts around the 30:48 mark).

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