Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past
As part of my X-Men: First Class review, I wrote “The most amazing thing about this film is the casting, which couldn’t have been more perfect.” One of my biggest worries going into X-Men: Days Of Future Past was that it would suffer from too much perfect casting. With two different eras worth of characters mostly played by actors who can command the spotlight, there might be too many to focus on! Thankfully my fears didn’t come to fruition, and watching X-Men: Days Of Future Past was a delightful way to spend a Friday afternoon.
X-Men: Days Of Future Past takes place in two different timelines, set fifty years apart. In the later timeline, Mutants have been all but exterminated by the Humans and their Sentinel weapons. All that remain of the Mutants are a select few of the smartest and strongest, though not even they can survive for much longer. With time running out, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) hatch a plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness to his younger self — fifty years in the past — to stop the event which leads to the Mutants’ extermination.
In the earlier timeline, Wolverine awakens in a waterbed which he gets massive groovy points for. One thing leads to another and Wolverine finds the young Professor X, Charles (James McAvoy), and the young Beast, Hank (Nicholas Hoult) in the then abandoned school. After some yelling and Charles dropping the F-Bomb, Wolverine convinces Charles and Hank that he is, in fact, from the future and that they need to work together to save it. This takes them on a mission to free a young Magneto, Erik (Michael Fassbender) from the Pentagon which — thanks to a teenage QuickSilver (Evan Peters) — turns out to be one of the most rad prison breaks I’ve ever seen.
Things spiral out of control from there in both timelines, and it’s a blast from start to finish. Other notable cast members include Peter Dinklage and Jennifer Lawrence, who play the slimy Dr. Trask hellbent on exterminating Mutants and Raven/Mystique, respectively. In addition, despite having a small role, Mark Camacho plays an excellent President Nixon — it’s easy to mistake Camacho for the real Nixon! All in all, everyone aforementioned and otherwise performed very well and I didn’t find myself wishing anyone away… except maybe Toad played by Evan Jonigkeit, though the character is kind-of designed to be repulsive.
Speaking of design, the special effects in X-Men: Days Of Future Past are fantastic. Every time Magneto manipulated metal structures, or Mystique transformed into someone else, or Professor X used Cerebro, or a Sentinel showed up to fry some Mutants, it was like visual sex. And it makes sense, if you sit through the End Credits, you’ll find that the Special Effects team takes up probably one quarter of the Credits Crawl time! The set designers performed admirably well also — I wasn’t alive in the 70’s, but based on what I know they did a really good job recreating the atmosphere for the past. Recreating the look of history probably isn’t the easiest task in the world particularly when you’re working on a larger scale.
Despite my not mentioning every single character, X-Men: Days Of Future Past does feature quite an ensemble. However, as mentioned at the top of this review, this film is written (Simon Kinberg) and directed (Bryan Singer) in a way that doesn’t let us lose track of who and what is most important, even as Storm (Halle Berry) is kicking arse. The actors themselves deserve a lot of credit, too — as with X-Men: First Class, the performances by the cast are this film’s brightest shining light. Interestingly, this film features obvious-and-not-so-surprising good performances alongside a surprise or two.
The biggest fault I can find — and I say this as someone who hasn’t ever read an X-Men comic and might not know what he’s talking about — is that X-Men: Days Of Future Past might not completely fit with past X-Men films. If the event that Wolverine was sent back in time to stop, happened as it had, one of the main characters from the earlier films might not have been alive to be in them. But maybe that isn’t a fault of this film, but rather a fault of the earlier ones? I don’t know, time travel is confusing!
Tl;dr: Stop wasting time reading blogs and go see X-Men: Days Of Future Past if you haven’t already! It’s exciting, emotional, funny, and beyond satisfying.