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X-Men: Days of Future Past - Movie Review

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X-Men: Days of Future Past - Movie Review

3 stars

Bryan Singer made quite the name for himself back in 2000 when he released the first X-Men movie. Leaving them behind to have a go at resurrecting Superman, it was left to directors Brett Ratner and Matthew Vaughn to continue the franchise, and both did so well enough to ensure another entry—Vaughn being the more successful critically.

Days of Future Past is one of the most celebrated X-Men storylines in comic history, and the anticipation for that adaption, with the man that so successfully brought Professor X, Wolverine, and the gang to life in the first place, has been big.

Singer’s adaptation sees the X-Men and all mutant kind on the verge of extinction in some post-apocalyptic version of our world. They are hunted by Sentinels, the creation of a man from the past, Trask (Peter Dinkelage), long since assassinated by Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence). An inexplicably now alive Professor X (Patrick Stewart) sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)—or at least his consciousness—back in time to the First Class crew to stop Mystique from assassinated Trask and unleashing a chain of events that leads to the end of the world.

This is a very intricate plot, with time travel and all the trimmings, and coupled with the combination of the original cast and new cast, it must have been a nightmare to construct. Simon Kinberg’s script manages to achieve moments for each character and some semblance of a plot to follow, but this mother is choked to the brim, and unfortunately, despite some intelligent writing, the story suffers because of it.

Let’s start with what works: this is the largest scale X-Men movie ever made and no expense has been spared upping the action quota and the effects laden carnage. The performances from all cast members are solid and every one of them inhabits their respective characters with a shorthand and confidence that aids this busy narrative. The interplay between the cast is enjoyable. The effects are awesome. The music is thrilling. It’s a solidly made film from a technical standpoint with nary a weak link amongst it. You will see many, many, many X-Men, so chances are your favourite will make an appearance somewhere.

What doesn’t work is the overladen plot as a whole. As suggested before, Kinberg does manages to bring the story home, but there are so many characters—some of whom were supposed to be dead—that the time travel conceit is only effectual for some, not all of the characters. It could be argued that because things are changed in the 70s, when the bulk of this film is set, all previous films now don’t count. But I find this extremely lazy storytelling. Professor X was dead in X-Men: Last Stand, and while Days of Future Past does address this, come the end of the film, it’s weak and unsatisfying. Same can be said of the McKellen Magneto, who has regained all his powerful strength off screen despite losing it in Last Stand. In the same token, we are given a teaser for Days of Future Past in The Wolverine credits. Wolverine has lost his adamantium claws and Professor X and Magneto show up cryptically. There is no explanation in Days about how that came to be, nor how Wolverine gets his metal claws back. Waving a narrative magic wand with time travel, although successful, to this reviewer was dull. Are you lost yet with my recap of previous movies? This brings me to the biggest flaw of this movie: if you have not seen the other films, you have no hope in hell of keeping up with this one. It’ll just be a bunch of waffle and some impressive visuals to you.

They may be trying to follow their Marvel brethren with more intricate, interconnected tales that come to bear on each other, but Days of Future Past is a convoluted mess that holds itself together with cheap parlour narrative tricks. It’s not a satisfying movie. Some characters are given good parts to play; others are lost in the noise. This story really lends itself to multiple movies: choking two casts in and ret-conning previous film’s cannon off screen put this reviewer off. An awesome looking but unsatisfying entry in the X-Men series.

By the by, there is a post credits sequence that teases at the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse.

X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review

MPAA Rating: PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Runtime:
131 mins
Director
: Bryan Singer
Writer:
Simon Kinberg
Cast:
Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman
Genre
: Action | Adventure | Fantasy | Sci-Fi
Tagline:
Every hero, every power will unite.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You'll need me as well... side by side to end this war, before it ever begins..."
Distributor:
Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation
Official Site: http://www.x-menmovies.com/#!/home
Release Date:
May 22, 2014
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date:
No details available
Synopsis: 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 beloved 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.

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