Hello iGeekable readers! Since this is my first review, I’d like to give a quick breakdown of how these reviews will work. The scoring will be on a 1 to 10 scale, and will be based upon the movie’s acting, story, visuals, and other minor factors. In general, I will attempt to make my final score unbiased by my personal feelings, in an attempt to keep things objective. So, without further ado, here we go!
X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the most ambitious superhero movies of the modern age. It simultaneously attempts to function as a sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand AND X-Men First Class, it uses a somewhat complex time-travel storyline to essentially open up a new X-Universe in film, and through all of this complication it continues to try to bring nuanced and interesting characters and drama to the table. Thankfully, Bryan Singer’s direction is able to keep these competing goals balanced to deliver an action-packed, character-driven film sure to please fanboys and casual moviegoers alike.
The film opens in a dystopian future, when members of the original X-Men trilogy (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Halle Berry) are faced with the extinction of mutantkind. In order to save their species from the mutant-killing Sentinels, the group sends Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the pivotal event that led to the creation of the Sentinels. Wolverine must call upon the young versions of Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to prevent the cataclysmic events of the future, before time runs out.
This is easily the most ambitious X-Men film, action-wise. Although shorter on the story end, the future segments, which involve advanced, more adaptable Sentinels, are easily a highlight. In addition to the regular fight scenes, a standout heist sequence injects the film with an extra bit of flavor. Each mutant’s power is uniquely utilized in set pieces, leading to a variety of interesting visual effects, all of which are done amazingly. One mutant in the future, Blink, has the ability to create portals; the action involving these portals is jaw-dropping amazing at times, and highly creative. The scenes are well-filmed, utilizing the perfect angles and zooms for each sequence.
The two settings both work great. The dystopian future is awe-inspiring to see, bleak but nonetheless fascinating to see; there is a palpable sense of desperation in the air during these scenes. The 1970’s era is recreated amazingly, making for some fun pop culture references and also lending a sense of believeability to the world around these characters. These settings help audiences invest in the story as a whole, and especially the characters within.
Days of Future Past stands apart from other modern superhero movies due to its emotional weight and complex characters. Certain scenes in this film, such as an emotional conversation between the old and young Xavier, pack an emotional weight on par with Spider-Man 2 or the Dark Knight trilogy. The characters are all complex and believable. Young Xavier’s attitude and arc in particular are relatable and emotional; McAvoy portrays the struggles of the young professor with the perfect mix of pain and strength to make him an ideal main character. Also, the end-of-the-world scenario in the future is given the proper weight and importance, but doesn’t fall too far into a dark tone.
All of the major characters in the 1970’s side of things have a satisfying arc; unfortunately, this does not apply to the future timeline, which is a simple “last stand” tale. There are also some issues with characters in the 70’s timeline; Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult) is relegated to a sidekick role for Xavier, and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), while important to the plot, has a vague and awkward progression throughout the story. Some characters from previous films are shoehorned in seemingly just to kill screen time . However, the overall characterization is fantastic. Wolverine is forced to take on a guardian/mentor role, showing a side of him not seen in film previously. Magneto essentially repeats his arc from X-Men: First Class in Days of Future Past, leading to a feeling of redundancy in the character; however, Fassbender makes the character charming and intimidating enough for it to be forgiven.
The ending of this film gives the impression that the X-Men franchise will continue mostly with the First Class cast from here on out, and works like a loving goodbye to the original cast. It’s a fitting end for those characters, as X-Men: Days of Future Past is the crown jewel of the X-Men franchise. Its characters are both relatable and nuanced, the action is phenomenal, and the cast members each imbue their role with life and complexity perfectly. While certain plot points and characters don’t work perfectly, this is quite possibly the best superhero film since The Avengers.