When it comes to superheroes, or even just Marvel in general, X-men was never one of my favorites. I thought they were cool, but the franchise never pulled me in as a kid quite the same way that Spider-man or Batman did. The X-men films have also been a mixed bag for me as well. I thought the original trilogy was alright, but not stellar,and I wasn’t a fan of “X-men origins: Wolverine”, (but I’ve heard that even X-men fans don’t like that one as much). On the other hand, I adored 2011’s “First Class” and really enjoyed 2013’s “Wolverine”. When I heard that “Days of Future Past” was going to serve as a direct sequel to First Class, while also tying into the original films, I got pretty excited. Now that I’ve finally seen it, does this movie provide First Class entertainment, or is it the Franchise’s Last Stand?…..I’m sorry…that was a terrible pun…please don’t stop reading yet….
As far as Marvel films go, I have to give the X-men series credit for always trying something new. When was the last time you ever saw a superhero movie that was was also a time travel adventure? It’s a great setup, and I can’t believe it hasn’t been done yet. One of the things I also like about the X-men movies is it’s not simply a story of good vs evil, but rather a story about prejudice. The running theme in all of these movies seems to be that humanity doesn’t know how to react to the mutants existence, and while some people treat them well, others choose to fear and shun them. I feel that this movie, along with “First Class”, handles this premise with the most sophistication the franchise has ever had. Something I found surprising about Days of Future Past, especially considering how dark last year’s Wolverine movie was, is just how funny it was. There are times when the movie almost comes off as a complete comedy, but always finds that perfect balancing act between lighthearted shenanigans and heartfelt drama, as well as some thrilling action scenes here and there. It’s simply a well told and meaningful story.
The film’s cast is Fantastic. Whether it’s the characters from the classic trilogy, the younger leads from First Class, or even some new characters, nearly every character is fascinating and fun to watch. Hugh Jackman returns in his seventh appearance as Wolverine and as always he does a phenomenal job. Mystique and Professor X are both major characters in this and provides the film with a lot of heart as well as some terrific humour. Magneto remains an intriguing and sympathetic villain. The two stand-out characters for me are Quicksilver and Beast. Beast was always my favourite X-men character and as expected he gets some real standout moments in the movie. And Quicksilver, while not getting enough screentime, stands as one of the movies most memorable characters thanks to a ridiculously funny “prison break” scene and a cool mutant power. there are countless other X-men in the film, but they sadly either don’t get as much screen time or don’t leave as memorable of an impression. Dr Bolivar, the man behind the robot’s known as Sentinels and the film’s primary villain, is also very effective as a jerk who just won’t let the mutants catch a break. Overall, the characters in this movie are fantastic. As well as, unsurprisingly, one of the movie’s highlights.
The action is also great. Right from the opening Sentinel attack in the future, the movie has some really great set pieces and stand out sequences (this i also strengthened by an effective if soundtrack). One of my favorite’s is the scene involving Wolveriene, the young Beast, Quicksilver and the young Professor X trying to free Magneto from his imprisonment Quicksilver in particular shines in this energetic and comedic action sequence. The film’s final battle, without giving anything away, is very intense and surprisingly emotional. Magneto gives a frightening speech at the end that really sums up his character well, and makes you sympathies with him while also fearing him. The Sentinels themselves are great villains. they are some of the most threatening and creepy robots ever put to film, and the fact that there is an entire army of them brings to mind the troublesome Battle Droid armies from Star Wars, except scarier. If your looking for some fun action, then X-men definitely delivers.
X-men Days of Future Past is one of the strongest entries in the franchise, and it is sure to be one of the most thoughtful and fun superhero films of the year. If your an X-men fan, I’m sure you’ve already seen it or plan to. If your not, I suggest watching a few of the other films first, specifically the classic trilogy and First Class. I personally consider both “First Class” and “Days of Future Past” as not only the best the franchise has to offer, but also some of the best superhero films ever made. Highly recommended!