Interesting Stories. Hollow Characters.
A quick disclaimer at the outset: I haven’t read the original Days of Future Past storyline going into this movie, and as such I can’t comment on how accurate it is or is not to the original comic books.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is an odd juxtaposition to the recent Amazing Spider-Man 2. With Spider-Man, the film leaned on the emotional connection and journey of its characters at the expense of a more streamlined pace and story structure. X-Men, however, gives us a very tightly told story, but with little to no engagement of the actual characters. I left the theatre feeling that I had enjoyed both movies – and enjoyed them a great deal – but while the emotions of Spider-Man have stuck with me, X-Men left me feeling a empty the next day.
But here’s the difficult part: Days of Future Past is still very much a solid effort. There is a lot about it that is quite interesting.
To get it out of the way at the outset, the action scenes in Days of Future Past are very well done, especially in the future sections where we see some exhilarating examples of mutant teamwork, our heroes using their powers in combination and unison, clearly practiced and well-trained. And when Quicksilver joins the mix, he gets some of the movie’s most memorable moments to showcase what he can do before being sent home for being in another company’s movie franchise. Or something like that. But believe you me, he is missed for the rest of the film.
The story is based around a great premise about correcting mistakes and what it would take to truly change the course of history, and it is told with a lot of precision. Unfortunately, that precision doesn’t invest in many, or any, of its characters. Days of Future Past is driven by its story, not those who are a part of it. Worse yet, its ancillary characters border on dismissible and interchangeable for the amount that they actually factor into the story. At least half of the future mutants aren’t more than fodder, and that includes all three lines that Halle Berry has as Storm – previously a major role in these films. Academy Award winner Halle Berry. Three lines. Points go to Ellen Page and Shawn Ashmore, who despite being all but irrelevant to the story managed to give the audience something in the future end of the story to care about.
The lion’s share of the film is in the past, or the First Class timeline, and fans of that film will be happy to find that despite the more serious storyline, its quirky retro feel is nicely intact. Hugh Jackman is right at home as Wolverine (although dialed back down to PG mode from last year’s The Wolverine), and James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and the underrated Nicholas Hoult slip right back into their old top notch form. All four do have some great chemistry and that does go a long way. Surprisingly, Jennifer Lawrence was a little underwhelming, which is odd because I really enjoyed her as Mystique in First Class, but here something seems missing.
Oh, and Peter Dinklage, to no one’s surprise, was outstanding.
So how does all of this time travel affect the X-Men universe? Of course, I don’t want to give away any of the fun of the movie’s last five minutes, but I’ll see what I can do:
[toggle title_open=”…” title_closed=”Possible Spoilers…” hide=”yes” border=”yes” style=”default” excerpt_length=”0″ read_more_text=”Read More” read_less_text=”Read Less” include_excerpt_html=”no”]So Bryan Singer walks up to an audience full of X-Men
fans, waves his hand slowly in front of their eyes and in his best Alec Guiness voice says: “Only my X-Men
movies matter. The Last Stand
was not the movie you were looking for.”
Okay maybe that’s stretching things a bit, but I can’t help feeling like that in the back of my mind just a little bit. That said, we do get a big cosmic reset button at the end of the day.[/toggle]
The conclusion of Days of Future Past leaves the X-Men franchise, both modern day and First Class timelines, with a great foundation to leap forward from, and that is something exciting for the future. The film itself, while a little disconnected from its characters, is still creative and interesting and worth a trip to the theatres.
The Good: The storyline is interesting, the action is dazzling.
The Bad: Characters are either wasted or without development.
The Verdict: Is a totally enjoyable movie, but more interesting in what it sets up going forward.
What did you think about X-Men: Days of Future Past? Let us know in the comments below!