Thursday, May 26, 2016

Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

The best-reviewed installment in the X-Men, Days of Future Past combined everything that the X-men franchise has been building up to in all of the previous movies. The film combined the cast of First Class with those still alive after the original trilogy. Placing Hugh Jackman's Wolverine in the middle, this time-travel story juggled a tale of the 1970s mutant uprising with a post-apocalyptic story of the remaining mutants hiding from the vicious sentinels. 

The continuity went completely out the window, and I remember that confusing me throughout my first viewing of this film. It wasn't until I purchased the movie and rewatched it that I realized that it was a film made to just go with the flow. There is another Rogue Cut still out there that I have yet to see but I hope one day I may get to see the deleted scenes. The original version feels like a film where a little too much was left on the editing room floor.

The story isn't so hard to follow as it establishes that the mutants are hunted by sentinels in one of the coolest X-men opening scenes since Nightcrawler infiltrated the White House. Blink played by Bingbing Fan had the most visually stunning power to date, able to create portals in space. This character and others like Sunspot played by Adan Canto, Warpath played by Booboo Stewart, and Bishop played by Omar Sy, were completely underutilized, which is maybe what the extended cut fixed. Ellen Page's Kitty Pride is the one who orchestrates the time travel with her mutant ability.

The 1970s timeline that Logan wakes up into reinserts us in the story that First Class left off with, though a lot of time has passed, nearly a decade. Mark Camacho plays Nixon and the Vietnam War is over, I'd need to do a bit more research to know the exact time when all of these historical events took place. Director Bryan Singer did a great job with historic set pieces and for a young viewer like me, there was nothing I could see wrong about the period piece.

Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique plays a bigger role than intended as she adds her star power to the cast after her breakout in the previous X-men film and the Hunger Games franchise. The plot centers around her and Peter Dinklage's Dr. Bolivar Trask obsession to utilize her skin to make advanced super mutant hunters that eventually plays out. In the original timeline, Mystique murders Trask motivating humans to fight back using his technology. But just stopping that is not enough to alternate the timeline. 

Michael Fassbender's Magneto plays a crucial role in the view of mutants. His prison break scene with Quicksilver played by Evan Peters is definitely a unique X-Men feature. Magneto tries to help but he has his own ideas about how to fix the future. Fassbender is brooding as always but brings a necessary gravitas to the super-villain. Certainly lifting a baseball stadium over the White House counts as impressive.

There is so much more to this film too, like the return of Halle Berry as Storm in the fight against Sentinels and Josh Helman as William Stryker finding Wolverine at the bottom of the Potomac, but then it not really being Stryker but Mystique, which makes very little sense in the X-men world. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen returning again as older Professor X and Magneto was very cool and added to the prestigious nature of the cast thought they don't do much. I don't want to go on, but the story complicated a lot of stuff and then served as a reset for the X-men universe. I think it is very cool that they hinted at Apocalypse in the post credits and I look forward to seeing what they do as they continue the franchise!

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