X-Men Past and Present Movie Review

31 May

You’re probably expecting me to rant about how much I hate comic book movies just on principal. Then go into nit-picking detail about how parts of X-Men Days of Future Past make no sense. Assuming I have a bias against all comicbook movies is fair, because I do. Except, Surprise I actually like the X-Men movie franchise. I proudly admit to never reading a single comicbook (too busy reading real books) but I loved the ueber 90’s X-Men cartoon. That’s what introduced me to the characters and the themes of X-Men, so while I’m most definitely not an expert, I know more about the X-Men world than some.

Xmen 2000

The first two X-men movies were directed by Bryan Singer and they gave me almost everything I wanted out of an X-Men movie. After that Brett Ratner came along and took a big douchey piss all over the only comicbook movies I liked with X-Men The Last Stand. Seriously, how could someone screw up so much? The first two movies made bank, were loved by fans, and spoon fed a perfect set-up for how the third X-Men should go. Instead our favorite characters die needlessly or lose their powers and the Phoenix we expected was grounded and subverted, then killed. The Last Stand ruined the X-Men name so much they stooped to doing prequels under the rebranded “Wolverine” title. Those movies were pointless and awful too, even for people who appreciate Wolverine as a main character. I respect Hugh Jackman and all but five Wolverine movies was too much, Logan is a much better side character. That’s why when X-Men First Class came out I delighted in how it wasn’t about Wolverine. That was one of many things X-Men First Class finally got right. I liked how the X-Men tied into historical events. The recasting was spot on with James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence and Kevin Bacon was outstanding. First Class had flaws but it turned the franchise in the right direction.

Bryan Singer returns to direct X-Men Days of Future Past. If anyone can save this franchise it’ll be the director who built it. The title is the dumbest part of this movie, “But Carl that’s what the comic is called.” Well, then it has a dumb title too. Bryan Singer further breaks X-Men’s film continuity and gets away with it. For example there’s flashbacks containing scenes from the first three movies. That means Days of Future Past acknowledges that those movies are valid parts of the whole story and thus accepted canon. Then why does Magneto have his powers back? Hell. Why is Professor X even alive? Answer: Continuity Schmontinuity, I’m just happy to see Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart onscreen. The X-men film continuity was already wrecked anyway, it’s almost a defining feature of the series. It would be strange if Days of Future Past didn’t have its own continuity quirks.

Xmen days of future past

Unfortunately this movie is Wolverine’s perspective again, this time in two time periods. The first; a post-war future where a squad of X-Men fight and evade the sentinels trying to exterminate them. To people who’ve only watched the movies, some of these new mutants are unfamiliar and we’re spared their origin stories (thank God). I really enjoyed seeing them all use their powers to work together as a team and fight the upgraded sentinels. There’s this girl Blink who creates these wormhole portals to teleport people, those portals look so cool in 3D. Looking through them you see different angles, vanishing points, one character in 2 different locations, they look amazing. However Blink doesn’t seem to notice she’s the best weapon against the unstoppable sentinels. A sentinel reaches an arm through a portal, and it closes, severing the arm. All Blink has to do is create portals around the sentinels then close them around their waste or neck, poof, dead. Well that’s too easy so they resort to having Kitty Pryde use her power to go back in time a couple days to avoid defeat.

That’s where Wolverine, repowered Magneto, and resurrected Professor X come in. They decide to send Wolverine back to the 70’s to stop the war before it begins. It’s nice to see how the young characters contrast their future selves. Michael Fassbender’s Magneto is angrier at humanity. While Professor X is walking around with lots of hair on his face. Speaking of hair, Peter Dinklage is rocking some epic 70’s hair and porn moustache. He’s the target of Mystique who’s gone rogue, shape-shifting all over the place, only showing her true self when she’s about to kick some ass. Her legs are her main weapon and of all the ways to die, being killed by Jennifer Lawrence’s legs aren’t a bad way to go. The 70’s are just more fun, there’s pop culture references like Star Trek and making fun of Nixon and his tape recorder. There’s a super speed mutant named “Quicksilver” who steals every scene he’s in. It’s nostalgic going back to the school for gifted students and hearing the door to Cerebro unlock with a “Welcome Professor”. But it’s not all sunshine and lollipops in the 70’s there’s plenty of fighting and the climax of the 70’s storyline coincides with the climax of the future storyline and is very well edited to maximize the action.

X-Men Days of Future Past might be the best movie I’ve seen all year and could be my favorite film in the X-Men franchise . There’s always something people can gripe about, like how it left out an important character, or realizing that Kitty Pryde would’ve had to sit motionless for days on end to keep Logan in the past that long. I’m sure fans of the comics have loads of issues with it. Nevertheless, the movie’s 131 minute run time is so entertaining it’s easy to overlook these little snags. Best of all, it negates Brett Ratner’s abysmal X-Men 3 like it never happened and I know we all can appreciate that.

 

Carl Wells

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