RELEASED: May 23rd 2014
DIRECTED BY: Bryan Singer
WRITTEN BY: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman & Matthew Vaughn
PRODUCED BY: Bryan Singer, Simon Kinberg, Lauren Shuler Donner & Hutch Parker
MUSIC BY: John Ottman
STARRING: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Peter Dinklage, Josh Helman, Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen
I remember when Days of Future Past first came out, I didn’t think it was as strong as everyone else seemed to. I saw it while visiting the United States, and while I did enjoy it, I’m not sure I’ve actually watched it since.
However, watching it again with X-Men and X2 fairly fresh in my mind has made the film much stronger. From the opening titles really hammering down how this is just as much a sequel to the original films as well as First Class, this film, while not without its faults and timeline blunders, is a very well executed movie.
Let’s take a look at those timeline blunders to start. Ignoring the fact that all the central cast are meant to have aged ten years between this and First Class and barely look any different, or the fact that they’ve invented a serum that can allow Beast to hide his powers and Charles Xavier to walk, I assume to make the life of the actors easier, this film still manages to mess up continuity despite its attempts to fix them.
First off, there’s the fact that Charles Xavier’s return to life and Magneto’s powers being back at full strength as seen in the end-credits of The Wolverine is never explained (although you could argue that this was all touched upon in The Last Stand – I would argue not enough). Then, there’s the appearance of characters like Toad thirty or so years before their appearance in the original X-Men series, and the fact that Logan’s past self should either be fighting in Vietnam or working for Team X – not operating as a bodyguard in the United States. And then of course there’s the fact that his Team X boss, William Stryker, has been recast as someone who is a lot younger than when we previously saw him, despite the fact that, in-universe, he’s only a couple of years younger at most.
But whatever, these films clearly don’t know the meaning of the word continuity, so we’ll move on.
Continuity blunders aside, this is a very well-made film. It has strong character moments, taking the heroes and villains you’re interested in and putting them in new and unique situations. Simon Kinberg delivers a strong script, despite his blunders on films like The Last Stand and Dark Phoenix, and paired with returning director Bryan Singer, the movie delivers an X-Men film that feels fresh, but is reminiscent of the first two movies, updated for the modern era. Characters like Charles Xavier, Mystique, Magneto and Wolverine continue to be entertaining and lovable, despite their occasionally dark turns, and the other mutants who share the screen are also welcome additions. Quicksilver obviously being a highlight, played as delightfully erratic by Evan Peters.
The visuals in this film are superb, with scenes where characters (like Quicksilver) using their powers looking dynamic and crisp, and other moments, using a grainier camera to capture that seventies Television look. Similarly, the scenes in the future are suitably dour and dark, and each time the cinematography changes, you instantly are pulled in to whatever they’re trying to convey.
I’m undecided whether this is better than First Class, because while that’s a classic X-Men film with a new tone, this is more just a focus on the same four characters the movies have grown obssessed with. Yes, Storm, Beast, Iceman and the like are all present, but this is really just a story about Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and Mystique, the majority of whom are not really active X-Men field members.
Still, in spite of that, Singer manages to bring together the best things about both X-Men time periods and constructs a film that nicely caps off the X-Men series and leaves the franchise with the perfect ending.
All-in-all, I give X-Men: Days of Future Past: