Review: X-Men Days Of Future Past
Fox studios has just released its seventh movie in the massively popular X-Men franchise, and it looks to be another hit based on ticket sales. One of the biggest complaints by comic book fans about Fox’s version of the X-Men is that it strays too far from the comics and there are so many continuity issues. I’m tired of going to blogs and hearing someone say “Marvel needs the rights to X-Men back”. I’m telling you right now, that while I want to see X-men with Marvel characters on screen, if they do this it wouldn’t be a good thing at this time. Why? Because everyone who isn’t a comic fan knows what the movies have brought to our eye. Don’t forget that Bryan Singer brought us X-Men and X2: X-Men United at a time where comic book movies were just becoming popular. X-2 is one of the BEST of the whole franchise.
Then X-Men The Last Stand came along. I enjoyed that movie for its high points, but I do acknowledge its flaws. Of course at the end of that movie, the only confirmed “Death” was that of Jean Grey. We never saw Cyclops’ body, and his glasses were left floating in the air. To me, this always meant that she never killed him. Everyone got their powers back that lost them, and Professor X transferred his mind to a new body.
Of course, this was followed by the X-Men Origins Wolverine. Again, there were parts that were strong, but what they did with all these characters left a bad taste in most people’s mouths. X-Men First Class and The Wolverine finally came about and reinstilled energy in the franchise. It gave faith back to those who had lost it, except for the whiny die hard X-Men comic fans who can’t imagine that the movies won’t be EXACTLY what they read in the pages. Those are the same people who claim that the Avengers is a perfect comic movie, and yet don’t realize that most of what Marvel has put on the screen has strayed from core source material.
I’m one of those fans who is a comic fan AND a movie lover. I go into these with a very open mind, and yes I get upset when I see certain things that don’t do justice. When I saw some of the trailers for Days Of Future Past I shook my head. Then I started hearing talk about it and became enraged. “Why would they do this and ruin it more?” I learned my lesson however to NEVER assume anything from a trailer. Everything this movie presented corrected most of what people whined about, while creating another flaw that is gladly accepted over the appaling other ones that were there and are now gone. From here on out in this review there will be MAJOR SPOILERS. I’m also going to speculate where this will take the franchise. If you want to know my review, scroll down to the last paragraph for my rating.
The future we are given to kick off the movie is dismal and dark. We are shown over and over how deadly the sentinels are, and presented with some moderately graphic death scenes. It is everything that I pictured the future to be in this story. Then we go to the past, which picks up a few years after the First Class movie. It’s the 1970s, and the X-Men aren’t even together anymore. Two different periods of time, and both very effective. Let’s check out the characters involved.
Wolverine/Logan: One flaw I found with Wolverine is that they don’t explain how, after the events of The Wolverine, that he has metal on his claws again. We can only assume from a comment made by a young Magneto, that the older Magneto put the metal back. It makes sense and probably would have confused anyone that didn’t see The Wolverine as to why they just let this go. It’s implied, but not flat out explained. Regardless, Hugh Jackman continues to own this role. He’s at his largest in body size, and you can tell he genuinely cares about the role. Whether talking about the old Logan or the pre-Weapon X young counterpart, Wolverine is cleverly used here. In his future version we see yellow and blue in his “costume” as a little nod to his classic comic book outfit. Another Easter egg thrown in was when Magneto impales him with the rebar and bends it around his body. This closely resembles the scene in the comics when Magneto stripped the adamantium from Logan’s bones. My only issue with Logan here is that he is pulled out of the water after what is obviously a few hours at minimum, and he suddenly just starts coughing the water from his lungs. Does his healing factor just do that? Every few minutes the lungs try to work? If so, then that could be an eternally painful death for Wolverine were that the case. I don’t know what it is, but it is a scary thought.
Professor Xavier: Patrick Stewart’s portrayal in the future is classic. He’s always done well in this role, and I loved that he had a hover chair as well. James McAvoy not only could pass off looking like a younger Patrick Stewart, but he equally owns the part. I was kind of turned off at first by the self pity he was wallowing in, and the fact that Hank made a drug to help him to walk might explain how Xavier could walk in his brief cameo at the end of Origins Wolverine. Then again, because his face was so badly CGIed in Origins, perhaps it was supposed to be a projected image of himself just like he did with Mystique in the airport. DOFP was more of an established origin for Professor X than first class was because he also accepts that he will become the man he was meant to be.
Magneto / Erik Lensherr: Ian McKellen had little screen time in the future, but like everyone I felt he was utilized well. If he had a little more dialogue I’d have been happier, but maybe less is more, and they sent him off well. Michael Fassbender easily became the villain in this more than almost the sentinels. I liked the nod to him being Quicksilver’s father, and the plastic prison that will again become a part of X2. I am wondering how far magnetism can go however. Does he have an engineering background where he suddenly knows how to control robots? I can see him gaining control of the sentinels (he did often in the comics), but he sort of just let’s them loose on the “mutants”. He’s a mutant too, so why wouldn’t it just attack him? I also thought it was flawed that he was just able to leave at the end. Xavier should have stopped him. Wouldn’t the government people who watched Mystique stand up against him suddenly believe that they helped him escape if he could have been stopped? Or did Xavier place a thought in their minds?
Raven Darkholme / Mystique: Jennifer Lawrence is a MUCH better Mystique than her predecessor, and she looks equally as menacing. The fight choreography of the character and her becoming the unpredictable “hero” really had me smile. I was glad that they did what they did with her. My question is this…. does her appearance as Stryker at the end mean that she killed him? I have a theory about this that I’ll mention in my speculation at the end.
Storm: Of all the characters in the X movies, Halle Berry was never one of my favorite choices to play a role. Storm was sent off well here as well. She didn’t need much dialogue. They gave her shorter hair (a mowhawk would have been a good nod, but what she had was nice). Her taking out the Sentinel carriers the way that she did showed how powerful she really can be, and her impalement by the sentinel’s spear hand was a relief. My favorite part is that Logan flat out tells a younger Xavier to remember Storm and seek her out along with Scott and Jean. That means most likely a recast as younger versions in the next movie.
Rogue, Cyclops, & Jean Grey: Their cameos as well as Kelsey Grammar as Beast was a great way to acknowledge all of the past mistakes. It means that them being there confirms that the everything is open for the future. Origins Wolverine, X-men, X2, The Last Stand, & The Wolverine will no longer happen. They can literally do anything with a younger cast and the results of this movie give us a fresh beginning, only keeping First Class & DOFP (the past elements) as something that is continuity.
Kitty Pryde / Shadowcat: Ellen Page had a minor, but significant role. Her time phasing powers are not part of the comics, but being as she was the one to go back in time in the comics instead of Logan, I felt this was a good way to include her in the whole segment. There was no other way to do this because of all of the prior continuity errors, and adding a mental time phase to her existing phase powers felt naturally logical. I also liked the slight nod at the end to her and Colossus’ relationship from the comics.
Hank McCoy / Beast: One of my issues before seeing this movie was hearing that Hank would be very “Hulk” like and only turn to beast when he became angry. The way they explain it is redeemable though. He created a serum to give him the appearance, but he obviously will embrace his inner beast as Grammar is in full Beast makeup at the end. It’s a good tool to use, but I hope they get rid of this for the next movie.
Bolivar Trask: Bryan Singer explained that this is not Trask from X2. So who is Trask from X2? Is he Peter Dinklage’s son? Doubtful. I guess he is just another Trask. Aside from this continuity issue, Trask was perfect. His purpose and usage was not over or underdone. The slight change from the comics is that the future is caused by Senator Kelly’s assassination. In this case, they had to change it to Bolivar Trask because Kelly was already established in X-1, and there couldn’t have been a better substitute for character swaps.
William Stryker: He is only a major in military rank in this one, and there IS a continuity flaw with him. In Origins Wolverine, Stryker and Logan met during Vietnam. Here it is a few years later and it doesn’t seem like he knows him at all when he sees him. The mention of his son Jason was nice (Jason Stryker was the mutant “Mastermind” in X2 who cast illusions into Xavier’s mind). His purpose could have been filled by any other military character. Why they chose to throw him in and cause another continuity issue is beyond me, but at this point I’ll bet they were just trigger happy with the cameos. I really wish they hadn’t used him.
Quicksilver / Pietro “Peter” Maximoff: Nightcrawler was my favorite in an X-film so far, but Quicksilver has replaced him. At first I hated the costume he wore from the ads, but now it makes sense after seeing it. His main scene was so beautifully executed and the nod to him being Magneto’s son was awesome too. As much faith as I have in Marvel for cinematic excellence, I don’t know how their Quicksilver will top this one. I can’t wait to see more of him in Apocalypse.
Cameo X-Men: While most of these had no or little dialogue, they were all utilized well. Bishop was awesome! Colossus finally got some epic battle time. Blink’s powers looked awesome, so much so that I made sure I wasn’t blinking so I could fully capture what was going on. Sunspot and Warpath were nice additions, though were of very little use. The same could almost be said about Iceman, but we finally got to see his ice slide move, which gave plenty of chills I’m sure. Havok, Toad, Ink, & Spyke had a fun little scene and I wonder where they will be headed off to.
Mystery mutants: If anyone knows who the white haired guy was at the beginning, who found the X symbol and then was killed, please let me know. I assumed this was a young Cable, but it could have just been a generic mutant. Also, Bryan singer confirmed that the little sister with Pietro was NOT his twin, Scarlet Witch. But if not her, then perhaps it was younger sister, Lorna Dane? I know that might be a stretch, but it is the movies, and since Polaris (Lorna Dane) is also the daughter of Magneto, maybe they planned that.
Sentinels: This was just plain awesome. The Sentinels in the 1970s reminded me of watching the old cartoon from the 90s. They were fun to watch destroy and I waited for the “Surrender Mutant” line of dialogue somewhere, but it never happened. In the future, the Nimrod sentinels were downright terrifying. Just plain amazing!
The Chris Clairmont (He wrote DOFP storyline in the comics) cameo, and mentions of other characters here and there were fun easter eggs for any comic book fan, but my favorite was En Sabah Nur. I have wanted to see Apocalypse as a villain since Xmen 1. Now we are getting him. His post credits scene had my jaw dropping, and I noticed that his 4 horsemen were sitting in the background while the young mutant pharaoh built the pyramids. I cannot wait til Apocalypse.
My only real regret with this movie is that they killed Azazel and White Queen. The problem isn’t with Azazel, because he could have impregnated Mystique somewhere along the way and still had Nightcrawler. The issue is with Emma. With her dead, there is no way she’d ever be a part of the X-Men later down the line. It’s nothing that will make me lose sleep, but they could have thought of another way.
Now that I’ve exhausted my opinions of the characters and plots, I want to speculate on where this could all lead based on what we know as fact from where we stand at the end of Days of Future past. X-Men Apocalypse will have Xavier’s new recruits taking on Apocalypse and his horsemen. Who will be with Xavier? They set it up for a young Storm, Cyclops and Jean Grey to accompany Professor X and Beast. It is also confirmed that Quicksilver and maybe Scarlet Witch will play a role somehow, in addition to Gambit, played by Channing Tatum. We also know that it takes place in the 1980s. Who will the horsemen be? Here’s my theory… I think Mystique killed Stryker and rescued Logan from the water. Why? She is working for Apocalypse who has been watching from the sidelines. Wolverine will get metal back on his bones, but not from Weapon X now… instead he will become the Horseman of death. There was a brief stint in the comics where this happened. Making Logan a bad guy would be so smart because it will really put the team to the test, and he finally won’t be a hero. Wolverine, Mystique and two others as horsemen (sorry, no archangel, because he’d be too young in the 80s). I also believe that Nathanial Essex would be a servant to Apocalypse, setting up the next movie where he could be Mr. Sinister and take young cyke and jean.
Wolverine 3: With no weapon X program, he’d probably (after being released from Apocalypse’s control) join up with Alpha Flight. They could take on Omega Red and have Sabretooth return to turn against his “brother”, Jimmy (Wolverine’s birth name).
Deadpool: MAKE THIS MOVIE RATED “R” and Give Ryan Reynolds the chance to show what he has as this character.
Sorry for such a lengthy review. I’m sure I even missed stuff, but there was just so much scale to this movie. After just over 2 hours, I felt I could have watched another 2 hours and not gotten tired. This was non-stop action and suspense from the beginning until the end, and executed really well. While fixing a plethora of mistakes, they created only 2 real flaws, and neither of them matter. I have to rate this at a 9 out of 10 sCrypt coffins. What did you think of the movie? Did I leave something out? Where do you see it going from here? Fox has earned the rights to use these characters and I am not disappointed by the scope of what they’ve accomplished. Well done, Singer and crew.