The X-Men franchise’s answer to The Avengers is finally here. A sequel to The Last Stand, 60’s based reboot/prequel First Class and The Wolverine, Days of Future Past‘s biggest achievement is not crashing under the weight of this ambition, and the immense hype build-up. Whilst not without its flaws, there is a lot to enjoy here.
The plot follows the original trilogy X-Men in a dark future cornered by Sentinels: robot predators designed to hunt mutants by constantly adapting to their powers. With no other choice, Wolverine is sent back in time to the root of the problem: the assassination of Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask by Mystique. To do so, Logan needs to re-connect with what remains of the X-Men following the fallout of First Class. It sounds Terminator-esque, and the horrible future looks strikingly similar, but actually its more like Cameron’s films borrowed many of their elements from the 80’s X-Men classic comic book storyline of the same name as this film. Funny how things come full circle. It’s not too difficult to follow the story, a credit to the film which does jump between eras a fair bit, and there’s plenty of action, humour and emotional moments packed in.
My main issue with this film is the divide between eras. The future scenes got some incredible action, with visceral destruction inflicted on both sides and great use of camerawork and effects with Blink’s powers that reminded me of the wonderful game Portal. However, the new characters and original trilogy favourites are (re)introduced so quickly, with a lot of their dialogue just being exposition or battle tactics, it’s hard to care for them as much as we should. Lots of scenes with recurring stars have been cut, and I for one really hope a DVD/Blu-Ray release gives us a lot more of the future X-Men (also, the nerd in me wants a proper spoken explanation for Xavier’s return, Kitty’s new powers and his re-alliance with Magneto).
The strongest scenes are the ones set in the 70’s, which are luckily the majority of the film. Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence are fantastic, getting way more to do than everyone else. Except for these four and Nick Hoult’s Beast, the rest of the First Class cast don’t even reappear, except for Havok (Lucas Till) in literally one scene. We do get a smattering of new 70’s characters, namely Quicksilver and Trask, played by the mighty Peter Dinklage. One gets the best scenes in the film, the other is played by the mighty Peter Dinklage.
At just over two hours and with so much to pack in, X-Men: Days Of Future Past does hold up very well. Overall however, its streamlined approach left me wanting more. I’m not sure if that means an extended version down the line is the answer, or Fox should’ve jumped into the two-parter bandwagon. Nothing sends tingles my spine like a big finale, or that moment when all the pieces finally slot together: take for example Avengers, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows part 2 and the Doctor Who series 4 finale where all the companions from the Russell T. Davies era all joined up perfectly. With more breathing room, Days of Future Past really could’ve reached that level. The way it stands now, the seventh X-Men just falls short, but provides much excitement and a good send off to the original trilogy that kick-started the modern superhero blockbuster.
I’m really dying to talk about this in most spolierific detail, so if anyone wants to then send me a tweet @josefanderton and maybe we can start a DM conversation or something. Also, if you want to read my defending of X-Men: The Last Stand (which ironically, shares a lot of problems with this film) then you can read that here.