Cinematic Releases: X-Men - Days of Future Past

After years of waiting, X-Men fans finally get the story they've been waiting for.

"What? You want some of this?!!!"
Now, I'm not as big of an X-Men fan as I am of Green Lantern or just comic book movies in general. I've only read the excellent Joss Whedon run of Astonishing, and watched my fair share of the original animated series, which nine-year-old me thought was the coolest thing that would ever exist. I've also seen every X-Men film made. Because I'm not a massive X-Men fan doesn't mean I also don't adore the story and its characters. It especially doesn't mean I'm not a fan a great movies. 

Bryan Singer's Days of Future Past is not just the best X-Men film ever made, in my opinion, it's one of the very best films I've seen this year.

If you're looking for someone with the know-how to compare this to the original 80s comics and pick apart what they did wrong or what they changed, unfortunately, I'm unable to do that at this time. Instead, I can only judge the film based on whether it's good or not—and is it ever good.

I can't say for sure how most people will react to this film. You common viewers out there are tough to predict. I had slain Godzilla in my recent review. I gushed over Speed Racer. Both times—and certainly more—I swore I would come home to reviews spanning the entire internet agreeing with me, but you, common viewer, are a conundrum to me. Days of Future Past has a lot of talking. Like, a lot. It's a good thing I'm a huge fan of people looking at each other with their mouths flapping about important stuff in movies. If it weren't for such solidly written characters with stunning A-list talent to bring them to life, I imagine this might not have been as engaging as it was. Everyone put 100% into this. It got me thinking in the theater how far we've come with comic movies. They used to be so ridiculous. Now we can get extraordinary talents like Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James MacAvoy, Peter Dinklage, and Michael Fassbender in the same movie about super powered mutants while everyone is treating the content with serious passion.

Dude, Fassbender. He was excellent in First Class and does no less than shine again here. Without question 
he is one of the most appropriately casted villains in comic movies. Fassbender and MacAvoy burn through the screen with tension-laced dialogue, resurging past wrongs with a vicious conflict of interest. 

What's mostly impressive to me is that as strong as both Fassbender and MacAvoy are, the remainder of the 
cast's screen time remains incredibly balanced or equally as strong. Some will be disappointed that this isn't a big film for Wolverine's claws, but it's a very big film for Logan. Jackman is still as perfect as ever as Wolverine, but you have to remember, this is an X-Men film, not another sad Wolverine one.

There is a ton happening in Days of Future Past, and it amazes me how possible it is to juggle so many
"Everybody stand back.
I'm trying to re-energize my career!!!"
spectacular characters and events when other films seem to fumble with it. We have the story of the conception of the Sentinels, we have the future story where everything has turned into an even bleaker version of Blade Runner and Lynch's Dune, we have Wolverine's continuing struggles, Xavier and Magneto delightfully butting heads, Mystique's rogue mission, and the amalgamation of it all rooted in a story taking place in 1973.

I can't speak for everyone, but I wasn't bored for a moment during this film. The character development kept me thoroughly engaged when metal wasn't being thrown around or people were turning blue and drop kicking dudes. The action isn't amazing, though Quicksilver's brief appearance makes for one of the slickest sequences I've seen in any comic film. Amazing action? Maybe not, but still very good. If hot celebrities flapping their gums at each other isn't your thing, the action will surely please, if not the creative special effects, and tastefully subtle humor. It's not abundantly funny like Spider-man or Avengers, but the jokes all feel appropriate for the characters, and certainly not forced just to get a laugh.

Let's take it back to Quicksilver for a second. There are going to be those people who feel cheated by his insertion into this story. Yes, he's awesome. I'm not sure his screen time could possibly be disliked, but there are going to be those people who say he wasn't in it enough. Sure, maybe that's true, but I strongly contend for the balance of this film, which is an exceptional quality it has versus other films like it. Bryan Singer focused on precisely what was needed to deliver such an effective X-Men tale. Adding more Quicksilver—or more of anyone else for that matter—would have been at the cost of telling a better story. I can guarantee you that there are some super cool ideas for Kitty Pryde, Collosus, Quicksilver, Bishop, and all of the other cameos that were left in the meeting rooms, but Singer made all the right choices in trimming the fat in what is a highly focused effort.

"Alright. Stop with the Lieutenant Dan
jokes already........"
The only thing I really didn't like about the film was the opening sequence. I mean, how many times do we have to go on a rollercoaster ride through DNA strands in an opening sequence? You guys couldn't have come up with—I don't know—practically anything else? Also, Ellen Page was a little silly and was in mid-double Karate chop action for almost the entire film. It was funny to think about that in retrospect after driving home from the theater. These are serious nitpicks, though. Right now, I honestly can't think of anything else I didn't like.

I must reiterate that Days of Future Past isn't just a great entry into comic book movies. It's an incredibly solid character drama at the heart of an equally solid sci-fi action flick. It is an absolute must see. 

-JG Barnes