Professor X: Logan, I was a very different man. Lead me, guide me, be patient with me.
Logan: Patience isn’t my strong suit.
In a dark and desolate future mutants are hunted and killed by the indestructible robots named The Sentinals. Professor X and the X-Men plan to transport Wolverine back to the 1970s to stop an assassination that could change the future for the better.
The latest X-Men film reunites the original cast from the early 2000 trilogy with the cast of the recent X-Men: First Class (2011). First Class was set in the 60s and returned to the roots of the X-Men mythology where Charles Xavior became a Professor and Eric Lencher became the evil Magneto. First Class was in my opinion the best X-Men film made. Director Matthew Vaughn (Kick-Ass) created a pulpy retro adventure with career making performances from James McAvoy (Atonement), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games). In 2014 these three actors have become A list stars, all nominated for Academy Awards (with Lawrence winning in 2013 for Silver Linings Playbook). I wonder why the producers at Fox thought it was necessary to bring back the original cast of Patrick Stewart (Star Trek), Ian McKellan (The Hobbit), Halle Berry (The Call) and Ellen Page (Juno) who have somewhat fallen off the A list in recent years. If they had done a direct sequel to First Class and included all of the 70s set story found in this film, I believe the film could have been tighter and far more enjoyable with the opportunity to investigate these characters further and explore the wonderful retro setting. This film works best when it’s in the 70s and we follow the young Professor X, Magneto, and Mystique.
The most enjoyable scene takes place in the Pentagon where our heroes attempt to break out Magneto from an underground prison. The introduction of the enjoyable Quicksilver (Evan Peters) allows for some much needed humour and a clever slow motion sequence to follow. Unfortunately Quicksilver disappears without an explanation soon after.
The films tone is episodic and fragmented and is filled with ‘moments’ rather than fluid continuity. The scenes in the future are where the film really lacks. The future scenes are too dark and filled with unknown characters quickly getting killed by the sentinals. The action doesn’t add up to anything entertaining and the characters aren’t evolved enough for us to care. The future sequences aren’t needed and don’t add to the film overall except for give closure to the fans who are still upset about X-Men: The Last Stand (2006) which killed off a lot of the fan favourite lead characters.
My review may sound negative but the scenes in the 70s revolving around Professor X, Magneto, Mystique and Wolverine are the best in the franchise. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is excellent as usual. His character has become the star of the series appearing in every X-Men film so far with two solely based on his character. He appears very comfortable in his role and has time to have some fun in this film instead of his usual brooding. James McAvoy has also grown comfortable in his role as the young Professor X. His struggle with his new addiction and coping with the loss of his school and students is heartbreaking and makes his redemption all the more satisfying. Michael Fassbender doesn’t have enough screen time as he did in First Class however he still excels as the tormented villain. A persona he has perfected in his previous roles from Shame (2011) and 12 Years a Slave (2013). Jennifer Lawrence was also terrific as Mystique. Lawrence has been getting a lot of critical acclaim over the past few years. I’ve enjoyed the Hunger Games films but I didn’t think she deserved all the attention. However in this film she has brought real emotional depth to the broken character of Mystique. Mystique is still torn between her former mentor Professor X and her new dangerous mentor Magneto. Magneto saw the anger inside of her and knew that she shared his hatred for what the humans had done to their people. He has unleashed her on to the world and now can’t control her as he watches her travel on a path of destruction. Her Mystique is possibly the best character in the film. You can’t keep your eyes off her.
With solid direction from Bryan Singer (returning to the franchise after 2003’s X2) and amazing special effects, X-Men: Days of Future Past succeeds as a solid summer blockbuster however next time just stick with the past.
Rating: 3.5 Stars