Friday, May 23, 2014

Movie Review: "X-Men: Days of Future Past"

In X-Men: Days of Future Past, the stakes have never been higher for our heroes and villains.  They are literally facing annihilation, unless they can change and overcome their past.

The film starts in a post-apocalyptic future where the cast of the original three X-Men movies (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, etc.) are all that are left after mutant hunting robots, called Sentinels, have killed most mutants on the planet.  Utilizing the super powers of Kitty Pride, Professor X decides to send Logan back in time to 1973, to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating a key figure, which ultimately led to the creation of the future the X-Men are facing.  It's a mindbending storyline for sure, but it all works beautifully, flowing gracefully between the past and the future with a logical ease that is missing in many time travel movies.

From the very moment this film was announced, fanboys have been rabid in their anticipation, and this film doesn't disappoint.  The filmmakers figured out how to give the original X-Men cast a proper send off, while making a sequel to the 2011 prequel, X-Men: First Class, at the same time.  Plus, the time travel nature of the story has enabled them to wipe out some of the continuity mistakes of the previous X-Men films to rectify many of the stupid decisions made in films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine or X-Men: The Last Stand.  This film was clearly made by fans, for the fans, and the fact that it's also just an exceptionally well made blockbuster is the icing on the cake.

There is a lot of action in this film, with more mutants and more super powers featured than in any previous X-Men movie.  Every action scene was thrilling and satisfying, and there are many fan service moments here.  However, the greatest aspect of this film is that it isn't your typical superhero flick.

Usually, the first question people have about superhero movies is:  Who is the bad guy?  In Days of Future Past, while there are the Sentinels and their creator, Bolivar Trask, the real villains of the story are our heroes themselves.  The problems they are facing are all based on the choices and mistakes they made in the past, and it's about their past selves having to face up to what they will become in the future to overcome their own pasts in order to write a better future for mutants and humanity.  It's in this focus on overcoming your past, that gives Days of Future Past an emotional weight that blockbusters often lack in the modern era, and if you're a long time fan of the series, there are moments in this film that will not only make you laugh and want to cheer, but will also move you deeply.

I can't do anything other than highly recommend X-Men: Days of Future Past to anyone who considers themselves an X-Men fan.  While people who aren't quite as well versed in the franchise might find themselves lost given the vast amount of characters, I still think the film is entertaining enough on its own accord that just about any moviegoer can have a good time here.

I give X-Men: Days of Future Past an A!

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