The Sentinels are ruthless and savage robots, created for one purpose, to extinguish all mutants. They were released in 1973, and fifty years later those same robots would hunt down humans who helped mutants. Professor X (Patrick Stewart) & the X-Men try do their utmost to combat the Sentinels but they are able to adapt and deal with whatever the mutants throw at them. He decides to try to send someone back in time to change things.At first, it was Bishop (Omar Sy), but the result is always the same. The Sentinels keep coming back. He asks Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) for help. She can send someone’s consciousness back a few weeks into their past selves. Anymore, and it she’d do some serious damage to them.
Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) decides to try his luck and thinks he might be able to withstand the effects of such a journey. After all, he heals as fast as he breaks. Charles tells Wolverine that Mystique is at fault for their current Sentinel problem. When she learned about the Sentinels, she went after Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). He was the man who created them and thus murdered him in cold blood. Killing Trask brought her unwanted attention. She was captured and studied, which gave humanity the knowledge to give the Sentinels the ability to adapt. Wolverine must find the younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and ask him for help to stop the event that his adoptive-sister created.
No cities are falling out of the sky and no cities levelled. But a football ground and the President’s office is left a little worse for wear. With Days Of Future Past, humanity is left firmly intact. Species-destroying events are left to a minimum. This is just one element that separates this X-Men movie from its comic book movie kin. Bryan Singer started this franchise back in 2000 with ‘X-Men’ and every movie by him in this franchise has been on point. The original trilogy was tarnished by Last Stand so he’s made a reboot movie that wipes that trilogy from existence, well, chronologically speaking that is. He’s introduced a time travel element to the franchise based off one of Marvel Comics’ most loved X-Men storylines. He’s brought two generations of mutants together that works well, if not always clearly. He does this between the political tensions of the Vietnam War, 1973 America and fifty years into the dystopian future.
The X-Men series is often talked ill of due to Brett Ratner’s abomination X-Men Last Stand, and Gavin Hood’s X-Men Origins: Wolverine. But the series has been on the up recently with the success of Matthew Vaughn’s First Class and Mangold’s The Wolverine. Singer took a break to do Superman Returns (god knows why) and Jack The Giant Slayer (not bad). His returns to the X-Men franchise was long overdue and he didn’t disappoint. He hadn’t touched the franchise since the marvellous X2: X-Men United. Singer is a great talent and his writing skills are second to none when it comes to this franchise, incorporating pop culture references, witty humour and that feel good factor that so many comic book movies have.
X-Men (2000) and X-Men: First Class open with scenes about the Holocaust in 1940s Germany. Days Of Future Past match this grimness with heart-wrenching horrors of the dystopian future that Wolverine aims to eradicate. A government militia of murderous robots have almost succeeded in wiping out all mutants and their homosapien sympathisers. This leaves an older Professor X and Magento (Ian McKellen) to go into hiding in a Chinese safe house. The once best friends agree to send Wolverine back to the 1973 to undo future-defining events thus stopping the Sentinel program from ever existing.
Logan is sent back to the era of The Godfather, Star Wars and The Watergate Scandal. He must convince a younger, drug-fuelled, soul-destroyed and depressed version of Charles (James McAvoy) that a bleak and desolate future awaits them if they don’t act now. The 1960s was a rough decade for America, let alone Charles. This left him an emotional mess after becoming handicapped in First Class and losing his students from his ‘School For Gifted Youngsters.’ Everyone abandoned him except Hank McCoy/Beast (Nicholas Hoult). He’s addicted to a serum that stops his mutant ability yet it allows him to walk. Logan prevails at convincing a young Charles that he’s from the future and that he must break into the Pentagon to free a young Erik Lensherr/Magneto (Michael Fassbender) where he’s being held for killing JFK.
Logan’s old friend or new friend, depending on how you look at it is a great addition to the cast. Evan Peters (American Horror Story, Kick-Ass) nails the role with much wit and charisma. Quicksilver is the X-Men franchise’s resident speedster and he’s one character that both Fox and Disney can lay claim to. But I prefer Fox’s version of the character in comparison to the MCU counterpart with Aaron Johnson in Age Of Ultron. I felt Peters had more character in comparison to the killable mediocrity that was the Sokovian speedster in the Marvel Universe. Peters steals every scene he’s in away from the main cast, especially one side-splitting hilarious kitchen scene in the Pentagon.
The script is very loosely based on the Days Of Future Past comic book storyline (Chris Claremont & John Byrne) and the film is great despite its comic book inaccuracies. Singer unravels the motivations that drive the human race forward…or backwards; fear of the unknown and fear of what we do not understand. We also witness to flawless action sequences and a flamboyant FX spectacle in the future scenes with our original X-Men team; Stewart, McKellen and co. Furthermore, the creative team have portrayed the psychological depth of many characters really well, including: Mystique (Lawrence), Magneto (Fassbender) and Professor X (McAvoy). As usual, Erik has his own agenda and makes a spectacle of himself outside the structurally deformed White House with a very truthful and relevant speech about how humans fear those who are different. But also waging a war for the affections of our favourite shapeshifter Mystique, who begins to see the errors of her moral and ethic judgements within her soul.
While not as stunningly stylish in its period setting and costume design as its predecessor, this movie embraces the historical setting reasonably well from an early subplot that sends Raven/Mystique on a mission to Saigon Vietnam to rescue a squad of mutants.These mutants would ultimately have been experimented on by Trask. Again, Fassbender and McAvoy nail their roles. They truly have the X-Factor with the rest of the cast, past and present showing a grand degree of X-Force. Their relationship is as confusing as it gets. It’s love and hate yet they’re both looking over their shoulders at the other. The repelling relationship between Fassbender and McAvoy are complete parallels to the calmer and more magnetic relationship of Stewart and McKellen in the same roles.
In a franchise that thrives on great dialogue rather than Michael Bay-esque action scenes, one of the best scenes of any comic book movie occurs in this movie. There’s a scene between Charles (McAvoy) and Charles (Stewart) communicating across a rift in space time.It was a touching moment and it was great for the younger Charles to be taught humility from his future self. Wolverine is normally the brash and aggressive one. He’s weirdly the opposite this time around and has the head of someone like Cyclops or even, the older Professor. Wolverine has times of confusion throughout the movie when he’s in the synapse between his past and future self, slipping between one consciousness and another. Many viewers may well feel this due to the constant slips between 1973 and the dystopian future with both sets of X-Men teams.
The movie lays a lot of focus on its leads; McAvoy, Fassbender, Dinklage and Lawrence. This leaves not much room for the rest of the cast which includes: Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Colossus, Kitty, Storm (Halle Berry), and Magento from the orignial cast. Blink (Fan BingBing), Bishop, Sunspot (Adan Canto), Warpath (Booboo Stewart) are also added to the dystopian cast with Evan Peters’ Quicksilver to the 1970s lineup. I was most impressed with Blink’s ability to create portals. It was very cool to look at.
Sure this movie has its blips, but it’s my favourite movie based on Marvel characters for a reason. It has a solid script and Singer’s direction is on point with the welcome musical score from John Ottman as well as great performances from Dinklage (Game Of Thrones), Fassbender (Macbeth) and McAvoy (Filth). This movie has revived a dwindling franchise, no thanks to Last Stand and X-Men Origins. It’s awoken its dormant X-Gene, and it looks like for the better.
Just because a franchise stumbles and loses its way. That doesn’t mean it’s lost forever.