You know what I love? Greatest hits albums. With the right selection you can remind people what made a band great and have them wanting more. This is what X-Men: Days of Future Past is to the X-Men franchise. Bringing the older and newer casts together this is like a Van Halen reunion with Sammy Hagar playing tambourine or something. That was a poor example. Regardless this is great in theory but how does it work out? Let’s take a look in the final installment of X-Men In Film- Part 3.
X-Men: Days of Future Past
The future, as tends to happen in sci-fi/action movies, sucks. The Sentinel program, robots created to hunt down mutants, has gone out of control and enslaved all of humanity. With a shot at fixing everything Wolverine (well his consciousness) goes back in time to reunite Charles Xavier and Magneto to stop Mystique from dooming the human race. Compared to your typical summer tent pole picture this story is fairly complicated. Thankfully with good writing and directing it works surprisingly well. Both continuities are followed fairly well and any screw ups involve the first Wolverine movie which, let’s be honest, we all want to forget. Still the flashes to the past and the future are handled beautifully and making a cohesive time traveling movie is worth praise alone. Making it fun is a great bonus.
Pretty much everyone is back. And I don’t mean “Oh they included Havok, that’s cool.” I mean all but one or two major heroes at the very least make an appearance. Still the focus is on Professor X, Magneto and Wolverine which is just as enjoyable as it was before. I particularly liked James McAvoy as a younger Xavier who after failing the first X-Men has given up on the dream and his road to redemption. Again it’s a different side of Xavier we haven’t seen on the big screen before. Also while minor in comparison Nicholas Hoult as Beast looked much better in this movie. I think it was less CG used for the effect but it looked great.
While there are quite a few new mutants I can’t say they are all that significance. While they are a part of my favorite action scene (which I’ll get into later) they aren’t given much personality. Luckily this is more than made up for in Quicksilver. Despite looking really stupid he brings some much needed levity to the movie. More importantly his super speed is handled perfectly. Moving normally through a slow moving world it makes for a cool aesthetic that not only portrays the power perfectly but it also prevents slow motion being used in other scenes. Of all the things I want returning for the next movie it is Quicksilver. The remaining returning heroes are hit and miss. For the most part characters from the older movies are in the background which I’m totally fine with. They most likely aren’t appearing in future movies and are given a nice send off. I was disappointed by the lack of returning heroes from First Class though. With Mystique and Beast quite prominent Havok is briefly seen and Banshee is killed off camera. Still when it comes to the main characters they are just as we remember them and are
Side Note- Colossus only gets two lines. Less than X2 but more than Last Stand. Comforting to know they kept that tradition alive.
Good news and bad news here. Good news, I thought Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask was good as he tends to be. Bad news, I really don’t think there was enough of him. Maybe I missed something but besides seeing mutants as a threat to the status quo he didn’t really have a reason to be evil. Having Stryker as a sidekick doesn’t really help. Now the Sentinels, that is a different story. Whether the metal machines of the past or the adapting death machines of the future they are totally bad ass, particularly the future versions. While we have had to wait over several movies to see them the Sentinels more than deliver as the biggest threat to mutantkind.
I know it’s repeating myself at this point but these are the best scenes yet. Not due to an advance in technology nor better fight choreography (although it is good). No what makes it good is the fact that a decent portion of it happens in an alternate future. This brought a freedom to do whatever they wanted that you wouldn’t see in other movies. No spoilers but seeing heroes lose as bad as they do here really helps sell what is at stake. That isn’t to say all of the good action happened in the future. We get an extensive scene of the Beast fighting Magneto that is even better than what we got in The Last Stand. This is the kind of edge of your seat action you want from a summer blockbuster.
This movie shouldn’t have worked. Like at all. From the overly complicated story to the fact that it is a beloved comic arc this should have gone poorly. Yet here we are with one of the best movies of the summer both critically and commercially. With a good cast and some astounding superhero brawling we get not only a great ending to the old franchise but a great path for the next few films. Whether or not they keep up the momentum they certainly delivered surpassed X2 as the best X-Men movie.