Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

After four moderate X-Men films, two revolving solely around the clawed Wolverine and his origins, Bryan Singer, the director of the very first two X-Men films, returns with the mindset of making the X-Men something massive once more. Bringing together a broad cast from the first trilogy to X-Men: First Class, and tackling a basis as confusing as time-travel, Singer successfully managed to deliver one of the best superhero films of this year, and possibly ever.

In the dystopian future of 2023, mutants are hunted and quarantined by massive robot mercenaries known as Sentinels. With the ability to adapt to any mutant's power, the Sentinels are basically invincible. As the remaining X-Men quickly get killed off as the Sentinels attack, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) decides the only option left is to send someone back in time (using her evolved phasing abilities) to prevent the creation of the first Sentinels. Sending the one person who could survive the journey, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), the future Professor X (Patrick Stewart) explains that Wolverine must find the young Charles Xavier in order to bring together the X-Men of the past. Once in the past, Wolverine struggles to convince Xavier of their future, and must also tangle with a young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), both conflicted by the creation of the Sentinels and an enemy of their creator Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). A massive battle commences as the X-Men struggle to save the future, and as Magneto's resistance towards humanity begins. The thrills and surprises never cease as the X-Men fight for the future, and increasingly begin to resemble their conflicted future counterparts.

This is the return of the X-Men we've been waiting for. Starting off the series with 2000's X-Men, Bryan Singer managed to bring the beloved comic characters to the screen in a unique way, applying the pain and suffering of hated mutant-kind into the real world of discrimination. With nearly perfect casting, from Hugh Jackman as Logan/Wolverine to Patrick Stewart as the wise Professor X, and decent storytelling, Singer made a huge impact on the colorful characters that populated nearly seven films now. In my opinion, I think Singer is the best man for the job when dealing with X-Men, partly because he had a great film series in the works, but then dropped out of the fatal X-Men: The Last Stand, leading to disaster. While I did enjoy the films not directed by Singer, from The Last Stand to First Class, I think, for this film, Bryan was the only person who could tackle such a massive story and cast. With 2011's First Class, director Matthew Vaughn successful created a cast of young actors to portray the legendary Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr, who later become the most essential characters in the franchise. Doing so, Bryan Singer went off that, bringing together his own cast from his films and the cast of First Class, and created an amazing star-studded cast for the audience to enjoy.    

With the return of both the cast of the X-Men trilogy and First Class, you could say the film was a bit overcrowded. However, that's not the case with this film, Singer brilliantly implementing enough characters to make it seem just right. Excusing the occasional screen-time predicament, where one or more characters don't have enough time on-screen to enjoy their company, I think Singer put everyone on-screen for enough time to make their purpose known, and also excluded some characters to save them for his next venture with the X-Men in 2016. Speaking of the cast, it was more than a fan could dream for, bringing back old faces, like James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Shawn Ashmore, and introducing new ones, like Peter Dinklage, Omar Sy, and Evan Peters. On the old characters side, Singer brought back famous characters for the fans, like Storm (Halle Berry), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), making the film even more exciting as us fans once again enjoyed some familiar faces. Also brought back, essential to the main story, were both Charles Xaviers, both Erik Lehnsherrs, and one Wolverine, played by the stars we came to know and love in the X-Men trilogy and First Class. Already loving how James McAvoy and Micheal Fassbender portrayed the telepath and the master of magnetism in First Class, this film was just the icing on the cake, showing us a more in-depth persona of both characters, both having a very dark past. I think both McAvoy and Fassbender play such great roles, mainly because of their personal chemistry on-screen. From First Class to this, their chemistry has greatly defined their roles as brotherly mutants fighting for different causes, and I think this film just escalates their relationship even more. With Wolverine, being the the main star in yet another X-Men film, Hugh Jackman brought the heat in this film, going back in time to find Xavier and also discover some hidden demons within himself. While we may have seen Wolverine's past many, many times already, we have never seen it like this. Him being the only person to prevent the future from happening, a lot more was at stake, making Hugh Jackman's performance even more meaningful. Also being a titular star in this broad franchise, Hugh Jackman has done the character so much, that it's impossible for him not the disappoint as the clawed animal of Wolverine. One of the other old characters I enjoyed was Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique, who played a much bigger role in this film than in First Class. Plotting to kill Bolivar Trask, the creator of the Sentinels, the young Mystique begins to show signs of what she is to become in the X-Men trilogy later on, which is a ruthless mercenary with a heart as cold as Iceman. Her role is essential in the film mainly because she is the deciding factor of preventing the future from happening, and everyone, especially her old pal Xavier, must persuade her to change her mind. Even if Lawrence isn't perfect in the role of Mystique, she knows how to tackle a role and make it believable, and that's exactly what she did here. 

On to the newbies of the franchise, we have an assortment of new characters, and first-time actors, that shine on-screen. Of the new X-Men we meet at the beginning of the film, we have Bishop, a minor character who plays a much larger role in the next film, along with Blink, Sunspot, and Warpath. My favorite of this group would have to be Blink, played by newcomer Fan Bingbing, who can create portals in order to teleport. Me being a huge fan of another teleporter known as Nightcrawler, Blink was an enjoyable character and I'm glad Singer decided to have her be on-screen for a while. Another favorite newbie would have to be the screen-time-stealing Quicksilver, played by Kick-Ass' Evan Peters. Unfortunately being in only one scene in the film, the best scene in the film in fact, Peters stole the show as he aided Wolverine, Beast (Nicholas Hoult), and Xavier in breaking an imprisoned Magneto out of prison. Having super-sonic speed, Quicksilver can slow down time, making it almost too easy to speed his way out of trouble. While at first I was skeptical about the character, his hair and outfit looking overly ridiculous, I soon realized that Peters' Quicksilver was a quick-talking, fast-moving funny-guy who was one of the many highlights of the film. The final newbie that I enjoyed was the ambitiously arrogant Bolivar Trask, played by the brilliant Peter Dinklage. While he may have earned laughs from the audience regarding his height, his performance was nowhere near laughable, Dinklage bringing a strategic and villainous mindset into his antagonist character. While he may have not shined as much as the star-studded X-Men team, Dinklage definitely played a convincing villain who was set to exterminate the mutants of society. 

The action of the film was no less than I had expected, but way more than I had anticipated. From mind-blowing close-combat fights between mutants and Sentinels to super slow-mo ass-kicking, the action and thrills never stopped as the X-Men exploded back into theaters. From the film's very beginning to its final conclusion, the action kept you on the edge and always left you guessing what would happen next. A fan of the previous six films (obviously), I expected no less in the action of this film, mainly because where there are superpowers, there are explosions and intense action. One of the highlights of the action in the film would have to be the Sentinels of the future battling the X-Men. With an intricate design and the ability to take on any mutant's ability, these Sentinels were pretty bad-ass in my opinion. Also, in every scene they're in there's some great superpowered action for the fans to enjoy. Another highlight of the film that's too good to not mention is Wolverine slicing up some baddies once again with his (bone) claws. Even if it has been seen nearly a hundred times on-screen before, every time it's even more hardcore. 

Overall, this film was momentous event (Is that too much?) to enjoy in theaters, especially in 3D. With its massive cast of excellent actors and its major amount of suspense and action, Bryan Singer returns from the depths of bad films (Does Superman Returns or Jack the Giant Slayer ring any bells?) to bring back the one franchise he did well on-screen back in 2000. Bringing together both casts of the trilogy and First Class, Singer has moved one huge step closer to bringing the famous comic team back to the top, setting up for exciting future films starting with the much-anticipated X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016. Focusing on this year, the newest film in the franchise is one you can't miss if you're a fan of the series, bringing together old characters that you love and new characters that you love even more. In my opinion, this is the ultimate X-Men film, with all its great action, visual effects, comedy, and comic references all tied together in a little over two hours. 

I gave this film a 9 out of 10 for its amazing cast of look-alikes, its fantastic introductions of classic comic book characters into the franchise, and its major amount of cameos (especially at the end). I have always loved this franchise and its characters, from the very first X-Men film to this one (excluding that horrid franchise-killer X-Men Origins: Wolverine, with all its character-screwing and timeline-obliterating mistakes), so I look forward to many more films with Singer or even First Class' Matthew Vaughn at the helm. Also, remember to stay after the credits to see someone who you'll have no idea about unless you read the comics, but take note that whoever it is will be important in the next movie!  

Let's hope the next Deadpool actually has a mouth...

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