Happy Memorial day weekend my friends, and what better way to welcome the weekend than with another movie review. Today we cover the new X-men movie, a series which over the last 14 years has split into three story arcs that has led to a mixture of receptions. Yet director Bryan Singer has returned to the project to hopefully clean the mess others have made, hopefully returning the spark the first two movies held. Did it work? Read on to find out.
From the trailers, X-men Days of Futures Past is a time traveling adventure that sends the rugged Wolverine back into the past to meet up with the youthful, though distraught, X-men. The goal of this mission is to stop the construction of the legendary mutant hunting sentinels, and prevent a dark future from arising that could mean the end of humanity.
I know a bit cliché, but despite the stale time traveling story line the latest X-men feature has a lot of great qualities. We’ll start with the acting. Days of Future Past has a lot of characters that fans will recognize and perhaps be excited to see. Hugh Jackman has stepped back into the Wolverine role, still bringing the tough guy with a big heart and even bigger edge back to the screen. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprise their roles as young X and magneto, bringing back some of their chemistry, while bringing other qualities to their characters. Of course most are interested in Ms. Popularity herself, Jennifer Lawrence, playing the young, and deadly, Mystique. Of all the characters, she has the broadest emotional spectrum, which Lawrence once again brings to life in her typical fashion that makes many lover her. The rest of the group does well, but due to space limitations and the fact they are secondary, I’ll move on.
Despite the story being just another time traveling tale, X-men Days of Future Past has great delivery to pull it off well. The first twenty minutes set the stage in an explosive opening, setting the pace and time limit of the movie. Once back in the past, Wolverine sets out to accomplish his goals, bringing in the rest of the crew gradually. This is where Singer’s work speaks for itself as he somehow reveals more of his character’s, while still keeping the film moving. I didn’t see too many scenes where the mission had to stop while the group had a heart to heart *cough Batman *cough.
As these characters changed, for better or for worse, the story twisted, keeping the plot fresh and more unpredictable than some of the tales in the past. It was great trying to figure out what the characters would do next, wondering how far some of the mutants would go to destroy the evil without throwing the events further into chaos. Of course, there are plenty of hints that take away from the surprise that, if you pay attention, will help you predict what is coming next, with a few exceptions of course.
Yet the thing I really loved about this movie was how balanced everything was. Singer once again brought a blend of traits to his project that was done in the appropriate amounts. The comedic timing was top notch, having both old, new, and X-men reference styles present that were not overdone nor rubbed in my face. Drama was spread out evenly, not focusing on one character’s drama for too long nor was it focused on a single type of drama (i.e. just on romantic affairs), keeping me interested instead of asking when will this end. Even the action was done well, with the opening getting the pace of the movie started, and ending with heated excitement to wrap up the intense story line. Such balance is key to many movies my friends, and something that many other genres lack.
Of course there is no perfect movie, and X-men does have a few flaws for me. While they did a great job tying the three stories together, Singer and company had a few story stretches that were a bit too farfetched for me. The explanation for how Xavier could walk, or how the X-men could so easily sneak about were just two examples. Another flaw included how some of the characters, primarily first class, were written off, requiring some close attention to detail to determine their fate. I know there are probably good reasons for this approach, but they best be careful for their next films to avoid any conflict. As for the action, while very balanced I wanted more. Special effects wise it was great, but the scenes lacked some excitement, and were surprisingly shorter than I had anticipated from the trailers.
Overall Days of Future Past was one of, if not the best X-men movie I’ve seen. All three stories are integrated into a tale that will keep you on the edge, and is one of those suspenseful movies that keeps you on the edge of your seat. With a balanced plot line, well done action, and some great acting, fans of the series may have their faith restored that this series can be good. Yes they still have some things to work on, but I trust that the next movie can be just as good, especially with the end of the credits scene. Just make sure to bring Singer back for that as well!
Movie overall: 8.5