21/05/2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Film: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Release: 2014, Theatrical
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Peter Dinkleage, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Previous in the series: The Wolverine
IMDB page: Link opens in a new window
Description: Years into the future, a race-based war between humans and mutants has thrown the would into chaos and the mutants on the border of extinction. As a last desperate measure, Wolverine is thrown into the mind of himself from 1973, to bring together the corner stones of the mutant civil war: Erik Lehnsherr and Charles Xavier.

Hans' thoughts: 

After bringing the series back from the brink of extinction with X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine, Bryan Singer is bringing us the brink of mutant extinction on the silver screen. With imagery mimicking the footage of the second world war, Singer shows us a dark and twisted future where apparently not only did most of the major cities get nearly destroyed - The sun decided to tone down its shining and draw all the color from the world till everything was a mix of black, grey and blue. Kidding aside, the movie does have a bit of a problem during the first 10 minutes of the movie. No re-introductions are served to an audience that's not seen most of these characters since X-Men: The Last Stand in 2006 and that gives us little time to get comfortable before a heavy amount of science fiction talk is thrown in our faces. This movie is mostly for those who has been along for the entire ride. Indeed, the only movie you don't expressively need to have seen before viewing is The Wolverine from last year.

 To audiences who remembers that far back, there's a nice reunion with Storm (Halle Berry), Shadowcat (Ellen Page), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and of course Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). Unfortunately, while it's nice to see them all together again, they don't get to do much in the movie at all aside from a quick line of dialogue here and there and we just barely see them in action at all. Focus is instead on the younger versions of Professor X and Magneto - namely Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lehnsherr (Michael Fassbender). Thankfully, while the dark and grim future of the old actors doesn't have much going on - the movie picks up greatly once we actually have Wolverine in the 70's meeting the younger versions of both the aforementioned two gentlemen and also a certain supporting castmember we've not heard from since X-Men 2. Staying around from First Class we also have Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and as the big turning point of the movie we have the return of Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. 


In the past era which spins most of the movie, the pace is quickly picked up. References to the major lore of the X-Men franchise is thrown at the audience and Peter Dinkleage does a great job as the scientist Dr. Trask. Indeed the very color defined imagery of the future stands as a direct opposite to very alive world of the past. One of the things that's been discussed a lot about the movie is the inclusion of Quicksilver, here played by Evan Peters. The movie seems to have a lot of fun with the concept of an incredibly speedy character and at least one moment had most of the theater bursting with laughter - The ball is in your court Marvel Studios. However like most of the X-Men movies before, this movie doesn't do team focus very well and the main part of the movie is therefore bounced between McAvoy's Xavier and Lawrence's Mystique, with Jackmans' Wolverine serving as the audience point of view. 

On the other hand, something the X-Men movies have always done very well is special effects and once again the effects are in tip top shape to show us the spectacle of just what these characters are capable of. A character I've sadly been missing from the other movies has been Beast and Hoult gets to completely beast out in this movie and actually do some action scenes of his own. X-Men: Days of Future Past is not the greatest of the bunch by any means. Lawrence does not feel like she's particularly interested to be in the movie with most of the returning cast members from the original trilogy. Dinklage's Trask rarely speaks at all which is a major problem considering his status in the film. McAvoy and Fassbender and Hoult all do perfectly great in the movie with Fassbender once again bringing in the bacon with his menacing Magneto. McKellen and Stewart are criminally underused, with McKellen only uttering one or two lines in the entire film. Why they were brought in at all is a mystery. Jackman does as good as always with his portrayal of Wolverine; it's strange they decided to once again throw main focus on him because in the original comic Shadowcat was the one to go back in time. The one piece of expository dialogue we never got was how the time travel stuff actually came into the posession of our heroes but that's just kinda thrown to the wind. There's also focus on a cameo character who nobody who hasn't read the comics or watched X2 lately will actually recognizw due to him only being recognizable by his last name. However it does what it came to do - give us the big rewind so we're ready for the next full-cast action blast. As an action movie it has some spectacular effects to latch onto. It makes for some great entertainment value as well, as a reunion movie however it kinda fails in not letting the old folks have that much to say or do. Whether this was due to budgetary restraints is anyone's guess but it's still a shame.
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