Friday, May 23, 2014


With DAYS OF FUTURE PAST being the seventh film in the series of mutant superheroes, it is a great help, if not a requirement…to be familiar with the prior movies and the events which led to this point. It serves as a grand finale to this series of super-powered heroes and villains, but thanks to some nifty time-travel, widens the potential for a bright future of X-Men.
In the near future, mutants and potentials are being wiped out by the Sentinals; giant robots capable of absorbing mutant powers which makes them indestructible. With the world in shambles, Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), along with his life-long friend and occasional enemy Erik/Magneto (Ian McKellen) send Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into the past to prevent an event happening which would trigger the creation of the Sentinals by Dr. Trask (Peter Dinklage). Once arriving in 1973, Logan enlists the help of a young Xavier and Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) to prevent Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from causing the future war.

The stakes in DAYS OF FUTURE PAST are extremely high; higher than they have ever been in an X-MEN film. Once Logan arrives in the past, the events of the future continue to unfold…which gives the film a ticking-clock dimension and a great sense of urgency. Once Logan teams up with a young Xavier and Magneto, those familiar with the long-running series of films will take great joy in the role-reversal taking place. Logan, who was once the rogue of the team, finds himself in a parenting role overseeing a sparring Xavier and Magneto while the clock ticks towards the pending disaster. But just when the film feels like it’s going to hang its helmet on the hook of displaced heroes, things take a deeper and welcome turn. A few clever twists and turns (while keeping the characters true to their nature), transforms the film into a story about friendship. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is ultimately a film about long-time warring friends who differ in their approach to solving a massive problem, and that is the beating heart and soul that director Bryan Singer centers the film around. With every character, including Trask, having their goals well defined…it’s difficult to figure out who to really root for. This is a film without a real defined villain, and it doesn’t matter; this is all about the heroes and their differences.
Bryan Singer, while making a great character piece, has also crafted a fine-looking and fun action film. The large set-pieces are striking to look at, the action is easy to follow, and the battles are never extraneous as they all have consequences to the story. The introduction of a young mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters), a teenager who moves faster than the eye can see, allows Singer to play with some startling visual effects which adds thickness to the plot and some well-timed comedy. But Singer never lets the FX-heavy lights and sounds distract from the thick substance he is working with; the characters never get lost and everyone gets their due.

With most of the film taking place in the past, the screen-time of the great Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is somewhat diminished, but the two actors make the best of their time and induce some great, and tearful moments. Their younger selves, played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, really do own the film and seem to channel the chemistry that Stewart and McKellen have together. Hugh Jackman is one again a commanding screen presence in his Wolverine skin, and looks perfect in his 1970’s duds. The rest of the cast, which includes Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Halle Berry, Shawn Ashmore, Jennifer Lawrence, and Nicholas Hoult are all spectacular.
The finale goes for a gut-punch in presenting a tremendous emotional payoff for those who have been on board the X-train from the start, but even newcomers would be able to feel the heart and soul. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST basically takes the greatest pieces and parts from the prior films and weaves them together magnificently, in a way that makes every film relevant but yet opens up the door for some fantastic possibilities. DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is a triumph for the series and the genre of superhero films; it is emotionally rewarding, socially relevant, and a great movie.



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