Movies: X-Men: Days of Future Past

Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence (and ~10 mins of Patrick Steward and Ian McKellen)
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Written By: Simon Kinberg
20th Century Fox/Marvel
PG-13; 131 mins
4.5 stars (out of 5)


I only went to see this one because I didn't want to see Transformers or any of the other crap that's out there on offer at the moment. And I was surprised to see the cinema was still pretty full, even though this film has been out for several weeks now. But maybe that's because they'd slotted this one into a smaller theater, giving the illusion of a packed house. Let's just say people were having trouble finding seats before all was said and done.

As for the movie itself, I really enjoyed it. The right mixture of action and humor, and well paced besides. I was worried I'd have to dredge up some kind of memory of all the previous X-Men movies but it wasn't really necessary. I know the key players, and that was sufficient to enjoy the show.

The plot is roughly thus: Some years in the future (circa . . . 2023?) there is a nasty war against Mutants—and against any humans who support them. Trask Industries has created Sentinels, which are designed to hunt and destroy Mutants and yet use DNA from Mystique in order to function (they can change and adapt to any powers the Mutants they fight might try to use against them). Only a small band of Mutants still survive.

Also, these Sentinels are able to identify potential Mutants—anyone with the genetic makeup that might turn them or their children, etc., into Mutants—and so they destroy them, too. So while it would seem at first that the Sentinels protected society from the Mutants (assuming, of course, "normal" people needed to be protected from Mutants), these protectors eventually also turned on the people themselves . . . Although it's difficult to tell what the percentages are. I mean, how many people have the potential for mutation? And if Mutants really are the next wave in evolution—or would have been, anyway—does that mean more and more people are being born with that potential? And so more and more people are being wiped out by Sentinels? Who is controlling these things? Or have they taken on lives of their own?

And if the Sentinels use Mutant DNA, why don't they destroy one another?

Whatever. Bottom line is: The future is a bad, bad time. So it's decided that Kitty needs to send Logan (aka Wolverine, aka Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 to stop Mystique from killing Trask because that's when she was captured and they took her DNA and upped the Sentinels' programming.

Here is where the fun begins, naturally, with Logan tracking down a young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr (Magneto). I'll admit I did have a bit of private fun with James McAvoy as Charles—like, you know, thinking that maybe his legs had problems because they were goat legs, and when he asked Logan, "What do you want?" nothing would have made me happier than to hear, "Give me back my socks, you goat bastard." All that aside, though, McAvoy did a great job, as did Jackman, Fassbender, and Hoult. And of course Peter Dinklage as Trask was a brilliant bit of casting. I'll admit I'm no Jennifer Lawrence fan; I think her talent is more in picking juicy roles than in actual acting.

Especially good, though, was Evan Peters as Quicksilver, and he stole the movie, even though he had only a few scenes.

There were plenty of moments CinemaSins could have fun with, like why Erik would bother to rip the door off a metal room if he's then going to rip the whole side open, or why the Sentinels don't kill him first when he instructs them to "do what [they're] made to do." But despite all the little hiccoughs, Days of Future Past was highly entertaining. Exactly the right length, too; these days so many action films push the envelope by running 2.5 to 3 hours long for no good reason except to add more FX. When the plot is already thin, you really shouldn't risk stretching it like that.

But here the plot wasn't thin. In fact, it was remarkably straightforward. And if there were a few holes, well, that was okay. Because the overall design was pretty good.

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