Monday, June 9, 2014

Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past

I finally saw X-Men: Days of Future Past and thought it was okay- I think I liked First Class better, but it has its moments. The movie is based (very loosely) on the comic storyline of the same name. I liked the beginning a lot, we're shown a very grim, dystopian future and I thought it looked good on screen. Right off the bat we have X- Men fighting Sentinels- we finally get to see Colossus in action, we have Kitty phasing through things, and Blink's power was very cool- so I was liking the beginning a lot. Unfortunately, the rest of the movie didn't live up to the promising start.

The basic plot is the X-Men have to send someone's consciousness back in time to their earlier body, to avert an assassination that causes a grim future. In the comics they send Kitty Pryde back, but in the movie they send Wolverine back instead- some nonsense about only he could survive it. Blah blah. That's where the problems started for me. Wolverine feels overused and I think they should have stuck to the original story more. They should have sent Kitty back- maybe with Wolverine- hey a buddy flick! That would have been cool, and there is precedent in the comics for Wolvie to be sort of a mentor figure to Kitty.

As it is, Wolverine goes back to the 1970's to convince a younger Xavier and Magneto to stop Mystique from murdering the creator of the Sentinels. I have to say the whole 70's vibe worked for me- the hair, the shades, the whole thing- I enjoyed that a lot. It was fun. And let's talk about Mystique for a moment. Mystique has always been a favorite character of mine. A shapeshifting mutant with blue skin, she led the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants against the X-Men in the original story. I just don't like how they do her in the movies, though. Jennifer Lawrence is great, but the whole body paint thing- it's just not working for me. And I couldn't help thinking how cool it would be to have the X-Men against the Brotherhood, led by Mystique, on the big screen. A missed opportunity that could have maybe even topped Avengers!

There are other missed opportunities as well. The movie is way too talky, not enough action. We have Colossus and Kitty and they do almost nothing. Kitty's power is phasing but now she can apparently also send  someone back in time, so she spends the whole movie sitting by Wolverine as his consciousness is back in the 70's. Lame. They should have used Kitty and Colossus a lot more, and in the present too. The filmmakers of course claimed they couldn't send Kitty back because she wasn't born yet in the 70's- but this is a comic book movie, you can do whatever you want! Or set it in the 80's like the original story was. Whatever. They've done so many idiotic things in these movies that playing fast and loose with her age would hardly have been any worse.

Another missed opportunity- Rogue! She shows up at the end for about 3 seconds and that's it (apparently more of her will be on the DVD release). WTF? Rogue is awesome in the comics, and works well with Wolverine- and she even had a relationship with Magneto at one point- why not use her in the movie? Anna Paquin (Sooky!) was fabulous as Rogue in the earlier movies- and in the comics she has a complicated relationship with Mystique as well. See where this is going? Kitty, Wolverine and Rogue leading the way against Mystique and the evil mutants- that's the movie I would like to see! This is probably the biggest issue for me, and a complete waste of potential. It boggles my mind why they wouldn't use her a LOT in this movie.

Instead of Kitty, Rogue, Colossus, Nightcrawler (where was he?) we get... Beast. Totally lame. A guy who can turn into a blue, furry beast and... growl a lot. And jump around and be basically useless. I don't know why they even have the Beast in these movies, he doesn't do anything. And really, Wolverine doesn't do much in the movie either. He talks a lot, but not much else. Hugh Jackman is a great Wolverine, but they don't give him much to do. Another waste.

Some other quick observations. Quicksilver does steal every scene he's in, as some have said. He's a breath of fresh air in this movie, and that scene where he saves the day while a certain 70's song plays in the background might be one of the most inventive and quirky scenes I've seen in a superhero movie- but it works. I thought it was great. They needed to use him more- he disappears after that and is not used again.

I'm tired of Ian McKellen as Magneto- he's too old. And Michael Fassbender as the younger version is suitably intense- but he's almost too ruthless for me in this one. I think I'm just sick of Magneto- again, give me Mystique and the Brotherhood. Halle Berry as Storm continues to irritate- she's just never been Storm to me. One of the more powerful X-Men, I think she has one scene where she uses her lightning- such a waste. Storm should be kicking butt left and right- but it's Halle Berry, so I don't really care. Nothing against her- just don't like her as Storm.

Which brings us to the ending. Spoilers- as you know if you've seen the movie, or heard about it- Scott and Jean come back. The change to the timeline that happens in the movie is a convenient excuse to fix earlier mistakes. It was nice to see them back. Too bad they weren't in the whole movie- I think Wolverine plays best off of someone like Jean or Scott, a little friendly tension. So there's your reboot- we nix the ridiculous events of X-Men 2 and 3 and have Scott and Jean back. About time. Hopefully they'll do better by the characters in the future.

So this movie is a mixed bag for me. It has some great moments, but is way too talky and and could have been so much better. I think First Class was better, and this is no threat to Captain America: Winter Soldier or The Avengers as the best comic movies to date, in my opinion.


  1. I loved the beginning of the film too. It was amazing. Reminded me of the fast beginning of Xmen 2. I have issues with this film too. 1. Why do we keep going back to the old Xmen of the previous films?? I loved the last Xmen film because it was all new. I thought for sure we were going to get new people in this one then the announcement that all the old crew was coming back I was disappointed. I too loved to see Quicksilver on the screen. New! A breath of fresh air! Then he was gone. I like Wolverine. I always loved that character. But enough is enough. I agree that this film completely erases that nightmare that is Xmen 3. I like this film but it just didn't go the way I wanted.

  2. I really do want to see this one. Action movies like this are my secret pleasure. I tend to just go with the story and ignore the glaring idiosyncrasies or other goofy changes. I do agree that Wolverine is becoming redundant. Granted, he's an awesome character, but it is X-Men after all, not X-Man. It's time to put the spotlight on someone else.

  3. Ooo too much talk and not enough action saddens me, but truth be told I will probably see it anyway. Great review Greg.

  4. A cat named Mystique - how cool! It might have been less cool if you'd named her Kitty. :)

    I loved First Class. It was my favorite of the X Men films, so I've really been looking forward to this one. Hopefully I can make it to the theater before it goes away!

    I remember reading that Anna's part was severely cut. I think at one point I'd read that her part had been cut entirely. It will be interesting to see the DVD/Blu-ray extras to see if there's any hint on why much of her role was cut.