Sunday, May 25, 2014

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

Year: 2014
Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, Nicholas Hoult

(credit goes to Richard Davies for the poster)

Plot: In order to prevent a dark future where mutant hunting robots called Sentinels destroy all of humanity and mutantkind, the X-Men send Wolverine back in time to prevent an assassination that triggers the robots' invention.

Review: Before I had a chance to watch this, I had read many positive reviews on it, and I was still skeptical about it. Now that I've seen it, I realize that the movie fan in me likes it, but the comic fan in me still holds that skepticism strongly.

Bryan Singer and Simon Kinberg adapt the well known Days Of Future Past storyline from the comics, about sending an X-Man back in time to change the past and avoid the robot Sentinels from destroying everything. In this case, Professor X and Magneto asks Kitty Pryde to send Wolverine's consciousness into his 1973 self so that he can seek the help of the younger Xavier and Magneto to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, the man who created the Sentinels.

Singer starts the ball rolling well enough by having the X-Men fight future versions of the Sentinels in the opening sequence. It doesn't quite match the intensity of the action in the first three X films, but it's cool to see Iceman, Bishop, Sunspot and Blink using their powers. Then we move to Wolverine getting sent back in time, and this is where the film lightens up a bit as he tries to get Xavier and Magneto to work together, which is easier said than done. The last third of the film is probably the best part as both the future and the past X-Men find themselves in dire straits.

The good parts are Jackman, McAvoy and Fassbender in their roles as Wolverine, past Xavier and past Magneto. McAvoy in particular gets the most chances to show his dramatic skills. Jennifer Lawrence is good also as Mystique while Peter Dinklage makes good of his screen time as Trask.

However, as good as all this is, as a comic fan, I found the entire film falling a bit short of expectations. Firstly, the film focuses more on the First Class cast than the original cast, which makes it feel uneven. Secondly, at the end of it, I realized that the whole history changing exercise was meant to "wipe the slate clean" so that both X-Men casts and storylines can co-exist. Many people thought this to be a brilliant move on Singer and Kinberg's part, but to me, it felt lazy and convenient. Are we supposed to simply ignore Singer's work on the first two films now? That does not work for me.

Another thing that bugged me was the depiction of Quicksilver here. I wouldn't put all the blame on Evan Peters in the role, as Kinberg and Singer ought to shoulder some of it too. Again, I've heard many people say his inclusion was cool, but it felt like Singer had an idea for a scene and he thought Quicksilver would look cool being in it. Why do I say that? Because this isn't the Quicksilver I know from the comics. This guy here is nothing like him. And most of the X-Men from the future get way too little screen time. Even Colossus, who had one of the best debuts in X2, gets shafted here, again. And poor Anna Paquin was cut from the film, when she could have provided some much needed drama with Wolverine. In fact, most of the original cast didn't get a proper chance for dramatic scenes.

So in closing, I'd say DOFP is a somewhat worthy inclusion into the franchise, but it doesn't quite match the awesomeness of Singer's first two instalments. It's still good entertainment though. (3.5/5)

P.S.: Stay for the post credits scene, and remember that name.    

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