X-Men: Days of Future Past - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
BRYAN Singer’s return to the franchise he helped to so spectacularly create is, for the most part, a smart and fun ride that marks a clever merging of X-Men franchises past and future.
Co-written by Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman and Simon Kinberg, the team behind 2011 reboot X-Men: First Class, this should hook fans by virtue of giving them the chance to see two Professor Xs (in the form of James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) and two Magnetos (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen) as well as other favourites such as Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) in meaty roles.
It also establishes a credible time travelling device that finds the Mutants of the future under threat of extinction by Sentinels created by a sceptical professor (Peter Dinklage) and sending Wolverine back to the ’70s to prevent an assassination that sets the creation of the sentinels in motion.
In order to do so, however, Logan must convince Professor X to rediscover his hope, as well as reunite with Magneto to prevent a rogue Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from shaping their future.
Singer’s film does require viewers to pay attention in order to keep up but despite a bleak opening (which echoes the opening scene of his original X-Men movie) seldom takes itself too seriously and drops in enough fun (in the form of exciting set pieces, cool history subverting in-jokes and nods to X-Men films and characters past) to keep things mostly on the right side of crowd-pleasing.
That’s not to say there aren’t flaws but perhaps not the ones expected. The film does become a little bogged down during a self-indulgent middle section while the climax, split between the ’70s and the future, sometimes conjures unwanted comparisons with the final Matrix film (particularly during the effects-heavy futuristic section).
There’s also a lack of a notable human villain (Dinklage isn’t given enough to do), while the ultra sceptical may even liken the way things ultimately turn out to the infamous Bobby Ewing shower scene from Dallas. Certainly, this does reset things to create infinite new possibilities while perhaps cheapening some of the key events of movies past.
And given the sheer number of Mutants on show, it perhaps comes as no surprise to find that some characters get short-changed. Hence, while there’s plenty of the principals, Shawn Ashmore’s Iceman, Halle Berry’s Storm, Ellen Page’s Kitty and Evan Peters’ Quicksilver all feel under-employed (the latter, especially, given how he shamelessly steals the movie’s best set piece).
Yet with all this in mind, Days of Future Past still has enough in its locker to overcome such flaws. It’s refreshing to find a franchise movie that’s content to reward loyal fans rather than continually striving to seek new ones, while the ingenuity, intelligence and imagination employed at several points is extremely satisfying.
Hence, without ever quite becoming anything too X-tra special, this keeps the franchise in good health and is never less than highly entertaining.
Running time: 131mins
UK Release Date: May 22, 2014