After reviewing the first X-Men film and still hyped for the final entry X-Men: Dark Phoenix, I feel it was time was time to review my favourite entry in the X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
In the dystopian future of 2023, Sentinels designed to identify and attack mutants have wiped out most of mutants in the world. Professor Xavier reveals to the few remaining of his team that Bolivar Trask created the Sentinels in 1973 before he was assassinated by Mystique.
The government captured her and used her DNA to enhance the Sentinels with Trask’s death as a reason to pass the program. Kitty Pryde’s powers have evolved to send peoples consciousness back in time to their younger minds. Wolverine being the only mutant to travel back 50 years due to his healing powers, has been tasked find a young Xavier and Magneto to stop Mystique and save the future.
This film makes the bold move of being set in two timelines, both of which acting as direct sequels to two separate X-Men films. The future sequences taking place after the third film X-Men: The Last Stand and the past sequence taking place after the prequel to the original X-Men: First Class.
As a result we’ve got the biggest ensemble of characters, as various cast members return from the original trilogy as well as the newer cast. With so much going on, this film does an amazing job at balancing the large cast and the keeping what should be an overly complex story at a simple narrative.
The contrast of the future and the past is excellent: the future is pretty dark and cold, being set at night-time with blue filters; while the past is set mostly in the day with bright colours giving it a warm feeling.
The action is breathtaking from the opening battle with our mutant vs. the Sentinels, Quicksilver’s unbelievable slow motion kitchen fight, and Magneto lifting the football stadium to the final battle Sentinel battle in China. As well as the small quieter moments, especially when young Xavier telepathically connects to older Xavier took my breath away.
Hugh Jackman delivers one of his better performances as Wolverine, this time having to mentor Xavier instead of the other way round, while still being fish-out-water as he has no memory of his own life during that time. James McAvoy is fantastic at playing a young Xavier, who’s hit rock bottom, after becoming addicted to a drug that relieves him of his telepathy.
Peter Dinklage as antagonist Boliver Trask is great, like many others he plays a character with complex morals that you could argue his motivations are valid. Evan Peters as Quicksilver is a great addition to the cast, who is funny and has the best slow-motion action scene ever!
Michael Fassbender as Magneto does a great job at playing a villain with fully untestable reasoning. While Nicolas Hoult is no Kelsey Grammer he makes a great Beast, who is conflicted by his own appearance and his loyal friendship to Xavier. Ellen Page as Kitty gets more to than her last outing, showing her struggle to keep Wolverine at bay.
But the shining jewel of this film is Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique/Raven; while she lacks the flexibility and attitude Rebecca Romijn originally brought to the role; she makes up for it with a complex character arc for which she delivers a sympathetic performance. She provides the emotional anchor for the film and bringing the political and moral conflicts to the foregrounds, while still getting some cool fight sequences and entertaining interactions with the other characters.
Without spoiling anything the ending is amazing and has opened up an endless amount possibilities for the franchise to go. It’s so much more satisfying after the somewhat sloppy endings for both The Last Stand and First Class.
There are two versions, the theatrical version and The Rogue Cut, of which I’ll say the latter is the definitive version. The main purpose was to restore a subplot with the character Rogue, which was cut for time and which resulted in her character being absent for the theatrical run.
The subplot involved Xavier, Magneto and Iceman rescuing Rogue, who is being experimented on for Sentinels to steal mutant powers, so she can take over Kitty who is seriously wounded to keep Wolverine’s mind in the past. I personally love it as it helps keep the future sequences in tact, the biggest issue I had with the theatrical cut is that I felt the future scenes were rushed.
It also helps to give the original cast more to do, Ian Mckellen especially who we get to see contrast with Fassbender’s Magneto as the villain he once was and a hero he has now become, while Shawn Ashmore as Iceman and Patrick Stewart as Xavier are given more action. Plus it was nice to see Anna Paquin back as Rogue, as per my previous review she was an important part of the first X-Men film and there was even a nod to her relationship with Wolverine, which was very much appreciated.
Plus the cut does add some extra moments including a romance scene between Mystique and Beast, which is a call-back to their relationship in First Class. Other scenes get some much needed padding, such as the discussion of the possible consequences of sending Wolverine messing with time, which gives Halle Berry as Storm a nice little monologue.
This is to date the largest X-Men film ever made with amazing action sequences, great character development, great twist and turns in the story and expands on the political themes and the moral conflicts of the characters.
Written by Jack Parish