MOVIE REVIEW: X-Men: Days of Future Past

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XMen trailer

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the latest superhero movie based on characters from Marvel comics.  This is the seventh installment in the X-Men franchise and acts as a sequel to both X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men: First Class.  The movie is directed by Bryan Singer which marks his third directing effort in the X-Men universe.  Aside from his work on superhero movies (he also directed Superman Returns), he made a splash directing the critical hit The Usual Suspects.  The huge A-list cast is quite impressive with the likes of Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Shawn Ashmore, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart.  That’s three Oscar winners and two other nominees if you’re counting.  X-Men: Days of Future Past is being released in both conventional 2D and in 3D on Friday, May 23.

The year is 2023 and the mutant race is dying off because of super-robots know as Sentinels.  These Sentinels are unstoppable because they have the ability to transform and react to whatever force is brought upon them.  In order to save the mutant race, Wolverine (Jackman) is sent back to 1973 in an effort to stop the Sentinels from ever being created.  In order to do so, he will need the help of Professor Xavier (McAvoy) and Magneto (Fassbender), which are at odds with one another and also not exactly the men they will eventually become.  Their mission is to stop Mystique (Lawrence) from killing the creator of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask (Dinklage).  In order for this to happen, sacrifices will have to made and the X-Men will have to unite.  Otherwise, the mutant race will quickly become extinct.

There is a lot to like about X-Men: Days of Future Past, but there are also a number of things I didn’t like.  Let’s start with the good.  Even though this is a summer blockbuster superhero movie, the script and storyline are very good.  A lot of times it feels like these types movies are just all about the CGI and special effects, whereas, this X-men movie spends time building a great story arc.  I also feel that they truly found a blockbuster-worthy villain, and because of this they break the mold in regards to the superhero movies that have come before it.  I really loved this aspect, but it also leads to a major thing I didn’t like, but more on that later.  Another big plus is the amazing cast they’ve assembled here.  Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman, and James McAvoy are three of the best actors working today, not to mention Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan.  Hollywood “It” girl Jennifer Lawrence is front and center as well and is as charming as ever.  One last positive to mention is the sound quality and the special effects.  These two things are almost taken for granted these days with so many “big” movies out there, but when its done properly it should transport the viewer to another world.  Now to my dislikes, and we’ll start with the 3D and general darkness of the movie.  It baffles me that the studios are still releasing these movies in 3D when it adds absolutely nothing to the viewing experience (seems like nothing more than a cash grab).  To that, the present day scenes are very dark and its difficult to make out what is going on most of the time, and its virtually impossible in 3D.  The biggest disappointment of this is that the villains only appear in the future scenes, so we really don’t get to appreciate them as much as we should.  The last thing I’ll mention is one of my biggest pet peeves in regards to movies; the use of time travel.  I get it that this entire movie couldn’t exist without it, but it has always felt like cheating to me.  Anything and everything is possible when time travel is introduced.  The worst part about this is that the other X-Men movies wouldn’t even exist with what happens in this movie.  Moving on, I really thought X-Men: Days of Future Past was smart, well-acted, and very good movie-making, but there was just enough negative to not make it great.

Grade: B

X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in theaters on Friday, May 23.