The first “X-Men” released in 2000 to positive reception and much fanfare, quickly followed by “X2” in 2003 to equal praise as its predecessor. Both aforementioned films were directed by Bryan Singer, who returned to the X-Men franchise in 2011 to direct “X-Men: First Class,” and has completely reinvigorated the franchise after some bumps along the road. I’m looking at you, “Origins” and “The Last Stand.”
Singer brings audiences the seventh installment in the X-Men series, “Days of Future Past,” which serves as the sequel for both 2006’s “X-Men: The Last Stand” and “First Class.”
With movies, and especially superhero movies, a multitude of moving parts represented by too many characters and plot points can often become problematic, but “Days of Future Past” handles all the parts terrifically through meaningful action sequences, utilization of time, and an engaging plot. A star-studded cast does not hurt either.
The opening of the movie presents a hopeless, dire dystopian society of mutants and humans enslaved alongside one another at the hands of the sentinels, giant, robotic mutant hunters.
Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) with the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Paige) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time in an attempt to prevent the apocalyptic future they currently reside. His task is nearly impossible because he must try to convince Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) of the 70’s to work together, who currently hate each other after the events of “First Class”. They must unite together in an attempt to prevent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the sentinels trying to convince people in power that mutants are a new, impending threat to the human race and his sentinels are the only answer.
The 1970’s atmosphere captures all the glory of the time period with the presence of lava lamps, flamboyant clothes, big-framed glasses, and cameras. Everything in the 70’s was big and colorful. Even the footage from the cameras and televisions had a grainy, old school touch.
New mutants such as: Blink (Fan Bingbing), Bishop (Omar Sy), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), and others are introduced along with the reappearance of some old faces like Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde, and Storm (Halle Berry).
Wackiness and entertainment ooze from Quicksilver (Evan Peters), a fast-talking, and similarly as fast-moving mutant, who draws a laugh or sense of awe every time he does anything.
Tension becomes real, almost palpable, when the climax simultaneously hits the characters in the future and past. Does Wolverine succeed in his mission? Do the sentinels in the future hunt down every last mutant?
Numerous scenes in “Days of Future Past” memorably stand out. Action sequences involving the mutants combating the sentinels showcased the mutant’s old and new powers beautifully. Iceman uses ice as a slope-like mechanism to glide around quickly, while Blink creates portals to attack enemies at an infinite amount of angles.
Future Professor X speaking with past Professor X excels easily as one of the most poignant scenes in the film with Stewart and MacAvoy not holding back. Audiences can relate because we have all struggled and needed some sort of guidance to rescue us. Why not our future selves?
The film wrestles with the juxtaposition of past and future characters, not only in Professor X’s case, but with Magneto, too. The contrast between McKellen’s Magneto and Fassbender’s Magneto is a joy to behold because of their polarizing motivations and natures. One wants to set everything right, while the other wants to flip everything upside down.
Singer’s “Days of Future Past” ties the X-Men franchises’ past and future together with a well constructed, nicely placed bow on top of a box complete with new powers and mutants, old faces with new tricks, and a bright future. “Days of Future Past” answers questions concerning oddities from previous iterations in the franchise, but also raises questions about what’s next?