“We need you to hope again.”
That’s what the older Charles Xavier said in one of the trailers and that’s exactly what I did. I had high hopes for X-Men: Days of Future Past partly because the director of the first two X-films, Bryan Singer, was back at the helm of direction, and because I am such a big X-Men fan.
I have been an X-Men fan since I was a little boy. Reading comic books or watching cartoon series, I have always been fascinated with the homo sapiens superior. Just yesterday, I watched the latest installment to the X-Men film franchise and I was absolutely entertained by it. The film was bold and ambitious and it certainly delivered. Engaging, entertaining, and at times exhilarating, the film gives viewers more than two hours of absolute viewing pleasure.
Coming into the movie as the devoted Marvel fan-boy that I am, I had no problem getting comfortable with the plot. Although I have a feeling that had I been a casual moviegoer, it would have taken me a lot more time trying to figure out who’s who and what was actually happening. The film goes straight into action with very little explanation and no introduction.
Right off the bat, we get the mutants of the bleak future fighting alien-looking sentinels. It’s a brilliant scene laced with spectacular special effects albeit too short-lived. We see some familiar faces like Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) and new mutants Blink (Fan Bingbing), Sunspot (Adan Canto), Warpath (Booboo Stewart), and Bishop (Omar Sy) in one of the movie’s best scenes. They eventually rendezvous with some more familiar faces, mutant biggies Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), and Storm (Halle Berry). The next scene sets up the plot for the rest of the movie: transport Logan’s consciousness into his younger self to find the younger Charles and Erik and prevent Mystique from killing the fear mongering, mutant-hating, Sentinel engineer Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). They believe that doing this will prevent the war that will drive mutants into near extinction.
We then get the young mutants introduced in 2011’s First Class although their number is noticeably trimmed down. Of course we have the non-expendables; the gorgeous Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique, the flamboyant James McAvoy as Charles Xavier/Professor X, and the charismatic Michael Fassbender as Erik Lensherr/Magneto. Nicholas Hoult also returns as Hank McCoy/Beast and gives one of the more likable performances. Lucas Till (Alex Summers/Havok) makes a brief appearance as well. You’ll have to figure out for yourself why Azazel, Angel Salvadore, and Banshee weren’t around this time.
In perhaps the movie’s most raved about scene, we get the speedster Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver (Evan Peters) helping Wolverine and Xavier out with something important. As fast as he runs, Quicksilver immediately got the audience’s attention with his flair. Also, it did help that his main scene was one of the most entertaining, funny, and visually satisfying scenes of the movie.
For me, another one of the highlights is the scene where Mystique rescues her one-time ally Havok from an encampment. Here, we get a glimpse of some more mutants: Ink (a personal favorite), Spyke, and Toad. It’s a great scene where we get to see Lawrence really kick ass while seeing lesser known mutants show their powers (a bit).
I also love that we finally get to see Bobby Drake in his full ice form and even doing his iconic ice slide. Sunspot showcasing his mutant abilities was also a delight to see. Of course, we also have Blink’s powers to visually entertain and amaze.
One thing that I was not expecting is how well I liked Halle Berry’s Storm in this movie. Storm is one of my favorite X-Men; she’s my top pick among the females. However, in all the movies before this, the writing for the character was so bad and we never really got to see Storm wow us as much as she should. In this film, though she was given very little screen time, Storm was able to deliver two of the most jaw-dropping moments – both at the near end of the film. One of this is when she showcases her power and harnesses lightning. The other is perhaps the most dramatically effective moment of the film.
The scoring was phenomenal. The setting was great. The look and the feel of the movie was really nice. Most important of all, the acting was impeccable. Some of the best performances are that of McAvoy and Fassbender, Lawrence and Jackman do not disappoint, and even Hoult did great. Needless to say, McKellen and Stewart turned in amazing performances with the little part they were both given. As I said, Halle Berry was surprisingly very likable as Storm. The only one whose talent I felt was not fully utilized is Peter Dinklage. That guy is a wonderful actor and he simply wasn’t given enough to work with. If there’s one thing I could change, it’s that I’d give him more to do – make him more like the evil antagonist we were led to believe he is (because clearly, he’s not). The other mutants, especially the new additions, were also merely pawns in this movie. We do not even get to really know them. Although for comic book fans, just seeing them onscreen is probably already enough.
Now about the cameos. There were a lot but the one cameo I was hoping to see did not happen. Stan the Man does not have a cameo in this movie. (He had cameo roles in all of the Spider-Man and Marvel Cinematic Universe movies to date as well as in X-Men and X-Men: The Last Stand) We do get to see some familiar faces from the original trilogy, though – and not just from flashbacks! Go figure.
Finally, stay seated until after the credits because then you’ll get to see none other than En Sabah Nur! BRING ON THE AGE OF APOCALYPSE!
All in all, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a very good superhero movie. It ranks among the best in the genre and is arguably the best in its franchise. I give it 9 stars out of ten only because Quicksilver got the last one and he’s not giving it back until he gets his own movie. 😉