MOVIE REVIEW: ‘X-Men: Days Of Future Past’


Film: X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Starring: Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman
Directed by: Bryan Singer

Like a phoenix rising from the surface of the sun, Bryan Singer has returned to the X-Men franchise he helped build and delivered its most entertaining chapter to date.

There was a time not too long ago when it seemed the X-Men franchise had ran off the rails of box office entertainment. It was around the same time The Last Stand hit theaters, which coincidentally was the first film to not have filmmaker Bryan Singer’s involvement. The results were okay at best, but certainly not on par with the film’s two previous entries. Reactions were so mixed in fact, that the main X-Men franchise went dormant for several years while the studio explored things like Origins: Wolverine. Matthew Vaughn then breathed new life into the franchise with First Class, although with an entire different cast of stars. The brand held weight once more, and in no time at all a sequel was ordered. Singer, fresh off Jack The Giant Slayer, signed on to return and one question was immediately asked by fans everywhere: Which set of characters and cast members would Singer recruit for his grand return?

The answer: Pretty much everyone.

Over the course of two hours, X-Men: Days Of Future Past travels from the distant future to the not-so-distant past, with a little screen time set aside so that nearly every notable character in the beloved comic series can make an appearance. Each scene is packed with stars from the previous entries, including some who have gone on to become much more well-known than their role in this film would suggest. Singer weaves each character in and out of the story without ever coming across to(o? or as?) shameless in his efforts, and along the way manages to tie together various pieces of the previous films with a healthy amount of referential humor. There is one sequence in particular, in which a young Xavier expresses to Wolverine the same sentiment that was shared with him when he sought Wolverine’s help in First Class, which may be the best use of profanity seen on screen all summer.

The plot of the film deals with time travel, which means there are bound to be a few continuity errors in the story. We open with a dystopian future in which sentinels and the war against them have essentially wiped out all mutants on Earth. The survivors are huddled together in hopes of avoiding detection, which is where we first find our heroes. They have reached the last holdout on Earth, and are now running out of time to find a solution to the planet’s impending doom. It’s decided within minutes that Wolverine must travel back in time to prevent a certain major historical event from occurring, which they believe will prevent the rise of sentinels from ever happening in the first place. The only catch is, only Wolverine will remember the current (future) timeline if his efforts are successful.

It’s hard to think of a single essential summer blockbuster element not found in Days Of Future Past. It’s a great story that delivers thrills and unique ideas a plenty, with brilliant CGI, smart humor, and enough celebrity eye candy to make a TMZ photographer go blind. It’s not high art by any means, but it is 120 minutes of pure escapism helmed by someone who knows exactly what fans of the franchise want to see. So much so in fact that the final twist in the plot corrects several (potentially several dozen) issues fans may have had with Ratner’s Last Stand. Singer knows he is thought of as the gatekeeper to great mutant entertainment, and he uses that knowledge to reclaim his place on the franchise throne.

If you only see one film in theaters this summer featuring superpowers and an abundant use of CGI make sure it’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. Hardcore cinema snobs will likely scoff at certain sequences and plot devices, but as a whole Days Of Future Past is one of the most exciting films to hit the silver screen in recent memory. It’s the perfect mix of The Winter Soldier’s serious tone and Amazing Spider-Man 2’s relentless sense of impending danger, with well-timed humor and above average performances. Singer has already been given the green light to make another franchise piece, which he sets up during the post credits to this film, and I am excited to see where he takes things next.

Score: A-

Written by: James Shotwell

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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