Director: Bryan Singer
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart
Length: 131 min
The X-Men made a popular comeback in 2011’s X-Men: First Class, bringing in a lot of new fans and giving faith to old enthusiasts that the X-Men franchise would be taking a different direction. The decision to go into the past boded well for the film, since they would not have to deal with the catastrophic consequences of X-Men: The Last Stand. Therefore it made sense for them to go back to into the past again – Inception meets the Butterfly Effect in X-Men: Days of Future Past.
In Days of Future Past, originally an X-Men arc in the comics, audiences are shown a desolate future where everyone is ultimately doomed. Sentinels, mutant-hunting machines, have taken over and the mutants who are left are under constant threat. Our good friend Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), who has appeared in every single X-Men film, is put up to the task of sending his consciousness into his 1973 body since 1973 is the year that havoc started and the domino effect of the creation of the Sentinels was sparked. Usually, we’re not worried about the fate of superheroes and we know that they’re going to be okay – but in Days of Future Past the threat is real and actually frightening. The Sentinels are scary, thanks to some impressive CGI and design techniques, and their threat underlies the entire film.
The characters in 1973 have been through a lot of challenges: the Vietnam War has immensely changed their situation and they’re still being discriminated against. Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence show solid performances, although at times one fails to see their emotional drive and the reasoning behind their actions. Once again, James McAvoy brings Charles Xavier to a real, relatable level; he is probably the most effective character of the film. However, would have been great to actually witness the events that brought him to his current state when future Wolverine comes to visit him. The gap between First Class and Days of Future Past is left wide open, and a movie about that gap may actually have been more interesting. The action is executed fantastically, however, and you can tell the film had a large budget, with its spectacular sequences and visual effects; it definitely wasn’t a let-down in terms of its spectacle.
Usually, we’re not worried about the fate of superheroes and we know that they’re going to be okay – but in Days of Future Past the threat is real and actually frightening.
A lot of people were worried about the amount of characters in the film, and there are a lot, meaning many aren’t use to their full potential. New faces and fan favourites aren’t utilised and are thrown to the side for characters that we have seen and know already – there aren’t any risks taken, with the exception of the show-stealing Quicksilver. If you asked who the main character of the film was, you may get different answers from different people as the film felt like it was stuffing as many characters into the role of the protagonist as it could. Although Wolverine is the one travelling back in time you get a feeling that he isn’t at the centre of anything, sometimes it’s Charles Xavier, then Magneto, then Mystique, and even then I feel like you don’t get to see enough of them. The X-Men are all about being a team, but the mutants are dislocated and we don’t even see much of all of their powers, let alone teamwork.
Overall, Days of Future Past feels like an obvious, but necessary repairing of the end of the original X-Men trilogy. Although an entertaining and fun film that is enjoyable for both comic book fans and regular audiences, its weaknesses lie in its handling of the characters and seemed like just a stepping stone to next stage in the X-Men franchise.