Based on Marvel’s “The Uncanny X-Men” issues #141-142, Days of Future Past is a time travel story that brings together the X-Men of old and new. The film bridges the gap between Bryan Singer’s original X-Men and X-2, and Matthew Vaughn’s “origin” story First Class. Throughout all of the X films, as well as the comics, are themes of social issues which reflect our own society. It is no secret that the humans in the films do not accept mutants. But what would happen if they were finally successful in eliminating them? In Days of Future Past it’s a race against the clock to travel back in time and save the X-Men and all mutants before it is too late.
The plot follows the story from the comics pretty closely. In the original storyline, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) travels back in time to occupy the mind of her younger self, in order to warn the X-Men of their future downfall. In the film however, Kitty uses her powers to send back Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), because… Wolverine (enough said, Bub). In the year 2023 a sentient line of robot mutant-hunters know as Sentinels, created by Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage), have been successful in finding and eliminating most all mutant threats. The surviving X-Men, lead by Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), work together with even Magneto (McKellen) to try and stop the Sentinels from eliminating their kind. Yet however much they try, the Sentinels keep coming back stronger and more plentiful. Their only hope for survival is to send someone back to the year 1973 and erase the catalyst which gave birth to the Sentinels – the murder of their creator at the hands of Mystique. Wolverine is the only one whose brain can handle the stress of traveling that far back, and so it is up to him to convince a younger Xavier (McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to work together and ensure the survival of mutant-kind.
The film is smart, fast paced and action packed from beginning to end. There is no doubt that this is the X-Men movie that we have all been waiting for. Coming off the heels of both First Class and The Wolverine, Days of Future Past brings back all of our favorite actors and gives us exactly what we want to see. Hugh Jackman is the glue that holds the film together, and does an incredible job as always. Although it is inevitable, it is hard to see anyone else in the role of Wolverine. He not only has the acting chops, but the charisma to make every scene he appears in that much better. Although Ellen Page does a great job as Kitty Pryde, there is no question as to why Jackman is the star of the film.
Director Bryan Singer has proven to be a more than capable director, spanning back almost a couple decades to the beginning of his career (The Usual Suspects) – and especially including the first two X-Men films. With all of the excitement surrounding The Avengers and Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight trilogy, it’s easy to forget that Singer and 20th Century Fox are partially responsible for the popularity of superhero films today. They made the first X-Men film in 2000, even before the first Spider-Man in 2002. Those films laid the groundwork for what we see today, and brought comic book movies into the mainstream – proving just how cool they could be. As far as Singer is concerned, the director hasn’t skipped a beat. The look and feel of the film is consistent with what we have come to expect, and is very possibly his best work yet on the franchise.
The actors who have stuck with this franchise for the past 14 years, as well as the newcomers, bring an incredible amount of talent to the table. The fantastic casting back in the beginning, and their abilities, are the main reasons that the movie turned out so well. Seeing Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Nicholas Holt, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage and the others do what they do best – together in the same movie – is simply incredible. The action movies of the 90s have been replaced by the superhero movies of the 2000s, and one of the reasons they have been so successful is the caliber of talent on-screen. Action stars have been replaced by amazingly talented actors, many of which have been nominated for or won Academy Awards for their talents. So many great performances are given throughout the film, that it would be hard to single out just a few.
For fans of the original comics, Days of Future Past does the source material justice while giving moviegoers a new take on a classic story. Everything from the direction and visuals, to the performances and storyline are top notch. It’s great to see the franchise that started it all come back home, and show that they still have what it takes to make an incredible film. X-2 and First Class are usually neck-and-neck when it comes to debating the best X-Men films of all time. However this latest installment is sure to give them a run for their money, and could very well be the best X-Men film we’ve seen yet.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is an A.