X-Men: Days of Future Past

PLOT (spoiler alert!!!):

In a dystopian future, sentient robots known as Sentinels are exterminating mutants and oppressing humans, since humans harbor the genes that lead to mutant offspring. A small band of mutant survivors manage to evade the Sentinels thanks to the powers of Kitty Pryde, who has the ability to project a person’s consciousness back in time to deliver warnings.

Kitty’s group rendezvous with Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier in a monastery in China. They hatch a plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to prevent Mystique from murdering Bolivar Trask, the lead designer of the Sentinels. Trask’s assassination will make him a martyr, Mystique will be captured and her mutant powers will be reverse-engineered and used to create the formidable Sentinels of the future. A caveat of the plan is that they will have to stand and defend Wolverine and Kitty until Wolverine finishes his trip to the past and returns, otherwise the changes he made to the timeline will be lost.

Wolverine wakes up in 1973 in his younger body. He travels to the X-Mansion, where he encounters the young Hank McCoy and a disheveled Xavier. His school has failed and most of his original X-Men are dead, and this has left him a broken man. He has also lost his telepathic powers through taking serum which allows him to walk again. Wolverine convinces Xavier to free Magneto — who was accused of murdering John F. Kennedy (a charge he denies, stating that Kennedy was himself a mutant) — from a prison cell beneath The Pentagon. They do this with the help of Peter Maximoff, a mutant who can move blindingly fast.

Trask unsuccessfully lobbies to Congress for approval for his Sentinel program. Meanwhile, in Saigon, Mystique prevents a young William Stryker from appropriating a group of mutant American GIs, including Havok, for Trask’s research. Mystique investigates Trask Industries and discovers he has been capturing and experimenting on mutants, including some of her old comrades. Knowing that the assassination of Trask occurs in Paris, Xavier and Magneto board a private plane with Beast and Wolverine in order to intercept Mystique, although the two argue over abandoning each other.

In Paris, the Americans and Vietnamese are negotiating the end to the Vietnam War. Mystique impersonates a Vietnamese general to infiltrate a meeting with Trask. As she is about to kill Trask, Wolverine, Xavier, Magneto and Hank arrive. To guarantee her powers can never be used for the Sentinels, Magneto tries to kill Mystique, who flees out a window. A fight on the street ensues, in front of onlookers and television cameras. Wolverine’s upsetting encounter with Stryker causes his future body to react violently and injure Kitty.

Although Trask is saved, the world is horrified by the existence of mutants. President Richard Nixon approves Trask’s Sentinel program and arranges an unveiling in Washington, D.C. Trask’s scientists recover Mystique’s blood from the battle site in Paris, and Magneto fears Trask could still create the future Sentinels. Magneto intercepts the Sentinel prototypes on their way to Washington and laces them with steel, as he would not be able to control them otherwise since they’re made of polymer. At the mansion, Xavier eschews his regular serum dose to regain his powers. Through Wolverine, Xavier communes with his future self and is inspired to struggle for human-mutant peace once again. He uses Cerebro to track Mystique en route to Washington.

Nixon unveils the Sentinel prototypes on the White House lawn. As a show of force, Magneto raises RFK Stadium and deposits it around the White House. He also commandeers the Sentinels and has them attack the crowd. Nixon and Trask are taken to a safe room, followed by a disguised Mystique. Xavier, Wolverine, and Beast try to stop Magneto. Magneto impales Wolverine with rebars and flings him into the Potomac River. In 2023, the X-Men make their final stand as the Sentinels assault the monastery.

Pulling the safe room out of the White House, Magneto aims the television cameras at himself and prepares to kill the President with the whole world watching. Disguised as the President, Mystique wounds him with a plastic gun and reveals her true form. Xavier persuades Mystique not to kill Trask and allows her and Magneto to flee. Mystique’s interference is seen as a Mutant rescue of the president; the Sentinel program is cancelled and Trask is arrested.

Wolverine wakes up in 2023 in Xavier’s school, where he finds the X-Men all alive and well, even Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Logan asks Xavier to fill him in on the 50 years that he has missed out on, stating that the history he knew was a different one. In 1973, Mystique, impersonating Stryker, has the younger Wolverine rescued from the river.

In a post-credits scene, a cloaked figure telekinetically assembles the Pyramids of Giza as four horsemen stand behind him and a throng of worshipers chants his name: En Sabah Nur.

REVIEW:

Following the success of X-Men: First Class, fans were wondering if that was a reboot or if we were ever going to see the originals back in their roles (excluding Hugh Jackman, who has been in every film related to this franchise). Well, in order to keep continuity amongst both “timelines”, as we’ll call them, there was one story that could bring them all together. Aside from The Phoenix Saga, it is probably the most popular of the X-Men stories, and now it has made it to the big screen, but how will everyone react to X-Men: Days of Future Past?

What is this about?

This superhero sequel tracks Wolverine’s journey back in time in an effort to alter history and prevent the annihilation of both humans and mutants. Conflict also develops between Professor X and Magneto about the X-Men’s relations with humans.

What did I like?

X marks the spot. There is a reason the X-Men are called “X” men, and it is because of Charles Xavier, one of the most powerful mutants and brilliant minds in the Marvel Universe. Patrick Stewart brought Professor X straight out of the comics in the X-Men trilogy, leaving some very big shoes for James McAvoy to fill when First Class was made. In one of the early trailers for this film, you see the two of them talking, and you get chills. The past meets the present/future sort of thing. I hate to burst your bubble, but that scene isn’t as long as you think, but it is there. What is remarkable about both professors is as the film progresses McAvoy’s Xavier is humanized. We have never really known Professor X to be a flawed individual. Stewart’s version is the wise old sage we know him to be, but the fact that he can influence even his younger self with his wisdom speaks volume to the kind of man he is.

Tyrion. Bolivar Trask is not a likable character in the comics. In the X-Men Universe, we have seen Trask before. Go back and look at X-Men: The Last Stand, you know the X-Men movie everyone wants to forget happened, he’s in there, but it is a very different role. Peter Dinklage’s take on Trask is closer to the comic incarnation. As someone who loves it when they stick as close to the source material as possible, I was loving this. I have to bring this up, though. Dinklage is a great actor, and by winning this role, one that honestly didn’t call for someone of his stature, he may have opened up some doors for others.  I appreciate how that his height is not once mentioned, showing that he was meant to be taken seriously. Although, I could see someone using that in a future film as a mutant thing, or they could just bring in Trask’s son, who is a mutant (just a little info for those unenlightened out there).

Girl on fire. Jennifer Lawrence has really come into her own since we last saw her in blue body paint. Not that she wasn’t already a really fine actress, mind you. I guess the filmmakers paid attention to the Hunger Games films and noticed that she can kick some ass, something that Mystique needs to do. She’s not the timid little girl hanging on Xavier’s coattails as she was when we last saw her but, at the same time, she’s not the focused mercenary we see in X-Men, either. Lawrence realizes this and portrays the inner conflict between which way she should be leaning, which is a primary plot point.

Newness. Along with just about all the cast in the X-Men Universe returning for this film (not sure why Anna Paquin’s character was cut down to cameo at the very end….something I’m not happy about), we have some new mutants joining the fray. Most of which have never been seen any medium, except for Bishop who was in the 90s X-Men cartoon for this very story arc. Also appearing are Warpath, Sunspot, Blink, and Quicksilver. Blink, judging by the post-credits scene and what I know about that story, will be seeing much more screentime, What they did to shower her powers, though, was awesome! While on the topic of awesome, Quicksilver, who will be played by a different actor when The Avengers: Age of Ultron is released thanks to Marvel and 20th Century Fox having a war over these characters with neither wanting to budge (just like Sony with Spider-Man), was a real surprise. I don’t think anyone was expecting him to be that cool, especially when you saw the early pictures. That being said, if there was ever a time to use bullet time, it is with him (and this fall when The Flash comes to TV). These new characters weren’t really needed to breath new blood into the franchise, but they didn’t hurt.

What didn’t I like?

Here Kitty. Ellen Page has never been an actress I have cared very much for. Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat is not a character I have any feeling for one way or the other. So, you can see why Page as Kitty does nothing for me. I’m not going to bitch about her, but rather her sudden ability to transport people through time. If I recall from the comic, Kitty was able to transport herself back, but not other people. The fact that they gave her this ability in the film seemed as if it were an easy way to give her some screentime and keep it somewhat close to the source material, as it is obvious if you have the choice between Ellen Page and Hugh Jackman carrying your film, you go with Jackman.

Talk or fight. If you are an avid reader of my posts, then you know I love me some action and, unless it is a drama, could care less about a lot of talking. This film tries to balance out the dialogue and action, but I fear it doesn’t do it as well. However, there are some quite heated interactions between McAvoy’s Xavier and Michael Fassbender’s Magneto that were just as good as an all out brawl. Still, I was hoping we’d get more fun action, but I guess they can’t all be Captain America: The Winter Soldier, can they?

Be quick about it. As I said earlier, the effects on Quicksilver were great, but not everything worked as well. His personality, which actually is the personality he has in the comics, at least from what I’ve read. I’m not necessarily saying that I’d change anything about the way he was portrayed or tone it down when/if they show him as an older version of himself, but maybe not focus so much on him being as much of a dick towards everyone. I did appreciate the mention to Magneto when he broke him out of prison that his mom knew someone who could control metal, that was a nice little easter egg.

The perfect Storm. I have never had any problem with Halle Berry as Storm, except for that weird African accent she tried to have in the first film. Apparently, I’m one of the few, though, because it seems as if no one liked her as Storm. Not to spoil anything, but not only is she not in this film very much (she became pregnant during shooting, if I’m not mistaken, which caused them to change what they were going to do with her character), but she also has something major happen to her that will rock you one way or the other depending on how you feel about her character. Personally, I don’t think it should have happened, but given what was going on with everyone around her at the time, it makes sense.

People are already saying that X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best entry into the franchise. I can see how they think that, but for me this doesn’t stand out as the best. It is still pretty damn good, though. As one of the movie review podcasts I listen to pointed out, this was the triumphant return of Bryan Singer (who directed the first two X-Men films before leaving to do Superman Returns). The fact that Singer brings back the original theme should tell you something about how this film is going to be in comparison to what we got after he left. Hopefully, they won’t scare him off again! Do I recommend this film? Yes! Yes! Yes! It is a must-see before you die! Don’t forget to stick around after the credits for a scene that, if you’re a fan of the comics, you’ll know what it leads to and will more than likely piss yourself!

4 3/4 out of 5 stars

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3 Responses to “X-Men: Days of Future Past”

  1. […] can’t compare it to the superhero masterpieces of today, such as both Captain America films, X-Men: Days of Future Past, etc., but I think you can have a good time when you watch, so check it out […]

  2. Mystery Man Says:

    Reblogged this on Mr Movie Fiend's Movie Blog.

  3. […] I was in tonight was actually more packed than the ones for Transformers : Age of Extinction and X-Men: Days of Future Past. I guess there is something to be said for a good family flick. That is what this is, a good family […]

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