X-Men: Days of Future Past
Bringing Together Young and Old

Many thought that the original X-Men series had run its course after 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand.  Five years after that film, the series was supposedly rebooted with X-Men: First Class, which took place in the 1960s and introduced the younger versions of many of the main characters.  It was an interesting new direction and an opportunity to tie the X-Men franchise in with real-life events, such as the Cuban Missile Crisis.  Instead of creating a direct sequel to First Class, however, director Bryan Singer returned to the franchise and created X-Men: Days of Future Past, which manages to feature the casts of both the reboot and the original films.

In a dystopian future, the world has been enslaved by giant robots called Sentinels.  A group of X-Men rebels have found their efforts to combat the Sentinels stalled when the Sentinels develop the ability to adapt to and counter their opponent’s mutant abilities.   Desperate, they realize that their only hope to restore humanity is to send a representative back in time, where they will recruit their younger selves and stop the Sentinel threat at its source.  Professor X immediately volunteers for the mission, but it is determined that the time-travel process will destroy his mind.  Enter Wolverine, whose ability to rapidly heal himself will keep him alive.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future PastWith his mind transported back into the body of his 1973 self, Wolverine seeks out the young Professor X.  Charles Xavier is not quite himself when they meet, however, as a lot of things have gone wrong since First Class, including the Vietnam War and the assassination of President Kennedy, whom his former friend Magneto is accused of killing.  Wolverine eventually brings Charles around and they seek to break Magneto out of prison, because only together can they stop Mystique from setting off a series of events that will eventually lead to their demise.

Although it would have been interesting to see how the young mutants from First Class evolved along with the evolving country throughout the 1960s, the uniting of the older and younger mutants works fairly well.  Days of Future Past is based on a story arc from the comics, in which young Kitty Pryde is the one who travels back in time.  In the film, it is Kitty who uses her time-travel powers to send Wolverine back.  The change proved to be a necessity as Kitty was already introduced as a teenager in the 2000 movies, so she couldn’t possibly transport into her younger self back in the 1970s.

While Kitty uses her power, the rest of the future mutants must protect her from the Sentinels.  This includes Professor X and Magneto, Iceman, Colossus, Blink, Bishop, and Warpath.  Their action scenes are some of the most interesting in the film.  It is one of the few times in the X-Men cinematic universe that we actually see the X-Men fighting enemies by using a combination of their powers, such as when Blink opens up a portal that Colossus jumps through, clobbering a Sentinel on the other end.  We actually see the X-Men working as a team, which is the point of the X-Men in the first place.

As entertaining as they are, though, these scenes are a distant second to the scenes involving a newly introduced mutant in the past.  Quicksilver makes his first cinematic appearance and it is no wonder the filmmakers are already talking about giving him a bigger part in the next film, because he is fantastic.   Recruited by Wolverine to help Professor X and Beast break Magneto out of the most secure prison ever constructed, the super fast Quicksilver has few scenes, but they are memorable, none more than one in which he slows down time to take out of slew of military guards.  Part of what makes him so fun is that he truly seems to enjoy his powers.  In a universe where many characters seem tortured by theirs, his enjoyment of his powers is a breath of fresh air.  The character of Quicksilver is also set to appear in the next Avengers movie and one can only hope that he is as entertaining in that film as he is here.

X-Men has always felt like a secondary franchise to me when compared to the Marvel Universe films or the Batman films, and this movie feels the same.  The action is good, the sense of humor fitting, and the movie is entertaining throughout, yet it never really manages to amaze or “wow” with any consistency.  It is a good superhero movie in a market that is flooded with good superhero movies.  They introduce the villain for the next film in an end-credit sequence; maybe that will be the movie that pushes the X-Men franchise from good to great.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is rated PG-13 for “sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.”  The violence is consistent with the previous films.  The nudity refers to a shot of Wolverine’s hindquarters and the always naked Mystique.

Courtesy of a local publicist, Jeff attended a promotional screening of X-Men: Days of Future Past.