So much for me not writing anything until June…
I am really good at keeping up with my own predictions…
But after spontaneously attending the advanced showing of X-Men: Days of Future Past yesterday, I can’t help myself giving an on time review for it – and yes it will contain Spoilers.
What is it about?
DoFP is a continuation of both X-Men: First Class and X-Men: The Last Stand and starts off in a dystopian future where specifically programmed robots hunt down mutants and humans who are helping them (or are capable of one day having a mutant offspring). In their hunt the so-called Sentinels have destroyed the Earth quite thoroughly and to stop this war from ever happening the remaining X-Men think up a clever plan: Stop the whole thing from ever getting started.
To accomplish this the prominently featured Wolverine’s mind is sent back in time into his younger self’s body to help a lost Charles Xavier to find shape-shifter Mystique and stop her from killing Bolivar Trask, the mastermind behind the Sentinels.
The watching experience
As I hadn’t decided on going to the cinema until Tuesday I wasn’t sure if I’d actually be able to get a ticket, but I wasn’t surprised to find the cinema hall only half empty either. Though I did expect the people attending an advanced viewing to look a bit more nerdy – though there were a few examples of that. Some of them seemed more like they just wanted to see the next movie of the franchise and picked the date out of schedule reasons, but I digress.
The good thing about watching something in the cinema is that you can see the reaction of other viewers straight away and there were a couple quite interesting ones.
Two of them were due to the mutant Quicksilver.
When they had shown how his fast movements seem to him and how he could defeat their enemies in mere seconds nearly the whole hall was laughing at the scurrility of the slow/fast motion sequence and his slight editions to the movement of certain objects and persons.
The second reaction was way before that scene when his mother announced him as “Peter”. Several murmurs rose up as those who know the franchise from outside the cinema noticed the wrongness of the name. Though I do have to admit that while I was confused at the name I simply couldn’t remember what it truly was. It is by the way “Pietro” as I now know again. I am not sure if this “mistake” will be the same in the English version of the movie, as again I’ve only seen the dubbed version. If you know more, let me know in the comments below. (Apparently as Wikipedia has been changed now, the English version is also “Peter”.)
The third reaction was towards the end of the movie at the conclusion of the time travel and the imminent annihilation of the future mutants. When it was finally concluded you could hear a deep exhale in the hall as someone had indeed been holding their breath.
Like with so many movies recently was this one in 3D again.
Apart from quite interesting glass-destructions and some other good scenes, the thing I remembered most was a 3D close up of – I believe it was his – Wolverine’s nose and the utter confusion of why someone would want a nose sticking out of the screen like that…
And again you could see who has watched a couple of Marvel movies in the past, as not that many people left the hall before the post-credit scene.
As is the case with all the X-Men movies this one again had a great ensemble cast of different mutants and humans. With the past and future present throughout the story we also have the chance to not just see Sir Ian McKellen and Sir Patrick Stewart reprise their roles as Magneto and Professor X respectively, but also see Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy continue the younger portrayal of the characters.
Ever since the “original” X-Men triology – especially The Last Stand, even though a lot of fans despise it – and X-Men: Evolutions did Magneto become one of my favourite characters of the franchise. Despite his silly hat and his very, very dark views on things is he one of the most incredibly portrayed mutants. I mean: He ripped out the friggin’ Golden Gate Bridge to build a passage to an island…
In this one his younger self is tearing out a football stadium to create a wall to close them off from spectators. But his powers aren’t the only thing I find fascinating about him. Even if it is a dark and twisted view on things he follows his own path and motivates others to follow in his way. I guess he is just one of those characters that I like because they kind of live in a grey area (a bit like Mephisto, but different as Magneto at least tries to change things for his kind for the better, though he uses some rather unfriendly methods). Needless to say both McKellen and Fassbender again did a great jobs at bringing across the arrogance, determination and vulnerability that are so…Magneto.
Xavier in the originals – and in this one too – is mostly the mentor figure that seems like he just knows everything – maybe he does or at least knows which mind to look into for the information -, while his younger self already has this know-it-all air about him he is far less self-confident. The events of First Class leave him crippled, not just physically, but also mentally as one student after the other left his school and his childhood friend turned her back on him. When we meet him in DoFP he is broken and resorted to alcohol and a medicament that keeps him walking but blocks his abilities and it is Wolverines task to show him that there is still hope. As much as I like Fassbenders outbursts and McKellens speeches, do I have to admit that McAvoy did a great job at portraying this shattered version of a otherwise powerful character, even if he looks like he is about to cry in most of the close ups.
With actress Jennifer Lawrence’ rising fame Mystique seems to become the new Wolverine. More screen time, more incredibly choreographed fights and I also heard rumours of a spin-off. As clear as it is from the beginning that her actions are what causes the Sentinel program to be launched, as unclear is it why she actually wants to do just that. We see that she finds autopsy files of the mutants she and Magneto went off with after First Class (which was ten years before the current storyline! I still can’t get my head around that) and you assume that they became quite close in the time before they were used as lap rats by Bolivar Trask, but why she sets out for a personal vendetta still isn’t said openly. Assuming they go by comic book history and she had a thing with Azazel (*cough*aka baby aka Kurt Wagner aka Nightcrawler *cough*) it would make a little more sense why a formerly good natured person becomes a cold blooded murderer, but I kind of doubt that. She still had some highly impressive stunts and I am just stunned by the abilities of Lawrence and her stunt double.
Originally it was Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat who was sent back in time to change it, for movie reasons they however changed this to her being the one with the abilities to sent back Wolverine/Logan who’s mind would be the only one strong enough to endure such a long journey. In a way he does he not do much to change things and seems to be more of a tag-along than anything else. This might be due to restraints of the time travel, but I guess also because of his claws that are still bones instead of Adamantium and you could really see how he enjoyed that Magneto wasn’t able to Metal-bend him. 😀 As I said Logan did not really feel like a main character this time, which was quite a nice change.
Another tag-along was Beast or Hank McCoy who seems like he isn’t good for anything beside providing meds for Xavier, quarrelling with Magneto and looking longingly at Raven. The young version is such a sweet guy that it is quite a pity he struggles so much with what he is, but as we all know he will turn out to be quite a badass blue ape thing. 😀
The mutant I was most curious about seeing was Quicksilver or Pietro Maximoff, as he is not just portrayed in this movie, but will also have a role in Avengers: Age of Ultron (not the same actor mind you). Even though he was funny, he was a bid too childish for my liking and of course there was his strange hair and outfit that looked like a wig and and terrible fashion sense. As it is known to X-Men fans Pietro is the son of Magneto and even if the mention of his sister (Scarlet Witch) was cut out we still get a comment that his “Mum knew a mutant who also could manipulate metal”. 😀 In short: He wasn’t as bad as I expected he’d be.
Honorary mentions go to the X-Men from the future as they kind of died a lot in the few scenes we had with them. While the first time was a “No!”-moment (in regards to Shawn Ashmores‘ Bobby Drake/Iceman, whom we have known from two movies, being decapitated) for me, the second time was more of a “Shit now it’s final”-moment as I roughly remembered that even though Kitty could change the events in the past, the future was still unchanged.
X-Men: Days of Future Past has a thrilling music score that accompanies visually interesting/stunning scenes and offers a great/incredible cast. It also includes well made nods to the other movies and does something pretty cool with the conclusion – and this is probably a major spoiler: With Wolverines return to his actual time line and the actual success of the whole time travel thing the events of The Last Stand are retconned and the characters who had died in that Sequel are alive again. Meaning: We get cameos from Famke Janssen and James Marsden (Jean Grey and Cyclops), but also a view on Rogue (Anna Paquin) and the “old” Beast (Kelsey Grammer) at the end of the movie.
Already when the credits rolled down I would have liked to watch it again, though not for the price they made me pay…
Stuff I’d like to add
The German additional name of the movie is by the way “Zukunft ist Vergangenheit“, which roughly translates to “Future is Past” and I think it has as much of a different ring to it as “The Dark World” and “The Dark Kingdom” had for Thor.
The post-credit scene was rather cryptic and I believe it hinted at X-Men: Apocalypse (seeing as a worshipped being just build a pyramid without moving that much of a muscle), but the person who did that looked more like a woman that the rather masculine version I remember from the Cartoons. If the next piece in the franchise is indeed Apocalypse than I guess it will be interesting if they will continue with the new cast (McAvoy and Fassbender) or the renewed cast (Stewart and McKellen).
When I got the link from Wikipedia for the poster, the plot was quite interestingly phrased:
“In the dystopian future of 2023, The X-Men go back in time to save the world from the abomination that is X-men: Origins Wolverine.”
Why it did indeed have some major issues, I wouldn’t call the first Wolverine spinn-off an abomination and not that much had been changed with Wolverine’s Origin as the stuff portrayed in that movie was still about to happen to his younger self (see bone claws). If it saved us from anything then from the awful deaths and de-mutations from The Last Stand.
© For the poster belongs to its rightful owner.