Sunday, August 30, 2015

Movie Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Ian McKellan, and Patrick Stewart
Directed by Bryan Singer

While perhaps an unpopular opinion, I think that X-Men: First Class is one of the best superhero movies of all time.  Upon a second watch right before viewing its sequel, I once again was captivated by the flick's stories, direction, 1960s setting, and acting.  So, X-Men: Days of Future Past admittedly had a tough act to follow and while it doesn't quite live up to the high water mark of its predecessor, the film's attempt to bridge both the current generation of 2010's X-Men franchise with the 2000s X-Men franchise is solid.

Sometime in the future, robots known as Sentinels are killing all of the mutants and Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan) have devised a plan using Kitty Pryde's (Ellen Page) powers to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back in time in order to try and change their present.  It's determined that post-Vietnam War, Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) was captured by the US government and her DNA was studied by military scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) in order to create the shape-shifting beings known as the Sentinals.  By sending Wolverine back to right before Mystique is caught, Professor X and Magneto are hoping that they can change the course of history and prevent the Sentinels from even existing.

Fortunately, the dank, dark, overly computerized world of the future takes a backseat to Wolverine's trip down the 1970s memory lane and the large majority of Days of Future Past takes place in the past with James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprising their roles as the younger versions of Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr (Professor X and Magneto, respectively).  Once again, director Bryan Singer does a really great job creating a believable 1970s world for the X-Men to inhabit and it creates a landscape we don't often see in superhero movies that are so often told in the present day.  This retro feel continues to work to this X-Men iteration's advantage.

For the most part, the acting ensemble works well together, although I found the focus on Jennifer Lawrence's Mystique to leave a little to be desired.  Behind all that make-up and computer-generated blueness for her character, Lawrence's emoting stays a bit hidden which is a bit of a shame.  Additionally, the actors that make up the "future" segment of the film aren't given a whole lot to do and what they are tasked with gets repetitive pretty darn quickly.

While X-Men: Days of Future Past isn't as interesting or compelling as First Class, I give the film credit for refusing to back down from its conceit of pitting the X-Men against one another as they struggle to figure out whether the US government wants to help or hurt them.  This creates a constant feeling of uncertainty amongst the characters that gives them all much more depth than we have come to expect in superhero movies and it's one of the biggest reasons I think this X-Men series has been so successful.

The RyMickey Rating:  B

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