X-Men: Days of Future Past is a rare instance where the film is not only a prequel, but it is a sequel to a prequel, as well as a sequel to the sequels to that prequel which simultaneously gives you a look at its OWN sequel. Now that your brain has exploded, we can continue by merely referring to it the way it has been advertised—an "inbetweenquel".
This is a film that deals with time travel in a way that doesn't just service as a foundation for the film—it also erases the events that happened in the atrocious X-Men: The Last Stand as well as X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Yes, those movies were so terrible that another movie was made almost entirely to tell the audience "we're sorry".
So how did this film turn out? Was it as disappointing as those movies or did it follow the trend with The Wolverine in healing the franchise?
It's time for another REVIEWPOINT as we break down the film's hits and misses.
As always, let's start with the bad news first.
1. SENTINELS...TO AN EXTENT
Even though I had seen pictures and clips ahead of time and knew full well what I was getting into with this movie, I was still a little disappointed in the Sentinels. Don't get me wrong—they're not bad. In fact, they're almost good. But there are some things that just bother me about them in a way that I can't see placing them in the Hit column.
For one thing, they're not big enough. I wouldn't want them to be painted just like the ones from the comics and look ridiculous, but I would like them to have the same size. It would have been cool to see at least one huge Sentinel in the future, at the very least. Instead, they're just ripoffs of the Destroyer in Thor, right down to the shifting metal faces that shoot out orange energy.
2. DR. BOLIVAR TRASK
This is going to come out in a way that is much more demeaning than it is supposed to be, but it should be said: Peter Dinklage's height was a problem. I actually have no problem at all with them casting Dinklage and I think he did a perfectly fine job in the role as far as getting down the character and being a believable entity in the movie. However, there were multiple times when he was shown on screen where I was hearing laughter from the audience. They were merely laughing at the fact that he's a little person and not at anything inherently funny going on in the movie. Sure, they laughed at the jokes that were in front of them as well, but they also laughed at a scene where Trask was just walking. The character isn't a funny one that is played up for laughs, and this casting decision ended up taking some people out of the movie for a moment just because of the way he looked, which is a shame. Credit goes out to Dinklage for pulling the role off and in a way where I'd love to see him return for the next film, but I still think this is a bit of a Miss. I didn't feel as though Dinklage brought so much extra to the role that his casting was imperative and the filmmakers could have avoided some snickering viewers by putting someone else in that spot instead. I would assume there was an implication of the idea that his dwarfism is a mutation in everyday life, which would help inspire the character, but that point was never addressed to cater to the lesser folk in the audience.
3. QUICKSILVER'S OUTFIT
The guy just looked like such a douche.
4. I WANT TO KNOW JFK'S POWER
The idea that Magneto was responsible for killing JFK was cool enough in my mind and I was ecstatic when I heard that. Changing it up to be the opposite, with Magneto trying to save him because he was a mutant, but then that is it—no further details. Come on, man! (Note: This is not a negative in the sense that I think it hurts the film. This is just me suffering exactly as they intended for me to suffer, because they wanted me to want to know more and that's exactly what is happening.)
1. CONTINUITY HAS CHANGED
This is a big one, if not THE biggest Hit in the movie. Following X2: X-Men United, the series took a dark turn and became incredibly disappointing—and that's being nice. We sat through such garbage as Deadpool with his mouth sewn shut, countless murders of characters due to scheduling conflicts, weak casting decisions (I'm looking at you, Taylor Kitsch as Gambit) and some pseudo-Emma Frost character who was somehow related to Silverfox. This has all been wiped clean from existence due to this movie and we can move on. Hopefully, as we forget that those two films ever existed, the filmmakers will not forget the lessons that they learned through making them.
2. THE 70s WERE NOT OVERPLAYED
It wasn't until afterward, when discussing the film with my fellow Fanboy Sam, that I noticed there was not one instance of the word "groovy". The time period was spoken of and shown through the set design, costumes, and technology, but it was not beaten into our brains. Nothing was over-the-top about it. People weren't doing stupid disco dancing in the streets for a cheap laugh or anything of the sort.
I've always loved the main theme from X-Men: The Animated Series and when they basically came as close as possible to replicated that for X2: X-Men United, it made me very happy. To see that abandoned in The Last Stand was disappointing. With this film, they brought it back, which made me very happy once more. I still would like to see them go full blast and just do the actual animated series theme, but I'll settle for the knockoff.
Too many comic book movies think that the number of laughs translates to how good the movie is and how much money will be made. Often, that leads down the disastrous route of being too funny for its own sake—particularly if the humor is stupid and lazy. For this film, if I'm remembering correctly, I laughed every time I was supposed to and not at anything that was unintentionally funny (such as Bolivar Trask, as mentioned above). In particular, a joke that I was very fond of was Wolverine's surprise that he did not set off the metal detector. Everyone in the audience cracked up at that one and I could hear one woman asking the person next to her to explain why she didn't get the joke. Quicksilver's shining moment was a funny scene that everyone seemed to enjoy as well.
If you have read my reviews in the past, you know that I'm a big fan of cameos in superhero flicks. This movie was chock full of them to the point where I felt very, very satisfied. Little ones like the reference to Quicksilver's biological connection to Magneto were cool and much appreciated, but that final scene...THAT FINAL SCENE! That was fantastic, seeing all of those characters back and in a way that felt like the happiest ending imaginable. I'll admit that I came closer to choking up during that scene than anything that was supposed to be sad in any of the previous films.
It wouldn't have felt as powerful of a resolution without the likes of the core team. Also, the allusion that Kitty and Colossus are dating rather than her being with Bobby? Awesome. Rogue having her powers back? Awesome. But the key to the whole thing was the interaction with Jean Grey and Cyclops. Even though they've always fought in the past over her, I've always liked seeing Scott and Logan still have respect for each other. So good!
I'm still waiting on Avalanche to appear at some point in one of these movies, along with the use of Mr. Sinister and Henry Peter Gyrich as villains, but the way that this film handled the use of characters makes me confident that they will come in time.
Absolutely. This obviously is going to be a movie that you will enjoy significantly more if you have been a fan of the X-Men comic book characters and the previous films. That being said, I would expect casual moviegoers to enjoy it as well. It was a fun ride and entertaining all throughout. Similar to Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider-Man 2, I got the feeling that I was watching a live action adaptation of a graphic novel come to life because that is exactly what they set out to do.