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Review - X-Men Days of Future Past

By midlandsmovies, May 10 2014 04:00AM

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Dir. Bryan Singer

Inspired by Chris Claremont /John Byrne's X-Men comic, "Days of Future Past" (Uncanny X-Men #141 &142 from 1981) the movie brings back original helmer Bryan Singer who returns to the franchise that could be argued kick-started the now epic Marvel superhero club. Set in the 70s (Logan’s sideboards now fashionably cool), the cast of Matthew Vaughan’s First Class reprise their historical roles alongside the modern day versions played by Jackman, Page, Berry and co and for this seventh (!) film I wondered if they could come up with something relevant? Well, with enough (read: loads of) nods to all the films whether it be cameos, pictures, or during conversations, nearly every X-Men that hasn’t died (and some that have) gets a bit of screen time which keeps the movie moving at a high pace. The story concerns itself with Trask Industries who have used Mystique’s shape-shifting DNA to create adaptable Sentinels that are hunting mutants (and any human helpers) in a dark future.

This future incidentally looks a little like Tron: Legacy and Kitty Pride uses enhanced powers to place Logan’s conscience in a younger version of himself to get the X-Men to change the past to stop the current future playing out. Got it? Well, the multiple story strands actually work well together and there’s enough exposition and cross-cutting to explain the plot but as blockbusters go, it’s the action sequences and great head-to-heads that linger most in the cerebrum. Peter Dinklage stars as the villain Trask (although it isn’t as clear cut as it should be) and Logan enlists the help of Beast, Xavier and new guy Quicksilver, with super speed powers to put a stop to the seemingly inevitable. It is a sequence that involves unleashing Magneto that Singer shows his directorial flair as we see Quicksilver’s speed in a slow-mo action sequence that is inventive, funny and looks amazing with mostly in-camera effects.

As I’ve mentioned elsewhere on the site, this franchise work so much better as a group than any standalone film and this new ensemble raises the bar for The Avengers sequel as it acts as both prequel and sequel (300 Rise of an Empire tried this as did more critically acclaimed Godfather Part 2) but the many characters are handled well by the director throughout. Avengers 2 will also have a version of Quicksilver (!) but Singer has thrown down the power gauntlet with his interpretation of the character. With consequences wiping out certain futures and starting others, the multi-verse nature of the movie essentially stops any fan-boy continuity niggles (something most viewers wouldn’t care about anyway) and Fassbender, McAvoy and Jackman are given the best lines with the future Xavier and Magneto (Stewart and McKellan) a little underused. With further great set pieces including another White House attack echoing past struggles and some jail breaks, aeroplane spinning and excellent fist fights with Mystique and Beast – Singer returns to basic but effective punch-up choreography - DOFP is the perfect balance of familiar old themes/faces and a new direction which wipes away any memories of past mis-steps.

8.5/10 MM Mike

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