Film Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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Title – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Director – Bryan Singer (The Usual Suspects)

Cast – Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Patrick Stewart, Sir Ian McKellen

Plot – Wolverine (Jackman) is sent back in time to try and stop Dr. Bolivar Trask (Dinklage) from ever creating a sentinel army that in the future wipes out not only mutants but mankind itself. To do this, Wolverine must team up with a young Professor X (McAvoy) and Magneto (Fassbender).

 The past: a new and uncertain world. A world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes”

Review by Eddie on 22/10/2014

The X-Men series has been with us now for well over a decade and in that time we have been witness to some truly great examples of the comic book genre (X-Men 2, First Class) and some truly forgettable examples of the genre (X-Men 3, X-Men Origins) and in an instance where things seem to have come full circle with the reappearance of the series original helmer Bryan Singer, this latest X-Men falls somewhere in between the others, despite it being arguably at certain times the most entertaining entry into the series to date.

With a convoluted story line that even the slightest thought into will display its many flaws, Days of Future Past for the first 90 or so minutes displays an incredible ability to be fun, frenetic, original and engaging with one of the year’s best singular scenes taking place in the Pentagon and a whole lot of creative banter taking place between everyone’s favourite mutton chop sporting superhero and the younger more sombre Professor X and his loyal sidekick Beast. Time fly’s by as the action takes place in the 70’s, full of camcorder action, 70’s ditties and enough old school fashion to outrival American Hustle, the jaunt back in time really takes X-Men to places we have not yet been and with a fantastic cast, all feels steadily on song to become the quintessential adventure in the series so far but then low and behold like so many before it, this superhero adventure gets lost in its third act.

Days of Future Past seemingly went all out to create a 3rd act not content with one time frame but multiple ones, and it becomes a mess of a million different ideas flying about the screen all at once. There’s mutants v humans, sentinels vs mutants (in the future!), President Nixon and Tyrion Lannister verse our hero’s and a raft of other subplots and ideas to boot. It’s a real shame, but the finale to the film feels like a major step down from what had been building before it and it feels less spectacle and more preaching, which in this genre never seems to completely work. While the ending is a huge anticlimax the acting by the large is fantastic with Fassbender and McAvoy in particular continuing on their fine turns and the direction of Singer is often highly inventive, therefore the film feels frequently fresh.

This newest entry into the X-Men cannon has been highly regarded by critics and audiences alike and with a large haul at the Box Office the world over it looks likely that many will be waiting Apocalypse’s arrival with baited breathe. There is a lot to like in this journey and there are some inspired ideas that sadly culminate in an unsatisfactory and overblown finale. It’s hard to agree with all the praise and love given to this film that in the end is nothing more than an enjoyable romp in the universe that is Marvel, but I guess we should all be thankful, it’s like those horrible Wolverine movies never happened.

3 and a half floating stadiums out of 5

17 responses to “Film Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

  1. I too was disappointed with it. Great action and set pieces, but cared less about the story and its time traveling.

    I could just be a little tired of the X-Men now though, despite really liking First Class. At this point I have no desire to see Apocalypse.

    • I’m very much the same dude. It feels like everything that has needed to be said has been said and I am not sure what else needs to be wrung out of these storylines. It’s been a fun if somewhat topsy turvey journey but one that needs to now be laid to rest.

  2. Stellar read as usual.

    Using “meta” is unfashionable, but this film is 100% meta- it’s about cameras and the impact film has on and in history. God, the second act is nothing but the intrusion of Zapruder-esque celluloid capturing a world changing event. This is movie has far more going on then you might think, or something like that.

    • I like this read! I’ll keep an eye out for this next time I watch it. I found it interesting how the film’s two perspectives – pacifistic/militiaristic – were deepened in context by setting the film in the fallout of the Vietnam War. It’s certainly more intelligent than most of its superhero counterparts.

      • Its not just in the 2nd act though. Magneto takes the coded film strip and lights it through a cravat, like a theater projecting film on a screen. He them uses this aquired knowledge to manipulate other machines, perhaps the transference of analogue to digital.
        And then tv cameras are used exstensively when he attacks the white. Seriously, the camera becomes the main character and its shown all the time (no pun intended) in the film. It’s fucking genius.

      • Makes sense. It ties in well with all the Vietnam references too, given how much that war was shaped by public opinion largely predicated on how it was shown on television.

  3. I agree that the finale is a bit of a letdown compared to the rest of the film, though I felt that was true of First Class as well – these films are all a bit overburdened with setting up subsequent films (understandably, I guess)! I personally put this on par with X2, or at least in the same [ruined] ballpark.

    • The ending informs the conceit of the film as well. Film is an illusion that we share together, like INCEPTION’s over arching metaphor about dream sharing. Only in dreams and visions can the past be rectified and reconstructed into something new- perhaps even to the point of being trivially corny and copping out. And then there’s the title, DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: or, long gone is the dreadful future now behind us. Film is shot in the present but when shown to the viewer it’s a visible past. However it’s played back in the future thus creating an entirely new timeline that can be repeated and altered from time to time within our time.

  4. Pingback: The Best and Worst of 2014: Eddie’s Take | Jordan and Eddie (The Movie Guys)·

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