X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Days of Future PastA review by Ross Joseph
  • Director: Bryan Singer
  • Written by: Simon Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn, Jane Goldman (story), Simon Kinberg (screenwriter)
  • Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Peter Dinklage

I should warn you, there may possible mild spoilers here.

Plot: Days of Future Past begins in the year 2023; killer robots known as Sentinels roam the lands looking for mutant survivors. Only a handful of mutants remain. Wolverine is sent back to 1973 in the hopes of preventing Mystique from assassinating Sentinel creator, Bolivar Trask, and, in turn, correcting the dark dystopian future that awaits all of humankind.

Review: I’m going to say this right upfront and get it all out of the way. I never in my wildest dreams believed that 20th Century Fox could’ve turned around and saved the X-Men franchise without a full reboot. Don’t get me wrong, X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine were both solid entries in the franchise, but after the utterly shocking and X-Men: The Last Stand I didn’t think there was much of a future left. Turns out I was wrong. Dead wrong.

With most of the cast from the past and future timelines returning along with series regular (and director) Bryan Singer, we have a true return to form. After the release of The Avengers, every studio with a superhero under their belt has decided to copy the formula by Marvel and create a universe for their characters to exist in. And what Bryan Singer and 20th Century Fox have created is a time travelling X-Men film to not only bridge the gaps between past and future characters but also give a soft reboot and continuity shuffle where needed.

The dystopian future segments bookend the film quite nicely showing characters from the previous X-Men films. We see a desperation to survive against the killer Sentinel robots finally brought into the franchise with all the care and (thankfully) money spent on CGI. 20th Century Fox have always been a little tight when it comes to spending money. Even on big name franchises like X-Men, so when the Sentinels first landed I was extremely surprised.

The opening battle of the movie packs more than enough punch to please any action/comic book fan. Iceman ices up and slides along on a slope of ice while Colossus punches his way through Sentinels. I wasn’t expecting anything on this scale and instantly my mind and heart were back with the franchise. These well choreographed action set pieces are strung out through the entire film and come just as often as you’d expect. Even with a 2 hour plus running time, I was never left bored. Always on the edge of my seat hoping Wolverine, played amazingly by Hugh Jackman, would be able to correct the timeline.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique played a pivotal role in the film, however, at times when in full blue makeup, I wasn’t sold. Her acting chops are never called into question but her ability to emote is, for me. Still she is gorgeous to look at on screen and I’m glad her role was expanded upon from First Class.

Another character I was never too fond of in the previous film was James McAvoy as Charles Xavier. He always came across as out of character and too ‘rebellious’ for my liking. Here you see the rebel side toned down and he finally embraces the role as Professor X. Magneto returns played Michael Fassbender and I’m just lost for words. I loved him in First Class and even more so here. He embraces the role with so much gusto that it’s mesmerising to watch him. Sadly his brilliant theme by Henry Jackman didn’t survive the change in director.

A few times I was questioning the film’s CGI but mostly when it came toward the end of the film when 70’s Sentinels were introduced. I wasn’t sure if it was the colour scheme and cheap look within the film universe or the CGI budget beginning to run a little thin. Either way it was only a passing complaint.

Sets looked beautiful at all times and the past 1970s technology made more than a few people in the cinema laugh when Wolverine, with future knowledge, gives a few surprising glances. Needless to say, it was great to have Bryan Singer return as director owning the characters and franchise that he should never have left to helm Superman Returns.

All in all, I’m so happy to have the X-Men franchise back… and stick around until the very end of the credits.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars. An eXcellent return to form.