X-Men: Days of Future Past is full of distractions. But don’t let Fox pull the wool over your eyes.
The latest mutant romp is an adaptation of the famous Chris Claremont comic book story of the same name. All the X-Men are living in a bummer of a future and it’s up to Wolverine to go back to the past and set the misguided youth on track all the while running into hilariously naïve versions of all of his bros and taking in the whacky trends and fads of the day.
It’s a story we’ve seen before. Like, a dozen or so times. But it’s easily the most conceptually ambitious undertaking in the franchise’s fourteen year, seven film history.
Distractions that they are, writer Simon Kinberg does a fantastic job of juggling the multitude of characters present here, from all walks of the X-Men film universe. With so many first-rate actors playing as many interesting characters, giving them all something worthwhile to do is imperative and Days of Future Past absolutely succeeds in doing as much.
If they were to make an Expendables-like movie twenty years from now that gathered together the biggest movie badasses of today, the Stallone alpha would be Jennifer Lawrence. In Days of Future Past Mystique takes on the role Michael Fassbender’s Magneto filled in X-Men: First Class, running around the world beating the crap out of people and being a kickass wildcard. The entire movie essentially hinges on a battle for Mystique’s soul and Lawrence easily shoulders the responsibility of the role.
Lawrence is joined by most of her X-Men: First Class peers. Although Fassbender isn’t slaying ex-Nazi’s this time around his Magneto still commands the screen in every scene he’s in. James McAvoy delivers a righteously angry performance as a physically and emotionally broken Charles Xavier and Nicholas Hoult’s Beast can still turn into a big blue Fraiser monster.
But one of the big draws of Days of Future Past is that it not only boasts the return of said First Class, but of the mutants and actors from the original three films as well. Namely the big guns, best bros Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. You’d certainly be forgiven for not seeing exactly what Fox is doing here while watching these to power houses look at each other with their aged, wisened eyeballs, gabbing like a couple of school girls in their grandiose, Shakespearean voices.
And of course, Hugh Jackman is just a heap of distractions, be they veins, muscles, his butt (rated PG-13), or the fact that at this point he has pretty much become a living, breathing Wolverine.
And then there’s Quicksilver, that quick guy that nobody ever heard of a year ago that everyone knows about now because Fox and Marvel Studios have both decided to include their own interpretations of the character in their respective X-Men and Avengers films. Evan Peter’s take on the character provides a fun, lovable smartass and his powers are no doubt some of the coolest, but at the end of the day Quicksilver’s still a weirdo with gray hair. Talk about distracting. I’m just saying.
So whose Quicksilver is going to be superior? That’s exactly what Fox wants you to be thinking about.
There are a boatload of mutants in Days of Future Past, and when you get more than three of them together? Forget about it. The special effects sequences here provide some fantastic action. There’s that mutant whose power is that he just shoots a big gun, and man does that gun look awesome. And the ice guy? His ice is the iciest ice, let me tell you. And Blink? I don’t know who the hell Blink is, but she’s the closest we’re likely to get to a Portal movie.
And there’s Peter Dinklage!
Days of Future Past’s fights are so spectacularly choreographed. Its mutants are so varied and numerous, its actors so on point and its story so all-inclusive that you’d be forgive for not seeing that Days of Future Past most significantly represents Fox’s masterful, unofficial rebooting of the entire X-Men franchise.
Pretty sly, yeah?
Without spoiling anything specific, the time-traveling nature of Days Future Past essentially provides an eraser to the white board of the hit-or-miss X-Men film mythology. It provides Fox with the opportunity to rewrite and revise the lowest lows in the series without shoving another cast and another origin story down our collective throats like Sony’s still bemoaned reboot of the Spider-Man franchise.
With Days of Future Past, Fox can now tweak the story-telling sensibilities of a franchise that started over a decade before The Avengers, to keep it more in line with the more evolved superhero movies of today. Talk about mutation, AM I RIGHT!?
It’s a bold move, and one that Fox is pretty heavily downplaying. You know, by not bringing it up at all. But Days of Future Past is the ultimate win-win scenario. Fox gets to retread tried and true territory, this time avoiding the potholes it now knows are in the road along the way, and audiences get more of a well-loved franchise without having to reorient themselves to an entirely different model. So far as uncovered conspiracy theories go, this one proves to be pretty pleasant.
Don’t think you could pull a fast one on me, Fox. I got you pegged.
And, as always, God have mercy on the soul of the sorry sonuvabitch who has to take over for Hugh Jackman.
1. Would you have rather Fox just straight-up started over with the X-Men, rather than venturing into the incredibly comic-booky world of alternate timelines and the like?
2. Why doesn’t Quicksilver just dye his hair instead of running around looking like an idiot?
3. How does Hugh Jackman’s butt make you feel?