X-Men: Days of Future Past: spoiler-free review

Having failed miserably to find anyone else who wanted to see this at the cinema, I’ve finally got round to watching the latest X-Men movie on DVD. After watching it, I now see why it was so hard to find anyone who wanted to join me. The movie is terrific, but it heads a long way into fanboy territory, running the risk of leaving the casual viewer behind.

X-Men days of future past

The story opens on a dystopian future earth where mutants are being massacred by world governments. Holed up in their final refuge, the last X-Men resolve to send Wolverine fifty years back in time to 1973. His task is to prevent an assassination which kicked off a wave of anti-mutant sentiment and led to the future mutant genocide.

If that wasn’t convoluted enough, the film also has a vast cast of characters that must be almost impossible to follow for anyone unfamiliar with the comics. In many cases, you’ve barely had time learn the characters’ names before they are being incinerated by giant robots (the Sentinels).

Apart from that, the film is an enjoyable ride with an excellent villain in the shape-changing assassin Mystique, played with panache by Jennifer Lawrence.

The film’s other main villain is the inventor of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask. More could have been made of Peter Dinklage in this role. Why hire such a fine actor and then give him little more to do than squint into microscopes or peer at blueprints?

On the other hand, one of the new mutants, Quicksilver is the find of the film. He is reimagined as a slacker shoplifter who moves so fast that time seems to stop. The effect is like those bits in The Matrix where people hang about in mid-air doing a karate kick with theirs toes twitching, but it’s much more fun here.

The robot sentinels and the spaceships from the future are also very well-realised. It’s funny that we’re so used to excellent special effects these days that we take all that sort of thing for granted.

The regular cast are as good as you would expect and Hugh Jackman continues to triumph as Wolverine. He may be the best casting of a comics character ever: Jackman looks so much like the original.

Fine as Micheal Fassbender and Ian McKellen are as young/old Magneto though, I still prefer the pencil and ink version of the character. Maybe that’s because there aren’t enough scenes of the Master of Magnetism brooding on his satellite, like this one from The Uncanny X-Men 125. (He’s wearing bandages because he had recently been chopped up by Wolverine):

Magneto on Asteroid M

Days of Future Past is a fun picture but the X-Men films would be better if they went more mainstream and threw off all that backstory to make the plots as accessible as those in The Avengers.

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4 responses to “X-Men: Days of Future Past: spoiler-free review

  1. I loved it, though like you, I waited for the dvd… And also as you say I’m an avid X-Men fan. 🙂
    I liked the new character of Quicksilver, but again, for me wolverine won the show.
    Just a note to add here, I’ve never actually read the comics, my following started with the films. 🙂

    • The comics are well worth it, but it’s possible that I only like them because they remind me of my childhood. The stories of Days of Future Past are particularly good, with almost the whole cast of regulars being wiped out (admittedly in a parallel universe!).

  2. I have never gotten into the X-Men stuff, I tried with the first film and if anybody is kind enough to invite to a marathon DVD session then I will most certainly do so but until then the whole thing fails to move me. I suppose I shall have to rewatch Judge Dredd, the wonderful Stallone version of course to satisfy my appetite for comic book adventures.

    • I really liked X-Men First Class so that’s worth a look if you geta chance. Kevin Bacon is particularly good as the villain.
      I like the original Dredd movie too actually – a true guilty pleasure!

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