Well, here it is, the most current film in the X-Men series prior to the new release X-Men : Apocalypse – X-Men :Days of Future Past.
Seeing Bryan Singer returning to the directorial duties for the first time in the series since X2 : X-Men United, this time with a screenplay by Simon Ginsberg who had previously written X-Men : The Last Stand. Interestingly, story credits also go to Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughan, who had been previously linked to directing the film, opting to go and make Kingsman : The Secret Service instead…
Opening in a post apocalyptic setting reminiscent of the opening scenes of Terminator, we find the older versions of Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine and a number of other mutants. Their adversaries are a series of robotic soldiers known as Sentinels, that have been developed using mutant DNA which allows them to adjust to whatever mutant they are facing.
In response to the seeming inevitable loss, Wolverine is despatched back to 1973 in order to unite the X-Men of that time following X-Men : First Class and attempt to prevent a series of events that snowball from that year, linked to Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask and his work in attempting to detect and attack mutants.
The film serves as a collision between the two different X-Men cinematic ‘establishments’ with us seeing the original Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellan et al from the first few movies, but largely focusing on the James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and co more recent portrayals.
Alongside the traditional characters, we also meet some new mutants especially Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who is the star of a slow-mo scene which is a standout moment in the whole film.
To the film’s notable credit, it pulls this whole thing off. Something that could have ended as a complex mess actually delivers a clever, engaging storyline. Much like in the JJ Abrams Star Trek, its a form of ‘time travel reboot’ which has recently emerged, where we’re able to see time travel creating enough space the a franchise can find new freedom from its past stories.
Much like Sean commented on my review of X-Men : First Class, its also something that Terminator : Genesys attempted and failed miserably with. You can’t help thinking that the James Bond franchise must have considered something like this to try and find a way to remake some of the 80’s messes that Roger Moore offered to the world.
Anyway, I digress…
X-Men : Days of Future Past might be the smartest Comic book movie out there. Not the best, but the smartest. The way it links the two generations of characters in a way that hangs together in a compelling, exciting story is a huge achievement. Placing different actors playing the same character in a film is a dangerous game, but the McAvoy / Stewart and Fassbender / McKellan performances are consistent enough for this not be an issue at all (especially with Michael Fassbender having settled on a single accent for Magneto in this film). And for me it really works.
I loved it and think it’s the best of the series.