Friday, 30 May 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past (Darth Spock)

X-men: Days of Future Past marks the return of Bryan Singer to the X-men franchise. Singer directed the first two X-men films and produced X-men: First Class. It is well known that X-men 2 is not just a great comic book film, but a great film in general so there has been a lot of hype and expectation surrounding the latest edition to the franchise.

So does the film live up to the hype? Personally I don’t think it does. Before I go on any further I have a SPOILER warning out there. I don’t think that the film is as good as everybody is saying, it does not have the same edge that X-men: First Class has; the 2011 movie was something different from anything before, as a fresh take on a dying franchise, whereas Days of Future Past just feels like a lot of what we have already seen before.

Before I delve into what really annoyed me about this film, I feel like I should give it a chance and talk about what I enjoyed about it. For starters, the acting was fantastic, the First Class cast continued to make the characters their own in this film, especially Jennifer Lawrence. If Mystique doesn’t get her own film after this that 20th Century Fox don’t know what they’re doing!

It was a joy to see the return of some of the original cast, who were all just as good as we remember them, Patrick Stewart will always be Professor X and Ian Mckellen will always be Magneto. Hugh Jackman just gets better at being Wolverine the older he gets. Singer did a great job at making Wolverine a prime character, without making it a Wolverine film.

Easily the highlight of the cast was Evan Peters as Quicksilver, I was completely surprised at how likeable his character was and how well put together his scenes were. Joss Whedon has got a real challenge on his hands to make Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Quicksilver even come close! I also really enjoyed the cameos by other original X-men characters like Jean, Rogue, Beast (Kelsey Grammer is one of the perks from X-men 3) - except Cyclops, whom to this day is still one of the worst casting choices in the franchise.

All of the scenes set in the future were fantastically choreographed and were easily the most enjoyable scenes in the film; the futuristic Centennials were threatening, I mean these things were vicious; some of the kills they performed on the X-men were brutal! They tore Colossus’ in half!

So what didn’t I like about this film? What makes me think that it is a disappointment when the world around me seems to think it’s the best comic book film of the year? The reason I disliked this film so much is that it is basically two hours of Bryan Singer trying to fix the problems of the previous films. If anything it actually creates more questions than it solves. At the end of The Wolverine we see that Xavier is somehow alive, and it is hinted that this will be answered in Days of Future Past, but it isn’t. It is also never explained how Wolverine’s claws become adamantium again, or how Shadowcat can send people’s consciousness back in time.

This is just a small example of what now never has to be explained, because not only does the film make the events of X-men 3 and X-men Origins: Wolverine obsolete, but also all the other films in the franchise except for First Class and Days of Future Past. That also includes The Wolverine, which was a fantastic film for the character, and started him on a path that could finally have led to us seeing Logan in his costume from the comics. The film isn’t even a year old yet and now the events in it never happened!

Also, the Centennials in the 1970’s were underused, especially for something that was one of the driving points of the advertising. As soon as they were activated they were under Magneto’s control so were never a threat to the mutants. I feel as robbed as I did with the Phoenix story in X-men 3 (a film in which the Centennials were also underused!). On that Centennials note, they also under used Trask. Peter Dinklage is great at every role he does, and although Trask is important to the film, he is never seen as a threat.

I am however excited as to what Days of Future Past means for the X-men franchise, especially with X-men: Apocalypse and The Wolverine 2 in the works, along with the planned X-men/Fantastic Four crossover film. I just really hope that they take this chance and explore some of the great story arks from the comics properly.

So overall, I did enjoy certain parts of this film, the cast all work well with each other and I personally believe that McKellen may lose his title as the true Magneto to Michael Fassbender, and there were some really awesome action scenes. I think I ruined the film for myself by getting too excited for it, and expected it to be this perfect X-men film. But ultimately in my eyes, X-men 2 is still the best, followed closely by The Wolverine.

Overall I give the film a 6/10.

David Gillie

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