Days of Future Past is the best X-Men Movie?!
X-Men Days of Future Past was released in 2014 and now just three short years after I finally got round to a review my copy of the Blu ray. Days of Future Past saw the return of Bryan Singer as director and was a worthy sequel to the excellent X-Men: First Class which recast many of the well-known X-Men characters back in 2011. In my opinion this is the best X-Men movie and I'll tell you why.
The opening of this movie takes us to a dark and desolate New York City with a voice over by Patrick Stewart's Professor X who brings us up to speed with this new story. At some point in the past Sentinels were created to rid the world of mutants which resulted in death and destruction around the globe. We soon learn that Kitty Pride (played by Ellen Page - last seen in X-Men: The Last Stand) has the ability to transport consciousness back in time. In steps Hugh Jackman as Wolverine who is sent back to the 1970’s to recruit a depressed Charles Xavier. James McAvoy returns as Xavier in DOFP and out of the many characters featured in the movie, he has the most intriguing character arc. In the 70’s it has been roughly 10 years since the events of First Class left the professor paralysed and in an attempt to cope with his despair he becomes addicted to a substance that both removes his mutant abilities and restores the use of his legs. As always McAvoy is impressive in this role and is convincing as a desperate and beaten version of Charles – something I haven’t seen before on screen. I also never thought I would see an addiction story line in a comic book movie and really thought the MCU would get there first with a Demon in a Bottle adaption with Tony Stark.
Hugh Jackman rarely – in fact never disappoints as Wolverine and Days of Future Past is no different. This is possibly the best Logan appearance in the entire X-Men series with moments of levity and clear frustration when he is trying to recruit the younger Professor X. The role reversal between the two characters was engaging and different to what we have seen in the past.
The movie steams ahead nicely but does start to lose its way in the third act. I would like to have seen more tension build when the future X-Men are facing their last stand (no pun intended). I would have preferred if we had been shown the sentinels approaching with the characters learning of their arrival when it was almost too late. The way the story played did make for a decent climax in both the past and the future and there were some clever parallels in some of the action sequences so the lack of tension is only a minor complaint.
While I enjoyed the 70’s vibe of the movie I don’t think the creators made the most of the opportunity with the music. We could have had some really iconic songs or riffs which would have added to the feel of the era it was set in. For the most part the music was forgettable aside from a lyric from a James Brown song spoken by Michael Fassbenders Magneto.
Fassbender was pretty great in this film also but as with some of the other key players, he was simply out shined by McAvoy and towards the end of the movie I felt that some of Magneto’s choices were contrived and a little too sadistic for the character.
This movie was the darkest out of all of the X-Men movies to date and the thing that impressed me most is that there were genuine moments of levity and fun scenes which a certain other comic book movie universe struggles with. There is some really funny dialogue in this film and it was impressive that a movie with such a bleak story line was able to bring the funny.
The main villain in this film was Bolivar Trask who is trying to get his Sentinel program up and running in an attempt to rid the world of mutants. The thing that made Trask interesting (and any movie villain for that matter) was that he really believed in what he was doing and rather than seeing himself as a war monger he was striving for peace in the long run. Of course he was wrong but you could make sense of his twisted logic and was a nice change from the moustache twirling archetypal villain we have become used to in comic book movies. Peter Dinklage was solid in this movie and I would really like to see the character return somehow in future X-Men movie or TV show. It's also worth mentioning that Trask's hair in this movie is magnificent.
All in all Days of Future Past was the peak of the X-Men franchise for me and I don’t think they will ever quite reach that height again. It is a high bar after all.
What is your favourite movie from the X-Men franchise? Did you enjoy Days of Future Past? Would you preferred if the creators followed the source material more or were you happy with the changes made? Let me know on Twitter and Facebook and connect with me on Comic Movie Box to be kept up to date with new articles and competitions.