You’ll have to respect the ambition behind X-Men: Days of Future Past if you manage to find a moment to catch your breath. The film manages to thrill audiences with fantastic mutant battles while staying true to the comic series from which it draws its name.
X-Men: Days of Future Past tells the story of the mutant superhero team in a bleak future where both mutants and normal humans have been imprisoned by the mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels. Times are truly desperate; most mutants have been killed, many humans imprisoned, and only a small band of mutants remain. Former enemies Charles Xavier/Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto (Ian McKellen) have called together the few remaining X-Men in a desperate attempt to rewrite history by sending a mutant’s consciousness back to the past. It seems that by changing key events this bleak future can be avoided. Since the process of sending a consciousness back in time is so destructive to the mind, Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman)is the only one who is suitable for the job. It is up to Wolverine to convince bitter enemies Professor X and Magneto to work together at a time when they could not hate each other more.
There has never been a more ambitious superhero movie than X-Men: Days of Future Past. The cast alone, spanning two separate time periods with vividly-imagined mutants, is a major feat. It would seem that director Bryan Singer has learned much from the superhero film franchises that have evolved around the X-Men film series as it has matured.
The film doesn’t closely follow the comic book story from from which is draws its name, but manages to keep the spirit of the story alive enough to satisfy any comic fan. The film provides vivid mutant characters to enjoy, and seeing each one will leave you wanting more. In the future timeline, seeing Warpath (Booboo Stewart)and Blink (Bingbing Fan) left me craving more of tag-team combat. Warpath is a fearless, ferocious fighter who dares to pull a knife against a super-Sentinel with unimaginable power. Blink’s exotic look is a cool as her power to open portals, and the combat applications are dazzling. In the past, we are introduced to a young Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and his screen time is mesmerizing and hilarious. You’ll leave each encounter feeling a sense of loss, wanting to spend more time on these characters, even while you’re breathless at what is next to come.
Acting performances are stellar throughout, without pausing too long to risk losing the pace of the ambitious plot. Young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) explores new aspects for the character, and his interactions with the younger version of Magneto (Michael Fassbender) are emotionally-charged. Bryan Singer manages to weave Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) into the plot in a way where we get to see some of Lawrence’s acting chops, too. Hugh Jackman falls easily into the role of Wolverine, and he seems to have invented completely new muscle groups to bolt onto his body, even over the hulking form he had for 2013’s The Wolverine. Jackman’s devotion to the fitness of Wolverine is unquestionable.
The plot doesn’t slow down enough for you to focus on any of the continuity errors that have plagued the previous films in the X-Men franchise – and it even goes so far as to repair some of them. As a long-time fan of this story arc, and the accompanying episodes in the 1990s cartoon series, I was disappointed by the Sentinels. We get a solid performance from their creator, Bolivar Trask (portrayed by Peter Dinklage) but the mutant-hunting robots themselves never reach the imposing height I found so menacing as a child. Aside from that, and from the desire to see more of the new mutants we’re introduced to, the film has few flaws.
I give X-Men: Days of Future Past 4.5 out of 5 stars and heartily recommend it as one of the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen.