By: Heather Seebach
For fans of the X-Men comics and animates series, the "Days of Future Past" storyline is a beloved one. It sees a dark future where mutants are held captive in internment camps and a member of the X-Men must go back in time to change the course of history. It is a perfect choice for Bryan Singer's return to this franchise as director, and perfect timing since it allows a mash-up of his X2 characters and their younger counterparts established in Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class. Essentially, this film had the potential to combine the two best X-Men films so far. Well, good news: it does exactly that!
Days of Future Past begins in the dystopian future where the X-Men are frantically running from mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels, and their only hope is Kitty Pryde's ability to send someone's consciousness into a younger version of themselves. Xavier and Magneto team up to stop a common threat - an event that happened 50 years ago and thus carved out this bleak future for mutant-human relations. Wolverine is the unlucky one who must travel back in time and seek the help of a young Professor X, Eric Lehnsherr, and others.
This installment toys with comic book canon, movie chronology, and real-life history in puzzling but satisfying ways. The latest movie has the complicated challenge of tying together multiple timelines - created by multiple filmmakers - without stepping on too many narrative toes. Major plot points, like who goes back in time and why, are changed from the comic but those alterations make good sense here. Plus, it means more Wolverine action - and who doesn't want that? As for film continuity, inconsistencies are inevitable with six prior X-Men films (and five different directors), but there is nothing that cannot be forgiven.
Perhaps the most surprising thing about this sequel is the way it unravels movie canon. When it comes to the abortion known as X-Men: The Last Stand, that is a good thing! Days screenwriter Simon Kinberg also wrote X3, a film about which he apparently has regrets, and he considers this his chance to set things right - oh hey, just like the X-Men!
Aside from Logan, Singer's original characters are given very little to do. The scenes of the older incarnations scrambling to escape the Sentinels look an awful lot like the real world in The Matrix. The battles are a clusterfuck of off-putting CGI and the Sentinels 2.0 are like boring, ugly knock-offs of The Destroyer in Thor (fire-face and all). Needless to say, the decision to limit these scenes to a small portion of the film was a smart one. The First Class are the stronger characters at this point, and the ones who have least worn out their welcome.
While Vaughn's film was largely a Magneto origin story, Days of Future Past is a showcase for Mystique and Xavier, specifically the dark piece of their history we have never seen. Magneto takes a slight backseat but he is more sinister than before and thankfully not watered-down. In addition to the fantastic cast of First Class, there are some new faces. The most notable addition is Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who, despite initial fan reactions, nearly steals this entire movie! Do not be fooled by the Halloween store costume and that god-awful Hardees/Carls Jr. commercial that was our introduction to the character. You will be wishing for a lot more of him by the time this film is over!
There is some questionable logic and a few timeline inconsistencies but Days of Future Past is a fun blockbuster mixed with pure fan service. It most closely resembles X-Men: First Class only with Singer's competent touch and 100% more Wolverine! There are some great crowd-pleaser moments (e.g. the entire prison break sequence), cameos, and cute little nods to the comics. If you're a fan of the comics, make sure you stay until the credits are over!
X-Men: Days of Future Past opens in theaters nationwide on May 23rd!