Days of Future Past returns movie going audiences back to the days where Brian Singer was in control of the merry band of mutants and all of their aesthetic trappings. That was almost enough right there to get my buttocks into a seat to screen this over Memorial Day weekend. The coup de grace was the enormous cast with an ambitious storyline that spans two different time periods in an attempt to merge the First Class film with the old guard. Did it work?
I thought so. In fact there wasn’t too much about the movie I didn’t outright dislike in such a manner that I desperately needed to run to twitter or some other social media to scream bloody murder about needlessly. I enjoyed the transitions between the bleak post Sentinel future and the Vietnam War/Nixon era of the 1970’s. I enjoyed the opening sequence so much I realized that Singer may also be the person who could successfully do a Terminator film. Look at how he shoots the scene with the bones, the ominous lighting choices, and the cattle cars for humans and mutants alike. Pretty chilling stuff.
I also enjoyed the look of the Sentinels in both past and future versions. The look of Trask’s designs really felt as if they jumped off of a comic book page. With the use of purple and off white plus the lanky yet somewhat chunky exterior I yearned to see some old school style battles between the mutants and these new machines. Yet it was the Sentinels of the future that really showed off just how bad things get for the X-Men in the future.
Adaptable, nigh invulnerable, and damn near unstoppable. If this was rated R the scenes with these bad boys would be a horror show….especially with….no….that would be spoiling. I’m trying not to do that as best as possible. I think you’ll enjoy watching these Sentinels work.
Speaking of the Sentinels lets talk about their creator Bolivar Trask who is played by Peter Dinklage. I thought he played the part of a cold, science minded weapons monger with a somewhat subdued sadistic glee. Referring to mutants as “it” just added to the way Trask viewed those who are different from him; it was as if Trask was being played as having a messianic complex merged with a Napoleonic one. I felt he was far worse than how William Stryker was portrayed in X2 and Stryker was a bastard. Yet for all my praise of the role I just don’t like Dinklage. He’s a fine actor but I just don’t like him and I don’t know why. There is another in the cast that I do not care for but I will digress for a moment and talk about how finely cast this film really was. Lets start with Michael Fassbender. How was he in the movie? Look at his title card!
Yes that is a Photoshop and I don’t care. Fassbender and McAvoy both nail the younger versions of Charles and Erik that we have known for years. I was eagerly awaiting their reunion; almost as much as Sir Patrick and Sir Ian’s on screen reunion. I have felt that Fassbender understands Magneto almost better than McKellen does and he just oozes confidence, determination, and righteous indignation that makes Magneto such a powerful villain.
Temper that with a man fueled by the pain of the losses of his “brothers and sisters” and you really have a hard time feeling contempt for such a complex character. Fassy gets this. Everyone else was also firing on all cylinders too. Miss Lawrence was just a joy to watch as Mystique and it was refreshing seeing the character being portrayed as a complex individual than Magneto’s shape shifting henchman. Nicholas Hoult brought Hank McCoy to life again. Jackman is Wolverine again. I like his portrayal of Logan but I just wished this wasn’t so Wolvie centric this time around. Additionally all of the smaller (recurring) roles were equally well played and it looked like the cast just had a blast putting on the X-Gene one more time. But the one that stole the show for me and my movie going buddies was Quicksilver.
Evan Peters blew my mind here. He got it. He got the smug attitude, the superiority complex, and the squirrel on cocaine laced coffee hyperkinetic behavior that is all earmarks to Peter Maximoff. Additionally the scene where Quicksilver cuts loose in the kitchen is just jaw dropping but more importantly FUN. You see how Peter sees the world around him move and easily see why he is oh so very powerful with just super speed. After seeing this version of Quicksilver I can conclude that Whedon and Avengers 2’s “miracle” have their work cut out as this could be this definitive cinematic Quicksilver. Yes I completely dropped my critical eye and just geeked out during the scenes he was in; I admit it.
Overall I was content with this movie; it delivered a fun X-Men franchise film that was (in essence) a giant reset button from which they can move forward without all of the ill will and bad juju that came along with X3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and The Wolverine. This is the fresh start that Fox needed to keep this franchise running and now the future is bright for the time being. There were some mild pacing issues that cropped up; at one point I thought to myself “shouldn’t this be almost over now” and we still had another 45 minutes to go. It could have be tightened up some more in post production as I thought quite a few scenes lingered on more than needed but that didn’t detract from the overall fun of it.
X-Men Days of Future Past is a good but not great movie. I feel that is due to this film correcting the sins of the past franchise films. Yet Singer and crew do the unthinkable and keep it entertaining and make the audience want more. I look at this film as a new #1 and it now can only get better from here.
And yes there is a post credits scene to allude to what is coming next. It made me happy.
Oh and who was that miscast actor that I’ve despised for many years?