Film Review: X-Men: Days Of Future Past

It’s been a while since I last enrolled in Charles Xavier’s School For Gifted Youngsters, in fact I would even go as far as saying that I have in fact skipped a couple of the more recent classes and going into X-Men: Days Of Future Past, in all honesty I wasn’t as revised and ready as I probably should have been.

There was always a fear, that when essentially my knowledge and viewings of the franchise come from the original 4 films, and having missed the last two, 2011’s First Class and 2013’s The Wolverine, that I would be leaving myself wide open to being completely: confused, befuddled and unable to follow who was what and what was why. And as the opening action sequence started these fears grew louder as Mutants I didn’t recognise and powers of almost unrealistic believability saw battle against Sentinels of even stronger persuasion. Leading to an opening gambit of what have I let myself in for and why didn’t I catch up with the franchise before diving into the current film.

However, just as I was beginning to resign myself to an evening’s confusing and annoyingly pointless entertainment along came my old friends: Charles, Eric and Logan. Along with a few others; to take my by the hand and give me a brief guided tour back through the franchise, setting the scene and explaining who, what and why was confusing me so badly. And from that moment on, everything started to fall into place and make sense. Slightly dubious sense, but sense none the less.

James McAvoy & Patrcik Stewart - X-Men Days Of Future Past

Over all my feelings towards the film are that it has problems but manages to over come them. There are some major flaws in the plot and it does just crash blindly from action sequence to action sequence trying not to create too many unanswerable questions but sadly, nothing ever really feels connected and in harmony with each other. As a plot, I got the distinct impression that it’s really just filler. That far greater influences hang over this film and that the story and the actions it treats us to are merely a tool to pass the time. Because, for me, this film is essentially nothing more than an entire movie rebooting the franchise and attempting to give it a new direction to head in. Since it came back to the big screen 14 years ago, the franchise has been driven by the skill and class brought to it by the two Knight’s – Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen. No matter how poor the ideas, with that much acting talent to drag it through it virtually couldn’t fail. However, they’re getting old and this is Hollywood, so it’s time to refresh things and breath another 14 years into the mutant “X” Gene.

Normally, as shown by Christopher Nolan with Batman, rebooting is simply done by writing a script from a new angle, shooting some films and releasing a trilogy, but instead Bryan Singer decided to reboot the franchise in the middle of the film and so, mental time travel becomes a reality and Wolverine is sent back in time by Charles to find Charles, meet up with Eric and stop Mystique, who is also called Raven. Confused? To clear things up: Hugh Jackman is sent back in time by Patrick Stewart to find James McAvoy, meet up with Michael Fassbender and stop Jennifer Lawrence. See makes things much easier to follow!

And while the plot sounds a bit far fetched and actually, really is a bit daft and slightly at loggerheads with some of the stories told throughout the first 4 films as I remember them, you buy into it. You accept it, it is actually fairly entertaining. The problem I had though was believing in the casting. You don’t spend the film comparing new to old, Fassbender to McKellan. In fact, I actually forget the original older versions existed for large portions of the film. The problem is the casting of the younger versions. There just isn’t any chemistry. McAvoy seems totally removed from the person he becomes, that you can’t accept the one-line passing off issued by Patrick Stewart of “I was a different person back them” and his relationship with Fassbender just seems false, frictional and unlikely to have ever formed in the first place. This isn’t helped by the fact that Fassbender looks a lot, lot older than McAvoy, who appears not much older than the students he apparently lost to the War in Vietnam. They’ve rebooted the main protagonist’s sadly too far away from each other to ever truly feel they could come¬†back to the position we have been treated to by them in later life.

Jennifer Lawrence - Mistique - X-Men Days Of Future Past

Jennifer Lawrence doesn’t help this uneasy feeling towards the casting either. There is just something about her performance that feels too far removed from the character Rebecca Romijn brought to life. Romijn had a sinsister, almost wicked glint in her eye that made you instantly understand her motives and forget the female vulnerability so visability on show and yet Lawrence fails to convey this and instead brings almost too much physical strength to the role.

However, once again Singer and the franchise managed to gloss over these gearing obvious issues and create a film that feels polished, professional, entertaining and engrossing. As I’ve said, this film has some serious problems in both plot and script and yet, even with all of that I thoroughly enjoyed it! I even saw it in 3D and while it ran the risk, being mostly character interaction, of losing depth perception and scale – something that crops up once or twice – most of the time the 3D actually looked real, and dare I say it, almost added and improved the film. I still don’t think 3D will ever be the “de facto standard” but for once, you won’t be entirely wasting money choosing the 3D screening over a flat version.

My only parting shot is that the ending is pointlessly silly and appears more a case of trying to quickly close the doors and tie the movie back into the originals. But it’s done at such a pace I felt almost cheated by it. It still wasn’t enough to dampen my enjoyment though.

8 out of 10 stars (8 / 10)

Posted on by 5WC in Film First Edition

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