Confusing trailers including Charles Xavier alive and well in the future, and young Charles Xavier walking? Yep. That’s what I took from the Days of Future Past trailers when they first hit our screens. Albeit the whole Professor X (Patrick Stewart) being alive was my own fault as I didn’t see the post-credits sting in X-Men 3. (Could you blame me?) But the whole James McAvoy Xavier walking was confusing to me at first. But it’s cleared up, nothing to worry about, move along.
Okay, what is happening in Days of Future Past, set around 2020 (something like that), Mutants and humans with mutant genes are being targeted by these Sentinels that are completely badass and kill off everyone effectively. An impressive opening featuring new mutants, Warpath, Blink and Bishop. Blink was pretty cool sending Kitty and Bishop through portals and helping Warpath try to dismantle the sentinels. All very impressive, slick movements in a fast-paced action sequence.
Bryan Singer in this latest X-Men film has decided to delve into time-travel and the altering of past and futures. It’s a little hard to comprehend, but I can promise throughout the film it’s relatively simple. Kitty, Bobby, Bishop and the rest of the crew are joined by Professor X, Magneto, Storm and of course Wolverine and formulate the plan to save the mutants in the future. What caused all this sadness and desolation occurred in the 1970s when Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) killed Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) which caused the governments to take up Trask’s plan to stop the mutants via his Sentinels plan.
Wolverine, the only man capable of withstanding the immense pressure this time travel puts on their minds, is sent back to the 70s, via a power Kitty has, to stop Raven from killing Trask. That is the bread and butter of the storyline. I expected when I heard this explained on-screen to be a continuous shift between the past and the future with the future mutants protecting Wolverine and Kitty primarily. This was not the case, of course the film would have to go back into the future and show the mutants fighting off the sentinels attack, but the film primarily takes place in the 70s with the younger, fresher looking mutants.
Bryan Singer initially left the franchise after X2 (which is universally agreed to be excellent, probably the best of the X-Men franchise) however, he was reinserted when he was on producer on the Wolverine origin story and X-Men: First Class, which were decent enough, but was also missing something. He returned for Days of Future Past and it was truly excellent and enjoyable. The casting was on point, which I believe Singer would’ve had a say in for the First Class casting of Fassbender and McAvoy, as Magneto and Charles Xavier respectively. Fassbender, for me, is a particular highlight as he truly embraces the role of Magneto.
In Marvel fashion that is fast becoming a norm now, comedy was included in this film, mainly through Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) of course but also the sequence involving Quicksilver (Evan Peters) disabling the room full of police officers and tasting soup on the way. This was largely enjoyable by everyone if I saw it with, I kind of hoped to see more of Quicksilver than the short screen time he appeared in. Magneto (Again) was oozing awesome when he broke into the pentagon to retrieve his helmet, in a sequence fairly similar to his breakout in X2. (Although his breakout in Days of Future Past was excellent as well, just like X2).
As I mentioned before the story however complex it may sound isn’t that complex and fairly intriguing when the storyline delves into history once again. As it did in First Class, using the Cuban missile crisis as a reference point, the assassination of JFK was Days of Future Past’s reference point. With Richard Nixon acting as president at the time of sentinel’s birth. But also had the Vietnam War including heavily in the storyline.
If I had to nitpick, I found an annoyance with the introduction of Warpath, Blink and Bishop into the film, but that’s all it felt like. An introduction. Personally, I would’ve liked to have seen more of them, or them in the 70s, something along those lines. And of course, the amount of screen Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen actually received was upsetting (Although McKellen did do something completely badass in his allocated time) but I understand that it wasn’t entirely crucial for them to be on screen for much longer. And Storm, alas, I felt was just an inclusion again, like Warpath, Blink and Bishop.
Naturally, nothing can be perfect when it comes down to it. But for Bryan Singer to restore the X-Men franchise to it’s former glory days after X-Men 3: The Last Stand was task he took on superbly. The film is thoroughly enjoyable when all is said and done and the story is compelling, as confusing as may sound, it works. Either way, in typical Marvel fashion the post-credits sting (which you wait a lifetime for) is readying us for the next bout with the X-Men, however, confusing for those who don’t read the comics religiously. (I won’t spoil it for you).
(The questions below this aren’t necessarily spoilerific, but be wary cause I may give away some of the plot.)
But also, the questions that have been left unanswered by this film are going to be called into question. Will X-Men: Apocalypse feature Warpath, Blink, Bishop and Trask? Or have they sailed off into nothingness? What happens to Magneto in this now-corrected future? And Raven for that matter? Again, I believe the premise could be initially confusing for the next X-Men film, however, it could go back to the excellent X2 days. Either way, we have to wait til 2016 for it.