Tuesday, May 27, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Days of Future Past is/was one of the great storylines in all of X-Men comics history. Considering how The Dark Phoenix Saga was absolutely butchered by the third entry in the X-Men movie series, I was more than a little worried about how this would turn out, even with the return of Bryan Singer to the director’s chair after the hack Brett Ratner ruined X-Men 3, and the well-meaning but boring and uninspired direction by Matthew Vaughn in X-Men: First Class. But Singer proves again that he’s the right filmmaker for this franchise. Even the returning First Class cast all do superior work as actors under Singer’s direction, and the epic time travelling tale of Days of Future Past is handled remarkably well, especially considering the sheer number of characters Singer must juggle.

Naturally, there are many changes that were made in the transition to the big screen. Most people probably want to see Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine be the one to go back in time, though I would’ve loved if it was Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde who went back, as it is in the comics. She’s fantastic and infinitely watchable in her small role in these movies. But as Wolverine is sent back in time to the 1970’s to help stop the development of mutant killing machines known as Sentinels, it makes sense that his healing ability aids in the torturous journey back. Singer wisely shoots many things like the paranoid 70’s thrillers from Sydney Pollack or Alan J. Pakula, but he’s never indebted to them or too reverent as he was to the original Superman movie when he made Superman Returns back in ’06 (the reason he didn’t direct X-Men 3). Many of the actors get their room to shine, especially Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto. But as a comics nerd growing up, it’s just awesome to see Bishop and Colossus and all my childhood favorites on screen, even if the only new characters to get any significant time are Peter Dinklage as Sentinel designer Bollivar Trask and a really fun few minutes with the lightning fast Quicksilver, who they even hint at is Magento’s illegitimate son (as he is in the comics).

But really I think the star of this movie is Bryan Singer. The way he juggles the future and past storylines, giving everyone at least a few moments to shine (although honestly, couldn’t every movie use more Ian McKellan, even movies he’s not in?) and unleashing some truly spectacular action sequences, the jail break and the raising of the stadium being the most impressive. But also the relentless attacks from the future Sentinels and letting us not be confused even though there are characters throwing around teleportation portals as both escapes and ingenious attack measures. Singer masterfully holds all the puppet strings in place and delivers what is, I think, without a doubt the best movie of the X-Men franchise.

2 comments:

Johnny said...

I haven't seen the film in its entirety yet, but everything I have seen (including the climax scene on YouTube--I caved in, I couldn't wait for the DVD!) looks great. Love Magneto's speech at the end; it made me tear up. Singer is definitely the X in X-MEN and I wish he could've finished his original 4-film project before the fallout with FOX studios. Looking forward to Apocalypse in 2016! Minor complaints include Sunspot being used instead of Pyro (as both stand an equal chance of living against Sentinels, which isn't much of one) who I figured Singer would want to bring back after having him in X2, only for FOX, Ratner & Kinberg to butcher his character in X3 and a certain device someone uses late in the film to stop someone (which felt like a rip off from X3, and I'm sure Singer could've cooked up something else instead).

kathy said...

I love Hugh Jackman, but since I never read the comic books these movies don't really resonate with me. I haven't seen the last couple, and frankly feel their okay if I don't have anything better to watch. Total guy flicks, or comic book nerds (wink, wink) in my opinion.