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X-Men: Days of Future Past (3D)

20th Century Fox // PG-13 // May 23, 2014
List Price: Unknown [Buy now and save at Fandango]

Review by Jeff Nelson | posted May 23, 2014 | E-mail the Author

The X-Men have had quite the journey since the early 2000's. The quality of these films have been varied. However, this franchise's caliber especially took a turn for the worst when the spin-offs started being released. Different filmmakers got the opportunity to put their hand in the cookie jar, but now Bryan Singer has returned to once again put his spin on the series. However, fans have had many concerns regarding how Singer would handle the time warps. X-Men: Days of Future Past's predecessor X-Men: First Class impressed many audiences, but can Singer's entry in this new trilogy do the same? In this case, the filmmaker has managed to create summer blockbuster magic that simply swept me off my feet. Fans of these superheroes are guaranteed to be just as impressed as myself.

Many of the X-Men are dead and the destruction of the rest of them is upon them. Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must go back in time and find young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in order to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from starting a war with a very real threat that results in doom for both humans and mutants. If Wolverine isn't able to get the team back together, then there's no stopping a war that threatens all life on the planet.

We are quickly introduced to a time that would be considered the future from X-Men: First Class, but the present, if you're looking at the original trilogy. Writer Simon Kinberg wastes no time, as he dives right into the heat of the situation that these heroes find themselves in. They're being hunted by a militia that even their powers cannot defeat. After managing to dodge one fight, they're aware that one of them must return in the past and right the wrongs that were done by fellow mutant, Mystique. Wolverine is up to the task, but it won't be easy. After being sent back to the past, he must quickly find a way to make Xavier and Magneto work together after the events that occurred in the previous picture. There is a large roster of characters here, and it could have easily turned into a huge chaotic mess of different story lines. However, Kinberg successfully holds the focus on the relationships between Wolverine, Xavier, and Magneto, while learning a little bit more about Mystique's moral ambiguity. We deeply care about these characters, and ultimately want to see them work together towards this common goal. There are few superhero flicks out there that cause us to genuinely care about what happens to them quite as much as we do here.

Unlike many other superhero flicks, the threat is real. Their deaths are very possible if they aren't able to fix the past. Since the stakes are so high, it makes for a much more absorbing film. There are some surprisingly well-crafted story elements here. X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn't simply present us with characters there strictly good or evil. With this imminent danger, each hero is doing what they believe to be the best thing for their personal interest. All of this comes together in order to create a message that will surely resonate with audiences. If anything, this displays how much these characters have changed over the years. There are bits of character disposition that are appreciated, as it allows for us to get even more invested in these characters. Fortunately, this all blends together rather well. Director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg compare many of these character revelations to real events in our history, which simply makes them a bit more relatable to us as people, not only as mutants. At the same time, quite a bit of it is also fairly humorous.

Make no mistake, X-Men: Days of Future Past isn't all about being serious. Kinberg has placed quite a bit of humor throughout the running time. The dialogue is quite a bit more witty and snappy than I remember it being in many of his previous pictures. While it isn't comedy gold that will have you unable to stop laughing, there are some pretty strong chuckles to be had. They are spaced fairly well around the action sequences. These scenes are highly entertaining. Not only are they original, but these scenes transport you into the perspective of the mutants. While you're watching, you feel as if you're right there on screen with them. This is quite a feat that most superhero flicks fail to accomplish. Most importantly, X-Men: Days of Future Past is an absolute blast. Once you're aware of the over two hour-running time, it might sound like it's a little bit too long. Fortunately, the film captures its audience and doesn't let go until the screen goes black.

Singer has brought back the powerhouse cast, along with some new artillery. Hugh Jackman once again proves that he's an outstanding Wolverine that has the ability to steal nearly every scene when he's provided with decent material. He's highly enjoyable here, and he's full of wit and charm. James McAvoy has quite a few emotional sequences to work through in the role of young Charles Xavier. He's lost almost everything, and this portrayal truly makes us feel for him. While some of the humor isn't carried quite as well, he still successfully delivers the dramatic elements of the role. Michael Fassbender delivers magic as young Magneto. Everything about this performance simply feels right, as we're never truly positive of this character's intentions. However, Fassbender once again impresses us all. Jennifer Lawrence doesn't get quite as much to do as she did in the previous film, but Mystique's moral struggle allows her to provide us with an excellent performance. Peter Dinklage is the primary new cast member in the role of Dr. Bolivar Trask. He provides dramatic tension, as his ideas for the future are the large threat to our lead characters. Dinklage does a great job delivering upo the physical depiction of this peril. Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, and more return in order to provide this roller coaster ride of a film.

When it comes to the action sequences, X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn't disappoint, and neither do the visuals. Director Bryan Singer has presented us with a stunning visual design. All of the special effects look wonderfully polished and real. Whenever a mutant utilizes his or her abilities, you can't help but stare. The visuals are only enhanced by the 3D technology. This is one of the very few motion pictures that manages to use 3D in order to provide a stronger cinematic experience. The depth is outstanding, which aids in providing a very realistic atmosphere that audiences will want to jump into. The sound design is just as impressive. It's just as loud, clear, and cohesive as viewers will be expecting. All of these elements come together in order to provide a truly awesome viewing experience.

While I heavily enjoyed the previous film, X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the best in the series thus far. It has everything that you could possibly want out of a superhero film. Fortunately, director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinberg keep the scope focused on a few characters and don't allow any outside influences to create chaos. The action is intense and highly enjoyable, while the humor is well-placed. Ignore the big mistakes made in some of the previous entries and give this one a shot. You'll be extremely happy that you did. X-Men: Days of Future Past will give you faith in superhero films again. Highly recommended!



Highly Recommended

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