X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) Movie Review

X-Men Like Never Before…

It’s quite rare to have a second chance in life, don’t you think? Hence why, I think Simon Kinberg and Bryan Singer should thank their lucky stars for giving them chance to undo their X-men past blunders. Okay, we’ll get back to it later.

For many X-men is just a group of superhero characters (I know they are mutants, calm down) mashed up together in one grand spectacle. But for other like me, X-Men stands for something bigger. I don’t want to get all geeky and say I am a big fan of X-Men (which I am), because I am sure there are many other who knows more about the mutants’ universe than me. But I can say this: I love X-Men more than any other superheroes. Perhaps because they got their power from gene evolution a.k.a since birth and were not bitten by spider or any scientific experiment gone wrong. Or maybe it’s because they are not alien from another planet nor are they injected by special serum to fight crime and save humanity. But if I dig a little deeper, I would say what makes X-Men stands out for me is the fact they are feared and not loved by the human. The sheer irony of protecting the one who fear you screams high volume of morality and kindness than any other comic tale. Plus, their saga doesn’t follow the usual fighting evil and defending planet earth template.

The opening scene shows us New York city as a concentration camp look-alike. The world as we know it has obviously changed. The dark and dangerous atmosphere made you aware that something bad has happened. Group of unfamiliar mutants comes next. They are hiding in underground chamber, running and preparing for bloody combat. We see few familiar faces too like Kitty Pryde (from X-Men Last Stand) and Bobby, the Ice Man among the ensemble. Flying planes dropped coffin-like into the mutants hiding place and revealed deadly robot army, which later we learned are called Sentinels. They are not just any kind of robots, they are deadly and possessed counterattack power to fight even the strongest mutant. Kitty and another mutant locked themselves in a room and begin to perform a magic-like mind transfusion. Before you can swallow that big gulp of iced tea you were drinking, the two mutants disappeared from the barren room and you saw the familiar faces you were dying to see: Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Wolverine stands in a circle next to the new mutant recruits, discussing about time travel and ending the war decades before it begins – in 1973 to be precise.

Based on the comic book with the same title, writer Simon Kinberg hits the jackpot with the script. The script allows him to indirectly correct his blunder mistakes in the epic confusion movie, The Last Stand. I don’t necessarily hate The Last Stand, but it was painful to see Professor X blown up to pieces and Cyclops died and Jean Grey as evil Dark Phoenix, because let’s be honest the old crew are the best and it’s damn sad to see it end like that. Plus, what makes X-Men even more special to Kinberg, I imagine, is the quality the franchise have over other comic book production. Think about it, X-Men movie has been there since the 2000 and it never got rebooted with different cast or director, it keeps on going – whether its prequel or stand-alone movie like Wolverine. There is no denying that X-Men universe has received strong love from its Homo sapiens audience.

Back to the script. I personally loved it. Why? Because it’s honest to the hardcore fans and doesn’t need to degrade itself to appeal to the new audience. In short, if you haven’t seen any of the earlier X-Men movies, don’t bother to watch this one cause your head will spin so fast you can’t control it. I was particularly fond to see other mutants altogether, both old and new (hello Bishop!), because hey! the film is called X-Men not X-Man!

The script also raised the bar of superheroes movies in terms of complexity. Here you have time travel, robot mutants, President Nixon, Quick Silver, personal revenge and high-voltage drama all in one fast-paced film. It’s refreshing to see a movie that doesn’t need to dumb down for the audience’s sake. Also, as anybody knows Days of Future Past create the impossible: they hired the old cast and new cast together.

Alright let’s discuss about director Bryan Singer’ second chance. Amidst his recent scandal, I never have faith in him as a director. Sure, he did well with the first and second X-Men movies and who can forget his masterpiece The Usual Suspect?! However, one can’t easily forget Superman Returns, Valkyrie and Jack the Giant Slayer, can we? (His next movie is Broadway 4D for Pete sake!). Anyhoo, Mr Singer did exceed himself in this one. Despite the familiar induced one-liners we see on Vaughn’s X-Men: The First Class, Bryan did what other directors didn’t: he paid homage to his own movies. Now don’t tell me the White House scene wasn’t a direct homage to his X2 Senator Kelly moment? Young Magneto easily escaping bunch of police force in Paris by snatching their handguns and turning over cars with his magnetic power gives me a dejavu. Besides the homage trick, Bryan Singer also succeeded on blending colourful elements of science fiction, dystopian, drama and out-of-no-where comedy all into one. In the coming years, I am certain we will still remember Quick Silver scene where he runs across prison kitchen in slow motion while listening to an oldie song.

Now, where should I begin with the cast? The old crew did solid as I have predicted. It was a delight to see Sir Ian McKellan and Patrick Stewart again in one screen. Hugh Jackman as Wolverine will always be my favourite character. Although, I am disappointed about the deleted scene with Rogue, and how minuscule Storm’s screen time is? But well I am just happy to see them together again, because like I said X-Men movies franchise have the best cast ever! Oh and don’t tell me I was the only one who feels giddy at Famke Janssen and James Marsden cameo scene.

The younger cast members also delivered their best; perhaps even better performances than I anticipated. In this film, the director chose to focus more on young Xavier and it clearly shows. James McAvoy is a splendid actor and seeing him vulnerable and desperate as young Xavier was quite the highlight. Next, we have Jennifer Lawrence as the young Mystique, which to my surprise played a pivotal role here. Although she is no Rebecca Romijin (YES, I STILL LOVE REBECCA ROMIJIN), she still did exceptional as the young and misguided super mutant; it’s easy to sympathize with her character. Last, we have Michael Fassbender as Erik Lehnsherr. I can’t even begin to say how perfect he is for this role. If 20th Century Fox is smart, they should already plan a stand-alone Magneto movie featuring Mr Fassbender. He was just sublime as the young and evil Magneto. Peter Dinklage did alright as the supposedly villain Dr. Trask, but I still prefer him as Tyrion Lannister. And Nicholas Hoult as Beast is mildly average. I don’t dislike the actor, but I feel they should choose another mutant for the movie, let’s say Angel or Gambit?

In the end, I am very surprised by how amazing Days of Future Past turned out. If I want to go further, I would even say this is the best superhero movie after Dark Knight Rises. This is what X-Men fans have been waiting for and you know damn well we deserved it.

Now, when will I get my Apocalypse and the Four Horsemen movie?!


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