The Avengers and everything related to that movie started a whole new level of franchise building. Two Iron Man movies and one a piece from Thor and Captain America, all culminating in the big team up. Then more solo outings from these characters, another upcoming Avengers get together and god knows how many more to come. The DC universe is having a crack with the Batman and Superman team up that will inevitably lead to a Justice League movie. But back at the turn of the century, it was a simpler time. A simpler time when Bryan Singer made X-Men.
Before Sam Raimi’s hugely successful Spiderman series, X-Men was kind of a smaller scale test, to see if super hero movies would catch on. They did, and now, after a reboot, Singer’s early oughts X-Men world is back to collide with the rebooted world of X-Men: First Class, with X-Men: Days of Future Past. Sound complicated and convoluted? Wait til you see the movie.
It’s sometime in the not too distant future and things aren’t going so well. Like most movie futures, things are on the dystopian side, and a handful of mutants are left to fight the Sentinels, all powerful robots that can adapt to any mutant’s power and use it against them. Left fighting the good fight are Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), Bobby Drake (Shawn Ashmore), and a few characters new to the series. They’re soon teaming up with Professor Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), to have a red hot crack at a dicey, last ditch, time travel mission to make sure none of this ever happens.
In a string of incomprehensible exposition, we learn that Kitty Pride will send Wolverine’s consciousness back into his 1970s body, where he will stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Dr Boliver Trask (Peter Dinlkage), the man responsible for designing the Sentinels of the future. You see, it’s this one little bullet to Trask’s head that sparks the shitty future of the movie’s opening scenes.
But Wolverine can’t do it alone, he needs the help of 1970’s Professor X (James McAvoy), Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and Hank “Beast” McCoy (Nicholas Holt). The only problem is, Xavier is a strung out junkie, Magneto’s in prison for bending the magic bullet that killed JFK, and Hank is still doing his best to deny his powers. So now Wolverine has to convince everyone’s he’s really from the future and make two arch enemies work as allies.
That, plus the introduction Quicksilver (Evan Peters). I’ve never understood the appeal of super heroes whose power is running fast. It has always just seemed lame. But I’ll be buggered if X-Men: Days of Future Past doesn’t make it the coolest power on display in the entire movie. Thenext Avengers movie will be doing well if they can use the same character (different actor) half as well.
This is better than your average super hero movie. It’s waaaay better than something like The Amazing Spiderman 2, and finds its own voice, in no way aping the success of every Avengers related movie. One of the biggest differences is the lack of final battle carnage. Sure, there’s a big fight to end it all on, and plenty of cars and buildings get destroyed, but it’s nowhere near the oppressive level of The Avengers, or what I hear audiences were subjected to in Man of Steel. It’s weird to say for a big, action movie, but it kind of keeps things a little more intimate, and it’s all the better for it.
I love that this movie organically merges the two worlds of X-Men movies. When First Class came out a few years ago, I assumed it was a complete reboot. I thought McAvoy’s Professor X was as connected to the Patrick Stewart’s version as Christian Bale’s gravelly voice is connected to George Clooney’s plastic nipples. There’s no way this connection could have been planned when they were making First Class, but the merge comes off as completely natural.