Movie Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Problems with series of movies have always existed. The story grows tired, the characters irrelevant, the plot contrived and interest lacking. Sometimes the producers know when to stop or rework the franchise, sometimes they don’t and the strained stories persist as long as revenue follows. That seems to be the problem with the latest installment in the mutant-human saga X-Men entitled X-Men: Days of Future Past.
The film opens with a bleak and hopeless future of the mutant-human world. “Sentinels” who were created by scientist Dr. Bolivar Trask (played by a surprisingly lackluster Peter Dinklage) to find and incarcerate or eradicate mutants and/or humans who fraternize with them, have taken all authority and turned the world into something similar to that of The Matrix. Mutants are losing in power and in number. Something must be done soon or else the entire species will be no more. Which is where our tedious story begins. Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and others are fighting to find a way to save their kind. Luckily they have Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) on their side who has the ability to send people’s consciousness’ back in time. Their plan is to send someone far enough back so that they can stop the sentinel project from even beginning back in the 1970s. However Pryde confesses that her power only allows people to go back hours or days, but nothing close to years let along decades due to the fact that the mind can only be stretched so long before it snaps. However one of their own has a solution to this dilemma. Wolverine can heal right upon being wounded. So even if his mind was being stretched too far it would never snap because it would continue healing itself. Thus Wolverine becomes the messenger to make things right before they even have a chance to go wrong.
What ensues over the next 131 minutes is a long, drawn out, epic, albeit predictable tale of persuasion, trust, ignorance and courage. The fighting, however clean cut, professionally visually effected and well choreographed as it is, lacks any real excitement because the end of the scene is known before it even begins. The long existing story of good vs. evil with the heroes eventually ending up as the victor is satisfying, heartwarming and rewarding, but grows tired just like any other story that has been done to death for years. This is in no way the fault of Days of Future Past itself but the problem persists that movies like this one struggle to and ultimately don’t end up bringing anything new to the genre. The performances are worthy of mentioning, especially the usual impeccable talent of Jackman, Stewart and McKellan and the newer greats Michael Fassbender (young Magneto), Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique/Raven) and a truly dazzling performance by Evan Peters (Quicksilver), but it isn’t enough to show any real originality and development.
Don’t get me wrong, this was an entertaining movie that kept me engaged and awake throughout, but that doesn’t mean that upon leaving the theater and letting the film mull around for a couple of days that I loose interest and will most likely forget it in time. Many movies can be entertaining, but for them to truly be great they must make a mark. Classics don’t just come about every day. I can’t say the same for the superfans that live for movies like this but I have never found myself to really dedicate my life to one story or franchise like they have.
In the end, X-Men: Days of Future Past does its job, will probably generate enough money to please it’s production team and surely result in another installment, but, for me, it does just that. Who knows maybe upon a second viewing I will have a change of heart, but first impressions do have the biggest impact, and in this case, it wasn’t a great one.