Tuesday, May 27, 2014

On X-Men: Days of Future Past


I don't have too much time, but I did want to comment on the big super hero movie of the weekend, X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Oh, and SPOILERS. Clearly...


The Good:

The Cast

I really can't think of any other super hero movie with a cast of actors of the caliber Singer had to work with in this film. Seriously, you usually don't get a cast like this unless you're Woody Allen or if you're making a Shakespeare adaptation. Having a cast with the likes of Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy and pretty much everyone else in the film makes it easy to hide most plot holes. When you're focusing on top notch actors perfectly executing their craft, you tend to forgive or outright ignore any and all wonky science.

The Stakes

As good as most of the X-Men movies have been, the stakes have never really been that high, even under Bryan Singer's tenure (Magneto's plan to turn some humans into mutants in the first film is especially eye-rollingly bad). So watching the entire fates of both mankind and mutantkind hang in the balance for two hours was a pretty cool turn.

The Humanity

It's easy for a sense of humanity to get lost in a super hero film, but X-Men: Days of Future Past made damn sure to keep the humanity present at almost all times. With the exception of one character (more on that later), you totally got why each and every person on screen was doing what they were doing, good or evil. Everyone understood why Xavier had closed the school why Mystique had become a killer and why Magneto dropped a stadium on the White House lawn and damn near executed Nixon on national TV. But that's something Singer has always excelled at with his X-Men films, and it was nice to see that back in play.

Quicksilver

As I watched actor Evan Peters work cinematic magic in one of the best choreographed fight scenes ever put to film, all I could think was how Joss Whedon has his work cut out for him in putting his own Quicksilver to screen next summer. Yes. Quicksilver was that good in this film. Plus, we even got a subtle acknowledgment of his heritage which was more than a little nice.


Good-bye, X-Men: The Last Stand

If nothing else, if for some reason or another you hated X-Men: Days of Future Past, it will always be the movie that formally negated everything wrought by the abomination that was Brett Ratner's X-Men: The Last Stand. And for that, we shall always... ALWAYS... be grateful.

The Bad:

Trask

No, no, no, I'm not saying that Peter Dinklage somehow sucked. I don't even think that's possible. But when I was talking about the humanity present in all the characters and understanding why they were all doing what they were doing? Yeah, I didn't get that sense from Trask. I just got that he wanted to build mutant killing robots because mutant killing robots are cool. Which is sad, because if Dinklage has taught us anything it's that he can bring a sense of humanity and purpose to any and every scene ever thanks to his work on Game of Thrones. I just felt like his presence was wasted here.

Wonky Science

Look, I get it. Time travel is more fantasy than science, but even by the rule the movie set forth for how time travel works, they sure played fast and loose with them. While they said any changes Wolverine made in the past would be felt in the presence, that was never shown to be the case. Not to mention the fact that said changes would instantly negate the present/future, making the climactic battle in the present/future never happen and... ugh. Time travel, am I right?

A Catalyst For Dystopia

Just to be clear, killing one random scientist guarantees the hunting and extermination of the human race but a mutant terrorist dropping a stadium on the White House lawn and almost executing the president on on national TV ends in... not that? I mean, the U.S. invaded two countries and toppled their governments when a group of terrorists took down The World Trade Center. It rang false to me that there were no repercussions for mutants after Magneto's very public, very violent attack on something as iconic to America as the White House.

***

Like I said, though, I enjoyed the hell out of this film. It felt good to see Singer back in charge of things and it felt better to see another good X-Men film. Here's hoping Fox can keep it up and that Singer sticks around for a film or two...

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