Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past review

By Nico Beland
Movie Review: A (3 ½ stars)
(From left to right) Iceman, Charles Xavier, Beast, Wolverine, Mystique, Professor X, and Kitty Pryde in X-Men: Days of Future Past

            Everyone’s favorite team of mutants is back in the latest chapter of the successful X-Men film franchise, based on the popular Marvel Comics series. Thankfully it’s not another prequel or spinoff, it’s an official sequel to 2006’s X-Men 3: The Last Stand and 2011’s X-Men: First Class (It’s basically a sequel to the last sequel and the first prequel), once again directed by Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2: X-Men United, Superman Returns).
            Most of the cast from the previous X-Men movies reprise their iconic roles including Patrick Stewart (Star Trek: The Next Generation) as Charles Xavier, better known as Professor X, Ian McKellen (The Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Hobbit) as Professor X’s counterpart, Magneto, Hugh Jackman (Van Helsing, The Prestige, Les Miserables) as everyone’s favorite metal-clawed mutant, Wolverine, James McAvoy (Arthur Christmas, The Last King of Scotland) as young Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender (12 Years a Slave, Prometheus) as young Magneto, Erik Lensherr, Jennifer Lawrence (The Hunger Games, Silver Linings Playbook, American Hustle) as the Shapeshifting Mystique, Nicholas Hoult (Warm Bodies, Jack the Giant Slayer) as the big and hairy Beast, and many other familiar faces.
            In an apocalyptic future where mutants are being hunted by giant robots created by the scheming military scientist, Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage-Elf, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian, Game of Thrones) and Professor X has teamed up with his evil counterpart, Magneto to end the war between humans and mutant forever. Accompanying them are Wolverine, Storm (Halle Berry-Swordfish, Die Another Day, Cloud Atlas), Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page-Juno, Inception, The East), and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore).
            Wolverine volunteers to go back in time to inform young Charles Xavier of what will happen if the war continues.
            Charles, Wolverine, and Beast must break Erik Lensherr/young Magneto out of his prison, inform him what is going to happen in the future, and find Erik’s old partner in crime, Mystique, who is hot on Bolivar’s tracks and plans to kill him for creating robots to hunt down mutants, just for being different.
            Overall X-Men: Days of Future Past is one of the best films in the X-Men franchise, up there with X2: X-Men United, though I would have to say X2 is still a little better. It’s nice to see the X-Men mutants together again after the previous prequels and spinoffs like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, X-Men: First Class, and The Wolverine, we haven’t seen most of these characters since X-Men 3: The Last Stand, so it’s quite refreshing to see them protect humans and mutants once more.
            As far as comic book movies go, the story is definitely more complex than the previous films in the series. It’s not Inception complex, but it certainly isn’t a straightforward action movie.
            Besides being one of the best films in the X-Men series, Days of Future Past might even be one of the best comic book movies of the year, better than The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and up with Captain America: The Winter Soldier. So, if you were disappointed with The Amazing Spider-Man 2 or found it underwhelming, perhaps you’d be better off revisiting the X-Men, it’s complex but it doesn’t have as many plot elements as Spider-Man.
            Honestly this could have been a strong way to end the X-Men series, it felt very self-contained in the end, but we have a few more films in the series coming up, starting with X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016.

            Until then, we have X-Men: Days of Future Past to fill in, it’s better than X-Men 3: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and it might even be better than The Wolverine from last year, so enjoy an “X-cellent” blast from the past with everyone’s favorite mutants.

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