Thursday, May 22, 2014

Film Review: X-Men Days Of Future Past

Twentieth Century Fox's newest "X-Men" feature, entitled X-Men: Days of Future Past, is already off to an explosive start, bringing $8.1 million just from Thursday previews from approximately 2,900 screens domestically. The film is set to debut at an additional 1,000 screens today and is expected to bring in more than $100 million over the four-day holiday. Last week's summer blockbuster Godzilla did open to larger debut to numbers on Thursday, to the tune of $9.3 million, though $2.1 million of that portion of proceeds came from IMAX screens.Ironically X-Men: The Last Stand still holds the title of biggest opener in the franchise having earned $122.8 million over the 2006 Memorial Day weekend."Days of Future Past" is also being released in over 100 markets worldwide this weekend. How much do you think X-Men: Days of Future Past will bring in domestically, internationally and worldwide this weekend? Did you enjoy the film ?
"X-Men: Days of Future Past;rights past wrongs, 
and helps to reset the bar for the franchise as a whole."
X-Men: Days of Future Past is arguably one of the most prominent and beloved X-Men comic stories ever. While X-Men: The Last Stand is one of the most typically one of the most reviled X-Men movies. However X-Men: First Class was a very good X-Men comic story and a great X-Men movie. 20th Century Fox combined all of these things anxiously hoped that the X-Men 3 film let down would finally go away.Truthfully Bryan Singer has managed to go into the past and make right what once went wrong by sending Hugh Jackman into the past to try to make right what once went wrong. It leaves several canon questions about the X-Men movies in the air, but one thing’s clear: X-Men: First Class happened. Whether or not X-Men 3 also happened is a spoiler that you will have to find out.If you haven’t read the comics, the plot of Days of Future Past involves a future (ironically enough, 2013 in the books, which released in 1980) where an assassination of an anti-mutant senator sparked an anti-mutant arms race that created a dystopian, Sentinel-run world where mutants and anyone sympathizing with mutants are hunted down and put into camps or killed. The surviving X-Men quickly send Kitty Pryde into the past to prevent the assassination and stop the rise of the Sentinels from happening. In the newest movie however, Kitty Pryde is replaced by Wolverine (though Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde is the force that lets him go back in time), and the Senator Robert Kelly — who was liquified in the first movie — is replaced by Peter Dinklage as the Sentinels’ creator Bolivar Trask. The year 1980 is also replaced by 1973, and everything is set against a backdrop of the Vietnam war ending and tensions between the East and the West escalating. Surprisingly, these changes make the movie much better than if it were slavishly close to the book.
Honestly Ellen Page does work great with what she’s given as Kitty Pryde, but she hasn’t had nearly enough face time in the series to work as the main character in a movie that tries to tie two timelines together and salvage a franchise. Hugh Jackman, on the other hand, has been the face of the movie X-Men just like Wolverine has been the face of the comics X-Men. He also had a memorable cameo in X-Men: First Class that makes the connection even stronger. Also, neither Ellen Page nor Kitty Pryde were alive in 1973, no matter how you interpret the X-Men movie timeline.The move to 1973 makes the story much more intense by anchoring the events to a specific point in the past we understand, historically. The comics set the future as the future and anchored the past in the present (the early 1980s, which was the style at the time), while the movie sets the future as the present-or-future and sets the past in the past. The anchor gives us a point of reference we wouldn't have had otherwise, connects to the X-Men: First Class timeline, and builds on both the tensions and motivations of all the characters.Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask, is simply excellent. He seems like a deadpan mutant-hater, but underneath the obvious plans and motivations are layers and layers of subtle ideology that make him a fantastic villain. He’s still fundamentally a tech-hungry madman who wants to destroy mutants, but he’s also a Tony Stark-like futurist who just saw a long and bloody war end and tens of thousands of American soldiers die and is witnessing increasing tensions between both sides in the cold war. Add the events of X-Men: First Class where mutants caused the Cuban Missile Crisis, and suddenly this hateful madman isn’t quite so hateful or mad.
In Days of Future Past James McAvoy’s past Xavier is at his worst, having seen his dreams crushed and struggling with Beast’s new serum that allows him walk yet sadly kills his powers (and admittedly is pretty ridiculously blunt symbolism for reacting to Vietnam and other events by turning to drugs, and throws a bit of a huge plot hole into X-Men 3, like everything else about this movie and the last one). He is not likable at all but is somewhat relatable. Sadly he’s not even idealistic. He’s broken, and crabby Wolverine of all people has to fix him. Once again, the choices of sending Wolverine back in time instead of Kitty Pryde and setting the movie in 1973 instead of 1980 really helped, throwing all of Wolverine’s character arcs against the previously seemingly indefatigable rock of hope and peace that is Charles Xavier after he’s indeed been crushed.Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are both fine as present and future Professor X and Magneto, as always, but Stewart has woefully few lines and McKellan barely talks at all. Though his near silence in the movie becomes funny if you imagine him thinking back to the events of the past as Michael Fassbender and telling himself, “Man, I was a jerk.”The story occasionally drags length wise, but generally it feels well-paced and packs a lot of drama and action into its two hours and 10 minutes. When a scene starts to bore you, you can be certain that either some very needed and welcome characterization is coming or you’re about to see an awesome fight scene. While the film isn’t a constant brawl, the fight sequences are many, varied, and incredibly well-done. Like the plot spans from Xavier’s personal failures and the interplay between him and his allies to a crisis that could destroy all mutants and make the future a hellish wasteland, the fights span from relatively intimate, cleverly shot punch-ups to epic battles of super powers against super machines. This variety of scope is woven throughout the film, making every small dramatic or action conflict feel as important as every big one.X-Men: Days of Future Past is right up there with X-Men: First Class as one of the best films in the X-Men series. It’s filled with action, it’s tense, and is surprisingly thoughtful at times. If you enjoy X-Men — even if you hate what the movies became — you should must definitely see it.