It's been a long time since I've been as excited for a movie like I've been for X-Men: Days of Future Past. Which is saying something considering all of the movies I've looked forward to in the past few years, like Amazing Spider-Man 2, Captain America: The Winter Soldier and basically anything with the "Marvel" stamp on it. Maybe X-Men: Days of Future Past really hit me because it was based on one of the most memorable comic book stories of all time? Or just because it's a new X-Men movie and I'm a sucker for the mutants. Either way, I found myself ridiculously happier as May 23rd drew closer. Despite my excitement, I had to wait two addition days before seeing it, opting for a Sunday morning viewing as opposed to Friday night. And with the exception of the movie watching experience (I'll get into that later), the movie was everything I wanted it to be.
As I mention, "Days of Future Past" ranks as one of the greatest storylines in comic books, up there with "The Dark Knight Returns". Written by Chris Claremont in 1981, it was the first story that showed the bleak future that mutant-kind faces, all because of a few bad choices by a few bad people. The film adaptation differs greatly from the comic story but that doesn't make it bad. In fact, the updates managed to give the movie far more depth than the comic book. After all, "Days of Future Past" only spanned two issues while the film had a strong run time of 131 minutes.
The highlights of the movie were, without a doubt, the performances of James McAvoy and Jennifer Lawrence. As Professor X and Mystique, their friendship spanned the previous film X-Men: First Class, and we've seen how Mystique had begun to fall away from Xavier's ideology. In Days of Future Past, Mystique all but goes off the deep end for the sake on mutant-kind. Xavier is forced to come to terms with it and tries to reel her back in. The emotion the pair put into their scenes really adds a feeling of credence to the scenes, even more so than the chemistry McAvoy and Michael Fassbender (Magneto) had in First Class.
Also great was Nicholas Hoult. As Hank McCoy, he at first seems to be relegated to Xavier's handmaiden during a rough patch in his life. However, we see the Beast come to the surface many times over the course of the movie and he adds a great deal of fun to it. It's also nice to see the interactions he has with Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) as comic fans are well aware of the friendship the two have.
X-Men: Days of Future Past gives audiences a plethora of brand new mutants. During the future scenes, we see and almost entirely new team of X-Men including Bishop, Sunfire, and Warpath. Though this team does little for the plot of the film, they are awesome to watch on screen. But the one I was looking forward to the most is Blink, the mutant teleporter who became famous during the "Age of Apocalypse". As one of my favorite X-Men, I've been psyched to see her in action ever since she was revealed to be in it. Her powers made for some cool visuals, opening up portals in midair to allow Warpath various vantages from which to attack. Here's hoping the filmmakers decide to introduce her into the true film cannon, maybe during 2016's X-Men: Apocalypse, which somehow would seem fitting.
But let's not forget the biggest surprise of the entire movie: Quicksilver. Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, was widely criticized for his look since the reveal on the Empire Magazine cover, reviled by many of the comic book purists out there. He plays a pivotal part in the movie but sadly, doesn't get a lot of screen time, but that's OK as what time he does have, he really makes the movie a lot of fun. Director Bryan Singer manages to dive into Quicksilver's powers and crafted an in-depth scene that shows audiences what it would be like to have super speed. Hopefully, the success of Quicksilver will mean that we get to see more of him down the road, maybe even alongside his sister, Scarlet Witch. (Not likely, considering their inclusion in Avengers: Age of Ultron but one can hope.)
Strangely, the lowest point of the film was the "villain", Bolivar Trask, played by the talented Peter Dinklage. I didn't find anything particularly bad about how Dinklage portrayed Trask, the inventor of the mutant-hunting Sentinels. In fact, I felt Trask was remarkably underused. He was less of a character and more of a plot-point, used just as an excuse to bring the dystopian, mutant-hating future to fruition. It made sense, in the end, to have Trask be the catalyst as opposed to Senator Kelly, as was the case in the comic story, since it gave them a way to explain the entire Sentinel program without adding an extra 40 minutes to the run time.
Wolverine: I need you to promise me that you will put the X-Men together:
Xavier: I promise.
Douchebag Behind Me: Ha ha ha ha!
I just don't get it. Not to mention the fact that he left before the end of the credits. I mean, who does that in a Marvel movie?
Anyway, despite the interruptions, I really loved X-Men: Days of Future Past, enough to say that it's probably the best in the series. For a movie series that suffered from a lot of continuity problems, Singer and company took the opportunity to fix a few of them, as well as fixing a few of the poor mistakes made by past directors. And even though it had a multitude of mutants, Days of Future Past didn't bog itself down in bad storytelling like X-Men: The Last Stand did. It managed to remain focused on its purpose and follow it through, resulting in one of, if not, the best movies of 2014.
Side note: my wife loved this movie so much that she wants to do a movie marathon when it comes out on 3D BluRay. Win-win for this guy!