Back To The Future
By Adam Sturrock
X-men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Halle Berry, Peter Dinklage
With the somewhat ignominious X-men: Last Stand becoming a stain on the otherwise solid franchise, perhaps a breather was required. Eight years on and a number of spin offs later; some good, some Wolverine Origins bad, Bryan Singer has returned to right the ship with one hell of a film and to provide the fan service that was demanded of the series.
What we get from the movie is a time travel film, which can often be shaky ground to stand on. Basically, Mystique (Lawrence) has set forth a series of events in the 70s that ultimately sends Xavier and co in the future on dire straits. The only way they can correct the past is to send a willing volunteer, Wolverine (Jackman) to talk some sense into the younger, more follically endowed Charles Xavier (McAvoy) and his frenemy, Erik Lehnsherr AKA Magneto (Fassbender/McKellen) and change history. Got it?
The real troubling thing with writing a time travel story is that many plotlines need to meet up and act coherently. For those that have even a loose interest in the previous films leading up to this, you may notice some massive tweaks to history, such as: Why is Xavier still alive after being killed in X3? Wasn’t Magneto forcibly turned to a muggle as well? In the film there are some pretty baffling history corrections that I won’t mention as well. We can’t always be pleased I guess.
The majority of the film is focused on the 70s editions of the cast from First Class, with most of the scenes transfixed to Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique) post Oscar. While Jennifer provides a lot of her charisma to the role compared to her last film in the saga, it often feels as if she is trying too hard to justify her pedigree. Most of the original cast are back with Storm (Berry), Shadowcat (Page) and Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) providing a familiar face among the little nippers. As are the FC cast giving their own interpretation of such well known characters – Nick Hoult does seem to be a bit toned down which was a disappointment. Unfortunately, some of the ensemble cast members such as Bishop, Colussus, Warpath etc are just bland wallpaper that act as cannon fodder; I had to Google them in order to find their names but they comprised a generous portion of the film. The one new character that I can truly support is Evan Peter’s Quicksilver – good God he is awesome. In almost every scene he appears in he steals every second, it got to the point where I was waiting for him to appear on screen at times and he also provides one of the most memorable sequences since Nightcrawler in X2 and Marvel films in general. I feel very pleased that he is reportedly signed on to the sequel considering his stint was criminally too short.
With the younger cast taking centre stage, it is reassuring that the chemistry between Fassbender and McAvoy is still satisfyingly nippy, providing a stark contrast to the Stewart/Mckellen killing with kindness relationship. With the previous plot from First Class carried forward, it is a lot harder to see the black and white lines of morality that separated them in the original films; Magneto especially, with Fassbender truly getting stuck into the character and how he ticks.
Looking past the little niggles that are a result of the time-bending shenanigans, this is a very solid Marvel and X-men film. After the hit and miss spin-offs it feels refreshing to return to a familiar cast and crew and it just makes me want to dive back into the previous films.
What did you guys think of the film? Let me know in the comment section below.