Starring : Ian McKellan, Patrick Stewart, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage Nicolas Hoult, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Josh Helman, Evan Peters
Long term X-Men comic book fans understand just how big an undertaking the translation of one of the most seminal X-Men stories of all time to the big screen was going to be. There was so much history and so many fan favorites, purists, and new comers' expectations to juggle. Fortunately, everyone involved in X-Men Days of Future Past were up to the task and us X-fans the world over can rejoice because X-Men Days of Future Past is not only one of the best of the X-Films, it really is one of the best of the ever increasing slew of comic book based movies yet made.
Facing total annihilation at the hands of a Sentinel (giant mutant hunting robots) holocaust, a last ditch effort is made to send Wolverine's consciousness back in time to inhabit his younger body in order to stop the assassination of Bolivar Trask, the very fascist-like scientist who designed and built the robots in the first place to "protect the human race from a war they won't win" (against mutants). Wolverine must not only stop Trask's assassination (at the hands of Raven/Mystique), but recruit a very disillusioned Charles Xavier and militant Erik Lensherr to help him. The two couldn't be further apart polemically at this time in their history though, and bringing the two together to save the future of all humans, mutant or otherwise, will be nearly impossible after the events off the coast of Cuba 10 years ago. It's a mission that Logan must not fail though.
...and that's just the premise of the movie. Intertwined into the narrative scantly described above are some poignant statements on everything from self identity to drug abuse to the ever popular "military complex run amok", to the horrors of genocide, to a plea to remain vigilant against creeping bigotry, to friendship and love, to forgiveness for past crimes-of the heart and otherwise. Director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2) and writers Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman, and Matthew Vaughn (who directed X-Men First Class) weave a wonderful tapestry of a tale that moves along quickly, concisely, and coherently, while tackling all of the heavy themes above without a heavy hand...and STILL that's not all they manage to do...
...Singer and company manage to clean up the mistakes of X-Men The Last Stand, set the stage for the next X-Film, showcase the exceptional acting talents of Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender, McKellen, Stewart, Lawrence, and company in ways that one would think a crowded ensemble cast such as this would preclude, and please the most die hard X-Men comic book fan by doing what Vaughn did with X-Men First Class: honor the underlying theme of human equality and civil rights that drives the best of the X-Men's comic book stories and was the founding theme that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby built the franchise upon starting way back in 1963.
X-Men Days of Future Past isn't all philosophizing and heavy thought exercises into American guilt over losing the Vietnam War and that war's affect on the American psyche, although it is that too... It's an incredibly funny funny film in spots that pays great tribute the youthful spirit that once inhabited nearly every Marvel comic book printed, mostly through the portrayal of Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters. Just when things do appear to be becoming a bit maudlin, Logan looks up Peter Maximoff, the future Quicksilver, to aid Xavier and Hank McCoy with breaking Erik out of his specialized prison. Maximoff's youthful tenor and free spirited mischievousness, and the movies most fun and interesting scene-which occurs during the breakout and showcases Quicksilver's super speed brilliantly-brings the fun and hopeful spirit that permeated much of First Class back to the fore.
Along with that spirit of fun and exuberance, Singer and company manage to pack into the film what is perhaps the must full Easter basket of hidden eggs ever to appear in a Marvel Comics superhero based film. Everything from hints at a Kitty Pryde/Peter Rasputin (Colossus) romance (you have to watch for it), to a bevy of cameos, to the return of some beloved characters thought long lost appear here and add to the fun of the film.
To anyone with a social conscious, a love of diversity as well as justice, it's easy to see why The X-Men are the one of the greatest superhero inventions of all time. To anyone with a heart though (which is pretty much all of us), it's easy to see why X-Men Days of Future Past is that rare translation to screen of a superhero story that is truly from the heart.