X-Men Days of Future Past Movie Review
By The Marvel Movie Maniac
May 23, 2014 - 23:12
Studios: 20th Century Fox
Writer(s): Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman, Mathew Vaughn
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
Directed by: Bryan Singer
Produced by: Tod Hallowell
Running Time: 131 min
Release Date: May 23rd, 2014
Rating: PG13 (Parents Strongly Cautioned)
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.
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.
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