“You built these weapons to destroy us. Why? Because we are different. You have always feared what is different. Today was meant to be a display of your power, instead I give you a glimpse of the pain my race can unleash on yours.”
– Erik Lensherr, Days of Future Past
I’ve always been a huge fan of the X-Men film series, despite never having read the comics. I even managed to enjoy The Last Stand and Origins when many people loathed them. But, no matter what your stance is on the other entries in the X-Men franchise, I think one common opinion everyone will share is that this newest film, Days of Future Past, is the best X-Men to date. I’ll discuss why, making sure to keep it spoiler-free.
About ten months ago, I wrote a review of The Wolverine, which mostly focused on the post-credits scene that set up DOFP. We got to see the return of both Magneto and Professor X, which were welcome sights since The Last Stand.
DOFP takes place in the year 2023, about a decade after the original X-trilogy. By this time, a race of mutant exterminators known as the Sentinels have risen up and hunted mutants nearly to extinction. We’re immediately thrown into the action with all of our favorites—Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, Storm, Kitty, Iceman, etc.—meeting up to try to go back and time and stop the Sentinels from ever being created.
And thus, we have our setup: Wolverine, the one of them whom is truly ageless, sends his consciousness back to his younger body to convince the younger Charles and Magneto to work together and stop the Sentinel program from ever being initiated.
Of course, as you’d expect, this movie is a lot of fun. We get to see most of the cast members across the franchise interact with each other, occasionally across time. Bryan Singer—writer and director of the original X-Men films—effortlessly weaves together everyone’s characters, back stories, and motivations.
It definitely has a different feel from the other movies. It’s bigger, more epic, and tells a darker story. The cartoonish antics of the first film are shed in light of more symbolic imagery and a more grim world. Charles is a broken man, and Magneto is still his same old human-hating self.
What I liked: oh, it’s hard to pick just one. Probably my favorite thing about this is the epicness of the ending battle. As you can imagine, with this being a time travel movie, multiple battles happen in different eras simultaneously.
I love how well this movie treats the fans. It brings back all of our favorite cast members and really puts them into action. For one thing, the effects are dazzling. For another, there are a plethora of juicy Easter eggs and subtle references for die-hard fans of the franchise, such as myself. There are flashbacks to each of the other previous movies in the series. The story takes care to explain a great deal, including the fates of most of the characters from First Class, as well as those in the original trilogy.
However, I will say my one irk with the movie is that it didn’t quite feel complete. For one thing, we don’t get an explanation as to how Professor X and Magneto have returned. Naturally, being a time travel movie, we get to alter a few parts of the franchise, including some of the most rage-inducing plot messes from The Last Stand and Origins. However, this also opens a load of doors that are just sort of left hanging.
The ending is good! Truly, it’s satisfying. But it’s also incomplete. When Logan wakes up in the “new” present day, so much is different. And it’s a nice, heartwarming kind of different. But it’s also baffling. How the hell did all this get to be how it is now?
None of it’s explained. And that’s frustrating, even if we love how everyone ended up.
And finally, the post-credits scene is quite mouth-watering, but only to those who have read the comics.
In conclusion: this movie does so many things right, is every bit as epic as it promised, and has the best effects to date. Even if the story doesn’t end on a closure-filled note, it still ends on a satisfying one.
Rate: 8.5 out of 10.