Home
Movies
Webseries
Short Films
Interviews Contact Links Cheez Blog


X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)
Tonight's Feature Presentation

X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)

Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender

Written By: Simon Kinberg (also story), Jane Goldman (Story), Matthew Vaughn (story)

Directed By: Bryan Singer

The Short Version

Behold, the film that brings together the old and the new of the X-Men franchise.

The highly anticipated results are mixed.

Consistency is something that happens with other franchises; this flick isn’t even consistent with itself.

Beyond that, the parts are greater than the sum.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is worth seeing, but it’s not the best comic flick of the year, or of the franchise.


The Long Version

What Kind Of Cheese Is It?

SWISS FONDUE.

So very many holes; you can still taste them when they’re melted together.


Pairs Well With...

TEQUILA BLANCO.

A few shots of this stuff, and it might suddenly all make sense!

“I’m holding you so you won’t get whiplash.”

“What?”

“Whip.  Lash.”

 

Ah, that wacky X-Men series, where no more than two movies can ever be allowed to be wholly consistent with each other.  With its generation-crossing time travel plot, X-Men: Days of Future Past promised to reconcile at least some of the franchise timeline’s inconsistencies while taking the audience on an awesome ride in the process, and also dealing with the pressure of being one of the most highly anticipated films of the season.

Now that the results are there for all to see… it’s a partially partial success.

In terms of reconciling timelines, forget it; that mission’s an utter failure.  X-Men: Days of Future Past isn’t even internally consistent with itself, much less any other flick in the series aside from X-Men: First Class.  But let’s be honest: while continuity is nice in a film series – especially one with seven installments and an eighth one on the way – it’s not something that most X-Men fans have at the top of the priority list.  For those who started out on comic books, the concept of inconsistency has been par for the course for decades, and for larger majority who just show up to the movies… well, the box office numbers speak for themselves, don’t they?  Just add Hugh Jackman, and most people are happy.

As for the “awesome ride” thing…  Everyone knows there’s a curse associated with the term “highly anticipated.”  Almost nothing can live up to the hype, and so it goes for X-Men: Days of Future Past.  Built up to be an ultimate comic book flick (based – with liberal reimagination – on a well-regarded classic story by Chris Claremont, whose comics also inspired three other franchise films), it is instead an overpacked semi-actioner that’s fun enough to watch as long as one does not do what the nature of the story invites, which is to say “think too hard about it.”  Thinking invites recognition of the story’s many holes and inconsistencies, and perhaps even a paradox or two, and that’s just not good for anyone.  Better to let it go in one eyeball and out the other and enjoy the whole “mutant superhero special effects” light show, with bite-sized morsels of character exploration best taken by themselves rather than as part of a greater whole. 

On the light show side, the highlight is definitely the side trip taken to introduce the audience to Quicksilver (Evan Peters, Adult World), who weaves his way through a wonderfully realized combination of practical and computer generated effects to break Magneto (Michael Fassbender, Prometheus) out of a very secure prison.  The sequence is a joy to experience, and is augmented by an outstanding choice of music.  For people who prefer the “future” side suggested by the title Days of Future Past, there are several battles with disappointingly hollow ‘Sentinel’ mutant-killer robots that are saved by some very well-choreographed action that puts nearly all the emphasis on the mutants and their powers.  Outside of those battles, the number of explosions is kept surprisingly low, all things considered, but there’s still enough action eye candy to satisfy. (Don’t worry about the stereoscope, though; it doesn’t really add to anything.)

As for the character material… that’s where X-Men: Days of Future Past gets tricky.  As noted above, the overall narrative is inconsistent and sometimes contradictory, and barely holds onto its central thread as the movie barrels along.  But taken a scene or a character at a time, there’s some really good stuff here.  The descent of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, The Hunger Games) is fascinating; the fact that she’s the key to the whole future – interesting – could have been even more so had the script gotten another pass-and-polish.  The character of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, Knights of Badassdom) makes for an intriguing – if underutilized – villain.  Brash Logan (Hugh Jackman, Swordfish) having to play shrink to a standoffish Xavier (James McAvoy, Wanted) is a neat twist for established franchise fans, and makes up for a Magneto whose young self feels more like a plot device than he does a character.  (It is nice to see how the generations play together, of course.)  Blink (Bingbing Fan, Bodyguards and Assassins) gets no real background whatsoever, but she’s still fun to watch in action, and leaves the audience wanting more.  And then there are the treats at the end…  So many wonderful bits and pieces to be found here; they just don’t all belong in and/or can’t exist in the same story.  And yet they do, often by force.

Like I said; don’t think too hard.  Just take each bit as its own thing and move on.  (And try to look past Richard Nixon’s makeup.  Real historical figures are always problematic.)  Then stay past the credits to catch a glimpse of the next villain the X-Men will have to tackle (taken from yet another very popular retro comic run).

Overall, I can’t say that I didn’t enjoy X-Men: Days of Future Past.  I really did have fun with it, but at the same time, it came nowhere near to living up to its hype for me.  Maybe it’s because I couldn’t take my own advice and kept noticing the glaring continuity problems (which are not addressed by the time travel plot, thanks; if anything, they’re made worse).  Maybe it’s because I could see so much good stuff tossed into a casserole that feels only three-quarters baked.  Maybe it’s because the casserole needed to have fewer ingredients.  (Or maybe not. It turns out the the "Rogue Cut" released on home video, which features an additional subplot centering on - surprise - Rogue, is better than the theatrical realease.  Still deeply flawed with even more continuity problems and still three-quarters baked, but better.)  More likely, it’s all of those things adding up to feeling that’s just… off.

Bottom line, X-Men: Days of Future Past is entertaining and worth a look, but it’s not the super comic extravaganza it was billed to be.

Doom Cheez Cinema is now Cinema on the Rocks. Thank you for your support!

Tweet this page!






- Reviewed by Ziggy Berkeley, July, 2014

*"Rogue Cut" notation added July, 2015


You can email Ziggy at ziggy@cinemaontherocks.com. You can also find us on Facebook.


hermajestyspod.com

- copyright 2000-2016, Ziggy Berkeley and Cinema on the Rocks, all rights reserved.

Promotional/still images copyright their original authors. If you're going to drink, please do so legally and responsibly. Thanks.