Wednesday, May 28, 2014

X-Men Days of Future Past Review: The Definitive X-Men Film?!

Marvel Comics have been a part of the movie world for many years. While the likes of The Avengers can be considered Marvel's most monumental achievement, we cannot forget that all of this would not have been possible had not been for a certain team of mutants that made their film debut in 2000. For over 14 years, the X-Men have played a major role on the silver screen; from successes like X2: X-Men United to dismal failures like X-Men Origins: Wolverine. Now the superhero franchise find itself at a crossroad with the latest installment X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair to bring this iconic X-Men story to life; as well as bridging continuities of X-Men: First Class and the original X-Men trilogy together. Much like the story its based from, Days of Future Past deals with the X-Men fighting for their future against the menace known as Sentinels. In order to prevent the apocalyptic future from happening, Wolverine travels into the past to unite the younger Charles Xavier and Magneto so they can stop this threat before it begins.

The plot to Days of Future Past was a curious thing. When the movie got underway, I was not sure how to feel about the story. It certainly was a continuation to First Class, but this was a story that could have been so much more. If the story would continue to be as straight forward as it was, I would have certainly said that the plot was underwhelming. However this concern did not last. I discovered that this was not just a story that worked well as a sequel, but a plot that was all about the build up. The tension continued to rise all the way to the last act, and that is where I realized the story's structure was out is all worth it. So with good build up and being a solid continuation, was there anything else that could Days of Future Past's story better? Yes there was. Not only does this story work as continuation to First Class, but the plot also brings the story of the original X-Men films to a full circle. Every continuity error and everything about the past films have led to this plot; which made this film that much better.

To handle a cast like this was no easy feat. Not only was there the ensemble from First Class, but there was the cast from the first trilogy as well as new characters to deal with. To make this ensemble feel coherent would indeed be difficult; however the cast of Days of Future Past is nothing but impressive. For those worried that Hugh Jackman would be taking center stage again, don't be as Wolverine felt right as the bridge between the two X-Men continuities. James McAvoy all but stole the show in his rough, but defining, performance as the younger Xavier. Jennifer Lawrence was solid as Mystique; while Michael Fassbender continue to rock as Magneto. Along with these four strong performances were minor characters who all had time to shine, a charismatic performance from Peter Dinklage and the duo of Patrick Stewart and Ian Mckellan rounding out the ensemble. With all these factors, there was only one conclusion I could come up with: this cast was arguably the best  ensemble that this franchise has ever put together.

Days of Future Past had the same sense of cinematography as First Class. The film took advantage of blending old footage with the movie's scenes. It could be daunting at times, but like this movie's predecessor, this direction was stylish. There was no shortage of action in this movie. Actually, there was very little actions in Days of Future Past; which was not a bad thing. This showed that the filmmakers were indulged to the tell the story oppose to letting this movie feel like another action flick. However when the action of Days of Future Past did come around, I could not help but be impressed. The action ranged from well choreographed fight sequences to massive battles riddled with terrific effects. It was also great to see John Ottman return as the composer for Days of Future Past. Hearing Ottman's classic  theme again was but icing on the cake for this X-Men film.

X-Men: Days of Future Past could be summed up in a variety of ways. The film can be seen as a great sequel to the X-Men: First Class or just another solid film for this franchise. However, if anything defines this new film, it is the fact that it brings past movies to a full circle while creating a bold future for the series. In the end, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a culmination of 14 years of film-making and it can be consider the strongest X-Men film to date. In other words: it's another great superhero film for the year of 2014.

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