HOLLYWOOD—I’ll be the first to admit in the comic book universe, that “The Dark Knight” is at the top when it comes to all time faves, but “X-Men: First Class” is damn close. The sequel to that picture “X-Men: Days of Future Past” unites nearly every single mutant that you can think of into one movie for a fight to survive some unstoppable robots known as Sentinels.
Many may question if the overload of characters takes away from the movie, not a single bit, because the narrative is sharp, poignant and exhilarating from beginning to end. Are there standouts amongst the group? Absolutely, as seen by Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who remains at the forefront of most films in the franchise as he is forced to travel into the past to save the mutant race from extinction in the future. In the comic book, this feat is performed by Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) who appears in the movie in a subtle role.
A major portion of the movie revolves around Wolverine, Professor X from the future (Patrick Stewart) and Professor X from the past (James McAvoy). McAvoy presents the audience with a Charles Xavier not seen before; he has a bit of an edge or a bone to pick with some former allies. It’s an interesting depiction to say the least. The same can be said for Magneto from the past portrayed by Michael Fassbender. He brings a new element to Erik that in my opinion has him battling for the top spot amongst fans.
For those concerned about the time travel jump, don’t worry the narrative is woven with care thanks to a clever script by Simon Kinberg. Not once did I feel thrown by the element of a past and a future being collided into one picture, which could be thanks to each mutant that appears in the film having a notable role to end the cause of extinction.
A polarizing aspect of the movie is the audience getting the opportunity to be reunited with characters they’ve enjoyed from the first trilogy of films that arrived in the early 00s. Storm (HalleBerry), Rogue (Anna Paquin), Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and many other favorites from the first three “X-Men” movies appear in this installment. There are also plenty of new faces for audiences to rave about including Bishop, Colossus, Quicksilver Blink, Sunspot and Warpath to name a few.
What makes “Days of Future Past” such a treat is its message of uniting for a cause. We have this division of mutants in the beginning: those fighting for the good of mankind and those who are against mankind. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is on a mission to take out Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the Sentinel prototype which is aimed at eliminating the mutant race, but with all machines things go weary. Lawrence brings a heightened intensity and sarcasm to her character which was slightly peaked at by her predecessor Rebecca Romijin in previous films.
Lawrence controls a vast majority of the narrative of the picture, alongside Jackman who is front and center portraying the role of hero once again. That is minor flaw in my opinion, as Wolverine continues to be the primary character surrounding the narrative in almost all of the “X-Men” flicks except, “First Class” which was an absolute accomplishment in my opinion.
Furthermore, “Days of Future Past” delivers some exceptional special effects and fight sequences that will leave comic book aficionados on cloud nine. It also doesn’t hurt that the narrative also deals with historical events involving U.S. President Richard Nixon; the film’s predecessor tackled issues involving President John F. Kennedy and the Cuban Missile Crisis that easily intertwined itself into a narrative that was so believable it was scary. I was a fan of “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” and “The Amazing Spiderman 2,” but “Days of Future Past” sets the bar pretty high in the franchise of comic book movies, not to mention a entertaining ride at the multiplex.
Be certain to stay in those movie chairs after the credits start rolling, because a nifty surprise is in store for fans that tease what we can expect for the next installment in the X-Men universe.
By LaDale Anderson