Film review – X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

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In 2000 Bryan Singer brought the first X-Men film to our cinemas, in what became the first in a long line of Marvel movies. For me however, the X-Men franchise has always been my favourite, with its varied and interesting characters, brought to life by a fantastic group of the finest actors.

The latest X-Men film, Days of Future Past doesn’t disappoint and is one of the best of the series. In the future of 2023, mutants are being systematically wiped out by the Sentinels – robots created by scientist Bolivar Trask, which with the DNA of Mystique can target mutants more effectively for extermination. As the few remaining mutants (including Professor X, Magneto, Storm and Kitty Pryde) take a stand for survival against the Sentinels, Wolverine is set back in time to 1973, in to his younger self’s body. If he can convince the young Charles Xavier and Erik Lehnsherr to help stop Mystique from murdering Trask, perhaps the apocalyptic future in store can be averted.

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Professor X, Magneto & Wolverine take a stand in 2023

I thoroughly enjoyed this film and it certainly lived up to my expectations. Bryan Singer’s script is very good indeed. It has everything – humour, wit, character depth and development, action and a level of drama and tension that keeps its audience watching. This is all the more impressive due to the size of the cast involved. If you thought the ensemble for The Avengers Assemble was impressive, you ain’t seen nothing yet! No one feels sidelined, as each character plays their part and combining the original X-Men with those from First Class is fantastic.

The film focuses primarily on the First Class gang in 1973 as we see the young Charles Xavier at his lowest point and it is Wolverine who must act as his guide, helping him to start to become the man who in another life guided Wolverine himself! James McAvoy is excellent, showing us a very different Charles and his relationship with Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine (who is always a highlight of these films and Days of Future Past is no exception) is great. Michael Fassbender convincingly steps in to Ian McKellen’s shoes yet again as Magneto, bringing a strong character to the story, whose relationship with Charles builds on that first seen in First Class. It’s fantastic to see Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique taking on a larger role too, conveying the various emotions of Mystique very well throughout and Nicholas Hoult brings added lightness to the film as Hank McCoy (aka The Beast) and I especially liked his relationship with Wolverine. There are also some superb character moments, in particular the moment McAvoy’s Charles is confronted with his future self.

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Young Charles and Erik reunited in 1973

What I enjoyed most about this film is that the action sequences are not there for the sake of it (Man of Steel anyone?!) and each such sequence is genuinely impressive. Magneto has some fantastic action moments and a scene in a kitchen involving Charles, Wolverine, Erik and Peter Maximoff (aka Quicksilver) is utterly superb and visually spectacular (coupled with a brilliant song choice). Evan Paters is fantastic as Quicksilver and he’s a brilliant addition to the franchise and I look forward to seeing more of him in the next movie. Peter Dinklage is good too as Trask, although at the moment he is always going to be Tyrion Lannister to me, which was a bit distracting!

Another great aspect of this film is that it will be enjoyable for long-standing fans of the franchise (who can try and plot the timelines and interconnecting / overlapping histories), but also newcomers, as the nature of the story means that the X-Men history is explained well enough for the less familiar to understand the story and its origins.

By the end of the film I was totally engrossed and was left very excited by the possibilities open to Singer and his team for future instalments. I would certainly recommend this film and not just to Marvel fans either. Oh and don’t forget to stay until after the credits have rolled to see a sneaky hint at what may await in X-Men: Apocalypse (scheduled to be released in May 2016)!

X-Men: Days of Future Past is on general release at UK cinemas now and I’ve included its trailers below.

Official Trailer #1: http://youtu.be/pK2zYHWDZKo

Official Trailer #2: http://youtu.be/6acRHWnfZAE

Official Trailer #3: http://youtu.be/gsjtg7m1MMM

 

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