( this review for Days of Future Past was originally done on 08 June 2014)
So, here comes the biggest movie X men , has ever had, be it in terms of production, promotion , audience expectation or excitement…
A movie that was important for Fox for re-establishing a movie franchise, which once stood tall with Spider-man as the leader in its genre, but lost its way somewhere and now fighting for survival.
AND a movie that was supposed to rebuild X men universe and removes all the problems that were created while Bryan Singer has been away from the franchise…
QUESTION IS DOES IT SUCCEED?
Loosely adapted from the classic by Chris Claremont and John Byrne comic storyline of the same name, X-Men: Days of Future Past sees the big screen’s original X-Men (Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Colossus, and one and the only Magneto) and their latest members (Bishop, Warpath, Sunspot, and Blink) living in a dystopian future where the massive mutant-hunting Sentinels have practically exterminated mutants.
Days of Future Past starts with an epic battle between the new mutants with Kitty, Iceman and Colossus against a horde of Sentinels that can adapt to anything that is thrown at them. We see all of them dying one by one, and then suddenly everything disappears. At a new location, all these mutants meet Professor X(the one and only Patrick Stewart), Magneto (the great Ian Mckellen) and Wolverine ( Hugh Jackman, duh?) meet and we find out Kitty( played by the delightful Ellen Page here) can send someone to their past self!
Some of you may know, that in original story line, Kitty Pryde sends her own consciousness to her younger self to warn the X men of the Past. Here, a flimsy excuse that no one but Wolverine, who can regenerate can survive this trip, allows the studio to send him instead in the past, so that they can reap the benefits of the HUGE fandom Hugh Jackman has. AND BEHOLD, we find Wolverine in 1973, NAKED, of course…
Wolverine, as per instruction, goes to find young Charles Xavier ( James McAvoy)at his institute. What he finds out is, a broken down building and a broken down man. Professor X (James McAvoy) is wallowing in despair about all that he has lost, drunk out of mind ( a bit like the dark knight rises, I know) with only the Beast ( Nicholas Hoult) as his companion. He is caring for the Professor as best as he can, he has created a miracle cure which treats his broken spine temporarily but affects his mutation so the Professor no longer has Psychic abilities… (WHAT?)
Anyways, it seems that the lynchpin here is assassination of Bolivar Trask (fan favorite Peter Dilnklage) by Mystique (the lovely Jennifer Laurence). So the team sets put to recruit young Magneto( Michael Fassbender), who is in Jail to convince her to stop. For that they require the quickest man( boy?) in Marvel universe, Quicksilver (Evan peters) , who incidentally is Magneto’s child, which either no one seems to know, or willing to admit.
From here Days of Future Past becomes a race against time, to stop the assassination, restore Hope of Professor X and make him whole again while the X men in future battle out to protect Wolverine’s future body.
Days of Future Past is plot heavy with A LOT OF characters, so credit is due to director Bryan Singer and writer Simon Kinsberg to create a good story flow, which is intense and free flowing. However it does get a bit repetitive at moment, and characters don’t really behave like u would think they should logically at times, especially Mystique and Magneto. The movie promised us action, and it delivers that in spades…
From Individual characters, the surprise package is Quicksilver. Yes, for a man who was laughing stock of internet for being hipster during last few months, stuns you and overshadows everything with the 5 minutes he has. The idea to shoot his scene at 3600 FPS (yes, that is correct) WORKS! Marvel’s QS in Avengers 2 has been set a really high bar, hope Whedon is up for the challenge.
Sir Ian Mckellan and Patrick Stewart are as great as ever in the few minutes they have. Jennifer Lawrence shows why she is THE highest earning super heroine of all time.Fassbender and McAvoy are good but not at the class of their older selves, but then who can blame them for that?
THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENTS of Days of Future Past are Wolverine and Bolivar Trask. Wolverine does nothing but be a shirtless messenger, one of the most feared warriors of Marvel universe has got no battles in this action flick. He has no great scenes to act either.
When you cast Peter Dinklage as the villain in your movie, the expectations will always be high, but there is nothing for him to do in the movie as Trask. I would really not call him a villain either. ( on a side note, Ponder who the villain was in Days of Future Past, once you see it, I bet you will have a tough time on that one).
The film’s action sequences are well-done and engaging, from its opening scene of the future X-Men falling to the Sentinels to the Paris standoff through to the climactic battle in Washington D.C. But the standout set-piece is the Pentagon prison break sequence, which nicely balances humor, visual effects, character, and tension.
The problem with Days of Future Past is this, it was supposed to clear the timeline inconsistency (like Emma frost being a teenager in 1970s and adult in 1960s) idiotic errors in writing (like phoenix of X3 or how Professor x was walking in past in X3, but was paralyzed before that in X men first class or how he is alive again after dying in X3 ) that has become the hall mark of X men movie. But instead of clearing the plot holes ( I would not list, TOO LONG), the movie fills them with cement by making that stopping that assassination means that NO previous movie except First class have never occurred. Also, they seem to have killed Emma Frost ( one of the biggest characters right now in comics) off screen . but this should not bother a casual movie goer.
THE VERDICT : Days of Future Past
X men DOFP is a fast paced, well written, special effect bonanza that any action / scifi movie lover should enjoy. It is supported by some good performance by the actors.
Is it a breakout movie like The Dark Knight or Captain America 2: Winter Soldier? NO. But it will revitalize the failing X men franchise after some really DUMB movies like X3, Wolverine origins, wolverine etc.
As an individual movie, it is very good. I would rate it as 7.5/10.
As a movie that is part of a 15 years franchise, movie does have its problems, (plot holes) and I would rate it as 6.5/10 for that.
So if you are a hard core X men comic fan, you will find it OK. If you are a hard core X men movie fan or a casual movie goes who loves action and special effects, you will find it great. If you are neither, Let it pass.
Fox went ALL IN on this hand, Days of Future Past has cost 200 million to make (240, if some reports are to be believed). Fox has been hoping to make it a billion at least.
Well, it isn’t, while Days of Future Past has done very well for itself, its first 3 day weekend ( excluding Monday of memorial day) fell behind Captain America 2, The amazing spiderman 2. It earned less than X3, which was also released on memorial day by 17%. It earned less than X2, X men Wolverine: origins, X men first class adjusted to inflation, and same is first X men movie .
In second week, it took a massive drop to fall behind maleficent . This third week end, it is expected to fall to 4th place. ( Cap 2 maintained no 1 position for 3 weeks, something only done by Hunger games and The Dark Knight in recent times). Their only salvation is foreign market, where it is doing well, but it will still put it 650-800 million. So a little disappointment for the studio, I guess. It may edge out cap 2 as the biggest flick of year, yet, but only just. And that is 50/50 at present.
THE FUTURE OF X MEN
Fox has adopted the policy of Marvel to give us a mid-credit scene that will whet out appetite for future movies. Here we get a glimpse at APOCALYPSE ( the first and the strongest of the mutants, born 5000 years ago, “En Sabah Nur” or the first one) building pyramids in Egypt with a flick of his hand, while four horsemen stands with him ( for those who don’t know, Apocalypse creates four horsemen to help him, War, Pestilence, Death and famine). Apocalypse is the BIGGEST baddy in X men universe, like Darkseid to superman, Thanos to Avengers or Galactus to Fantastic four. I, for one cannot wait for that movie which will come next year!
It is supposed to be set in 1980s with characters from first class taking center stage again. Which reminds me, if you are a fan of X men series, DOFP is a time to say good bye to all the old stars. Hugh Jackman is contracted for one more movie, other than that, this was the last movie for all of them (I am keeping fingers crossed for at least Cameos from McKellan and Stewart).
We will see Jackman for the last time in Wolverine 3. I would like to see it being old man Logan storyline (widely accepted as THE GREATEST WOLVERINE STORY EVER TOLD), but as it has Hulk, Hawkeye and Red skull as important characters, I doubt it can happen.
Following the reboot of fantastic four, fox is hoping to combine these two universe for an Avengers like movie, provided FF can be a box office success ( I ,personally, doubt that).
Marvel vs Fox
The problems Fox will face will come from Marvel. It seems Marvel has declared all-out war on Fox. FOX ONLY HAS RIGHTS TO LIVE ACTION MOVIE, EVERYTHING ESE, ANIMATIONS, TOYS ETC BELONG TO MARVEL. Marvel has shown intend to stop promotion of all X men products, there have been no big event in comics after Avengers Vs X men, they are shutting off Fantastic four comics , Cyclops and Emma are labelled as terrorists now, Professor X is dead, Wolverine has lost his powers and about to die in comics. ( They killed Peter Parker last year, but revived him just before The amazing spider-man 2, this is unlikely with Wolverine). Marvel is willing to take a hit on comics, so the foreign take of X men movies by fox can take a hit. ( at present , X men are more recognizable in the world than most Avengers properties).
This will only get worse as it goes. If Fantastic four fails ( which it is highly likely to, FF hasn’t been a success ANYWHERE in 20 years, movies or comics, the cast for the movie is teenagers, they have created some truly horrible changes tro story of upcoming reboot, so the movie is not recognizable as FF any more), Fox will have 3 choices, let the rights lapse, continue making profitless movies or legal battle with Marvel ( owned by Disney). And Marvel wants Silver surfer and Galactus BAD!
But for now, X men have risen from ashes like the Phoenix!