X-Men: Days of Future Past
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawerence, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender (to name just a few)
Rated: PG-13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.
Storyline from IMDb:
The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days of Future Past. The characters from the original X-Men film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from X-Men: First Class in an epic battle that must change the past - to save our future.
I couldn't have asked for a better Friday afternoon. As my readers and blogger buddies know, I have been incredibly stressed out about trying to find a job, and have just been basically a bundle of nerves on the edge of a break-down for the past couple of weeks. On Friday, my husband and I decided to just say screw it all, and went to lunch at Burgatory (which was delicious), and then to a matinee of the new X-Men movie. Like any nerd worth her salt, I've always been a huge fan of the X-Men franchise. I've seen the first X-Men movie probably a dozen times, and have been salivating over this combination of "old" and "new" cast for months. I'm happy to say that this movie didn't disappoint. I was enthralled by the plot throughout (although I imagine that for the casual viewer who hasn't seen all of these movies it might be pretty confusing at times. If this is you, I would definitely brush up before seeing this one--including Wolverine's stand-alones), loved seeing all of my favorite characters in both their younger and older versions, and was impressed by the wonderful CGI work.
The plot of Days of Future Past is simple enough: In the future, huge, mechanical beings called sentinels are hunting not only mutants, but the humans who have helped them, AND the humans that will someday bore mutant children or grandchildren. The film opening up to a bleak, dystopian futuristic landscape in which a group of mutants are being hunted by these awful creatures. Old characters like Bobby (Rogue's boyfriend in the first couple of movies who can spew ice), and his new girlfriend Kitty--Ellen Page--who, though I don't remember this--can apparently send people back to the past, although only in small increments like a day, are among the small group. The sentinels--much like the "machines" in the last Matrix film, find the group and begin to destroy them. These baddies are no joke. Made of a polymer, not metal, they have the ability to adapt to any mutation thrown their way. The opening scene is pretty graphic, with the mutants not faring well, and the sentinels are sufficiently scary and wonderfully done.
The audience soon finds out (seriously--early in the film) that the reason these beings are able to adapt so easily is because their maker, the movie's bad guy, Dr. Trask (played by the incomparable Peter Dinklage from Game of Thrones), has developed them using Raven/Mystique's DNA. Before long we see all of our old favorites from the the first 3 films: Professor X, Magneto, Wolverine, and Storm who find Kitty and Bobby and come up with a plan to stop Mystique from going after Dr. Trask which is how he gets her DNA. An event that happened back in the 70s. It is quickly decided that only Wolverine could withstand the brain-ripping that will occur from taking a mind-trip that long, and so back to the 70s he goes.
The film really is more of a showcase for the "new"cast of X-Men, with all of the old characters' roles being really more just cameos--with the exception of Hugh Jackman. I really like James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, but nobody can compare with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan. Like First Class, though, it is so interesting to see their relationship when they are younger and really still forming into the people they will become. James McAvoy, as the Professor, is especially interesting in this film as he is struggling with his powers. When Wolverine first finds him, he doesn't even have his powers, and is hiding out in the building that will eventually become the school. Instead, he is addicted to a serum that, while giving him the use of his legs, also suppresses his telepathy. It is also fantastic that Jennifer Lawerence plays such an important role in this film. She's just awesome. Period.
My minor complaints are that I would have liked to see Peter Dinklage a bit more in this film and wish it would have delved a bit more into WHY he was pushing the government to approve this sentinel program so hard. Also, while so cool to see all the old favorites, the film does suffer a bit from the bloated cast--although not too badly. Finally, I was thinking about the very first film after (and while) watching this one, and it really doesn't make any sense that the Professor doesn't show any real emotion toward Mystique when she means SO much to him in this film and in First Class. There are other minor discrepancies that can't be helped now. They obviously had no idea that over a decade later this franchise would still be so huge. I'm just being nit-picky.
Finally, again, I was so impressed with the CGI in this film. My favorite scene revolved around Quicksilver (Evan Peters from American Horror Story), as he runs through a kitchen that is being flooded by a sprinkler system. The slow motion scene, set to an easy-listening 70s tune, showcases the amazing camera work and direction from Bryan Singer with easy perfection. The CGI, the humor of the scene, everything about it was perfect.
Overall, if you are a fan of these movies, this is a great addition to the franchise. If you are a nominal fan that hasn't seen all of these films, my suggestion would be to watch them before seeing this one. You will probably be able to follow the basic story without doing so, but to fully enjoy and understand what is going on, you should be familiar with the movies that come before it.
I rarely go to the theater anymore, but I was so happy that we took a much needed break and went to go see this one. It was the perfect way to start off a long holiday weekend.