Monday, 26 May 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past
Directed by Bryan Singer
I've always loved the X-Men movies. I didn't get to see any in theaters until X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but they've always been so fun, and some of my favourite "superhero" films. The newest was being heralded as the best since X2, which I found hard to believe (the trailers and time travel concept had me skeptical) but the film completely works and is indeed one of the best X-Men film to be released.
So since you probably already know what this film is about, I'll give you the quickie explanation. It's 2023 and the world is coming to an end. Sentinels (shape-shifter robots) are destroying mutants and hardly anyone (human or mutant) is left). But it turns out Kitty Pryde can send people's consciousnesses back in time and Professor X, Magento, Wolverine and Storm approach the young group of mutants that Kitty is a part of with the idea to send someone back in time to stop the Sentinels and this ending of the world. 1973 Mystique assassinates Boliver Trask (creator of the Sentinels) hoping to stop the program, but the program is pushed forward even further because of Mystique's violence. But they also steal some DNA from her to make the Sentinels the powerful shape-shifters they are. So they decide Wolverine is the only one who can make the extensive trip and is sent to enlist young Charles (who swapped his powers for use of his legs) and Erik (imprisoned in the Pentagon). Basically, stop Mystique.
As confusing as the premise sounds, this film was an incredible amount of fun. Between this film and First Class, I think these have been some of the best "Marvel films" to come out in a while. They walk the line between serious plot and premise and having fun and making jokes perfectly. The humor never seems out of place and seems realistic to the situation. The casting is so great (Fassbender and McAvoy especially!) and just everything is done well (we'll just forget about the continuity issues). As well, this film did their action sequences incredibly well. Action sequences don't generally stand out to me (Whether good or bad), but these ones really did. From Mystique battling out the troops in Vietnam to Quicksilver and his "time in a bottle" scene (which I can't talk about enough!) everything was pitch perfect and done on such a big scale. But never too big. And the music they had to back it up was always perfect and really set the tone.
I'm not really sure what else to say about this film. I find blockbusters extremely hard to review since I'm not going into it with the purpose of reviewing it. I was completely immersed in the film and don't really know what to say. Despite some (a lot) of continuity errors, I feel Bryan Singer was the perfect person to direct this addition. I feel like only he could really get away with everything he did since he was the person to originally set up this series. And Singer really brought his A-game here, bringing everyone together, but also making a completely enthralling new addition to the series. Singer perfectly balances the action and the drama/politics of the film and this is what makes the film so great. The action never takes the center of the film for too long, but the drama of the film never gets too overwhelming before some action swoops in. And I think this is Days of Future Past's strongest points. It walks the line and gets a perfect balance of everything.
McAvoy is an actor I've always felt has been sorely under-appreciated. While Fassbender is a fantastic actor, pretty much everyone knows it and the world cheered when he finally received his first Oscar nomination this past January. However, McAvoy, again, brings great work here, really making us feel so much for Charles, but also we feel a little complicated towards him. He's really a tender-hearted and extremely caring guy, but he tries so hard to conform people to his ways. Even though his ways are right, he doesn't always go about it the best way. He is a man who has lost so much and is trying to find his way back again. McAvoy really makes us feel for Charles and his cause. We both simultaneously sympathize towards him, but are also slightly frustrated when he does things in the wrong way. Fassbender and Lawrence also bring some great work here too, of course. Fassbender was slightly more underused in this film, but his on screen bad-guy presence is something to really be reckoned with. Fassbender was pitch perfect casting and he really does get into the role. Lawrence as well has a much more interesting job this time around and, again, we feel so conflicted about her too. It's great to see Lawrence without the humor, as I feel this is something she is really strong at, when she wants to be.
While there were continuity errors abound, and an essential rewriting of a lot of different things, the film completely worked. While it felt very much like the classic middle movie, second of a trilogy, it did well to stand on it's own extremely well. Enough time had past from the events of First Class, but it's not so far away and out of our minds that it's completely ignored. The film was really great and extremely fun. It's been hurting my head a little ever since viewing on Saturday afternoon, but I got to give the makers credit. They've got me asking a million questions and have got me dying to see the next installment so that questions may be answered. And that was the best thing they could've done for this film.
Posted by Heather Martin