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Monday, 26 May 2014

X-Men - Days of Future Past: Screw you prequels!

This review contains NO spoilers, but only as far as I can tell. If reading this affects your movie watching experience negatively, its YOUR FAULT. 

Particularly strong opinions are written in caps.

Here's what I thinking when the trailers came out:

  • MARVEL TIME TRAVEL. Let the multiverse shag begin.
  • Old X-men and young X-men together which means: Michael Fassbender-Ian Mckellen faceoff.
  • Back to Bryan Singer, so no cool Matthew Vaughn vibe.
  • Peter Dinklage. Nuff said.

Here's what I was thinking while walking out after the post-credit scene (which was not important):

  • Time travel concept was 'meh'
  • Half the cast didn't really have to be there. The posters were all a lie.
  • Bryan Singer is pretty cool too
  • How can you NOT have more Peter Dinklage?!!

So, honestly, I missed the first 5 minutes. Turns out they weren't important because its a flash forward to the last part of the movie (pretty cool). The remaining 2 hours and 5 minutes were very fulfilling, with plenty of fist throwing and mouth-covered gasping. The movie certainly did not fail to impress, in the sense that i left the place feeling pretty good. But let's break it down like I usually do:

The Cast

HUGE expectations on this one, but no delivery. As always with Bryan Singer movies, the whole plot just HAS to revolve around Wolverine. While Logan hogs the limelight with a fair share to to young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and young Eric Lensherr (Michael Fassbender), the cast of the old X-men movies pop in now and then for a quick dialogue. Halle Berry is back as Storm, looking as awesome as ever and manages a whopping 6 or 7 minutes of screen time. Peter Dinklage was blatantly misused and left no lasting impression on me except that he sounded like Tyrion in some scenes. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender took centre stage and shook the building with a heated argument, which was as good as the cting would get in this movie. Jennifer Lawrence plays Mystique didn't really stand out all that much in spite of her VERY pivotal role in the plot . A lot of mutants were brought back from the original trilogy just to make small appearances that meant little. A couple of random new mutants are seen with pretty cool powers, including one with the ability to generate portals (cool but obvious ripoff). I was also mildy impressed with the likeness of the actor who played Nixon .

"There are no small roles, only small actors"

The Plot

The time travel aspect of the film was actually pretty simple. My bad for going with Donnie Darko expectations i guess. The story lines up with real life events with some weak links but seemed like it was designed purely for easter eggs, cool references and "Aha, I saw what you did there" instances. A moment arrives when all seems to go wrong and you would expect a rip in the time-space fabric or some intense shit, but its all over with a shake of the head. There were some very obvious hints to the prequels although they were nicely timed and some small, unimportant things only avid comic readers would get. The plot had a disappointingly straightforward flow. There were very few moments where the story cut back to the present, but there were quite a lot of intricate details which were indicative of the timeline and how the events are placed in relation to the preceding movies in what i would call a grand X-timeline spanning from First Class to present day. For example, Wolverine travels back to a time where his skeleton is not yet fused with Adamantium and also his run in with Stryker serves as an indicator of the time and the rippling effect of the changing past.The second half is riddled with small but very cool plot twists which brought a smile to everyone's faces. For this reason the plot resonates with the cool vibe of X-men: First Class rather than the trilogy. This laid back feel soon disappears as the plot becomes more intense and tapers off at a very gripping climax that leaves you at the edge of your seat with popcorn falling out of your mouth. There's a HUGE ending to this movie that I can't mention for spoiler reasons. However if you're curious, the title of the review is a bad clue.

A small mention; The promo ads on YouTube are damn cool. 
Also, no Stan Lee cameo on this one.

I can walk through walls. Oh also I've always held the secret to time travel.

The Graafix

This was one of the few movies where the 3D glasses are actually required. The movie had JUST the right amount of awesome CGI. Bolivar Trask's sentinels have sprung right out of the comic artwork in a beautiful flurry of liquid and steel. The best graphics, and the singular best scene was the slow motion sequence with Peter Maximoff (Quicksilver) who, in his small appearance delivers a couple of typical teen movie zingers before being at the center of this super-cool scene. GG Bryan Singer. Cerebro looks as awesome as ever and the Magneto scenes as well. The final fight scene was amazing and surprisingly brutal for a Marvel movie. All this was of course accompanied by a very fitting soundtrack. I was disappointed that they didn't bring back the epic Magneto theme. 

When the credits roll, you can definitely tell that the movie has the Bryan Singer signature all over it and maybe a bit of the Matthew Vaughn First Class swag. The movie wasn't as sleek and ruthless as First Class but was significantly better written than the trilogy. Despite the not so impressive time frame and the poorly exploited cast, X-Men: Days of Future Past makes for a really good watch. Watching it on the big screen is a good idea thanks to the amazing, yet humble visual effects. The story is great and lets you pat yourself on the back every time you pick out a clever pun. I'm going to give it a 3.5 out of 5 which, in hindsight seems a little harsh but very well deserved. 

1 comment:

  1. I agree with you on the poor exploitation of the cast. Peter Dinklage, Jen Lawrence, Ellen Paige and Halle Berry are all amazing actors and I didn't find their roles memorable. Jennifer Lawrence, for God's sake! But I loved the movie for the X-men feel. This movie felt most like the animated series we used to watch back in the day :) oh and the Quicksilver scene: epic!