Movie Reviews

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’: Flying at full force

By Zaki JufriMovies - 21 May 2014 9:00 AM | Updated 2:51 PM

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’: Flying at full force

X-Men Days of Future Past

Our Rating

4/5 Stars

Nobody saw them coming. 

When ‘X-Men’ came out in 2000, it was a sleeper hit, raking in US$$297 million (about S$515 million that year) worldwide during its run, and turning actors such as Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen into cult icons overnight.

Not since Richard Donner’s ‘Superman’ or Tim Burton’s ‘Batman’ has any superhero film elicited the kind of frenetic rush that Professor Xavier and the students from the School for Gifted Youngsters has. 

Singer effectively launched the era of the modern comic-book superhero movies with ‘X-Men’ and ‘X2: X-Men United’ in 2003. He appealed to an audience wider than comic-book fans, giving us stunning spectacles, character-driven stories and charismatic protagonists.

Such is the genius of Singer for striking that balance.

When he pulled out of ‘X-Men: The Last Stand’ (2006) and the reins went to the ill-suited Brett Ratner, the franchise veered from Singer’s vision, and that included the lacklustre ‘X-Men Origins – Wolverine’ (2009) spinoff directed by Gavin Hood. 

Now, Singer is back in the director’s chair, and ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ requires you to have decent grasp of mutant chapter and verse. This is one mega mutant franchise that spans six films from 2000, so it pays to be in the know.

Read also: ‘X-Men: First Class’ movie review

Matthew Vaughn refreshed the franchise in 2011 with a cool, retro style and a dash of intrigue for ‘X-Men: First Class’. Singer latches on that momentum to give audiences another exhilarating movie.

TIME TRAVEL

Employing Marvel's go-to plot device of choice – time travel – the director presses the “reset” button on the franchise, “correcting” the ‘X-Men’ story in a way that plants the seeds for future narratives. 

It sees the original X-Men (Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Colossus, and one-time nemesis Magneto) and their latest members (Bishop, Warpath, Sunspot and Blink) living in a dystopian future, where massive mutant-hunting robots called Sentinels have practically exterminated mutants, incarcerating the surviving ones in concentration camps with the humans who helped them.

Read also: Living the dream: Fan Bingbing high on ‘X-Men’, Hugh Jackman

The mission this time? Change the course of history to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the scientist responsible for creating the Sentinels.

This is kicked off by Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), who uses her powers to launch Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness back into his younger self (also played by Jackman) so he may warn the X-Men (circa 1973) of the dangers that await them in the future. 

Waking up in 1973, Wolverine must navigate through disco balls and people in bell-bottoms to rally the younger Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender).

BEST ‘X-MEN’ MOVIE YET

The movie is loosely adapted from a 1981 comic storyline by writer Chris Claremont, and one can say that this is the best ‘X-Men’ movie of all. 

As a comeback gift, Singer throws everything at you – the kitchen sink and then some.

The arresting plot twists, countless plot points, barrels of exposition, and a host of A-list performers are all lobbed into the machinery of this coherent narrative.

There are some awkward moments but overall, Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg manage to balance everything with relative ease and keep things clear even with so many moving parts.

And the action never lets up. From the fun 1970s caper and dark futuristic dystopia sequences to the final climactic battle with the Sentinels, it is all super impressive.

MAN-TO-MAN RELATIONSHIPS

Perhaps the most rewarding aspect of the movie is the on-again-off-again relationship between Magneto and Professor X. 

In ‘First Class’, Fassbender and McAvoy did an amazing job playing the younger versions of these two iconic characters, but watching them now in tandem with Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen is even more gratifying. 

Jackman, arguably the franchise’s biggest star after 14 years and six movies, owns the Wolverine character and plays him effortlessly.

The reversed dynamic between Wolverine and Professor X is also a nice twist. In ‘First Class’, Stewart’s Xavier is the mentor to the wayward mutant while in this movie, Wolverine is mentor to young Xavier. 

You can say ‘Days of Future Past’ is a reboot, a reunion and a launchpad. It is a rollicking ride from end to end, a successful blend of the franchise's two separate incarnations that began in 2000, straightening out the kinks and continuing the journey. 

Don’t forget to stay for the post-credits scene that sets up the ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ sequel in 2016. It’s subtle, but the reference is excellent if you know your X-Men villains. 

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ is now showing in cinemas

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past
  • X-Men: Days Of Future Past

    (2014)
  • Rated
    PG13 /
    Genre
    Action, Adventure, Fantasy
  • Language
    Eng
  • (7 Reviews)