Review – X-Men: Days of Future Past

Poster for 2014 superhero movie X-Men: Days of Future Past

Genre: Action
Certificate: 12
UK Release Date: 22nd May 2014
Runtime: 131 minutes
Director: Bryan Singer
Writer: Simon Kinberg
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage
Synopsis: Wolverine is sent back in time to help save the mutant population from genocidal robot assassins.

 

 

The X-Men universe is a sprawling cinematic canvas that has spanned 14 years and five different directors. But now Bryan Singer is back and the two time periods depicted in the series are weaving together. With epic concept comes epic scale in the… well, epic superhero actioner X-Men: Days of Future Past.

In a dystopian future, mutants and humans alike are being terrorised by the Sentinels – robotic creations of scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). It falls to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to go back in time to convince Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to unite for long enough to prevent Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) killing Trask and beginning the Sentinels’ reign of terror.

Days of Future Past is comfortably the most ambitious of all of the movies in the X-Men universe. It manages to successfully bring together both generations of the mutant ensemble cast seamlessly and also crafts a completely thrilling action blockbuster around all of that.

| "So many battles waged over the years… and yet, none like this."

It feels almost pointless to comment on performances at this point in the series as we are so well acquainted with the central cast. Worth a mention, however, is that Jennifer Lawrence takes full advantage of her beefed-up role and walks away with the film. She’s sexy and sinister one moment, but fragile the next.

With original franchise director Bryan Singer back in creative control, Days of Future Past balances its tone perfectly. The intense scenes of drama and spectacle sit comfortably next to lighter moments of comedy and silliness. Evan Peters’ brilliant comic performance as Quicksilver lays down a real gauntlet for Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s take on the character in the Marvel universe.

Singer is sure-footed in his action sequences. The final set piece is utterly masterful and provides a counterpoint to the now traditional “and then everything blows up” third act of superhero movies. Singer shows that there is a way to be spectacular whilst still being subtle. At times his work here might feel a little mechanical compared to the ramshackle delights of Marvel, but he has produced a really good summer blockbuster.

| "I was a very different man. Lead me, guide me, be patient with me.”

Days of Future Past might be the best film in the X-Men franchise so far. The series still doesn’t have the pull of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, but this feels like the beginning of a new chapter for the world of mutants.

 

Pop or Poop?

Rating: Pop!

Days of Future Past is a guidebook for filmmakers who want to make an engaging two-hour blockbuster that has mass appeal without resorting to the generic superhero structure.

With a great cast firing on all cylinders and a filmmaker oozing confidence, the film never lets up in its fast-paced tale of time travel, awesome powers and people fighting robots.

 

Do you agree with my review? Let me know in the comments section.

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