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Leap year: Movie review of ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

Jennifer Lawrence
Jennifer Lawrence
Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images

X-Men: Days of Future Past was one of the tent pole films for the summer box office. Perhaps hoping to capture the spirit of The Avengers, the film merged all of the players from its older brand to the ones from it less successful franchise reboot, X-Men: First Class. Thus for the price of one movie ticket you get two Professor Xs and Magnetos along with a Wolverine who as played by the incomparable Hugh Jackman who never changes. (It is getting to the point that I am beginning to think he might have a horrible painting of himself hidden somewhere in an attic.)

It is cynical to believe that one of the main reasons this film was made was because the producers have Jennifer Lawrence under contract. However considering that she was cast in the role of Raven/Mystic in 2011 and had her fame blow up in 2012 when she played Katniss Everdeen in The Hunger Games not to mention winning an Oscar for Silver Linings Playbook that same year, so you wouldn’t color me surprised if a reexamination of the middling intake of the reboot wasn’t done. Of course her star power accompanied with the other well-known names in this movie, you have major potential to make bank.

Speaking of this casts, it felt like thousands of actors were in this one film. Beyond the before mentioned, there is James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anne Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Famke Jansen, James Marsden, Brian Cox, and Kelsey Grammer. I mean everyone was back except for actress/model Rebecca Romijn who was replaced by “It Girl” JLaw (an example of actress/model blues). Granted, not everyone on the above list had a major role, but that is a lot of talent to pact into a 2 hour 11 minute storyline.

Yes, the story…I am going to go against the general critical sentiment that this movie was great. Mind you I liked it, but there were flaws in the timeline, which I understand is not a huge issue with comic books per se. However for someone whose only experience with the X-Men franchise is through cinema I admit I felt cheated. It isn’t as if Bryan Singer (director who made the news in late spring for allegations of teen molestation) completely trashes the setup of the first three films plus the two Wolverine movies, but there are discrepancies in Future Past that are never fully explained. For instance if Mystic was captured in 1973 why did the events in the first three films even occur? She was pretty much a cold-blooded killer by the first installment (2003) so why the shock when she is determined to assassinate Dr. Bolivar Trask – aka Tyrion Lannister? Further, when did Kitty Pryde develop new powers?

When changing the time period of an established story it is the details that matter. If done right you have the J.J. Abrams rebooting of Star Trek, if done wrong you have Bobby Ewing in the shower. (Dallas reference, here’s a link if you were too darn young to understand the reference – now stop making me feel so old and get off my lawn!) Future Past falls closer to Star Trek, but it does not win BINGO.

For the most part X-Men: Days of Future Past is out of the theaters. It made over 200 million domestically and half a billion from the rest of the world which makes it one of the few highlights in this summer’s disappointing box office. Here’s a hint Hollywood, don’t cram all of your heavy hitters in May and early June. There is an audience for these movies but when you have one potential blockbuster debuting on top of another there aren’t enough 3D theaters and potential movie goers can’t catch up. Now that we hit late July the pickin’s feel small AND I want Godzilla back! The X-Men DVD is set to be released in September.

I recommend X-Men: Days of Future Past because overall the X-Men franchise is fun. It was great to see all of the actors from the various movies join up to fight the baddies – they weren’t drones, but I am sure the filmmakers were hoping for a comparison. Like X-Men films of the past it should play well on the small screen.

Happy viewing!