Reenergizing the past - I’m not sure what I expected with the now seventh film to what is clearly becoming its own series for Marvel. This is of course is completely separate from what’s going on with “The Avengers” in their own cinematic universe. So, don’t try to combine the two or your head might explode. I know I won’t as its hard enough to focus on what’s going in this series, which thankfully is back in the hands of Bryan Singer, who with this film has finally regained that momentum lost after “X-Men: The Last Stand.”
What’s it about? For once, I’m really not 100% sure, but it is based off the 1980 comic by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, which according to some fans is hallowed ground. Having never read the comic, I would have no clue, but it appears as if the events of the future are in many ways controlling the past, which we find out needs to be altered. And while we do spend some time in the future where Sentinels are exterminating pretty much everything in sight, most of this story follows Wolverine’s (Hugh Jackman) trek back to 1973 through his consciousness. You see, the idea is for Wolverine to find a younger version of Xavier (James McAvoy) and convince him to help stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Trask (Peter Dinklage), the designer of the Sentinels. Otherwise, Mystique will be captured and her DNA will be used to help create the same mutant-killing Sentinels of the future. So, after waking up in 1973, Wolverine attempts to follow through on this insane plan that could only come from Professor X, but doing so becomes quite the chore given all the obstacles in the way from the past and future. Confused? I know I am and I have seen it, but don’t worry, it’s still a lot of fun to watch unfold.
Who’s in it? You almost need a guide to figure out who is in this, but with little to no character development, it almost doesn’t matter. I mean, unless they explain some of the new mutants later, I really don’t feel the need to introduce them here, especially when their presence is barely felt. Instead, I will speak to who was around and leading the pack yet again was Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman. One day, someone a lot more verse than me with the pages of the comic will have to explain why he is always the one to connect all the stories together, but it works. And truthfully, this might the only role where I have no issue with Jackman. He is Wolverine for the rest of his life, just like Johnny Depp is Jack Sparrow the rest of his. Iconic figures in cinematic history are a good thing, so kudos to Jackman for not screwing up this role and being the familiar face we look forward to seeing again when the next sequel gets released.
Following Jackman’s lead virtually every step of the way was Jennifer Lawrence, how continues to impress me with whatever she does. This girl can flat out act and even in this role as Mystique did some things you wouldn’t normally expect. So, good for her and to Singer for ensuring she was a part of this yet again. Same can be said for Michael Fassbender, who I admit I have not always been a big fan of given how he tends to overact in many of his scenes. But, he is so good in this role as the younger Magneto that you forget about what Ian McKellen has done in the series. Yeah, I realize it’s in a blockbuster film with a huge budget, but that doesn’t take away from what he has managed to do in each scene he pops up in. I mean, his interaction with the often undervalued James McAvoy, who played the younger Charles Xavier, is some of the best this series has seen between two stars. So my hope is that continues even more with the final chapter “X-Men-Apocalypse” in 2016.
Back in the saddle – For everything that has been said on this series and what’s it become after the original back in 2000, it is nice to see Bryan Singer behind the camera again. To me, that is the story behind the story with this film after the ups and downs we experienced since his departure in 2004 to go film “Superman Returns.” And let’s face it, given the lackluster returns after “X-Men: The Last Stand,” this series was not looking good. So, I guess they waited for him to come back in some ways considering all we had in-between were two Wolverine-based films and the underperforming “X-Men: First Class.” And while I’m still trying to understand why we will eventually have three films just on Wolverine, at least with “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and its predecessor, the series appears to be back on track. That’s big for a lot of reasons, but mostly because we can look forward to finally ending this thing on a high note with “X-Men-Apocalypse” in a couple years. Sure, this fourth installment was not perfect by any means, but where it failed before with overzealous action and special effects, it excelled here with better storytelling. I just wish it was a bit more balanced and we got to know the new characters more. And I think Singer knows that, but just had too much to try to squeeze together here between the past and the present.
Bottom Line – I think anyone that walks out not liking “X-Men: Days of Future Past” went in with the wrong expectations. I get it, but to me given what this series has endured, to get a film as entertaining as this one was is exactly what fans desperately needed to be excited again.
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