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"X-Men: Days of Future Past" the best of the X-Men movies

James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart both play Professor X in Days of Future Past
James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart both play Professor X in Days of Future Past
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris

X-Men: Days of Future Past (movie)


The X-Men took a while to catch on. When Stan Lee created the team, he wanted to create a group of heroes that were born with their powers. He had created superheroes that got their abilities thanks to gamma rays, cosmic rays, radioactive spiders, radioactive materials thrown in the face and more. What if he had a group of heroes that got their abilities because of birth. The comic, however, took a long time to become a success. It wasn't until the late 70s that the X-Men became huge.

Once that happened, the comic took off and become one of the most popular. The history and story behind the characters is rich and detailed and exciting. It was a tough thing, in other words, to try and bring to the big screen.

Finally, after so many attempts that came close to creating the excitement and storylines of the comic books, comes X-Men: Days of Future Past. A movie with a title that tends to twist back on itself, but sort of makes sense once you see the film.

In the future, a man named Bolivar Trask creates robotic creatures called Sentinels. They are designed to track down mutants - people who have genetic mutations that manifest as powers. Trask, and others, believe that mutants are an inherent threat. However, in the future, the Sentinels have become more than robots, they have become creatures capable of mutating and adapting to each situation, each threat, each ability thrown against them. Thus, mutantkind is on the verge of extinction.

So, the only hope is to send Logan, Wolverine's, consciousness back in time to before the Sentinels came into existence. Trask was assassinated by the mutant known as Mystique and that accelerated the creation of the Sentinel program. If he can go back and stop that, he can stop the war, stop the Sentinels and cause the horrific future from ever happening.

The movie is an all-star cast. It brings together those from the original run of X-Men movies (Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Ellen Page) with those who appeared in 2011's X-Men: First Class (James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence) in a time-traveling extravaganza that's exciting, with stunning visuals, great action and a great story. All of this is helmed by director Bryan Singer, who brought us the original stories in X-Men and X2: X-Men United. It's easily the best of the X-Men series and could be the best superhero movie of 2014.

I have always been a fan of Magneto as a villain. He has almost limitless power (it's even greater in the comics), and he has a deep, deep desire to protect his fellow mutants. In doing so, he does very bad things, not realizing that he is, in many ways, advocating the vile things done to him and his family by the Nazis in World War II. He is misguided, rather than a drooling, truly evil villain and those are always the best villains.

In this one, the site of Fassbender as Magneto lifting an entire sports stadium in the air and dropping it around the White House is one of the best effects in recent memory in a superhero tale. This is a complex story, one that you feel is urgent, and that the fate of mutant and man-kind hangs in the balance. The tension builds nicely, there are some very funny throw away lines by Jackman as Wolverine, and Lawrence is fantastic as the conflicted Mystique.

So far, the X-Men movies have been of consistent quality. The one major misstep has been X-Men: The Last Stand. I personally loved X-Men: First Class. I loved seeing the older actors meeting up with the younger actors. I thought the time travel aspect was handled about as well as it could be (you can get very nit-picky about time travel and you probably can here, but go with it) and the time travel, within the story and within the rules it sets for itself, works.

It's an epic tale filled with great actors playing potentially ridiculous roles. Yet, they all come to it very seriously. They take this story personally and it shows. Thus, Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellan are as excellent at James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. All of the component parts work to form a nice whole. The one thing I could lodge as a complaint is that it does put SO many new mutant characters into the story that if you are not a fan of the comics you might be lost (watch for Bishop, Warpath, Sunspot and Toad, to name a few).

One of the best scenes in the whole movie involves the mutant Quicksilver, who can run super-fast and perceives the world as virtually standing still. How he manages to completely disarm and wipe out a room full of armed men is funny, but also very clever. Evan Peters plays Quicksilver, and I hope he gets to return in the next film.

Yes, there is a post-credits sequence. I don't want to tell you too much about it, but if you are not a fan, you may not get who or what it is telling you. I can only say that the plan for the next X-Men movie is to make X-Men: Age of Apocalypse, so you might get an idea.

See X-Men: Days of Future Past. It's an excellent movie that takes the fans needs into consideration, but doesn't cheap out on story, action, special effects, wonder and fun.

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