2014-05-26

X-Men Days of Future Past – The Best of the Present Days

by Yo Snyder

Bryan Singer should have never left the X-men franchise. Not
only did it quickly spiral downhill after he left, but Singer went on to set
back any attempts at re-launching a Superman franchise with a movie that was
less than super. So basically two franchises suffered because of that choice.
Well, the good news is not only Bryan Singer back directing X-men, but X-Men Days of Future Past is easily the
best movie in the franchise. It not only tells a compelling story, it not has
some great character moments, and it not only has the cast of the original
trilogy together with the cast from First
Class
, but it also – thanks to that magical element that fixes everything
known as time travel – fixes some of the mistakes of the past films while
providing a clean(er) slate for the franchise going forward. That’s a lot to
accomplish in one movie, and Days of
Future Past
does it with aplomb.

While it’s very cool to see the likes of Patrick Stewart and
Ian McKellen and others from the original cast return to the big screen (along
with some very cool cameos from the original films), it’s the cast from First Class that gets the most screen
time, which is fine because they’re more than capable of carrying the film. The
interaction between James McAvoy’s young Professor X and Michael Fassbender’s
young Magnets is riveting to watch, while Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique adds
some unique elements of unpredictability (just whose side is she on?) to the
proceedings. And while there are plenty of newcomers to the mutant ranks in
this film, it’s Quicksilver that steals the show. It’s kind of ironic, really,
considering the fervor over his look. Fans weren’t fans of his outfit, but he’s
undoubtedly one of the best parts of the movie regardless of whether you like
his appearance or not. And of course, Hugh Jackman is Wolverine, and this is probably one of his best movies to date.

As is often the case with X-men stories, there’s plenty
going on in the subtext as well. One of the more fascinating moments,
especially in light of some of the territory that Amazing Spider-Man 2 explored earlier this year was when Professor
X had to face the thing that was holding him back; fear of pain. Not just fear
of his pain, but fear of the pain of others. His great powers allow him to
experience that pain in a way few others can, and that was a burden he wasn’t
sure he wanted to bear. However, he came to learn that it’s that very ability,
the ability to experience that pain and to experience it without breaking, is
the very thing that can fuel his power to previously unexplored levels. In
fact, in order to save others, he needed to be willing to bear that pain. It
was a poignant moment that got me thinking of one of the greatest heroic acts
in all of history. Jesus Christ bore the pain of others, the pain of the entire
world really, when he died on the cross. All our sin, all our punishment, he
bore it all for us in order that he might save us. However, it was more than
that, for by saving us from our own pain and punishment for our sins, he freed
us and empowered us to not only overcome the pain of our own lives, but to help
others find freedom as well. The death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is The
Heroic Act that has continued to resonate throughout all of history; and it’s
still making a difference today.

The difference in X-Men
Days of Future Past
, however, is definitely the writing. Despite being a
complicated time-travel plot, things are kept clear and concise throughout.
There’s nary a bit of confusion over what’s happening or why. More than that,
however, the script makes room for some wonderful character moments, filled
with smart and often funny dialogue. All of that is balanced with fantastic
action sequences and it’s all painted against a backdrop of the colorful
seventies. To top it all off, the film is loaded with quick cameos and fun
references for die-hard fans. Days of
Future Past
is the high water mark for the X-men franchise in just about
every conceivable way, and interestingly enough, announces to Disney they don’t
necessarily have the corner on the market when it comes to great Marvel movies.

Score: 6 of 7 – X-Men
Days of Future Past is a fairly gritty movie with a smattering of some
language, a few sensual moment, and some pretty brutal violence. Definitely not
a comic book film for the younger kids.