“Someone gave you bad acid”
Those were my thoughts on what happened to the people behind X3 aka X-Men: The Last Stand. How else could they botch up The Dark Phoenix Saga story-line. And after a brilliant reboot with X-Men: First Class, this one i.e. X-Men: Days of Future Past had a lot to do.
It is sort of based on the 80’s Uncanny X-Men story-line of the same name, meaning the original trilogy would be bridged with X-Men: First Class. Which would involve retconning 14 years on cinematic history (which included the earlier mentioned Last Stand) and still stay true to decades of comic lineage which itself has had gazillions of multiverses.
So does it deliver? Yes it does and it does so while pushing the audience on to a psychedelic trip, which you’ll definitely enjoy more if you are tuned into the whole shindig.
In the dystopian future , Sentinels are exterminating mutants and humans who aid them. A small band of mutants manage to evade the Sentinels thanks to the powers of Kitty Pryde. They meet with Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto in a monastery in China. They, then decide to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to prevent Mystique from murdering Bolivar Trask , the lead designer of the Sentinels which would effectively change how things pan out in the future.
The past is set in the post-Vietnam-Nixon era America, complete with tons of 70s pop culture references and bell-bottoms. The future is set in a post apocalyptic 2023- dark, grim and very haunting. The time-space continuum is manipulated and put to use so brilliantly in the narrative. The cinematic style is pretty quirky in the way it includes everything from footage shot in style of 70s news reel to that insane bullet time scene which is going to be copied and redone in god knows how many films.
The ensemble cast in fantastic; there’s very little that could wrong with a cast like that (that is if you don’t consider X3: the Last Stand to be an actual film).The mutants from the original trilogy are cameos at best. Halle Berry’s Storm has a few lines- her role was supposedly shortened due to her surprise pregnancy.
Vintage Professor Xavier (James McAvoy) and vintage Magneto (Michael Fassbender) are freaking brilliant- the professor is at his worst- a drunken memory of the man he used to be. His portrayal is so spot on that you feel the humanity that is such an internal part of his character. Peter Maximoff (Evan Peters) has a very small but important role in this- my guess is that he is being set up to appear in the next film; X-Men: Apocalypse. Don’t know if they will call him Quicksilver since Marvel Studios are introducing Quicksilver and his twin Scarlet Witch in the next Avengers movie (revealed in the post credits scene of Captain America: Winter Soldier).
This version of Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) is so much better than the previous government official(who doesn’t really hate mutants) played by Bill Duke in The Last Stand. Director Bryan Singer stated that though Duke’s Trask was originally supposed to be Bolivar Trask, he can be disregarded in the retconned continuity since they never called him that and credited him with just ‘Trask’. Dinklage is nothing like Bolivar Trask in the comics and that’s good. I feel that they should make him the new Trask in the manner they made Samuel L Jackson the new Nick Fury in the comic multiverse. He has one great speech where he states how he admires the mutants even though he is hunting them down. So fucking subtle but epic.
Jennifer Lawrence is more known and revered now that she was during the sequel- this is reflected in the increased screen-time she gets in this one. I think I can’t be unbiased when I am talking about her. I have loved her screen presence since Winter’s Bone and she is stellar in her understated portrayal of Raven/Mystique. I did miss Rebecca Romijn and I always will.
They changed the comic book a bit and sent back Wolverine instead of Kitty Pride- because Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is a lot more popular- but I would want to know how Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) would play out in the scheme of things.
This film is sort of the spring cleaning required for what is to come- a new set of X-Men movies starting with X-Men: Apocalypse. But it is still an X-Men movie. And if you know anything about the X-Men, you would know how it was sort of inspired by the Civil Rights movement i.e. Magneto = Malcolm X , Charles Xavier = Martin Luther King and that the later comics drew a parallel with everything from the real world- the holocaust, LGBT themes, the AIDS virus (the Legacy Virus)…
And Bryan Singer maintained that in the two previous films- it was always about acceptance and being inclusive irrespective of one’s differences. And that still lives on in this film. Pop culture and actual world history is so well woven with the plot- it can turn a history buff into a fan boy.
I’ll be biased here, this is my favourite comic book franchise. But even if I wasn’t, it wouldn’t be hard to state that this is how comic book movies should be; fun. I really like Nolan’s dark adaptations (not Man of Steel, yuck) but somehow this and the Marvel Cinematic Universe are taking comic book movies to a better place. Only if Marvel got Spiderman back. Sigh.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is a good acid trip. This is director Bryan Singer’s return to form. I won’t ruin it by rating it. A must watch for the fanboys and a brilliant summer movie for everyone else.