X-Men: Days of Future Past Review

Preface

  • Alright guys, the first X-Men movie came out 15 years ago today and while I could do a review on that one (and eventually I will), I thought I’d talk about my favorite in the series thus far and the legacy that it’s ultimately created for itself up to this point!
  • So not only as my favorite X-Men movie, but also as my favorite movie of 2014, one of my Top 20 Movies Ever, and one of the movies that got me started with this blog, let’s discuss!
  • And I’ll have a Review of the “Rogue Cut” out to you guys in a couple days too, I bought that today and will watch it in the next couple days.

Opening Act

  • You guys have heard me talk about this movie before probably too, so yeah there might be a little repetition, but this is just gonna be long and in-depth and fun.
  • I am gonna issue a Spoiler Warning though, cuz it’s gonna be more fun that way…
  • But anyway, X-Men: Days of Future Past is of course about your favorite X-Men, set in the future where things are grim, grave, and not fun.
  • Going into this movie, I had only seen the first X-Men movie once while I was doing homework or something, and I thought it was decent, it was okay, nothing super special.
  • When that first shot opens and you see what looks like the Holocaust meets Terminator, that’s when I knew what I was in for, and the Professor X narration by Patrick Stewart (more on that later) was perfect. It opens with a gripping, captivating first shot that brought in me (a non X-Men fanatic at the time) to say, yup let’s appreciate this more than we were planning on.
  • I’ve since gone back and watched all the X-Men movies out so far, and I’ll crank out reviews for all of them before Apocalypse hits next year.

 

  • And from there, the first action sequence you see is great. You see everybody has been flung into action and you’re intrigued but also stupefied as to how they’re killing off these great characters so early on.
  • And the shot that I just thought was so cool, just beyond belief, was when the Sentinels fly threw the door when Kitty Pride is sending Bishop back, and everything just fades.
  • It was such a simplistic way of showing that the timeline was re-written, and even though you could say the closeness of it felt cheesy, it was timed and directed so perfectly that it all gelled for me.

Cast and Characters

  • Yeah if this Review seems weird, well it is gonna be structured a little differently.
  • The reason I do cast and characters second is because we get a really cool opening, and THEN all the characters are actually introduced to us.
  • You got your Professor X, your Magneto, your Wolverine, etc.
  • But the past is where things are great.
  • I love all of the older X-Men actors, they’re all awesome, but the young actors just have this believable realism to them.
  • I still think that if I was voting on the Oscars last year that James McAvoy would have been nominated for Best Lead Actor.
  • James McAvoy as Charles Xavier in this movie is broken, he’s foolish, but he’s so relatable. You see this guy, and you project yourself into him, into a time when you were broken and when you had lost your way. A time when you really just had no hope in the world. And hope is ultimately what this movie is about, especially in Mystique.
  • Mystique rounds out the trio (with Charles Xavier and Wolverine) of main characters in this movie for me. If someone asked me who the main character was, those would be the three that come to mind.
  • But Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique had a lot of screen time and a lot to do in this movie. She is ultimately the role in this movie that characters like Spider-Man are in the Civil War comic.
  • She’s between the two sides, but in this movie she’s between the good and evil side. She’s morally and emotionally in conflict, and half the time it’s with herself. Jennifer Lawrence portrays this internal conflict brilliantly, especially in the final White House sequence which I’ll get to.
  • The character of Mystique being this morally-conflicted person adds more and more to the hopelessness that Charles Xavier is facing and makes you see why he’s at the place he’s at.
  • Michael Fassbender is going to be great in anything he’s in also, and he does a stellar job as Magneto, great villain.
  • And speaking of villains, Peter Dinklage as Trask was absurdly great casting also. And it just shows what I’ve been saying.
    • In Hollywood nowadays, there’s always these complaints that there aren’t enough women directors or there isn’t enough diversity on the Avengers or something like that. Though I do think that adding more women directors or diversity would be great, cast the best person for the role. Peter Dinklage is such a great actor that he acts past his disorder and because he was the best actor for the job. I don’t know if that made sense, but just give the job to the best actor or best director, regardless of race or gender.
  • And of course Evan Peters completely OWNED Quicksilver.
  • I have some friends who didn’t like this movie a ton, I’ll talk about them later too, but they said that Aaron Taylor-Johnson Quicksilver was so much better than Evan Peters and I will disagree with them until I die.
  • Evan Peters, the writers wrote him perfectly.
  • Sure he would have been great to keep around a little longer, but this character is so larger-than-life and so powerful that putting him in a condensed bit role was the perfect usage for him, and they didn’t overuse him at all. Perfect.

Genre-Management

  • And Evan Peters as Quicksilver leads me to the heist, and the heist leads me to the genre-management.
  • I have a lot of favorite movie genres, and typically if you throw a superhero movie into a heist movie into a time travel movie into a political movie into an emotional movie that would be the messiest piece of crap you’ve ever seen.
  • This movie had SO much going on but Simon Kinberg, the writer, put everything together and made it FLOW.
  • A lot of movies have maybe one or two things going on and they can’t flow well enough, the pacing is all off and the writing focuses on one thing for too long. This movie has like 6 or 7 things going on and balances them all out so well.
  • And that brings me into the writing

Writing

  • Genre-Management could go in there with writing but it deserved its own heading.
  • The writing in this movie is so good.
  • The dialogue between the characters is great, each character speaks every single word to another character the exact way they would to that other character.
  • The movie clearly has the ideas of where it wants to start, where it wants to go, and where it wants to end.
  • And combining the two timelines of the past and future are balanced so well, you’re intrigued by what’s going on in the past you never wonder, “hey, so the future is probably doing this right now!”
  • So well-balanced, so well-written.
  • And the final showdown at the White House deserves its own heading also.

The Final Showdown

  • The reason I thought this movie was so great is because it doesn’t climax with some HUGE destruction of a ton of buildings or action happening.
  • I love movies like Man of Steel of The Avengers that do that, but this movie climaxes with words. With emotion. With feeling.
  • The conflict in X-Men: Days of Future Past wasn’t “are they going to beat the Sentinels?” The conflict was “will Charles Xavier hope again?” Or even “will Mystique find her way again?”
  • This movie is a human story, it is a painting of human behavior and it resolves itself the way that humans (not mutants) resolve their problems (usually): with words.
  • The scene with Mystique pointing the gun at Trask and Charles showing up in front of her was my favorite scene in any movie in 2014 because the whole movie and every superhero movie has these themes of “oh they aren’t humans, they’re mutants!”
  • There’s more to being human than just skin, and this scene showed the emotion, the conflict, and the humanity of this movie.
  • It was a climactic resolution that felt grand, but hit home on a personal level. It wasn’t too bloated, and it made everything end the way that this movie was setting it up to end.

Themes

  • And maybe I’m coming off pretentious by doing this, and maybe this whole review seems like I’m praising this movie too much, but this is where the actual meat of the movie is.
  • Movies do have themes, and the themes can be the most fun things to talk about in movies.
    • I’m going to see Inside Out for the second time tonight, and that movie has a PHENOMENAL theme: things need to fall apart to make way for better things. Sometimes a little sadness is a great thing.
  • But if I had to stack up movies in terms of theme, and say hey this is the best one, X-Men: Days of Future Past would be number 2, behind my favorite movie of all time.
  • THAT is an accomplishment.
  • Maybe it’s just that I’m young (16) and these themes hit so close to home for a teenager but this movie is breathtaking in what it’s talking about to it’s audiences.
  • Firstly: be yourself.
    • The best theme a movie can teach, this movie hides it under the surface a bit but it’s a theme that makes you re-watch this movie in a completely different light and just appreciate what personal-thing it’s conveying to you even more so.
  • Secondly: the future is never truly certain.
    • Yes Whiplash was good, but Days of Future Past had my favorite end to any movie in 2014 and probably ever.
    • This movie shows that we create our own destiny, it shows that there’s always hope for the future and however bad life may seem, you’re always gonna get through it and come out better on the other end.
    • I don’t know, maybe I’m just an optimist.
  • And then you can talk about the racial commentary of how people still aren’t always treated equally across the globe today and how this movie touches on that, and how it talks about learning to love, and what love means in a symbolic way.
  • This movie is so deep in what it’s trying to accomplish, that’s why it’s one of my favorite movies and one of my favorite superhero movies.
  • And if we could talk for one second more about the very, very end.
  • Some people had issues that Mystique turned out to be Striker. I didn’t, I thought that was so clever and it’s one of the best twist endings I’ve ever seen.

In Conclusion

  • X-Men: Days of Future Past is a flawless film.
  • Every time I go in to watch this movie I’m always nervous. I’m nervous because I watched a lot of other movies, some good some bad, between viewings of this movie and maybe my film critiques have hardened me, and maybe I won’t like this movie as much.
  • That is never an issue.
  • I have seen X-Men: Days of Future Past nearly a dozen times since it was first released, it’s a movie I watch when I’m happy, when I’m sad, when I have a date over my house, when I have nothing to do.
  • It’s a movie with so much to like, and so much to think about, and that kind of movie is the perfect film for someone like me.
  • Ultimately, by this time next year I could have this movie in my Top 10 favorites of all time, or my Top 5 favorites of all time.
  • This is a movie that I will simply recommend to anyone I know who likes superhero movies, who likes X-Men movies, who likes emotional movies, or to anyone who DOESN’T like movies. Because even if you hate the medium of film, there’s something in this movie you will at least kind of enjoy.
  • I said this in my Best of 2014 video, but you don’t have to be an X-Men fan to relate to this movie, you don’t have to be a superhero movie fan to relate to this movie. You essentially just have to be a person.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past is a human movie, a human story, a movie that captures one of the best portrayals of human dialogue and human interaction that I have ever seen. It’s a movie that I think will leave a legacy much bigger than we may think right now, and it’s a movie that is far ahead of its time.
  • There’s no other way to say it.
  • X-Men: Days of Future Past is… Five Stars.
  • That almost doesn’t feel like it’s enough…
  • But yeah, I have an X-Men: Days of Future Past poster hanging in my room. I now have two copies of it on Blu-Ray too (including the Rogue Cut) that I bought each of on opening day. Which I never do.

***

Alright, so what are your guys thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past? Or better yet, what’s your favorite movie EVER? Let me know in the comments down below, and as always, thanks for reading guys.

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