Coming to the JC Cinema this weekend is X-Men: Days of Future Past, the third superhero film released this summer. Being the seventh entry in its respected series, one could think that this new film could be stale with nowhere left for the series to go. This, however, is not the case. Days of Future Past breathes new life to the series with great acting, an intriguing plot and edge-of-your-seat action.
In the far and distant future, Earth has been taken over by Sentinels, gigantic robots that target and kill mutants and humans alike. In an attempt to prevent this horrid future from happening, Wolverine, played by Hugh Jackman, comes to Kitty Pride (Ellen Page), who has the ability to send Wolverine back to the 1970s, when Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) attempted to kill the creator of the Sentinels, yet set forth the plans for the deadlier versions in the future. Of course, Wolverine cannot accomplish this alone. To succeed, he gathers fellow mutants Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and even Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to help save the day.
Where should one begin to describe the great attributes that come with X-Men: Days of Future Past? For starters, the acting is incredible. Hugh Jackman is still able to do a great job as Wolverine. His rough and gritty performance make for a captivating and interesting look into the character. However, Jennifer Lawrence deserves the most praise for her role as the mysterious Mystique. When she first enters, there’s an air of mystery surrounding her as she no longer works with Magneto. Lawrence’s performance helps guide the audience through what she is going through. For most of the time, she is vengeful for her mutant brothers and sisters, while at other times she shows remorse and questions where she is in her life. This will leave the audience wondering what is working within her mind and as to whether or not it can be changed.
As for the newest additions to the cast, Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, was easily the best. Even though he is in the film for a brief amount of time, he is an enjoyment to watch. He is quick talking and amusing whenever he is on screen, particularly in one scene taking place at the Pentagon. This quick action scene captures the best of his character by being quick, light and humorous all at once.
The action also works in the film because it follows the same idea that the Quicksilver scene does. Whichever character is the primary focus, the action revolves around that character. For example, the opening action scene featuring the Sentinels is bold and dark in order to show what these death machines can do. The result is devastating and leaves the audience on the edge of their seat.
The film also manages to pull off a smart and thoroughly examined time travel story. Films involving the time travel element can usually be hard to pull off because they raise questions of how one minor change in the past can alter the future so drastically. There are so many little details to be changed as history progresses, so not everything is going to catch the eyes of the filmmakers.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is no different, but what separates it from other time travel films is how the script focuses on the little details and attempts to make the story flow as smoothly as possible without creating too many gaps. I will not go into too much detail about how the filmmakers did so because heavy spoilers would be involved, but the way the script is written makes the creation of the alternate timeline not just plausible, but also believable. By looking at every detail from this film, as well as how it would affect the earlier films, they help the film flow.
Of course, this is where the film is going to draw the line between the casual moviegoer and the fan. Days of Future Past requires “homework viewings,” in which the viewer watches and examines all the previous X-Men films that came before it because the earlier films are referenced many times and play an influential role. This could be a huge disadvantage to general movie-goers because the film reaches a specific audience. Sure, it will have its moments of action and humor that will keep the audience entertained, but the story is already so deep in its mythology that it will confuse and lose those who decide to watch it on a whim.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is certainly one of the best entries in the X-Men series. The acting is as spot-on as the previous films, especially from fan-favorite Hugh Jackman. The action is a thrill to watch and the story is well-written, especially for a film with a time-travel theme. The only setback is that the amount of references to the previous films may leave people who do not know much about the series lost. Regardless, the film holds up well and the story is fun to watch unravel.
Review by Andrew Davis