X-Men: Days of Future Past
Time/place: 10:40am showing Sunday at Krikorian San Clemente with Korkie, Leigha (finally!), and Monica
I went into this movie interested, but not necessarily excited. I really loved X-Men: First Class (it didn’t get a review here, apparently, but it would earn an A), so I was really looking forward to seeing McAvoy and Fassbender back as Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr, respectively, but I think it’s more that I really hadn’t thought about it too much and the trailer didn’t blow my mind in any special way. If I HAD stopped and thought about it, though, I would have realized that this was something I should have been quite hopeful for. As I sat down in the theater yesterday morning, and the movie began, it all started to sink in, and I grew a smile that didn’t really diminish until well after the movie had ended.
The relationship between Xavier and Magneto is what really drew me into the previous movie, and that was once again a wonderful thread throughout this movie, as well. This story, though, moved even beyond that, and I very much enjoyed the struggles of these various characters dealing with hope, identity, and pain. Professor X as a wide old guy never interested me much, but seeing him as a younger man, growing and learning, makes for some great dramatic entertainment – and the same can be said for all of these characters. Not everything in this movie was dour and heavy, though; there were plenty of moments that made me chuckle – especially with one character, in particular. I feel somewhat hampered in this review, because I went in knowing so little about this movie in particular (I know the story, but didn’t know what the movie would do with it) which made my viewing experience that much better when various characters showed up – I want you to be able to do the same 🙂 .
I can say, though, that this movie is pretty much all I hoped it could be. There are a few lines that could have been written better, perhaps, but overall this was an ideal X-Men movie: the action was fun and creative, the tone was pitch-perfect, and the emotional depth was heartily present throughout. Maybe I was just in the right mood, but there were definitely a number of moments that made my eyes moist. It was, in many ways, beautiful. Of course, it was also fun, too.
I really loved what they did with the Sentinels in this movie. In the original story, the 90’s cartoon that introduced me to this world, Sentinels are huge, clunky robots. I won’t ruin it for you, here, but in the future-portion of the story, the Sentinels are anything but clunky. It really makes sense that these new versions would be efficient killers… and when they do show up, it’s a little scary. I also loved how the movie handled the “villain” – he wasn’t a great guy by any stretch of the imagination, but he had genuine motive behind his actions… he was never just evil to be evil. That speaks to a lot of the movie, actually – subtlety. Obviously, some points are made louder than others, but there were a number of little details and notions that the director didn’t try to HIDE, but also didn’t bring obvious focus to. I really like that in a movie 🙂 . Finally, while I’ve never appreciated what any of the movies have done with Beast, in this movie it seems as if they tried to at least work with that and I kinda liked it… I think it worked.
X-Men: Days of Future Past handles a great storyline from the comics in a way that felt fresh and familiar, but also somehow managed to work within the context of the previous movies. I absolutely loved this movie, mostly for how it hit my emotional chords (because I AM Mark Mushakian, after all), and I heartily recommend it for any fan of these crazy ol’ mutants. The ending made me smile and sigh with happiness for reasons I can’t say here, and the after-credit moment made me clap in eager anticipation – I can’t wait to see where we go from here!
Warning: There be spoilers below…
Oh, so you’ve seen the movie already and want to hear what I have to say (or you don’t care about spoilers), so… what shall we talk about?
2. The future was pretty bleak, and gosh darn it I was invested in these characters’ success. I really felt the life-or-death, this-is-everything struggle they were facing with this mission. Sending Wolverine back as a practical matter, rather than “because Wolverine’s da coolest!” made the story-change okay in my book. When the characters are being killed at the very end, that was emotional stuff, I tell ya. I loved that they didn’t shy away from it, either. Storm is run through and tossed over a cliff, Colossus is freaking ripped in half… it’s brutal and painful, but it all leads up to an ending that almost did me in, emotionally. More on that below, though 😉 .
2. Quicksilver was wonderful, wasn’t he? I loved how they told you he’s Magneto’s son without making a big deal of it. Usually, a character in the role of “the funny one” might take me out of the story and ruin some good moments for me, but I thought his use was great in this movie. I think it was clever, too, that he didn’t continue on into the last half of the movie, because things tend to get a little heavier, and his lighthearted nature might have been too much to weave through (there were enough jokes, already). Seeing him and his sister watching Magneto speak on TV at the end was just the perfect way to wrap him up, too.
2.5 Speaking of character appearances, I really liked Stryker’s part in the movie. We see a flash of his dog-tag when he first appears (Korkie didn’t even realize it was him until the end), and I liked his part in the story… again, he didn’t feel like an evil villain, just a man doing what he thought was best.. and what he was told, too.
3. That ending. I was subconsciously (then consciously) pulling for that conclusion, knowing that the whole goal of this mission was to reset the future. Seeing it come about, though, just made me so gosh darn happy. From a story standpoint, obviously it’s great for Wolverine to see all of these characters again after having lost most of them, but it was great for me, too… for similar reasons. This movie single-handedly retconned the whole franchise, and while my viewing partner, KB, pointed out that this could also be a negative in that they can just keep going forever and never give the character-rights back to Marvel, I just adored the idea that they found a way to “fix” the mistakes of previous movies. In this version of the universe, everything is just dandy again, which leads us to…
4. What’s next? My personal dream would be that this was the final farewell to the original cast of the X-Men franchise, and that Fox and Marvel strike a deal that gives Marvel full-use of these characters in movies. I think Fox has knocked it out of the park with these two period-piece movies about the X-Men, and I think it’d be great to go out on a high note. I know there’s some news about some dude being strangely cast as Gambit, so I’m not crossing my fingers, but as there is another movie coming out through Fox, Age of Apocalypse (which made me really happy to see him at the end of the credits – I love that guy), I really hope that it focuses on NEW mutants and leaves the rest to history… or, even better, to be taken on in a fresh way by Marvel. Either way, though, I’m happy with what they’ve given me, here 🙂 .
5. Oh, and if we’ve redone these character’s histories from the previous movies, I think I have the perfect way to reintroduce Wolverine into the Marvel-movie universe… in the next Incredible Hulk 😉 .