In the wake of The Avengers, the X-Men franchise needed to release a movie that showed there was still some life in the team—besides the usual focus on Wolverine.
X-Men First Class, the franchise’s last effort was enjoyable. However, X-Men movies were few and far between since the wildly successful Avengers franchise was introduced in 2011. The only X-Men-related film released during that time was The Wolverine, which didn’t breathe new life into any role except Hugh Jackman’s character.
Thankfully, the newest X-Men movie, Days of Future Past, proves not only does the lasting life of the franchise still have life, but that Marvel films besides The Avengers can still be quality and enjoyable.
In the film, future, mutant hunting robots called Sentinels have taken over the world, and the last surviving X-Men need to send someone back in time to stop the event that caused the rise of the robots.
Before you say that you’ve seen the robots taking over the future plot over and over, it should be brought up that the movie is based on a comic book of the same name that came out before both the Matrix and Terminator. Also, a bulk of the movie takes place in 1973, so the war in the future is not main focus of the story, but provides a sense of urgency for the past X-Men to succeed in their mission.
The X-Men from the First Class were not overshadowed by the attention-grabbing charisma that is Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine. That was something that was never achieved in the original X-Men trilogy—even though the movies were called “X-Men,” all of the movies were really about Wolverine. All the X-Men from the First Class manage to stand out, and show that the future of the franchise might not rest solely on everyone’s favorite razor-clawed mutant.
Because of this, we get an X-Men movie that is, in fact, about the X-Men!
While on the topic of overshadowing mutants, there is one mutant who outshines everyone else, even though he is only in the film for 20 minutes, tops. This would be Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters.
The character is introduced to help the X-Men (a time-traveling Wolverine, Beast, and Professor X) rescue Magneto. Peters plays the character as a fast-talking, kleptomaniacal teen, and in the short time he is on screen manages to steal the entire show.
The now well-known “Time in a Bottle” scene that shows us what it’s like to move as fast as Quicksilver and is easily the best scene in the entire movie. It’s worth the price of a ticket or DVD on its own. Hopefully Quicksilver will return in future movies and have a larger role, because when he leaves the film it feels like he wasn’t there long enough.
As good as some parts of the movie were, there were still some problems. The biggest issue was that in the future, Magneto said that Wolverine would need his help on his mission in the past, but once they get Magneto, he almost immediately proceeds to screw everything up.
Was this because Future Magneto is still evil? Because it doesn’t look like it at the end. There was no explanation for this, but I think that Jennifer Lawrence’s star power might be the reason for the lack of focus on Magneto and the new focus on Mystique.
Another issue was the introduction of four entirely new mutants in the future, who have no character development at all. The mutants have several well-executed fight sequences, but we know nothing about these characters besides that they are the last of the X-Men.
Hopefully some of the mutants will return in future movies, because they all deserve at least a little character development. However, at least they are named in this movie, which is better than what happened to most of the mutants introduced in the other films, especially in X-Men Origins: Wolverine.
The way Beast is treated in the film is also an issue. He still looks human, with the help of a serum he created in the last movie to hide his powers, but when he gets mad he turns into a monster with super strength. Does that sound familiar to anyone else? At least he doesn’t say he’s going to smash anything.
There are a few other nitpicky things—like Kitty’s surprising new power to send people back in time that no one bothers to explain how she got or why she has, and a severe underuse of Peter Dinklage—but these are just minor problems with a movie that is in general of very high quality.
I really enjoyed the movie, and I appreciated the fact that it went back and fixed the mistakes that the franchise made in the past without rebooting the entire thing. And even though I still love some Wolverine, it was nice to see an X-Men movie that focused on the other mutants in the X-Men universe.