Thursday, May 29, 2014

Movie Review - X-Men: Days of Future Past - It's Good! by Beth V

I've been looking forward to Days of Future Past since I first heard about it. Sure I was gun shy after The Last Stand, but with it's wibbly-wobbly timey-wimey aspects it seemed to be just the thing to get the series back on track. I liked First Class, really, but it wasn't the same as the original series. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender were great, Jennifer Lawrence and a lot of the other young mutants were fine, but it was missing something. I had wanted to see a good Emma Frost and Sebastian Shaw (and maybe even a good Hellfire Club) for a long time and didn't get them. But after not getting the things I wanted from The Last Stand or the Wolverine origins movie I wasn't really surprised that I didn't get what I was hoping for. It wasn't a bad movie, it just wasn't great. And as far as getting the X-Men series back to it's own origins, and back on the right path Days of Future Past was great to me.

Was it perfect? No, but what ever is? It undoes a lot of foolish damage caused by The Last Stand and Origins: Wolverine in one fell swoop, and that makes it great even if nothing else about it was meaningful. But besides pleasing a bunch of angry nerds it actually does some things very well. Not everything I'll grant you, but a lot of things.Things like the picture below:

First and foremost let's just say that this is very loosely based on the story of the same name from the comics. Or the 90's cartoon. I hadn't read the comics as recently as I'd seen the cartoon so in my mind it should have been Bishop doing the time traveling. After a quick re-read I realized that it should have been Shadowcat instead. But who really wants to watch a full length Kitty Pryde movie? Maybe somebody does, but not me. And I guess most of the world didn't either or else they wouldn't have chosen Wolverine to replace both her and Bishop by instead sending him to the past. Maybe they gave her those nifty new sending people back in time powers to make it up to her. So in the future Sentinels are super robots that are killing or capturing most of the mutants and sympathetic humans in the world. We get to see a little bit of some cool new mutants, and others have finally come in to their full powers. Bishop isn't used as well as he could be, but I guess they didn't know what else to do with him. I also wasn't sure why Warpath was there. He's supposed to have some decent powers, but here you really only see him use a few. His most valuable asset seems to be super vision so that he can see the Sentinels coming a long way off. Seems kind of pointless really because you know who else can see a long way? Any other mutant with a telescope! I did particularly like the inclusion of Blink, and how they used her powers in fights. Seriously. It was better than Nightcrawler BAMF-ing all over the White House, and I think we can all agree that was pretty awesome. There are lots of fabulous looking special effects used in this movie, but the future fighting is fantastic looking. It seemed almost like there should have been a whole lot more of that future stuff because it felt cut short. Maybe they left it on the cutting room floor (where I heard they left most of Anna Paquin's scenes. I think she's been naked so much in True Blood that the producers realized that nobody would recognize her wearing clothes anymore), but I could have done with more Iceman and his ice slides. And I definitely wanted more stuff like Colossus using Blink's powers to do a sort of modified “fastball special”. I'm hoping for an extensive set of deleted scenes in the DVD release.

So Logan Marty McFly's his way back in time to the 70's to stop Mystique from ending the world by killing Tyrion Lannister. I mean, Peter Dinklage, since he's the one who creates the Sentinels. Magneto is in prison, Professor X is a little bitch, and everyone else is dead or too young to help. I have to admit that I was a little confused at first when Magneto said that Angel was dead. Once I realized he probably meant Angel Salvadore I was surprisingly relieved. I was never a big fan of Warren Worthington III, but with the Age of Apocalypse story coming up next I was kind of hoping to see him as one of the Four Horsemen. They may not even go that route, but it would still be neat. Wolverine is just Logan the entire movie because he really doesn't get to be his usual short-tempered and violent self most of the time. He has to play peacemaker, and friend, and sometimes uses angry dad voice. Besides a few short fight scenes he only sort of takes part in (mostly getting beat up) he doesn't do much of the same thing we're used to seeing from him. I guess that can be a good thing if they're trying to give his character more depth, but after seven or so times playing Wolverine we had a feel for him. Changing him up now feels off, and maybe why he wasn't supposed to be the one time traveling in the first place.

I really liked how Mystique finally starts to get a little of the bad-ass fighting style she was known for in the first two movies, and the Quicksilver bit was hilarious and too short. James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart face-to-face was one of the best moments, but Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen as Magneto were both under used. But so were many characters. Havok, Toad, Sunspot, Beast (actually getting to be Beast and not just Hank McCoy). Oh, and Storm, but I don't care about her under use.

Magneto was there for most of the movie, but it was really more about Logan trying to help Xavier while everyone else brooded or tried to kill stuff. Peter Dinklage was also good, and the fact that he's a dwarf made his motivation for wanting to wipe out mutants much more complex that it might have been otherwise. I don't want to give away the ending for anyone who hasn't seem it yet, but a whole lots of wrongs have been set right by the time the credits roll. One of the afterthoughts I had that won't spoil anything for anyone is that this movie takes place during the Vietnam era. According to Origins: Wolverine he and Sabertooth were fighting in the Vietnam war, and under house arrest (presumably for being unruly mutants) when Stryker finds them. Since Logan isn't anywhere near Vietnam, and Sabertooth is nowhere to be seen we can assume that a bunch of crap from that movie has been undone as well. That means in an upcoming movie we could get a proper Blob or even Deadpool (joy!). I'd like a proper Gambit too (unlike many of my friends I am a Gambit fan), but since Channing Tatum is up for the roll I would gladly forgo that pleasure. Better no Gambit than Channing Tatum as Gambit.

Sure it drags in some places, and the time lines tend to get a little too wibbly-wobbly. I love it more for what it has given the series the potential to be that for what it is itself, but it's still a good movie. And it's a very good X-Men movie. And now that The Last Stand never happened we shall henceforth refer to this movie as X3, and never speak of the other again.

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