5 out of 5
After sitting out the last two X-films director Bryan Singer (X-Men, X2: X-Men United) returns to the director’s chair with X-Men: Days of Future Past. With the promise of righting the wrongs committed by the fun, yet inferior X-Men: The Last Stand, and fixing some of the timeline issues presented by X-Men: First Class, this film had a tall order to fill.
X-Men: Days of Future Past finds the remnants of Professor Xavier’s team of mutants struggling to survive amidst a hellish landscape while being hunted by mutant-tracking machines known as Sentinels. To prevent their future from coming to pass, Wolverine must travel to the 1970’s and work alongside younger versions of Xavier, Magneto, Beast and others to change the course of events before mutantkind faces its extinction.
Featuring an excellent cast that combines the younger X-Men incarnations from X-Men: First Class with those that have been there from the beginning, and sprinkling in some new characters for good measure, the film does run the risk of feeling overstuffed. However, screenwriter Simon Kinberg and director Bryan Singer deftly avoid succumbing to such a problem, by providing each character, new or old, with a moment to shine.
Out of this ensemble cast of characters, brought to life by a multitude of talented actors, two performances standout from the rest in the film. Just as they were in their previous outing, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender as young Charles Xavier and Magneto, respectively, are superb. Whether verbally sparring with one another, struggling with their immense powers and the failures in their pasts, or offering brief moments of levity, these two actors never cease to impress.
Alongside the performances, the X-Men franchise has consistently boasted outstanding visual effects work that blends seamlessly with the live-action footage. With this film, the bar for the franchise, which had previously been set by the raising of the submarine sequence in X-Men: First Class, has been raised even higher. There are numerous sequences that shine, but the one true standout is Quicksilver’s incredibly fun, excellently choreographed, and brilliantly conceived rescue of Magneto, Wolverine, and Xavier from a group of guards at a maximum-security prison.
So, when the credits begin to roll, has Bryan Singer and company managed to right the wrongs and fix the issues that have plagued the franchise? For the most part…yes.
While there are still a couple of lingering inconsistencies that exist in the franchise’s timeline, in the end they’re nothing truly problematic to the overall story. The most important part of Singer’s promise with this film was that he fix the mistakes from Brett Ratner’s X-Men: The Last Stand. Thankfully, Singer and Kinberg effectively corrected the injustices done with the handling of the Dark Phoenix storyline in the aforementioned film. On top of that, this film managed to hit the reset button, leaving fans with an all-new timeline going forward that doesn’t negate the importance of the previous entries in the series, while freeing up future filmmakers to continue telling stories set either in this universe’s future or past.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is rated PG-13 for violence and language.