As I said last time, I’m a huge fan of the “Days of Future Past” story arc in X-Men. So going to see the movie based on that story was a highly anticipated moment for me this summer. Aside from the fanboy in me that loves the characters and the story, this was going to a movie event unlike any other: seeing two timelines in the same franchise thrown together. Critics and movie-goers have been raving about the film. It opened to a huge weekend. All of this had pushed my expectations level even higher than it already was.
Sadly, my expectations weren’t really met. Let me first say, I didn’t hate this movie. I didn’t even dislike it. I enjoyed it and was entertained by it. But I just couldn’t help but feel a little let down.
There was plenty to like in this installment in the successful X-Men franchise. The acting is (for the most part) top-notch. Patrick Stewart is great reprising his role as the older version of Professor X. Peter Dinklage was excellent as the antagonist Boliver Trask. Nicholas Hoult is very good as The Beast. But the real stars are James McAvoy as the younger, angrier Charles Xavier, Michael Fassbender as the young Magneto, and the lovely (gotta love a Kentucky girl!) Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. The action is fast paced. The visual effects are some of the best I’ve ever seen. There’s a good balance between drama, action, and comic relief. The writers did a nice job of blurring the lines between good and evil in the fight for acceptance for mutants.
Hugh Jackman, however, was a little underwhelming this time around as Wolverine. Maybe I’m just too used to him playing the character that it takes too much to impress me….I don’t know. I was very disappointed in the actual Sentinels. The Nimrod Sentinels in the future were awesome, but the originals from the 70’s were pretty lame. The biggest problem I had with the movie were the multiple, giant plot holes (more on these in the spoilers section). They tried very hard to do some ambitious things with the script, and some of it worked, but a lot of it either fell flat or just left even more things unexplained.
I’d encourage anyone to go see the movie. I wholeheartedly disagree with those claiming this is the best X-Men film yet (I’d probably place it 3rd or 4th) and even more so with some I’ve heard say it’s possibly the best movie based on a Marvel Comics property. It’s not even close. But it is a very fun, entertaining ride.
***Warning: SPOILERS BELOW!!!***
Plot holes, plot holes, plot holes. This movie suffers from several of them. How exactly does Kitty Pryde have the ability to send someone’s consciousness back in time? How did her powers evolve into that? I’ll give Bryan Singer credit for pulling off what is essentially a retcon in a movie series. He righted a lot of the wrongs perpetrated in the awful X-Men: The Last Stand, and has basically hit the reset button for future movies. Cyclops and Jean Grey are both alive again, which is a great thing. Now hopefully Scott Summers can finally get the movie treatment he deserves!
However, in resetting the timeline, they’ve left a ton of lingering questions. With Jean alive and still a part of the team, did the events in 1973 change the history of Jean having the dormant uncontrollable power that we saw in previous films? Or did Professor X do a better job of helping her control it than he did before? The final shot before the credits shows that the William Stryker that takes Logan is actually Mystique…so is Mystique the one that creates the Weapon X program? If so, why would she do that? If she did, how are she and Stryker seen on screen together in X2? Or are they saying that the events of that movie never took place? If those events never took place, does Wolverine not have adamantium fused to his skeleton? After the climactic battle, Magneto and Mystique leave separately and are not on good terms as each shot the other at one point during the movie. So how/why to they end up back together and just as close as ever at the beginning of the first film?
I was really looking forward to seeing the Sentinels in action. Unfortunately, the ones in 1973 weren’t really shown as being particularly formidable, and spent more time under the control of Magneto than they did as being a threat to all mutants.
Then there’s the stinger. We get a tease of what’s coming up next in the series: Apocalypse…complete with the Four Horsemen. I have to admit that I’m extremely excited about this prospect. Apocalypse is one of my absolute favorite villains in all of comics. I’m a little disappointed to see them bringing in the telekinetic powers of the character, as I think he’s pretty freaking awesome without them, and have thought they were terribly unnecessary since they first brought them into the comics.
Even with all the questions left unanswered, I thoroughly enjoyed the movie. I just feel it could have been better. However, it looks like the movie franchise about our favorite mutants is going in a much better direction.