X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by American filmmaker Bryan Singer, is the seventh and the latest film in the X-Men movie franchise. Created by writer Stan Lee and artist Jack Kirby, the X-Men are an eponymous group of mutant superheroes which got inducted into the Marvel Universe back in the early ‘60s with the launch of the comic book series, “The X-Men” aka “Uncanny X-Men”. Under the able tutelage and protection of Professor Charles Xavier—a powerful psychic and a fellow mutant—the X-Men learn to hone their special powers with the purpose of serving mankind and to prove mutants can be heroes as oppose to freaks of nature who are a major threat to humanity as their detractors like to call them. Xavier calls them “X-Men” because their special abilities are a result of the “X-gene”—a gene that’s absent in normal humans. X-Men: Days of Future Past stellar ensemble cast includes the likes of Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Ellen Page, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. X-Men: Days of Future Past features cameos from Halle Berry, Famke Janssen, and James Marsden.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is set in the not too distant future, circa early 2020s, when the mutant race is facing extinction at the hands of mutant-exterminating robots called Sentinels. Professor Charles Xavier, who has returned from the dead, has joined hands with his arch-nemesis, Magneto, in bid to save the last of their race from obliteration. Xavier and Magneto decide to send Wolverine 50 years into the past, wherein he must reunite with the Xavier and Magneto of old and together they must prevent an event from occurring and thus alter the course of history, with the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page)—a young mutant gifted with the ability to project a person’s consciousness back in time. But, Wolverine has his job cut out, for not only does it turn out to be a race against time but also a clash of egos as he tries his level best to bring the spiteful and disillusioned Xavier (remember, this takes a few years after the events of X-Men: First Class wherein Xavier was left crippled by his one-time friend Erik aka Magneto) and the ever so fiendish Magneto on the same page by trying to convince them about the macabre future that awaited the mutant race.
Out of the six “X-Men” films that have come out prior to X-Men: Days of Future Past, the two films that impressed this critic the least are The Wolverine (2013) and X-Men Origins: Wolverine (2009), and in that order. This clearly is not an aberration. The best way to understand this is to realize that the X-Men franchise, unlike some of the other superhero franchises, has never been about one or two characters. As popular as he may be in the X-Men universe, Wolverine is just one of the many superstars in the X-Men horizon who without the bunch of others just doesn’t have the same appeal. There are a Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique aka Raven, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Directed by Bryan Singer Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique aka Raven lot many superhero franchises out there but what makes X-Men stand out is its wide array of characters, for visual splendor is a given with all these Hollywood productions. The late American film critic, Roger Ebert, in his review of Star Trek II: “Star Trek stories have always been best when they centered around their characters.” Well, the same can be said of X-Men stories. The film franchise viewers are obviously excited to see the special effects but what they are really interested in is their beloved characters. This critic, for one, is thrilled by the very rivalry that drives the relationship that Professor Charles Xavier shares with Magneto. They may oppose each other on the basis of principles but there is deep mutual respect that lies underneath. They detest each other’s ways but deep down they know that each of them is doing the best they could for the survival of their race.
Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past serves as a heavy dose of entertainment that may not necessarily be devoid of substance. As a matter of fact, it’s the perfect summer blockbuster that the audiences all around the globe crave for. Bryan Singer and team need to be commended for striking the right balance between the move’s technical and emotional elements which ultimately enabled them to put up a fabulous show (the movie’s sequences that are set in the ’70s are absolutely spellbinding). While the acting is superb all around, the cinematography and editing are topnotch. The role of the youthful Magneto, debonair, arrogant and unforgiving, in X-Men: First Class (2011) seemed to have provided Fassbender with the right conduit to showcase his acting capabilities to the whole world and since then he has never looked back. In X-Men: Days of Future Past, he delivers yet another memorable performance. James McAvoy is another actor who has continued to impress this critic in recent times. His acting career got revived with X-Men: First Class and he has followed up the good work in films like Trance (2013), Filth (2013), and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby (2013). And, X-Men: Days of Future Past is no exception. Hugh Jackman is solid as ever—albeit a bit subdued—in the role that has made him an international phenomenon. Jennifer Lawrence is slowly emerging as the definitive female action icon of our times. It’s good to see her character get more screen time this time around. The support cast is well led by the veterans like Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. In the end, X-Men: Days of Future Past is a film that will thrill and excite the viewers of all ages and groups.
Note: This review was originally published here