I have seen the original cartoon series and X-Men is one of my superhero comic book favourites (After Batman of course). This movie that I watched in theater the ‘Day Before Yesterday’ left me one part confused and one part wanting more. I think with that, I can pretty much sum it up. My buddy @Wanderingpoet inquired if the movie was good, so I said yeah sure because the hard work is obvious. Bryan Singer puts together a complex storyline that has some serious loose ends to an interesting web of events that are in such stark contrast with each other that you literally feel like the time traveler ripping through time. Oh yes there is an element of time travel as you might have guessed from the title. Although it is nothing like the Time Cop or Dr. Who. If you want to draw literary similes then you might compare it with Terminator-The Judgement Day. Yet, it is not a centered piece on a titular hero. Of late, the X-Men movies have been stated to be focused on Wolverine and there are two spin offs to prove it but that accusation is unfair because Wolverine was always a dominating character in X-Men whether its comic books or animated series. It is rather difficult to create a movie with an ensemble cast and this movie just does that quite gracefully.
Days of future past builds upon the grounds created by the X-Men First Class, so those who missed the surprise hit a couple of years ago might want to rent out a DVD and watch it before hitting the theaters. Those expecting a continuation of the events after X-Men Last Stand would be disappointed because this has nothing to do with it. In fact what follows is a backward story of a dystopian future where mutants are being hunted by sentinels (giant robots that were created by man to eradicate the threat of mutants). A group of surviving mutants, mostly the elder X-Men and a few younger ones like Bishop and Blink fight to survive but the end is creeping near. To change the fate of the world they choose to do the ultimate – send someone back in time to alter the events that led to the dismal future. Of course they had to connect Kennedy assassination with mutants. Of course they had to show Nixon as the one ordering the activation of a mutant killer weapon. These are standard methods of legend building with close social commentary we all love about X-Men. So when they briefly mention the ‘incident in Cuba’ with reference to the mutants, you realize how important it is to have watched the X-Men First Class.
In fact, my telling you the entire plot with every detail won’t make any difference because the plot has enough drama elements and comic book references to make it worth watching twice. One of my friends who went to watch the movie with me couldn’t have enough if it even though he saw some serious chronological errors. Take for instance, LED screens and fingerprint scanners in 1970s!! Even though the director might have wanted to show that Trask industries (Inventor of the sentinels) possessed very advanced technology, it is highly unlikely that they were the pioneers of display technology and bio-metric scanners. Anyway, the audience won’t notice those things and rather admire Jennifer Lawrence’s appearance as Mystique, who by the way has emerged as the strongest of the 4 pillars besides Professor X, Magneto and Wolverine in this story. With her performance the cinema lovers will begin to see what makes Mystique so special and a feminist icon of the 70s comic book series. If you really need a reason to watch Days of future past then she is the one.
One benefit of choosing this plot for the movie was probably the availability of a lot of stock footage. The movie takes advantage of all the previous X-Men movies to fill the gaps in the storyline between the past and the future. There is still a lot to explain and paradoxes to be resolved yet this would pass as the best effort made so far in the X-Men cinema universe… and quite an universe it is as two different studios own the rights of some of the characters and one might be already moving in the direction of merging X-Men and Avengers universes. The future of this franchise is safe until they run out of iconic stories and X-men is quite rich in content. With introduction of Quicksilver with barely hinting on his relationship with Magneto we see some potential there (but we’ll have to see what becomes of the quicksilver shown at the end of Captain America – Winter Soldier.) Maybe there is a Mystique spinoff in future but quite definitely there will be a bigger villain the next time X-Men assemble. We have come to know from various sources and the post credits scene that it is going to be Apocalypse.
My Rating of the movie
4.5/5 for the actual movie.
6/5 for the efforts to bring together decades of comic book legacy.