‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (Film)

‘X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST’

Please feel free to comment on my review.

Back in Time to the 1970s with Wolverine

Could this be the best ‘X-Men’ film ever made?

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ was released in 2014. I saw the movie with my best mate from school Stephen when it came out on the big screen. I have very happy memories of watching this film at the cinema. In my opinion, ‘Days of Future Past’ is a pretty huge highlight in the ‘X-Men’ movie series. 😀

It probably might be considered the best ‘X-Men’ film of the bunch. This is because it combines both the original cast from the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy as well as the new cast from ‘X-Men: First Class’. It was really fascinating to see two ‘X-Men’ movie casts featured in one film and it’s so exciting indeed.

In many respects, this is the kind of follow-up I wanted to see after ‘The Last Stand’. It took eight years for it to be fulfilled, but it came. It’s also exciting how the filmmakers handled the time-travel element, especially when Logan/Wolverine travelled back in time from the future to the early 1970s.

Would I say ‘Days of Future Past’ is a perfect ‘X-Men’ film? No! I can’t be that generous. There are issues with this film which do get reflected in future films after this one. But with me saying that, I feel I can say more positives than negatives in how the combination of two ‘X-Men’ casts is handled.

With the young ‘X-Men’ cast introduced in ‘First Class’ before they sort-of meet up with the original older ‘X-Men’ cast including Wolverine ( 😀 ) in ‘Days of Future Past’, it’s good things came together with James McAvoy matching Patrick Stewart as well as Michael Fassbender matching Ian McKellen.

It’s not perfect especially in how it’s reflected in ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’, but I appreciate it being there in ‘Days of Future Past’. It’s also the sort-of film structure that I wish was handled in the ‘Star Trek: TNG’ films with ‘First Contact’ as a film being made first before ‘Generations’ came along.

It also helps that Bryan Singer who directed the first ‘X-Men’ film and ‘X-Men 2’ came back in the director’s chair for ‘Days of Future Past’. I know he’s been a controversial director of late, but since he started the ‘X-Men’ film series and was involved with ‘First Class’, it’s very fitting he directed this.

It’s also fascinating how ‘Days of Future Past’ attempts to correct mistakes that were made in the ‘X-Men’ film series such as ‘The Last Stand’ and ‘X-Men Origins: Wolverine’. It’s lazily handled in ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’, but that’s something we’ll soon cover once we get to those films. 🙂

The film features a big cast. Hugh Jackman leads the film and is joined by James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart. Very often, some of the cast get reduced roles which we’ll talk about gradually.

Apparently the film’s story was inspired by the 1981 ‘Uncanny X-Men’ comic storyline called ‘Days of Future Past’ by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. I’m not sure how much was adapted from the original comic storyline into the film, but I guess a lot was changed to accommodate the filmmaking.

The film begins in a dystopian future where robotic Sentinels have been programmed to identify and hunt down mutants and any humans that help them. The robotic Sentinels were seen briefly in the Danger Room scene of ‘The Last Stand’, although they look more different in terms of design here. 😐

Meanwhile, a small band of X-Men survivors try to find a way to ensure their survival and save Earth’s future. This includes Professor X, Wolverine, Storm, Iceman, Kitty Pryde, Colossus, Blink, Warpath, Bishop and Sunspot. They are also joined by Magneto who seems to be good in the future.

Establishing that their dystopian future all started in 1973 with Raven Darkhölme/Mystique killing a scientist called Trask before she ended up captured and had her DNA used to enhance the Sentinels, it’s soon decided for Wolverine to travel back in time and prevent what happened in the early 1970s.

Wolverine has a difficult task of trying to convince a younger, broken Xavier to help him to stop Mystique from killing Trask and save the future. They also have to break out a young Magneto from prison. Can everything work for Wolverine’s favour? Will the future of Earth’s past truly be saved? 😐

Like ‘First Class’ which tackled the Cuban Missile Crisis of 1962, it’s fascinating how this film tackles another world event in the Vietnam War in 1973. The periods of history explored in the first two ‘X-Men’ beginnings films seem more credible and realistic compared to the efforts of the next two films.

Hugh Jackman returns as Logan/Wolverine in the film. I like how the film makes Logan the connecting point between the past featuring the younger ‘X-Men’ cast and the future featuring the older ‘X-Men’ cast. It helps that Logan has an accelerated healing factor and he can outlive anyone. 🙂

Originally, it was going to be the older Charles Xavier who was to travel back in time to convince his younger self to change history. But the procedure of going back in time 50 decades ago could end up killing Xavier, so Logan was the next best choice as he had a better chance of surviving than Xavier. 🙂

It’s fascinating how Logan interacts with the younger ‘X-Men’ cast including Xavier, Magneto and Beast. Logan finds it a struggle to be patient when trying to convince young Xavier that he needs his help to stop Mystique. In the end, a nice bond is formed between Logan and the young ‘X-Men’ cast.

When in 1973, Logan utilises the bone claws which we have seen in ‘X-Men Origins’. This is before he gets the adamantium skeleton from William Stryker (more on him later). In the dystopian future, Logan seems to have acquired his metal claws. Didn’t he lose those at the end of ‘The Wolverine’? 😐

At the end of ‘The Wolverine’, it seemed to me he had his bone claws once he has his metal claws severed by Silver Samurai. Mind you, a lot can happen between ‘The Wolverine’ and ‘Days of Future Past’, but like Xavier cheating death and Magneto getting his powers back, it’s never explained here.

James McAvoy returns as the young Professor Charles Xavier. It was fascinating to see Xavier as a different man compared to the one we saw in ‘First Class’. Xavier is a broken man, reduced to drink and having long hair. He’s also had his telepathy removed whenever Hank McCoy gives him a serum.

Well actually, he uses his mental powers to focus on his ability to walk as his legs got shot in ‘First Class’. The serum is meant to sustain him and block out the voices he hears in his head. This could explain how Xavier was able to walk in ‘The Last Stand’s opening scene as well as in ‘X-Men Origins’.

Mind you, considering what will happen in ‘Dark Phoenix’, that’s probably not the case. It was intriguing how young Xavier met Logan who requests his help and how he comes round to stopping Mystique. Young Charles must also find a way to believe in himself again in order to save the future.

There’s one scene with young Xavier that baffles me and it’s what he says to Logan.

Xavier: “You know…I think I do remember you now. Yeah. We came to you a long time ago seeking your help.”

Really?! From that one brief meeting you and Magneto had with Logan in that bar in ‘First Class’, you remember him?! I mean, don’t get me wrong, Wolverine is a memorable character made clear lots of times in the comics and in the movies, but he’s surely not that memorable from just one meeting!

Xavier: “And I’m gonna say to you what you said to us then. F**k off!”

Actually, he didn’t say that. He said “Go F yourself.” You mean to tell me that Charles can remember Logan from one brief encounter, but he can’t remember the exact wording of what he said. I hate to break it to you, Charles, but I think that serum Hank injected into you is putting grey in your memory cells.

It was good to see Patrick Stewart back as the older Charles Xavier from the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy. I’d question how he was able to cheat death from ‘The Last Stand’ in ‘The Wolverine’ and this film, but like I said, it’s not explained and it shouldn’t need worrying about in the grand scheme of things.

I like how James McAvoy’s Xavier meets up with Patrick Stewart’s Xavier when doing a Vulcan mind-meld with Logan. It’s the closest we’ll ever get to having two versions of the same X-Man character meeting each other and it’s nice how old Xavier convinces young Xavier to believe in himself again. 🙂

Michael Fassbender returns as the younger Erik Lehnsherr/Magneto in the film. It was intriguing to uncover how much had occurred in the time between ‘First Class’ and ‘Days of Future Past’ and what happened to lead Magneto to end up being in a prison miles underground and having no metal in it.

Young Xavier is bitter towards Young Magneto after abandoning and betraying him in ‘First Class’. Young Magneto justifies himself in terms of his own views of how he’s saving mutant kind whilst humankind is against them. He could have done that without causing the plane in flight to go haywire.

For a while, young Magneto helps young Xavier, Logan and Beast to stop Mystique in her assassination attempt on Trask. But halfway through the film, he becomes a villain again, donning the Magneto helmet once more. You’d think Magneto could have helped his former friends a bit more.

Ian McKellen also returns to play the older Magneto in the film. It was equally intriguing to see the older Magneto helping older Xavier and the X-Men survivors to battle against the Sentinels in the future. It contrasts differently to how the younger Magneto ended up using the Sentinels in 1973. 😐

I would have expected from watching the film on the big screen and on DVD that older Magneto would end up becoming a bad guy, matching to how younger Magneto became a bad guy. I don’t know if that differs in the Rogue Cut of this film (more on this later), but it’s a missed opportunity. 😦

It’s a shame that Michael Fassbender’s Magneto never got to meet Ian McKellen’s Magneto like James McAvoy’s Xavier met Patrick Stewart’s Xavier. I know it wouldn’t make sense since Magneto isn’t a telepath like Xavier is, but it’s a pity that the two Magneto never met each other all the same.

Jennifer Lawrence returns as Raven Darkhölme/Mystique in the film. In a sense, Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique is becoming more like Rebecca Romijn’s Mystique in the original ‘X-Men’ trilogy. This is made clear as she attempts to assassinate the military scientist Trask which could change the future.

It’s intriguing how Xavier tries to get to Raven and stop her killing Trask when accessing her mind. For a while, Raven/Mystique is determined to see Trask after his experimentation on mutants. In the end, Raven comes round to Xavier’s way of thinking and thankfully doesn’t shoot Trask in cold blood.

Halle Berry returns as Ororo Munroe/Storm in the film. She’s there in the dystopian future when the Sentinels seem to be destroying everything. Unfortunately, Halle Berry has a reduced role in the film compared to how she seemed to have a standout role in ‘The Last Stand’, which is a big shame here.

Her reduced time in the film also could account for the unexpected pregnancy she had. As I’ve said before in another ‘X-Men’ film review, not enough time is given to explore each character, especially when they’ve been absent from a film series for a while. Thankfully Storm survives in the new future.

There’s also… (sighs)…Anna Paquin as Rogue. Except, not really! She’s there in the film’s ending and is reduced to a cameo. Yeah, there’s something I need to address regarding ‘Days of Future Past’. Like ‘The Wolverine’, there are two versions of this movie –its theatrical cut and the extended Rogue Cut.

I saw the theatrical cut on the big screen and I’m basing my review on the theatrical cut from the DVD. The Rogue Cut was released afterwards on home media and it features new scenes, including an extended role for Rogue where she became more involved in the film’s plot than we first realised.

I feel sorry for Anna Paquin as Rogue as she’s had a rough time being in these ‘X-Men’ films where her role gets reduced less and less. I don’t understand why the Rogue Cut version of this movie didn’t get released on the big screen since it would have been great to see Rogue more in the film. 🙂

Not less than what we got. 😦 Also, in the altered timeline (more later) as well as in the Rogue Cut, it seems Rogue got her life-absorbing powers back. Like Magneto in both ‘The Wolverine’ and this film, it seems the cure from ‘The Last Stand’ didn’t do the job it was meant to and it never gets explained.

Ellen Page returns as Kitty Pryde in the film. It was nice to see Kitty Pryde back and it’s intriguing how she seems to have the ability to send people back in time using her phasing powers which can make her walk through walls. I didn’t think Kitty Pryde could do that, but it’s a pretty intriguing revelation.

Sadly it doesn’t get explored enough on how she’s able to do that with sending people like Logan back in time to the 1970s. Kitty also seems to get more screen-time compared to Rogue and she seems to be in a relationship with Bobby/Iceman. This is explored more in the Rogue Cut, I believe. 🙂

Peter Dinklage stars as Dr. Bolivar Trask in the film. And as Will Ferrell would say,

Buddy: “He’s an angry elf!”

And yes, Peter Dinklage is more well-known for being in ‘Games of Thrones’ as well as ‘Elf’. He was also in ‘The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian’ 2008 film. Trask is the head of Trask Industries and he created the Sentinel robots to track and destroy any mutant being so that humanity can be saved.

It’s surreal to see Peter Dinklage play a character wanting to destroy mutants, since he’s an actor of diminutive size and might be considered a mutant himself. Mind you, when it comes to mutants in ‘X-Men’, it’s mutants who have powers that are being feared instead of physically different mutants.

I know Mystique and Beast are rare exceptions in that regard, but it’s unusual how mutants are identified in these films. Speaking of which, Nicholas Hoult returns as Hank McCoy/Beast in the film. Hank seems to have found a balance between looking human-like and looking like a blue-furry beast.

It’s a contrast compared to how Kelsey Grammer kept his blue-furry form in the future (and Kelsey Grammer makes an uncredited cameo in the new future). Young Beast looks after young Xavier when he’s a broken man and he assists Xavier, Logan and Magneto to find a way to stop Mystique. 🙂

Shawn Ashmore returns as Bobby Drake/Iceman in the film. Bobby seems wiser when we see him in the dystopian future as well as when we see him in the new timeline. It’s a contrast to how he progressed in the ‘X-Men’ trilogy. Like Storm though, he doesn’t get enough screen time in the film.

There are new characters in the film, including Omar Sy as Bishop, a mutant who can absorb energy and redirect it in kinetic blasts. I’ve seen Omar Sy in ‘The Call of the Wild’ with Harrison Ford. Like Storm and Iceman, he’s there to protect Kitty Pryde sending Logan back in time from the Sentinels. 🙂

Evan Peters makes his debut as Peter Maximoff/Quicksilver who helps young Xavier, Logan and Beast to break young Magneto out from his prison cell. He can move at supersonic speeds. I’m sure he won’t make a big impact in future ‘X-Men’ films as well as possibly in the ‘WandaVision’ series. 😀

There’s also Josh Helman as Major William Stryker, the man who would later experiment on Logan/Wolverine to give him adamantium claws and an adamantium skeleton. And I have to point out a continuity error! Shouldn’t Stryker recognise Wolverine by this point in the ‘X-Men’ film series?

I mean, I know it was Danny Huston who played Stryker in ‘X-Men Origins’ instead of Josh Helman, but shouldn’t he remember recruiting Wolverine along with Team X for that mission in Nigeria during the Vietnam War? In fact, doesn’t this film take place after that particular mission in Nigeria?

I also note that Logan’s flashback memories of Stryker are taken from ‘X-Men 2’ rather than ‘X-Men Origins’. Also, is it made clear whether Logan left Victor Creed and Team X after what occurred in Nigeria before the events of this film? Some of these things in the ‘X-Men’ films don’t make sense. 😐

Daniel Cudmore returns as Peter Rasputin/Colossus. He’s there when in the dystopian future as well as in the altered timeline. Although, I’m not sure how he’s there considering that they changed Colossus in the ‘Deadpool’ movies. Again, some of the things in the ‘X-Men’ films don’t make sense!

There are also characters like Fan Bingbing as Blink who can create portals to teleport; Adam Canto as Sunspot, who’s like an X-Men version of Johnny Storm/the Human Torch from the Fantastic Four, and Booboo Stewart as Warpath, a bowie knives wielding mutant and a super agile expert tracker. 🙂

These three characters are in the dystopian future when they help Storm, Bishop and Colossus stop the Sentinels from getting to Kitty Pride sending Wolverine back in time, also protected by old Xavier, old Magneto and Iceman in a building. Most characters don’t survive the dystopian future. 😐

The film also features Lucas Till, who was in ‘First Class’, back as Alex Summers/Havok There’s Evan Jonigkeit who plays a young Toad (not Ray Park surprisingly) and there’s Gregg Lowe as Ink. There’s Mark Camacho as President Richard Nixon (not Stuart Milligan who portrayed him in ‘Doctor Who’).

At the end of the film, Xavier manages to convince Mystique not to kill Trask and not pull the trigger. Once that happens, the dystopian future gets erased and Logan/Wolverine wakes up to find himself in an altered timeline where everyone has survived, including Jean Grey and Scott Summers/Cyclops.

Yes! Famke Janssen returns to play Jean and James Marsden returns to play Cyclops for brief cameo appearances at the end of the film. All that happened with Jean killing Cyclops and with Logan killing Jean in ‘The Last Stand’ never happened. It’s amazing how time can be rewritten like that in the film.

Now on the one hand, I like this. It provides the happy ending that Logan deserves after all the grief he felt for killing Jean in ‘The Last Stand’ and how that’s reflected in ‘The Wolverine’. It’s also good that certain mistakes in ‘The Last Stand’ are corrected in order to satisfy some of the ‘X-Men’ fans. 🙂

However, I do debate about what happened when time got changed from Mystique’s decision to not kill Trask in the end. Did the events of the ‘X-Men’ trilogy happen the way they happened in the films or were things changed? If so, what was changed? Did that mutant cure in ‘The Last Stand’ happen?

Did Liev Schreiber end up becoming Sabretooth instead of Tyler Mane? Did the experimentation of Wolverine’s adamantium claws and skeleton happen in the way it was depicted in flashbacks from ‘X-Men 2’ or what happened in ‘X-Men Origins’? Like most things, these aspects don’t get addressed.

‘Days of Future Past’ could have led to potential films featuring the original cast of Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, Hugh Jackman, Halle Berry, Famke Janssen and James Marsden as well as films featuring the new cast of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult.

We could have explored more in terms of how much time had changed and how it affects our characters. I would have liked it if the original old ‘X-Men’ cast continued with their own film series whilst also having the new young ‘X-Men’ cast doing their things with their films being set in the past. 🙂

Unfortunately, that’s not what happens in the next couple of ‘X-Men’ films as the focus is more on the younger ‘X-Men’ cast and, as we’re about to discover, there’s less consistency in terms of how the timelines in the past and in the future match up with each other. It’s a pity it turned out like that.

The ‘X-Men’ film series could have ended on a high had the filmmakers gone in a direction that provided more consistency in terms of how the ‘X-Men’ characters developed and how they ended up in contemporary times with the original film trilogy. In my mind, it’s a missed and wasted opportunity.

And this is my opinion and please feel free to disagree with me on this one…this is where the film series should have stopped. Forget what happens in ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’ afterwards! ‘Days of Future Past’ should have been the final film in the ‘X-Men’ film series. It would have ended it on a high.

‘Days of Future Past’ does feel like a grand finale to the ‘X-Men’ film series as there’s a sense of closure concerning how the original ‘X-Men’ characters get back together, especially as Xavier, Jean Grey and Cyclops were killed in ‘The Last Stand’ and Wolverine’s journey would have been completed.

Instead that doesn’t happen as in the film, we’re given a post-credits scene where Brendan Pedder as the ancient mutant En Sabah Nur (also known as Apocalypse) builds pyramids in ancient Egypt. That sets up what’s to come in the next film ‘Apocalypse’, which we will come to another time.

The DVD special features are as follows. There’s a gag reel for the film; a stills gallery for Trask Industries including mutant experiments, blueprints and Sentinel construction; 3 theatrical trailers for the film and a sneak peak of the film ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ (which I have seen but do not like).

On Blu-ray, as well as the gag reel, the stills gallery for Trask Industries, the 3 theatrical trailers for the film and the ‘Exodus: Gods and Kings’ sneak peak, there are deleted scenes with an optional audio commentary by director Bryan Singer. There’s ‘Kitchen Sequence’ which includes snippets of audio of how Bryan Singer directed a particular scene, ‘Double Take: Xavier & Magneto’, ‘X-Men: Reunited’, ‘Classification: M’, ‘Sentinels: For a Secure Future’ and a second screen app which allows for additional content.

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’, whilst it does have its flaws, is what I consider to be a very good ‘X-Men’ film to be featured in the series. I love the combination of the original older and new younger ‘X-Men’ casts in one film. It fulfils what I hoped for a follow-up in ‘The Last Stand’ back in the 2000s.

I wish I can say that’s what’s reflected in the future ‘X-Men’ films, but that’s something I’ll get into more when we come to ‘Apocalypse’ and ‘Dark Phoenix’. Otherwise, I enjoyed this film and how Logan/Wolverine travelled back in time to meet the young ‘X-Men’ cast and saved the future of Earth.

‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ rating – 9/10


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2 thoughts on “‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (Film)

  1. Timelord 007

    Got couple gripes with this film (groans) i actually prefer Rogue Cut it a far better movie but still i thought the third act a let down, we have the Sentinels & no big battle with them against X-Men this should had Sentinels destroying buildings, cars etc & had the X-Men fighting them, also Wolverine was underused third act no epic fight scenes & Magneto handed him his ass again.

    Patrick Stewart & James McAvory were excellent as was Fassbender & McKellen but again no explanation why they’re alive & got powers back, i assume the tease in Last Stand hints Magneto’s powers are returning hence Rogue’s powers in Rogue Cut.

    Jennifer Lawrence (future ex wife number 3) is great as Mystique yet Halle Berry sidelined & i can’t stand Ellen Paige as Kitty Pride her acting sends me to sleep.

    It’s a good X-Men movie but for me lacked spectacle with its third act.

    A fair balanced review though Tim very well presented & great attention to detail.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply
    1. Tim Bradley Post author

      Hi Simon.

      Thanks for your comments on my review on ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’.

      Yeah, it is a shame the film didn’t end with an epic battle scene between the X-Men and the Sentinels. Wolverine did get left out of the picture when he was chucked away by one of the Sentinels and ended up in a river. Maybe if the film was 3 hours instead of 2 1/2 hours, it could have accommodated an epic action-packed fight scene at the end. I’ll have to check out the Rogue Cut of this film to see how much is different compared to the original theatrical version.

      One of the weakest aspects about these ‘X-Men’ films is not being good in terms of continuity. That’s something I’ll explore when it comes to reviewing ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ and ‘X-Men: Dark Phoenix’. It’s such a shame as I have enjoyed the performances of the actors like Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, yet the continuity of these films don’t add up into making the films as excellent they could have been. I still like ‘Days of Future Past’, but I can’t deny its flaws despite giving it a high rating.

      Many thanks for your comments, Simon. Hopefully I’ll be sharing my next review on ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’ soon.

      Tim. 🙂

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