Looking Back… X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

The X-Men series has often been blighted by bad eggs. It was introduced insanely well by Bryan Singer back in 2000 and that impeccable energy transferred well to X2. But then Singer left the series, Brett Ratner was left in charge and the miserable (but still watchable) episode The Last Stand brought the kinetic X-Men charge to a halt; a halt that would continue with the X-Men Origins: Wolverine series. Luckily, Matthew Vaughn and the guys behind Kick-Ass brought us First Class, a visceral and action packed segment that breathed life into our favourite assembled heroes (snort). Ok, so it may not be anything like the Avengers franchise, but the group of mutated super-humans have their own series and fan base. Days of Future Past, however, provide more reason as to why the Russo brothers and their cronies are still on top.

It’s 2023. The humans and mutants are living on the brink of being exterminated. Robotic assassins named Sentinels are unstoppable. The few mutants left, Xavier and the crew, are fighting a losing battle that will end in the death of everyone. Their only hope is to send Wolverine back in time to prevent the war ever happening. However, when he is sent back in time, he finds that bringing Xavier and Magneto together is a harder task than he first thought.


The plot is insanely convoluted. That’s not a problem; it’s not that difficult to create an intelligent and detailed plan for cinema goers to follow. The movie is brought down by a sloppy attempt to bring the less informed fans up to speed, squeezing in years of preposition into a small amount of time. The problem with Days of Future Past is that the plot is so entangled that you’ll struggle to invest in not just the brand new characters, but the plight of the old ones, too. The film flits between places and time without hovering over new and old characters for you to care. The union should make it incredibly emotional and exhilarating but the end product’s so confusing that it feels quite dull. It’s a shame because there is so much excellence here entangled in a plot that is too over-excited to calm down and concentrate.

There is excellence. For one, the heart of the story relies on Charles Xavier recovering from the effects of First Class. The broken, battered and lost Xavier is one we have never met and luckily, that visceral content is placed solely on the shoulders of James McAvoy. It is absorbing to watch him battle with anguish and McAvoy gives a compelling performance. Though, arguably, a lot of this is because Xavier is the only character given such depth to arch (the rest have flimsy storylines.) But having McAvoy at your centre is never a bad thing. Here, he is intense, wavering between the sentiments of a fragmented future leader who is scouring to re-find himself, a torment that McAvoy masters.

Though sometimes lost in the plot, there are stunning action sequences. The Sentinels, robots charged with adapting and evolving to obliterate their targets are actually terrifying. The danger they present in the future is real and striking. There is also a final action sequence that combines all threads and juxtaposes them to boast one of the few moments where you are tantalised by the screen.As mentioned before, there are good parts here. The introduction of Evan Peters as Quicksilver and Peter Dinklage as Professor Trask are perhaps the few characters that make the affair enjoyable. Sadly, the end product is slightly disappointing. Leaning much more to Last Stand, riddled with a lot of problems but still a watchable affair, Days of Future Past is a larger step down from the thrill ride that was First Class. Nevertheless, it is up to Apocalypse to regain the passions and level footing it so desperately developed in the first place. Overall, it is an average if not sloppy X-Men affair.

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