One cannot truly and properly make a superhero franchise until the concept of fluid/dynamic timelines and twist endings are explored in a prequel / midquel / sequel. So say I, with equal parts tongue-in-cheekiness and cynicism.
With an ensemble cast of marquee actors that includes Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, and Ian McKellen, X-Men: Days of Future Past is this year’s answer to 2012’s blockbuster The Avengers.
We saw the former on the day after its Friday May 23rd North American premiere, just before its matinée showings–because, rather amazingly, the Saturday morning slot at 10:30 am was sold out at the Silvercity multiplex theatres in Richmond. It is plain 2D for me, thank you; 3D gives me a headache after 14 minutes, and my pocketbook an immediate and unpleasant a shot in the arm.
X-Men: Days of Future Past picks up from where the origins story/prequel X-Men: First Class (which I found was both critically well done and a thrill ride for the senses) left off. I have been a fan of McAvoy since his performances in the Children of Dune made-for-TV mini-series.
Weighty emotional performances (read as: lots of angst), particularly by McAvoy, Jackman, and Stewart give X-Men: Days of Future Past the gravitas to balance the plethora of special effects in this movie. Bryan Singer ups the ante in both departments; everything about this movie is big, and that makes this particular X-Men outing his most ambitious yet, and a real trip to absorb (spoken from a non-pharmacological perspective).
My initial thoughts were to chalk this up as (yet another) Wolverine movie, as Jackman’s character is the defining one of the X-Men universe. But you can guess from the theatrical launch poster here that he’s not the only pivotal character of this movie. Do you need to know the backstories of the various X-Men to understand this movie? It certainly helps, yes. I found that knowing what emotional baggage each mutant brings to the table is a lot more interesting that their respective powers … but that’s just me.
With one notable exception, I felt that most of the new mutant characters introduced in this movie were a bit superfluous/one dimensional; no real attempt was made to explain them, except through their powers. But maybe that would have made the storyline too big for one movie that, although was quite short with a running time of 131 minutes (compared to a whopping 235 minutes for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers), nevertheless made me feel quite overwhelmed, as if I were on an amusement ride for too long.
Moments of levity and slickly packaged humour (and on this subject I’ll just say two things: one, super heroes and super villains need at least one great one-liner up their sleeve; and two, it’s always amusing when you have to give yourself a pep talk) do punctuate the movie, though. These serve to offset the darkness of the movie.
Remember to stay right to the very end … past the rolling credits. 🙂