Wednesday, May 28, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past - Movie Review

Bryan Singer returns to the franchise that first put comic book movies on the map and the pressure is on to bring two generations of mutants out of the past and into the future. X-Men: Days of Future Past features an all star cast that includes Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Jennifer Lawrence, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, and Lucas Till.

In a world where mutants and humans alike are being hunted by deadly robots designed to adapt to any situation and to use any foe's strengths against them, the X-Men have found themselves in a truly desperate situation. With few options left, Professor X (Stewart) and Magneto (McKellan) have once again united forces and gathered their remaining allies for a last stand against this seemingly unbeatable foe. These robotic soldiers, known as Sentinels, were originally created decades prior by Dr. Bolivar Trask (Dinklage) to identify and eradicate mutants although it was a chance encounter with the mutant known as Mystique which provided him the key to creating something even he didn't think possible at the time.

With only one option left before them,  Kitty Pryde (Page) is tasked with using her powers to send Logan aka Wolverine (Jackman) back in time to change the course of history before it is turned towards the dark destiny they are currently trying to survive. To complicate matters, Logan is sent back to a time when neither the younger Xavier or Magneto are in any position to help him, let alone themselves or even each other. Meanwhile, Raven aka Mystique is bound and determined to carry out the one mission that ultimately puts humanity in danger.

As far as X-Men movies go, I would have to say Days of Future Past ranks among the best of the bunch. No, I'm not going to rank them all, but this one definitely stands out simply for having the ability to seamlessly weave two timelines together while pulling off a super star balancing act of truly epic proportions. Seriously, when was the last time so many headline quality stars have been together in one movie. Every single person I mentioned at the beginning of this review could and have been featured in their own films let alone as part of various ensembles. Putting this team of talent together should earn this movie some sort of special recognition award. All that being said, I would have to point out Hugh Jackman and James McAvoy as the standout performers as each takes their characters down paths we have never seen from either of them before.

When it comes to big time, blockbuster special effects, I would say this movie does a fine job, but doesn't do anything to raise the bar like Marvel's other recent super hero feature did just a few weeks prior to this movie coming out. That being said, there are still plenty of jaw dropping effects and intense battles that will keep you on the edge of your seat and stuffing popcorn into your face. Special shout out to Blink (played by Bing Bing Fan), and her power to open portals, for providing some of the most fun and innovative fight sequences I've seen in a while. Magneto also gets to use his powers in some really cool ways that are also quite devastating to whoever is on the wrong side of his wrath.

There is also one particular scene in this movie which features a new character to the movies that you are absolutely going to love. You may have already heard about it, but I;m not going to say anything else here in my review. You'll know the moment as soon as it starts and you will most likely applaud when this particular slice of time in the movie comes to a conclusion.

While X-Men: Days of Future Past is thoroughly entertaining on many different levels, I still felt like it was lacking a few things that would otherwise put it front and center on my favorites list for the year. Maybe the near impossible juggling act of heavyweight talent and iconic characters needed more story to chew on to justify all of them being thrown together or maybe it was the fundamental issues of time travel that always make me a little apprehensive about its inclusion into a story. This is the part where I stop rambling and encourage you to go out and decide for yourself whether this movie ranks among your own personal favorites.

Thinking of seeing it in 3D? While I felt the heightened format added some visual pop to the big screen spectacle, you could just as easily get by without that extra D and still be just fine.


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