Wednesday, May 21, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her powers to send Bishop’s consciousness back a few days in the past in order to warn them of persistent sentinel attacks, narrowly escaping every time. Banding together as the last group of surviving mutants, Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), Storm (Halle Berry), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) rendezvous with them in China where a long-term solution is proposed. Someone is to go back in time all the way to 1973 to nip their current dilemma in the bud, by stopping Raven Darkholme (Jennifer Lawrence) from assassinating Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), who is responsible for the creation of the futuristic sentinels with the ability to mimic any mutant power thanks to the shape-shifter’s DNA. Logan volunteers himself given how he is the only one physically capable of enduring the trip without much cerebral damage. He makes it back to 1970’s New York, but getting there is just half the work as he is supposed to convince a younger Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Erik Lensherr (Michael Fassbender) to work together to change their future.

This is, without a doubt, the best film in Fox’s Marvel universe, which is probably due to the fact that they have screwed up most of what they possess in the franchise. Not everyone is really happy with the way the X-Men movies turned out to be; it seems as though Disney is doing a much better job with The Avengers. Bryan Singer’s return to the directorial chair is also to thank for this positive outcome. He seems to have a more dependable vision as to which direction the franchise should go.

In a way, this film serves as the undoing of almost every X-Men film made before it. By playing with alternate universes and parallel storylines, much of the mistakes committed in the past are corrected by deeming them null and void; Tabula Rasa, in short. What better way to do it than this? In addition, they are able to bring the cast of both the older franchise and the newer one to work together somehow, which is a pretty good way of connecting the two storylines.

In terms of action, this film does not disappoint. While the scenes in the present are rather short, they are the ones which would probably be remembered best. If you thought seeing Cyclops and Jean Grey go was difficult to accept, wait and see how every mutant you have grown to love is massacred here over and over again. Some of the fight scenes are stupid but it’s okay. They have never been that visually stimulating to watch. The scenes in the past are a mix of good CGI and obligatory drama, which is okay because the actors involved are just so good.

An amusing thing is how Jennifer Lawrence suddenly becomes the lead character somehow, given how the entire plot revolves around Mystique this time. Coming fresh from another mega blockbuster franchise, this girl has just solidified her status as a bankable movie star. It also helps that she brings much more to Mystique as a character than Rebecca Romijn ever did. This movie would not have been the same without Raven Darkholme, and we have Lawrence to thank for the good portrayal.

While everything ends well, it is a bit sad to realize that this might be the end for the original cast. Well, they are not getting any younger, but they are still the original X-Men that we grew up with. The new generation is ready to continue the legacy, though, and the next film seems to be gearing up to include Apocalypse in the storyline. Everyone is just curious as to how they are going to rewrite history. This is their second chance. Hopefully, they would not screw it up this time.

And yeah, a special shout out to Quicksilver is well-deserved. That scene of his at the Pentagon kitchen is something that you would not easily forget in the days to come. It is just too bad how such an interesting character is given too short of a screen time.

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