The Scoop: 2014 PG-13, directed by Bryan Singer and starring James McAvoy, Hugh Jackman, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence and Nicholas Hoult
Tagline: His past. Our future.
Summary Capsule: Wolverine becomes John Reese to save the world from Not!Skynet
Eunice’s Rating: “If I could turn back time If I could find a way”
Eunice’s Review: Some point in the future after the events of The Wolverine, things are teetering on the brink. A group of killer robots were created in the ’70s to hunt down mutants as part of The Sentinel Project. Performing their task with vicious efficiency, the Sentinels – now highly adaptable and well nigh indestructible – killed nonviolent mutants along with the violent ones, and then started tracking humans who carried the recessive gene, and then pretty much just started killing everyone. Now there’s only a ragtag few hanging on. Charles “Professor X” Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik “Magneto” Lehnsherr (Ian McKellen) tracked down Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and together they join up with one of these groups of survivors led by Kitty Pride (Ellen Page). See Kitty can send someone’s consciousness back into their younger body, ie mental time travel.
The plan is thus: 1973 was when the point of in extremis happened. Mystique/Raven (Jennifer Lawrence) will shoot the scientist who founded the project, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), and then be captured and experimented on – inadvertently donating her mutant capabilities to the Sentinels. So Kitty will send the Professor back about “fifty” years and will try to stop Mystique. There’s just one problem. Going back that far will tear his brain apart, so instead of the Professor it’s up to Wolverine.
Wolverine is dropped eleven years after the events of X-Men: First Class with the following objectives: 1. Find Charles and convince him to help. This would be easy except for the fact that the decade since First Class hasn’t been easy on young Charles and he’s turned into an angry young man who has lost his path along with his powers. 2. Find Erik and convince him to help. Not only does Logan have to get Charles and Erik to get along enough to stop Mystique, it also happens he’s in the super maxest of maximum securities. 3. Stop Raven/Mystique from killing Trask and/or giving over her DNA. Only she really really wants to kill Trask, and she’s broken free of both Charles and Erik’s influences. 4. Stay calm. If Logan doesn’t keep his cool he could ruin the whole plan by interrupting the mental link and actually make things worse, this isn’t helped when he sees the man who will one day fuse his bones with adamantium – William Striker.
X-Men and I go back a long ways, like you don’t even know. As far as the movies go, it’s one of only two more-than-three-movies franchises that, so far, I’ve seen each installment of in theater (the other is Lord of the Rings/The Hobbit).
While the series has hit some rough patches – namely X-Men: The Last Stand or the even rougher X-Men Origins: Wolverine – as a whole it’s pretty sturdy, and there’s no denying the influence the first X-Men had on superhero movies way back in 2000 (holy cow it’s been that long already?!). It was hard to keep both my expectations and my fears contained to reasonable levels…
I loved it. So. Much.
I’m sure you’ve noticed that I happen to like/love a lot of movies, because hey movies are my thing. Truthfully though, Days totally earned every squee.
Possibly my favorite thread has been the relationship of Xavier and Magneto. Showing the two sides of mutant evolution, Stewart and McKellen have been amazing getting across the antagonistic but deep friendship and shared history of the two characters. In First Class and Days McAvoy and Fassbender have taken up the challenge perfectly of developing that same feel, along with the Raven/Mystique storyline mixed in there. While I would say First Class was more Erik-centric, Charles is focused on more here as he’s lost the optimism and boyishness of the first movie and has learned that so many things are so far out of his control (Can I just say that with every new thing I see him in, James McAvoy grows on me? I quite liked him in Welcome to the Punch). There’s the balancing human emotions and social messages while not distancing from, but embracing its comic book origins (Chris Nolan, pay attention). The fact that one of them can read minds, the other controls metal while wearing a magenta suit, and the third is a naked blue chick who can morph into anybody doesn’t take away from anything.
Then there’s Wolverine and… I will try not to fangirl. I will try not to fangirl. I will…
After the night and day different movies of Origins and The Wolverine, it’s nice to see Logan back in a group picture with a more balanced take on the character (though I did actually like The Wolverine, and wouldn’t have minded seeing Yukio make an appearance, it was kinda uneven. And credit where it’s due, the opening credit of Origins is still pretty cool). The chemistry of the actors as he goes back to change the future and ends up helping the younger Charles and Hank/Beast find their purposes again, it’s great and, while different from the comics, works well in the movie-verse. … And Jackman continues to be one of the most beautiful male specimens ever put on this planet. It may be the reading I’ve been doing on Michelangelo lately, but he just makes me want to sculpt him in marble. And he still looks damn fine in a pair of jeans (or out, either way).
Okay, I think I’m good now.
While we’re talking characters I think the guy who really shines here has to be Pietro/Quicksilver, played by Evan Peters, right? Faaaaantastic. I will not spoil anything, but every second of his in the break out scene is perfect. Like, all of it.
And while she doesn’t get a huge amount of screen time, I like what we do get to see of Kitty Pride.
How does it fare as a stand alone? Days is a beautifully made, detail oriented action movie, that especially appeals to fans of the comics or comic book movies. It gives a great dark look at a terrifying future with lots of cool mutant powers. It also knows how to root itself in the past it’s portraying and use it – the Nixon tapes, JFK, and three networks (plus PBS!) of particular note. BUT I really don’t think you could watch it without seeing every X-flick except Origins and understand what’s going on. Both because of story and character relationships. In fact, I’ve never seen a single movie so perfectly tie together its pieces so tightly while at the same time wiping them all out to start over. It’s marvelous and tricky at the same time.
So see X-Men: Days of Future Past. See it in a theater if at all possible. It’s so so good.
- In the comics, the Days of Future Past storyline was set in the, then present, 80s with Kitty Pride coming from the far off future of 2013 warning about the Omega Sentinels. The original assassination victim was Senator Kelly.
- As hinted at here, in the comics, Magneto is Quicksilver’s (and his twin sister Wanda/Scarlet Witch’s) father. Which is so weird that Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch are also in the MCU Avengers movies. Apparently Fox and Marvel have an agreement so that the character can be in both franchises as long as there’s no cross referencing, including casting.
- Speaking of Sentinels, you’ll remember the first time they showed up in the movies was in X-Men: United in the Danger Room training scene.
- The song that Logan keeps waking up to is ‘The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face’, by Roberta Flack. The one during Quicksilver’s awesomeness is ‘Time in a Bottle’ by Jim Croce. Also reference to James Brown’s ‘The Payback.’
- The mutant take on the Magic Bullet. Love it
- Is It Worth Staying Through End Credits? Yes. It is all the way at the very, very end of the credits, so wait it out. It’s setting up the next X-Men movie.
Professor X: Logan, I was a very different man. Lead me, guide me, be patient with me.
Logan: Patience isn’t my strong suit.
Logan: What happened to the school?
Hank: Are you a parent?
Logan: I sure as hell hope not!
Logan: In the future, you and I will be good friends. *punches Hank* You just don’t know it yet.
Pietro: Do you know karate?
Erik: I don’t know karate, but I know crazy.
Logan: So, you always were an a******.
Erik: [about Logan’s claws] If only those were made of metal.
Charles: You took the things that meant the most to me.
Erik: Maybe you should have fought harder for them.
Charles: Enough! Enough! I don’t want your suffering! I don’t want your future!
Trask: Sentinels that transform… can you imagine the possibilities?
Hank: I probably shouldn’t be asking this sort of thing, but, in the future, do I make it?
Logan: No… but we can change that, right?
Magneto: All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles.
Erik: You used to be a better shot
Raven: Trust me, I still am.
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