Bryan Singer delivers what is undoubtedly the best sequel so far to his now fifteen year old X-Men. I pity the fool who has never heard of the X-Men and walks into this flick. It just assumes you know who these people are. After six movies, everyone really should. Exposition is kept to a minimum, except when it moves this particular story forward. What an incredible concept! It also creates a very satisfying bookend to the whole X-Men series. I know they will make more, but if it ended here, I would be fine with that.
Wolverine again takes center stage as the main character, and thank God for that. His presence was greatly missed in the X-prequel, First Class. Marvel is firing on all cylinders right now. First we get a 4-star Captain America movie and now a 4-star flick that has a hundred different characters. No small accomplishment. By keeping Wolverine as the constant between a huge cast of heroes and villains, as well as two different eras in time, we never get lost.
The plot mostly made me think of J.J. Abram’s time traveling Star Trek reboot, but this one is done better. The script minimizes paradoxes by sending only Wolvie’s consciousness back to his 1970’s body, not his entire physical self. The fact that neither of the two time periods takes place in our present was very cool. As detailed as the sets, costumes, lingo etc, from the ’70s was… the dystopia of the future was even cooler. As this is a sequel to First Class, we spend most of the film in the past.
Days of Future Past is worth seeing if only because this large of an all-star cast will never be put together again. I honestly don’t know how they afforded it this time. These are some of the best actors alive playing roles that in other hands would have become pure camp. To make such an out-there comic book story seem so realistic and so adult is another feat in itself. Just one scene with a character who is essentially a pure rip-off of DC Comics The Flash totally trumps everything WB has done with their character on screen. Now that I’ve seen this, I don’t even need to see a Flash movie. Some of the other characters will be known only to X-Men readers, but that’s fine. You don’t have to do the back story for everyone. Do you learn about the childhood of everyone in the Dirty Dozen or the Magnificent Seven? Of course not – it’s totally unnecessary. All you have to know is that humans understandably fear and hate mutants because of their power and want them all dead.
Whether or not Singer’s career is destroyed by his latest sex scandal is unknown, but the man remains a master of the ensemble. I only have a couple of minor complaints: Wolverine needed to kill more people and the music by John Ottman was as bland as ice water… as usual.
One final thing of note is that while this is technically a “Marvel” film with characters from Marvel Comics, Fox makes it clear that their X-Men and Disney’s Avengers do not live in the same universe. The Avengers: Age of Ultron will also feature Quicksilver, played by a different actor and with a different appearance and origin story.
4 Naked Shapeshifters Outta 5