X-Men: Days of Future Past was amazing; I want to start with that. But before we go any further, let’s put all our cards on the table here, folks: HERE BE SPOILERS. That being said, everything that is remotely spoiler-y will be under the cut, so read this part just fine. We are now two weekends removed from the premiere of X-Men: Days of Future Past, and I’ve seen it twice. That has given me what I hope is a little better insight on the new entry to the X-Men franchise, and possibly a way to share that with you, the reading audience.
Seriously, this a great poster… Sooooo gooood.
So, now that all of that fun stuff is out of the way, let’s get to the really good part: the movie. I’m going to level with all of you (okay, the one of you that might read this). I wanted to try and come down off the movie, but it’s like a drug. My levels of obsession with it are bordering on the unhealthy, which I suppose is problematic, but nothing I can’t handle, yet…can’t handle so far… Look, I’m not going to lie. It’s a downward spiral, alright?
X-Men: Days of Future Past (from now on referred to as DoFP) was a great superhero movie. One that, for me, has entered into my own personal top five, joining the ranks of The Dark Knight, Avengers, Captain America 2, and Hellboy. It made it up there with a combination of the maturation of the directing style of Bryan Singer, the surprisingly deft script work of Simon Kinberg, and the superb acting of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Ian Mckellen, and Patrick Stewart. I want to particularly single out McAvoy and Fassbender, for reasons that will be apparent once you are able to watch the film. DoFP, while ostensibly about Wolverine travelling in a very willy-nilly, timey-wimey fashion (again, these movies might as well be called “Wolverine and the X-Men”), is more about the relationship between Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique. McAvoy and Fassbender lend a sense of seriousness, and weight to each scene they occupy, especially when they are in it together.
There are so many solid characterizations in this movie that I don’t want to forget to mention the character of Peter Maximoff, I’m not sure anyone, but Evan Peters, could have pulled it off. Possibly one of the worst character reveals in the history of film promotion, Peter, or Pietro, was played with a sense of sly conviction and sarcasm. It was a breath of fresh air for a character I am excited to see more of him, if the X-Men: Apocalypse casting rumors are true. Since there is a spoiler warning at the beginning, did you guys see the slow mo scene in the Pentagon? Because holy **** guys, that was some of the best use of slow mo in recent memory.
I bet at this point you are asking yourself, why after all this praise, doesn’t the film reach higher levels in my top five? That is a valid question, dear reader, because here is where my issues with the film arise. You might have noticed that I mentioned a third name there when I was talking about Magneto and Professor X, Mystique. Jennifer Lawrence is spectacular as Raven/Mystique, but she along with Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, and Ellen Page as Kitty Pryde, were all underused so much it was criminal. For a film where Mystique was set up as the linchpin in history, the proverbial turning point, she was given surprisingly little to actually do in a movie that seemed to focus more on the redemption of Xavier, which may or may not have been a good thing. I’m still not quite sure.
Another major issue I had with DoFP is half nerd quibble, and half the removal of importance on a certain character. The original DoFP storyline is anchored by Kitty Pryde, one of my favorite comic book characters, and arguably strong enough to carry a movie all on her own. Especially when portrayed by Ellen Page. So why was it necessary to change it to Wolverine then?
I miss her. Meeeeeeeeessssss Heeeeeeer
In an interview with Empire magazine, Singer addressed the exact question I am asking.
“It was logic for the story, ” the director said. “It felt logical that he’s a character that we’re very grounded with, that we like to see in these movies. And his younger self would have the same appearance as his older self, so the same actor can play the role. Most importantly, the idea is that when we go back in time and discover Magneto and Xavier as young men, they’re at great odds and very wrecked and unmanageable, and I liked the idea of an older character having to manage these two reckless young men. If it had been a character jumping into their younger self, then it would have been a young character doing that and with Kitty Pryde it would have been a very young character. Well, in our world she wouldn’t have been born at all. And lastly Wolverine, from a technical standpoint, is the only one who can traverse that distance. The notion is that she can send people back in time for a week or two which they use in the future as a defense mechanism, but to physically send someone back that far is too damaging for the mind and the body. But Wolverine’s body heals, so as long as he remains focused and calm, he can remain until she can no longer control it.”
Ok, so that’s an answer I suppose. But here is my problem, in context of the films that have come out, that makes sense. The last time we saw Kitty, she was in Brett Ratner’s horrifying addition to X-3. The whole point of this new movie is to remove films like tha,t and X-Men Origins: Wolverine from the Fox/Marvel films story canon, which is great, I guess. But the mishandling of solid female characters like Kitty led us to this place where one of the coolest characters in the X-Men wheelhouse is relegated to a supporting role for Wolverine. It’s disappointing, and now that the universe is rewritten at the end of the film, I worry that we won’t ever get to see Ellen Page really get a chance to make Kitty shine. For a humorous take on this, you should check out another Sub-Cultured article. Leia did a solid job presenting the problem in a humorous light.
Is that all I have to say? Not by a long shot, but I think I’m going to need to watch the movie a few more times before I can genuinely talk about some of the issues I had. But for a franchise that’s been floundering recently, X-Men: Days of Future Past is much more than passable. Entering the realm of some of the best Comic Book Films ever made, Bryan Singer and company gave us a X-Men film that wipes away most of the bad past, and gives us the chance for a shiny new future.
She is so cool, can we see more of her?
Film Review: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’
MPAA Rating: PG-13. Running time: 131 MIN.
Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters, Josh Helman, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, Mark Camacho, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart.
A 20th Century Fox release presented in association with Marvel Entertainment and TSG Entertainment of a Bad Hat Harry/Donners’ Co./Simon Kinberg production made in association with Ingenious Media. Produced by Lauren Shuler Donner, Bryan Singer, Kinberg, Hutch Parker. Executive producers, Stan Lee, Todd Hallowell, Josh McLaglen. Co-producer, Jason Taylor.
Directed by Bryan Singer. Screenplay, Simon Kinberg; story, Jane Goldman, Kinberg, Matthew Vaughn. Camera(Fotokem color, Arri widescreen, 3D), Newton Thomas Sigel; editor, John Ottman; music, Ottman; production designer, John Myhre; supervising art director, Michele Laliberte; art directors, Caroline Alder, Vincent Gingras-Liberali; set decorator, Gordon Sim; set designers, Glenn Bydwell, Claude Lafrance, Brent Lambert, Celine Lampron, Raymond Larose, Veronique Meunier, Guy Pigeon, Alex Touikan; costume designer, Louise Mingenbach; sound (Dolby Atmos/Datasat), Patrick Rousseau; supervising sound editors, Craig Berkey, John A. Larsen; sound designer, Berkey; re-recording mixers, Ron Bartlett, D.M. Hemphill; visual effects producer, Blondel Aidoo; visual effects supervisors, Anders Langlands, Lou Pecora, Derek Spears, Holger Voss; visual effects, MPC, Cinesite, Rising Sun Pictures, Mokko Studio, Hydraulx, Method Studios, Animal Logic VFX; Mystique and Beast prosthetics and full-size Sentinel, Legacy Effects; special visual effects and character animation, Digital Domain; visual effects and animation, Rhythm & Hues; stunt coordinators, Jeff Habberstad, James M. Churchman, Mike Scherer, Nick Brandon, Trevor Habberstad, John D. Ross, Colin Follenweider, Mark Chadwick, Stefan Lofgren, Paul Leonard; fight coordinators, Daniel Stevens, Renae Moneymaker; stereoscopic supervisor, Scott Willman; 3D conversion, Studio D; associate producers, Tom Cohen, Derek Hoffman, Kathleen McGill; assistant director, McLaglen; second unit directors, Brian Smrz, Todd Hallowell; casting, Roger Mussenden.
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