Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Movie Review: X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (2014)

X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Overall, I found the movie entertaining but uninspired, mostly due to the plot of someone going back in time to prevent the awful future from ever happening. As the only one who can survive the trip, Wolverine goes to the past to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask and getting captured and her DNA taken to develop the ultimate weapon against mutants. My biggest issue with the plot is that I knew that at some point it would become a race between the future and past for survival, especially towards the end, to "increase the stakes" or suspense. Some people aren't too concerned with the plot because they're more interested in the dynamics between these characters, but for me, knowing what was going to happen made me a lot less invested in the suspense.

This parallel narrative, in which we switch from Wolverine's adventures in the past to the desperate survivors in the future, allows for a larger cast, putting in Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen in the same film as their younger counterparts James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender. This was also part of the reason I was intrigued by the film--I was curious about what Magneto would say to Erik (young Magneto), but only Professor X was able to directly communicate with his past counterpart because of his mind-bending abilities. 

Nonetheless, it was pretty cool to see them all in the same movie.

Moving beyond the plot, the fight scenes from the past are incredibly entertaining to watch, especially the ones with Mystique in them. She moves with strength and grace, and with her blue-nude body and glowing yellow eyes, she reminds me of a wild cat. I also loved watching the different ways in which Wolverine and Charles solve their problems. The fight scene in the kitchen with Quicksilver/Peter is GOLD--it takes us into the mind of someone who moves way too fast for everyone else around him. I'd watch that scene again.

For a movie, X-Men: Days of Future Past reveals a lot of introspection that manifests in the forms of monologues, especially when it comes to Charles. He is suffering from depression and hopelessness about the future of mutants, and Wolverine sucks at pep talk. I appreciated being able to understand Professor X/Charles more as a person beyond a mutant hero/guru. Charles' struggle to overcome his sense of hopelessness amid the escalating drama in which Mystique is determined to kill Trask is what holds the movie together for me.

As the developer of the mutant-resistant cyborg Sentinels during the Vietnam War era, Bolivar Trask is an interesting character. He harbors no hate against mutants--"on the contrary, I have the highest respect and admiration for them. For their abilities, for what they can offer us. Which is an era of peace and progress." Trask admires mutants, but he's also willing to exploit them as a tool to stop war betweeen humans. They are tools in the way that they would be projected as the "common enemy"--mutants as a group would be used to unite humanity against an external threat. 

The extermination of mutants parallels the easily-manipulated fears of the "other" that led to the Holocaust, in which Hitler tapped into the German people's fears of the marginal population of Jews in order to establish a strong national identity. The connections to the Holocaust can be seen in the future, in which scavengers stumble over bones of mutants in mass graves. 

A lot of characters from previous movies make a very brief appearance in this movie. I was thinking, Wow! I hadn't seen you since 2006! This past-altering story was also a tool to bring dead characters back to the story line. It'll be cool to see them all in the upcoming X-Men movie, X-Men: Apocalypse (2016). 

If you've seen the movie and are curious about some plot issues or loopholes, check out the FAQ for X-Men: Days of Future Past

Thanks for reading! What did you think of the movie?

3 comments:

  1. Nice review Ellen! I liked the action scenes too and though they were pretty well done. I wanted to see more Kitty though, and would have liked Rogue too. I agree that Quicksilver was awesome- loved that scene. And you'r right- it would have been very cool to see Erik talking to his younger self. I hadnt thought of that...

    In the end I wasn't crazy about this movie but I am glad I saw it, and it has its moments no doubt.

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    1. Thank you, Greg! It definitely would have been great to see Kitty and Rogue more. Kitty is mostly stranded and tired-looking for most of it. I'm glad I saw this movie as well; I fell in love with the younger actors when watching X-Men: First Class and am glad they're continuing the series with them.

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  2. Thank you so much...
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