Ever go to the movies and about 2 minutes in you have to go to the bathroom pretty bad? Everything on screen is pretty exciting though and you don’t want to miss anything important so you resolve to hold out for as long as you can; you’ll just make a quick run when there’s some downtime…There’s no downtime in this film. Days of Future Past is arguably the strongest X film of all of them and certainly the best of the original Bryan Singer (ignore Brett Ratner) and Matthew Vaughn’s First Class.
With Days of Future Past, Singer has returned gloriously from a slump he’s been in since 2008’s VALKYRIE. I’m not sure what exactly happened between then and now, but this is a different Singer even from his previous mutant-universe films. Everything in this film exhibits a much more capable creative than we’ve ever seen. His Production design tastes have improved (to put it mildly) including sets, creature design, and costume design among others. The film just looks like a different person made it. The creature designs have markedly improved. Anyone see Jack The Giant Slayer? *shiver* … I hope we see more of this version of Singer from now on.
The story which tries to reconcile Singer and Vaughn’s X-Worlds does its best and fails. Rather than merge the two timelines, a third timeline has been created that combines the bits they liked from the previous films. Major (and minor) actors return from previous films and new characters are created to help gel things together. If you try to analyze the story as other than a third and separate timeline your head will explode or you’ll find so many holes in the plot then your head will explode. Not recommended. Instead, concentrate on what Singer and company do right. It’s the ending that matters more than all the inbetweens and at that it succeeds.
The pacing is well handled. It moves at a confident clip and keeps the exposition scenes interesting. My favourite sequence has to do with how they explain Magneto’s connection to the speedster Pietro “Peter” Maximoff. So genius. Maximoff in general is a great addition to the film-verse and has several key scenes in the film which add greatly to the enjoyment of this x-outing. I’m very interested to see how Joss Whedon uses the Maximoff twins in Avengers 2. Singer has set a pretty cool bar to hurdle with his version. I digress.
Not every character gets a scene chewing job fill, but no matter their role size each mutant and human actor has an active part to play even if it’s just to die a good and gruesome death. It is interesting to see, however, just how much Singer and co. have managed to give more than a few actors to do; more than I expected to see anyway considering the size of the overall cast.
Peter “Game of Thrones” Dinklage does an excellent job and has a great many memorable moments. Ian Mckellen and Patrick Stewart only have tiny scenes here and there throughout the film, but their presence still manages to feel substantial. Other actors might have turned down the film for such small roles so, it’s very admirable to see them agree to return for what is essentially pitch roles to their younger versions. Speaking of, Fassbender (young Magneto) and McAvoy (young Prof.X) get a lot of snot spitting moments, mostly McAvoy as Xavier, but…Magneto plays a critical part, as well. Some of Fassbender’s best scenes are with another actor, namely Jennifer Lawrence (Mystique). Lawrence still doesn’t hold a candle to Rebecca Romijn (sadly no appearance from her this time), but she plays a very key role in the film’s narrative and does a stand up job of it. Not merely Shang Tsung-ing it as in past.
A great musical score rounds out the experience.
Overall this is a really strong effort from Bryan Singer. I was a fan of his original run of the X-MEN; canon destroying and all (no shortage of that here either) and I look forward to AGE OF APOCALYPSE (stick around for the end credits sequence for a glimpse of En Sabah Nur).