X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014) – Review

X-Meh?

Director: Bryan Singer

Running Time: 131 mins

Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage

I’m writing this review at midnight, half an hour after seeing X-Men: Days of Future Past. These are my immediate feelings about Bryan Singer’s mutant epic. And my initial thought is: X-Men DOFP is OK. Not great, but OK. The problem with this is that OK is pretty disappointing for an X-Men fan like me. Here’s why:

Days of Future Past has a simple story at its heart. The near future has turned to crap and the X-Men send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to 1973 to stop an event that directly results in the aforementioned shitty future. It’s your basic time travel plot, the movie is essentially Quantum Leap without the funky theme tune. Disappointingly at no point does Wolverine ever exclaim ‘Oh boy!’.

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Prof X reactivates Cerebro

DOFP wears its influences on its sleeve right from the start. There’s hints of The Matrix, a smidgen of The Terminator, and shades of The Avengers. The plot means we get to see action in the two time periods, with the present day X-Men fighting super Sentinels and their 1970s selves caught up in a murder plot and lots of period injokes. It’s this setup that causes some of the problems that stop the film being great.

Proceedings start off brilliantly with a high tempo, imaginative battle in the future between mutants including Bishop and Blink and the deadly Sentinels. It’s an excellent scene and demonstrates just how dangerous the Sentinels are and why it’s so important that Wolverine succeeds in his task. This leads to the inevitable exposition section, and then Wolvie gets to the 70s. From here there are some fun scenes including Logan kicking asses and an enjoyable prison break.

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Quicksilver has truly awful fashion sense

After this the film loses its way somewhat. Plot holes are abundant and our heroes perform actions that are completely out of character. The writers’ attempts to give everyone a character arc bogs the movie down. Large swathes of time seem to be devoted to the various protagonists convincing each other of the right thing to do. It’s what makes Wolverine so much fun. He behaves consistently, you know where you are with him, and you like spending time with him. When he isn’t onscreen though, the gears start to grind and the entire piece threatens to fall apart.

Positive aspects of the movie include great performances from the main cast, some lovely scenes such as when the two professors meet across time, Blink’s super cool portal power, and a couple of fantastic fight scenes with Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. However these events are few and that’s just not good enough for an X-Men movie. This series live or dies on its action and script and neither of these are all that memorable in the film. Basically I hold this series to a higher standard than other franchises.

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Richard Nixon presents the Sentinels

DOFP suffers greatly from bad pacing and poor writing. Structurally it’s all over the place, the action varies greatly in quality, there is no proper antagonist, and the film tries to cram too much into the running time. If X-Men: First Class was two steps forward for the franchise then Days of Future Past is one step back. It has a lot of good stuff in it but if you’re expecting a return to the excellence of X2 then you might be disappointed.

6/10

Agree? Think i’m a jaded, joyless loser?  Let me know below.  An if you’d like a recap of all Wolverine’s adventures then be sure to checkout Screenkicker Live’s two minute animated history of Wolverine.

Screenkicker Quality Index (SQI)

BEST

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The_Last_Stand_poster1

 WORST

37 comments

  1. Love the SQI!
    I was very impressed by First Class and as a lifelong Back To The Future fan, I was definitely intrigued by the time travel plot of this one.
    Good point about the two steps forward, one steps back – I shall view the film with managed expectations, nice review!

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  2. Great review Mikey. Wolverine is definitely the star of this one and he does a pretty good job of holding it all together. The cast is very good and Singer captured some interesting shots but for me the ending simply didn’t pay off.

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  3. Great review. I like the fact you expect more from certain franchises- too right! As the fans we own the franchise and they should please us.

    Where was the obvious braveheart joke in pic 1?

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  4. Nice write up Mikey. I’m in two minds as to whether to go and see this. Yours is the first review I’ve read but there’s a few more in my feed that I’ll check now. Shame to hear the action and script aren’t up to much.

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      • I’ve just read a couple that are similar to yours – not slating it but pointing out a few faults (and one very positive review). I’ll probably see it sometime since I have watched the others!

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  5. I didn’t find Wolverine quite as engaging as a dramatic influence here – Jackman is very funny though. For me, the problem doesn’t lie with the number of characters on show but instead the number of different strands they follow. I think Days of Future Past is an admirable attempt though, it feels big. Great review Mikey!

    Adam.

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  6. Okay Mikey…so I don’t think you are a jaded, joyless loser but is it wrong to sort of hope that you are? I am viewing this tonight and really hoping to score it higher than a 6/10!

    We disagreed on Godzilla….so once again, I hope our opinions do not mesh! Dude, this is awesome. We can be like Professor X and Magneto. Get along in conversation but have like…totally conflicting views…cool shit yo…

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  7. Enjoyed it a lot more than you did, in fact I think it’s the best X-Men yet.
    My pet peeve with the series is how they spend too much time on rubbish 3rd tier mutants to the expense of the excellent main characters. In DOPF there were so many main characters I guess they didn’t have time for rubbish ones. Quicksilver, the one new mutant with any real screen time, was great.
    I see what you mean about no real antagonist, but I loved Peter Dinklage’s Trask.
    In summary, all the good points of First Class, with added Wolverine. What’s not to like?

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  8. Good review. I liked the film, I mean I have some problems from a total comic nerd point of view but yeah its good.

    The visuals and 70’s timeline worked really well and the acting was really good. Quicksilver steals the show.

    This wasnt greatness but Apocalypse might 😀

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  9. Time travel movies always feel jumbled to me. I wouldn’t say this is completely jumbled, but muddled enough to the point that I did lose interest from time to time.

    I wanted to love this, but alas I just like it. Would be OK watching it again if family and others wanted to view, but no desire whatsoever to view on my own. Great review sir.

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  10. Mikey is sooo jaded! A 6 for this, a 6 for Godzilla, and didn’t you give Cap a 6, too? We need to get you to a movie you love, bro! Nice job–even if I think you’re a little crazy for not loving this. 😉

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  11. Amid all the raving reviews, it looks like we’re in the minority here, but I agree that the film suffered from poor writing. It was a huge letdown after the more thoughtful First Class.

    Great read! I’ll find time to pen down my thoughts soon too. 🙂

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  12. I couldnt agree with you more. I can forgive the other episodes and bits of confusion as the other films on the whole have been good enough on their own. This one needed to really stand out and all I kept thinking was Terminator, a hint of Star Trek Voyager and their time travel stints and a hint of robocop. Everything just felt so mechanical and I think they wasted an opportunity here and I agree 6/10 but more shockingly to me, Angelina Jolie’s reprisal of sleeping beauty was better.

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