RELEASED: 22nd May 2014
DIRECTOR: Bryan Singer
CAST: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Bingbing Fan, Booboo Stewart, Adan Canto, Josh Helman, Evan Peters, Anna Paquin, Lucas Till, Famke Janssen, James Marsden, Evan Jonigkeit, Gregg Lowe, Mark Camacho, Kelsey Grammer and Peter Dinklage
BOX OFFICE WORLDWIDE: $748.1m
AWARDS: None (1 Academy Award nomination and 1 BAFTA nomination)
Days of Future Past takes us straight into the distant and dark future of 2023, where the X-Men world where most of the mutants have been wiped out by giant robots known as the Sentinels, while most of the humans also oppressed by them. With the very few mutants left we find that Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, Kitty Pryde, Storm and Ice Man are still alive along with new on screen mutants in Blink, Warpath, Sunspot and Bishop and they hatch a plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness back to the past in order to stop an assassination that triggers the events of the Sentinels creation and prevent the war from ever happening.
In a film franchise that has had its ups-and-downs, 2014 brought us X-Men: Days of Future Past, with Bryan Singer returning to the franchise in over a decade (2003’s X-Men 2 aka X2: X-Men United) to direct, as well have the original cast collaborate with the new cast from Matthew Vaughn’s 2011 soft-reboot X-Men: First Class. Based on the comics storyline from Chris Claremont, John Byrne and Terry Austin, we enter a time in the future where mutants have mostly been wiped out by the Sentinels, giant robots that are programmed to hunt them down. The concept behind them came from the mind of Bolivar Trask, a military scientist who was assassinated by Mystique in 1973. Knowing that the assassination sparked the creation of the Sentinels by the government at the time, the X-Men’s plan to use Kitty Pryde’s mutant ability to send Wolverine’s subconscious back through time, and bring young Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr back together in order to stop Raven Darkhölme from murdering Trask. The screenplay from Simon Kinberg is his best work in the entire franchise as he juggles with multiple elements, from giving material for a large ensemble to deal with, to the time-travelling aspect as well. I enjoyed the way that Hugh Jackman portrayed Wolverine, a man no longer as angry as he once was in previous films (though when his back is pushed against the wall, he’s still as violent as he ever was), here he’s on a mission to restore the faith in Charles Xavier who is at his lowest point and considering how Xavier helped Wolverine in the previous films, it’s nice to witness the role reversal in this film. Considering how iconic Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are in the roles of Professor X and Magneto, it’s astounding how great and subtle James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender are in the same roles and you easily buy them as the characters. McAvoy is great in portraying pain of a man using drugs to numb the pain of feeling everything from everyone, while Fassbender showcases the pain in a sequence set inside a plane. When Stewart and McKellen shared the screen, their chemistry poured through and it’s the same with McAvoy and Fassbender. The rest of the ensemble are good in their roles too, from Nicholas Hoult as Hank McCoy, Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique (whose more fleshed out as a character compared to First Class and definitely after DOFP) and Evan Peters who shines as Peter Maximoff aka Quicksilver. The special effects are well done, the direction and editing is solid and the score is decent enough.
FAVOURITE SCENE: While many would select the ‘Time In A Bottle’ scene with Quicksilver, for me its the moment young Charles meets with his older-self in the future. Sometimes the only way we can get through to ourselves…is by listening to ourselves. I love this scene between James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart, as well as the dialogue, and its these small moments that make we invested in the X-Men film series.
FAVOURITE QUOTE: “All those years wasted fighting each other, Charles… to have a precious few of them back.” – Magneto
DID YOU KNOW: Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellen were performing in a touring production of “Waiting for Godot” when Bryan Singer approached the actors about reprising their respective roles as Professor X and Magneto. According to McKellen, both men were utterly shocked, as they thought they had passed their roles on to James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and would never play the characters again. Stewart and McKellen were delighted to return to two of their most popular roles, and to work with the younger actors playing the same characters as well.