Let me start this off by saying that I loves me a comic book movie. Anyone who has listened to the podcast knows that as much as I try to fight and hide it, I’m a geek at heart. Yes, being on a video games podcast cemented that, but well … whatever.
I’ve seen all the films in the X-Men franchise, and I would like to think I am very forgiving of their faults. I forgave X-Men: Last Stand for what they did to the Pheonix Saga; and even what they did to Deadpool in Wolverine Origins. OK, that’s a lie, I will never forgive the Deadpool thing. But there is something about this movie that while being awesome in so many places, just didn’t seem to sit right with me. Now I didn’t just rush into writing my piece about Days of Future Past, as I would of just “fanboy’ed” it. I loved so much of what this film had, but I walked out of it not wishing I could see the next movie straight away. Hell, I didn’t even walk out wishing I was a superhero like I did leaving Man of Steel. So I waited until I could really pinpoint what didn’t sit well; and it all begins and ends with the pacing of the film for me.
The pacing of this film made it a struggle for not just me, but the others I went with. Following everything that was going on was difficult; which is bad when you know what is supposed to happen! I don’t care that Bryan Singer’ n’ co deviated from the comic book, and made it Logan that went back instead if Kitty. For all those on the internet who moaned about it, let’s be honest for a minute. Right now Hugh Jackman is the man to put as the centre point of the film, and put bums in cinema seats. He is the strongest element in the X-Men movie franchise. Followed by James MacAvoy, Michael Fassbender and their older counter parts.
Funny side note: I once worked with a guy in Scotland who hooked up with Ian McKellen years ago in Edinburgh. Showing my ignorance, I had no idea at the time that Gandalf was gay… but then again I’m not the most astute individual.
The sheer number of characters is also likely to leave the uninitiated scratching their heads. With roles both returning and new, from future and past, sometimes with one actor, sometimes not, the film almost demands prior knowledge to decipher. Previous films in the franchise spent time developing characters and letting you in on their powers. Yet, this time around, characters are just thrown in where you have no real idea of their mutant ability and if you should care about them. Yes Bishop I am looking at you. For me, they didn’t spend enough time in the initial version of the future for me to care.
Ignoring Wolverine and the ongoing development of the pre-existing relationship between Charles and Magneto, the standout for this film in turns of getting attached to a character, would have to be Quicksilver. This was definitely one of the surprise highlights of the movie, providing some of its best scenes. From what I’d read and seen in advance of the movie, I had concerns about the potential handing of Quicksilver. Based purely on the knowledge that there were going to be two Quicksilvers (one for this film and one for the upcoming Avengers 2), I was worried about this film’s choice of actor. Oh how wrong I was. His scenes were new, fresh and entertaining. This movie isn’t supposed to be dark like a Nolan comic book film. Its needs bits that make the audience laugh, and Quicksilver provided that in spades.
Don’t get me wrong, Jennifer Lawrence is a good actor, and pretty to look at in her blue full body makeup, but way too much time was spent on her. Give me some more Quicksilver scenes, or more scenes set in the future please. While her scenes setup plot points, they could have been cut down and tightened to provide the same effect in a lot less time.
So following the comic book movie blueprint, there needs to some big climatic moments. The end, set in past with the sports stadium, was rather impressive from a visual standpoint. The film’s climax was a climactic moment, thanks to all our favourite characters dying. Yet, it’s jumping back and forth through time robbed the scene of much of its impact. You would think the death of Magento would be a massive WTF moment in the film, but it was just another thing that happened amongst the other deaths.
I know this review comes across as pretty negative. And sure, I am being overly critical of a “comic book film”. But that’s because after the Dark Knight series, Man of Steel and the Avengers, these movies now get held to a higher standard. Don’t get me wrong, I did like this movie, and will definitely watch it again on BluRay. But hands down for me, outside of teeing up the next film – X-Men: Apocalypse – is fixing up the mistake known as X-Men Last Stand by erasing it from the movie universe’s storyline.
One final thought regarding this film. It blows my mind that despite Hugh Jackman was going around telling people how much he wants it, we will likely never see Wolverine in an Avengers film.
– Ben Abbott