Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Review of X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST: Starting All Over Again

May 23, 2014

Powerful Sentinels from Trask Industries were decimating all the mutants, leaving only a handful of the hardiest ones alive. Logan is sent back twenty years into the past during the inception of the Sentinel program, to stop this project before it destroys the mutant race any more.

Young Charles Xavier was up and about but without his powers. Young Eric was incarcerated in a subterranean cell within the Pentagon because on his implication in the JFK assassination. Young Raven/Mystique was intent to kill Trask himself before he kills more mutants. Logan must make them all see how their actions now will impact on the very existence of mutants on Earth in the future.

Because this is already the fifth X-Men film, we know each mutant individually and are invested in their collective mythology. This installment gives us further details into the past of each of the main mutants and we see how each one evolves into how we know them in the present time.

The visual effects are expectedly awesome. My favorite scene would be the sequence where Charles and Logan attempt to break Eric out if his prison with the help of the super-speed powers of Peter/Quicksilver. The stop-motion, sense of humor and the song "Time in a Bottle" in the background makes it very memorable. The other epic sequence was that when an entire sports arena was lifted from its foundations and used to corral the White House itself.

The actors we know and loved from all the previous films: Hugh Jackman (as Logan/Wolverine), Patrick Stewart and James McAvoy (as Charles Xavier, old and young), Ian McKellen and Michael Fassbender (as Eric/Magneto, old and young), Jennifer Lawrence (as Raven/Mystique) -- all do excellently in their respective characters. Nicholas Hoult reprises his role as young Hank McCoy/Beast. There will be shorter and shocking appearances by Halle Berry and Anna Paquin as Storm and Rogue, respectively. Towards the end, there will be surprising cameos by Mutants who had taken already their leave in previous episodes

For the new cast members, Evan Peters shines in his outstanding performance as Quicksilver, a character who was both quick in action and in wit. Ellen Page appears as Kitty Pryde, whose power made it possible for Logan to travel back in time. Newly-featured mutants Bishop (Omar Sy) and Blink (Bingbing Fan) get prominent action sequences in the climactic battle sequence.

I thought it was an inspired idea to cast Peter Dinklage as the genius scientist Trask. He brings his "Games of Thrones" acting intensity into this film in this dark character. It was also interesting to see how Stryker got his sinister character into the X-Men canons. Josh Helman portrays him with the necessary antagonistic  swagger.

As with the other Marvel films, do wait up for a breathtaking short extra clip of a robed figure in and the Pyramids. This bonus scene teasing about "X-Men: Apocalypse" (2016) is seen only after all the credits roll up. 

This film had so many characters (even former US President Nixon plays a key part) and so many events shuttling from present to past and back. Despite all the potential plot holes a time-travel storyline can present, Director Bryan Singer still manages to tell his story in one cohesive whole. This is yet another excellent proof that the X-Men film franchise is indeed the best among the Marvel collection. 9/10.

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