X-Men_Days_of_Future_Past_poster20th Century Fox
2014
PG-13

“Here’s what’s going to go down: I’m from the future, and you’re going to give me your clothes and the keys to your car.”

The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-Men: Days Of Future Past. The Beloved characters from the original “X-Men” film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from “X-Men: First Class”, in an epic battle that must change the past–to save our future.

Full disclosure: my fandom of the X-Men franchise involves the movies and that classic cartoon from the early 1990s, not the comics. I understand the history of the comics, and am familiar with the eras and storylines from the comic book series; but unless you count Deadpool, I don’t collect the various X-Men comic books. And there are a lot of them. It can boggle the mind, really. I bring this up, because of the comic storyline that X-Men: Days Of Future Past is based on. It’s a classic one, to be sure. Iconic, really. One of the Top 5 classic X-Men stories, and one of the higher-ranking comic book stories overall.

I’ve never read it. Maybe one day I will, but up to now I’ve only watched the animated series adaptation. Which is to say, I once again went into a comic book adaptation movie with very fe preconceived fanboy baggage, beyond the understandable “How is this going to tie the two X-Men franchises together?” And the answer to that question is, “in a satisfactory manner.”

The story involves a bleak reality in the near future, where mutants are hunted and exterminated by Sentinels, highly advanced and extremely adaptable killbots developed by the scariest Keebler elf to ever get into science. He’s basically The Brain from Pinky & The Brain in human form. And he rocks the manliest mustache this side of Yosemite Sam. There, I’ve hit my diminutive persons quips quota for this review.

Anyway, seems the incident that helped to expedite the creation of these Mutant hunting machines (and the universal hatred of Mutants in general) is the assassination of this scientist back in 1973 by a certain blue-skinned shape shifting femme fatal. Things are so bad that Magneto and Professor Xavier have resolved their philosophical differences and united to find a way to stop the all but inevitable extinction of Homo Superior. Which turns out to be time traveling back to 1973 to stop the assassination attempt. Of course. But, since there’s no TARDIS lying around (where’s a Doctor when you need one, amiright?), they have to take the next best route: have Kitty Pryde do a mind-meldy thing with whoever’s travelling back. Because…reasons. She just can. It’s probably best if you don’t think about it too much.

Anyway, seems the only one powerful enough to be sent back that far in time without having their brains liquified is Wolverine. Of course. He’s sent back to the year that brought us the end of the Vietnam war, Pink Floyd’s Dark Side Of The Moon, the movie The Exorcist and…oh, yeah, the birth of yours truly, to find the younger Professor Xavier and convince him to snap out of the existential funk he’s in and help prevent the future extermination of Mutant-kind. It’s not going to be easy, what with young Xavier being hooked on a serum that helps him to walk again, but also suppresses his psychic abilities in the process. Will everyone be able to put aside personal butt-hurts and work together to prevent possible extinction? I’m not going to spoil things entirely here, but…well, there is another sequel already being prepped, so…you do the math.

After the initial disappointment of X3 (which I don’t agree with, I actually think it’s still a pretty good movie), and the even more of a disappointment with X-Men Origins: Wolverine (which really was rather bad), the fact that the franchise seems to be bouncing back with strong contenders of The Wolverine (haven’t seen that one yet) and the X-Men: First Class prequel (massively enjoyed it, just haven’t gotten around to reviewing that one yet), doing a movie that brings together the prequel universe with the modern day incarnation seemed rather ambitious, if not risky. But, Bryan Singer was back helming this, so I was interested in how the outcome was going to play out. And I must say, X-Men: Days Of Future Past was a very entertaining and solid entry in the X-Men franchise. There’s a lot to like about this movie: The darker storyline, the snappy dialogue, the tight story, the rather good acting. The young Xavier’s grief at what he perceives as his personal failures is very palpable, which makes his own journey of personal redemption inspirational. Mistakes were made, but we must find the strength to go forward, and all that. The two standout new players in this movie were Dr. Bolivar Trask and Quicksilver. As much as I joke earlier about him, Peter Dinklage was a fantastic choice as the scientist who built the Sentinels, bringing the awesome to what could have been a joke, really. A testament to the man’s acting abilities. Still not going to be watching Game Of Thrones any time soon, though. And perhaps the greatest scene in this movie is owned by Quicksilver helping to break Magneto out of the Pentagon. I can’t say anything about this…you have to watch it. Only ten minutes of screen time with that character, and it was the most memorable scene there. Trust me.

There’s a few things about the movie that still make me scratch my head, though: obviously, how they achieve time travel still makes me throw up my hands and utter an exasperated “WHAAAAAAAAAA…?” Also, I’m assuming, thanks to that after credits sequence at the end of X3, that Xavier’s been bopping around inside the body of his braindead twin brother (always good to have a spare to put your conscience into, just in case), so…what happened to that one to keep him from walking again? Ah, who knows. I can come up with some fanfic theories or something. In the meantime, though X-Men: Days Of Future Past is a great summertime sci-fi flick that you would do well to catch in the theaters while it’s still out. Recommended.