Reviews

X-Men: Days Of Future Past

4

Singer strikes back. It’s about time…

“Well,” deadpans Ian McKellen’s Magneto, sizing up the X-Men’s position from the rubble of a robo-wrecked future, “it’s complicated.” You can say that again, but the beauty of Bryan Singer’s mutant-verse comeback is the light work he makes of potentially heavy lifting. Faced with huge fan hopes (beloved comic source, Singer’s return), a crowded superhero market, two X-teams, temporal shenanigans and geographical jumps, Singer has refreshed the series with blasts of his original entries’ X-factors: vim, levity, clarity and a sincere, soulful grip on the emotional stakes involved.

You know you’re in sure hands as soon as Patrick Stewart intones The Themes – faith, destiny, hope - over shots of a stormy (honestly, the weather’s foul) 2023 apocalypse, where mutant-killing robo-whatsit Sentinels have set Prof X a poser: “Is the future truly set?” The test for that question is a madly ambitious tale of choice and redemption, ushered briskly across space and time as 2023 Wolverine’s consciousness is zapped into his 1973 body. His task: to fix the First Class team’s fractures and fix the future.

Problem is, James McAvoy’s Xavier has lost hope and started moping around like Bruce Wayne in a mega-sulk. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) will take some dissuading from her mission to kill Sentinel creator Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), an assassination that will inadvertently escalate Trask’s Sentinel programme. Dovetailing between Xavier/Raven’s arcs, Singer draws heart from their past ties and heft from those chunky questions of causality and ethics that time-travel tales crack open.

Repetitive exposition sometimes nulls the pacing, but, just as Wolverine’s violent way with kitchen-ware silences Xavier’s gas-bagging during one dicey situation, so the plot restarts fast. From Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) delicious prison-bust show-stopper to a wicked mutant tag-team use of the X-Jet, Singer revels in the cool shit. Yet what impresses most is how close he sticks to Mystique and Xavier, even as football stadiums are raised for a multi-level but cannily (and literally…) contained climax.

Lawrence honours increased screen-time with emotional conviction, wounded eyes speaking volumes. Indeed, old and new cast-members shine through the screen-crowd. More McKellen would have been nice but Stewart monologues magnificently, Michael Fassbender relishes ’70s Magneto’s cruel cool, Dinklage makes Trask more than a ’tache-twirling tyrant and Hugh Jackman’s sardonic Logan never gets old (and he has a 20-year-old’s bum).

The climax revels in temporal paradoxes, but it also offers simple, smart pleasures, locking some plot threads into place and opening others teasingly. As for post-credits pleasures, future X-cursions look triply exciting after this assured reclamation of distinct comic-book turf. If The Amazing Spider-Man 2 showed how superhero cinema could become stuck in a rut, Singer’s brisk, bracing old/new mash shows us the antidote. As Beast puts it, “Power’s back on.”

Verdict: With style, heart and thrills, Singer has nailed the most ambitious X-flick yet. Popcorn pizzazz combines with X2’s emotional sweep and something extra: a platform for the X-Men’s screen survival.

 

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Film Details

User Reviews

    • endofdays2

      May 13th 2014, 12:42

      KNEW this would be good!

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    • Ali1748

      May 13th 2014, 13:59

      YES! YES! YES!

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    • SilverSurfer45

      May 13th 2014, 14:34

      Can't wait for next Thursday!

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    • jeremyheninger

      May 13th 2014, 15:31

      This is a terrible review. Way to try and make yourself sound way smarter than you really are.

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    • moviemind91

      May 13th 2014, 16:03

      This is a huge relief! I was very concerned that this film was going to suck. Bryan Singer back on top form :)

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    • YTWhitemanson

      May 14th 2014, 8:20

      listen to them, all exclaiming in relief. when did total film ever gave a bad review to a comic book movie? comics are their reason for existence.

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    • H3isenberg

      May 14th 2014, 10:54

      @YTWhitemanson - THANK YOU! yours is the sole voice of reason here. My god, what person decides whether to watch a film based on the opinions of others.

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    • Chufferstud

      May 15th 2014, 20:32

      I'm going to start a new trend of reviewing reviews of reviews.

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    • Lagedor

      May 16th 2014, 0:37

      i just reviewed your comment Chufferstud. it was okay, a little clunky on the premise, middling middle, but a redemptive last act. one of the few comments that merits a sequel

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    • rickymartin

      May 16th 2014, 5:54

      Sounds terrible.

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    • MillerCrosses

      May 16th 2014, 18:30

      This is a convincingly good review, in that it sounds like a film that's actually got balance and works. More believable than some of last years positive reviews of big clunking messes.

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    • zeike

      May 17th 2014, 0:37

      Oh do be quiet Jeremy, I thought only American school girls began sentences with "Way to"

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    • Mattsimus

      May 17th 2014, 12:43

      Im happy with review and even if it had been bad.... would it have stopped me seeing it? Nope!

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    • Ali1748

      May 19th 2014, 14:28

      So is the scene during or after the credits?

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    • endofdays2

      May 22nd 2014, 12:32

      Those slating comic book films AND reviews and yet come to the reviews comments of a comic book film. Bizarre.

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    • endofdays2

      May 22nd 2014, 12:33

      Ali - yes, apparently there is.

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    • elisabthrenn

      May 22nd 2014, 15:14

      It's not too out there to say that the x-men series is in a rut. First off the 3rd part of the original trilogy was lacking something, but was still okay… Then came X-men first class, that was good on in a lot of ways, but was also filled with mistakes. Despite the fact that Fox was looking to make a romantic-comedy-action for teenagers the end result wasn't that bad. But to me it did succeed in – despite the great actors – making me like the new foundation x-men was set on. Then came the worst installment of the x-men saga Wolverine. I think the whole brand reached its lowest point with that film, despite the fact that it's a watchable film, but it was by far the worst of them all. Of course the films make money but Avengers proved that there is a whole lot more money to be made still with comic book films. Of course Fox wanted a piece of the pie too, but I'm sure they knew that you need quality to make lots of money, so they invested a lot and secured Bryan Singer for the director's chair. He was already around to produce and write First Class but this time around he got control of the whole film. Fox then okayed the x-men series most complex story for the film. Thought the script was written by Simon Kinberg, who already fell short with the 3 part back in the day but for some reason Singer trusted him with it. First off the film is good, maybe even the best yet. Of course the biggest question everyone has been asking is will it give the Avengers a run for its money and that's a harder question to answer. Compared to other comic book adaptations and other Marvel films the two are very different, so it's hard to compare them, but I have to point out the quality wise it's up there with Ironman. I don't think that it will be there money wise. They did rewrite the original story from the comic book, but that didn't cause problems. I was mostly worried about how they would sew the 5 x-men films together but that was done perfectly. So the story is okay. As is the script. There are humorous parts, but they aren't over the top. Just enough. The actors are genius, none of them forgot how to act since the previous installments. This was a give though cause the casting was always super. Evan Peters as Quicksilver is so good, that it almost becomes his one man show. I maybe just expected a little more from Peter Dinklage. Let's look at the other characters, as opposed to the other films Wolverine isn't completely in the main focus, and the funny thing is that this isn't a problem. Magneto, Xavier and Mystic step up to the plate, but just to sooth the fans he doesn't fade into the background. But this still brings us to one of the problems, there is not enough time for all the characters; It's one team but two time zones, some characters got larger roles like Mystic, and a few were left to fade away, but Singer manage to fix this problem, way better than with x-men 2 by having huge action scenes in the film. They are done well and are brutal. So we don't really have time to get into which characters are lost in the background. You're just whiplashed by the action, action that is not the least bit pointless. There is always a believable story behind each one. All in all it's a step forward from First Class, and it was a quality step too. It's not just a 5th part. Which is huge. So I give it a 9/10 Check silverscreen on youtube

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    • Ali1748

      May 23rd 2014, 12:05

      5

      Watching X-Men: Days of Future Past was on of the most satisfying experiences I have ever had in a theater, it was like Jennifer Lawrence came down off the screen and blew me for 2 hours. Bryan Singer completely hit the ball out of the park. J-Law, Jackman and Fassbender were great but McAvoy was outstanding. James really has made the role his own now. Quicksilver was fantastic, every scene involving him was highly entertaining and had the audience in stitches. The plot had me on the edge of my seat the whole time and the time travel aspect is handled really well. The pace was also really good, not once did DOFP feel like a 2 hour movie. I'd also like to give a shout out to the score, it was great and I was so happy to hear the X2 theme return. I can't speak more highly of DOFP this movie is incredible and is now IMO the best X-Men movie to date. Hell dare even be as bold to say it's better than The Winter Soldier? X-Men: Days of Future Past gets a 5/5 from me and a standing ovation. Oh make sure you catch the scene after the credits!!!!!

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    • endofdays2

      May 23rd 2014, 12:45

      5

      Glad I'm not the only one that thought that Ali. Great film, probably the best superhero film I've atached this year (Cap 2 and ASM2). Great list of cameos as well and a more satisfying watch than X2.

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    • matthewbrady

      May 24th 2014, 22:26

      5

      Bryan Singer is back and his here to clean the x-men franchise for good. This is hands down the best x-men film and the movie is Better then X2. Quicksilver in this movie was so awesome and funny, and James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender do a fantastic job as the young Charles Xavier and young Magneto.

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    • SiMan

      May 26th 2014, 16:57

      3

      When I was watching this I was in agreement with those above - I was thinking that it was amazing and the best X-film to date. But then, after it had finished, I started to mull it over a little and I kind of changed my view. Don't get me wrong, the set pieces were fantastic, the acting top-notch and it shows how much all the actors think of Singer that he got so many to return even for small cameos. But, I can't really remember much about it when I think back. I don't think the story flowed as well as X2 and I don't think there was enough emotional resonance played out. The ending as well.....***SPOILERS, OBVIOUSLY***........although clever, I always have an issue with that type of resolution in a time travel film. It meant the events of ALL the previous X films, with the exception of First Class, now didn't happen, so again, the emotional heft of those films is somewhat diminished. I also thought there was too much 'this will be cool' type moments that didn't necessarily fit in with story requirements - the biggest of which was Quicksilver. Now, I can't deny that the stuff with quicksilver was absolutely brilliant (Avengers 2 will have a lot to live up to top it) and the prison break was probably the best part of the film, but it was all unnecessary to have Quicksilver in it. If he had gone on to have a more significant part in the plot later on then I could see the reason for it, but after that he's practically not in it. It would have made no difference to the overall story if Quicksilver had not been in it and Logan and Charles made the prison break happen. Overall, a good watch at the cinema, but for me upon reflection, not as good as X2 (does make me wonder how X3 would have turned out if Singer had have sticked with the franchise though)

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    • apo1978

      May 26th 2014, 23:15

      4

      Really, really good! But doesn't get full 5 stars due to some continuity errors/ unexplained stuff. When continuity isn't mantained, it breaks the illusion of believing this is a real world/ real characters etc. 1) Why does Xavier look like Xavier (after he transferred his mind to another body). Also, this should have been explained better as not everyone knows to wait for an extra 20 second scene after X3. The film-makers shouldn't short-change the audience with that. 2) How does Wolverine get adamantium back on his claws after "The Wolverine". Ok, many years have passed between then and the dystopian future we see (2023 I believe) but would've been nice to know. We're assuming Magneto had some involvement? 3) How come Wolverine seems to have aged the most in the future (grey sides) but Kitty Pryde, Collossus, Iceman, Storm etc don't look THAT much older. ESPECIALLY as Wolverine is supposed to age the slowest. Weird! I love the XMEN films, but MARVEL (Studios) hold the upper hand with their continuity for sure....

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    • Ali1748

      May 27th 2014, 17:53

      I re-watched X2 yesterday and IMO DOFP blows it out of the water.

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    • dex2010

      May 28th 2014, 15:07

      4

      Intelligent, Well acted, Great popcorn fun!

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    • JoseyWales

      Jun 8th 2014, 9:43

      3

      So disappointed with this film. Had holes in it the size of Galactica. I'm sorry but most films nowadays containing the old sent back in time to stop bad things happening scenario are just so darn lazy. Please try and tie things up sometimes not leave it hanging so we all sit there thinking "okay, we can explain that away because no one knows what would happen in this situation anyway". I have to say the highlight of the whole film was Quicksilver, and that was after my initial reservations of casting in that role. However, why then sideline the guy! They obviously didn't need Magneto, as he SPOILER ALERT spoiled everything by attempting to betray everyone again. If they'd have kept Quicksilver the film would have been over in 45 mins and therein lies the problem. Everything was made to fit to draw the film out, when really, it just shouldn't have been and therefore made for an average film. Bryan Singer, I'm sorry, the film was a let down.

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    • SussexUK

      Jun 12th 2014, 23:18

      2

      What a bad bad bad movie. So slow, unimaginative and dull. Best (and only bit) was quicksilver which was very good but the rest.. terrible. Cheesy and corny from actors who seemed like they just didn't want to be there. A time travel plot with no imagination, no surprises, no twists.. terrible. A plot that was really poor, just McAvoy turning up infront of Mystique over and over to plead with her not to continue with her plan, it was awful. If this was Bryan Singers comeback then please .. goback. Not only one of the worst superhero films just one of the worst films. Save your money and catch it on dvd from the bargain bucket. 1 star for effort and 1 star for quicksilver.

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      Jun 29th 2014, 6:07

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