X-Men: Days of Future Past
Really, what can I say about this much anticipated, well-liked (according to Rotten Tomatoes) film? I know there are lots of people out there who really like X-men, who like anything to do with the comics. I could add that my mother really enjoyed the film. Or that my brother didn’t hate it. In fact, it was me who had the strongest negative reaction to this terrible addition to the X-men world.
My first and largest complaint is that the story essentially negates the first two X-men movies (X-men and X-men 2). I really enjoyed their stories and the characters and while both had their flaws, the resulting product was well executed. Days of Future Past (DFP) manages to reboot the franchise and thus rewrite history – even the really good stuff. This was disappointing.
The plot was ridiculous. Starting with the over-exaggerated grim future where a war against mutants and the humans who stand beside them are ruthlessly killed. The landscape is burnt black and there is no evidence of the winners of this terrible apocalyptic future. Seriously, if humans have managed to effectively cleanse the planet of the dangerous mutant threat, then where are they hiding? Why are they not running happily through the streets? Why is everything so impossibly grim?
So the magical sentinel robots manage to fight (with graphic brutality) and kill the mutants. They are able to target the mutant gene (I would love to know how) and amazingly they can target humans whose grandchildren will be born with this gene. First, in order to have this many different mutations, it is not one gene that is being affected. Second, exactly how do you screen for individuals whose distant relations will spontaneously develop a genetic modification. Please, someone glance at a biology textbook. Of course the super-duper robots are also able to adapt by copying the genetics of one super-special mutant. Really? I thought every mutant was its own special, unique individual – hence the variation in traits.
While the film was filled with cameos, it also heavily relied on the audience knowing most of the characters. At least it didn’t feel compelled to introduce many of the mutant extras – particularly those in the future. This may have had more to do with the fact those in the future spent the entire movie being torturously destroyed, violently ripped apart, etc. However, as my brother so neatly pointed out, there was no blood so that made the decapitations and subsequent skull smashing OK for a younger audience.
Ah, having now alluded to the future, I will divulge the twist, the main crux of the film takes place in the past. While time travel is stupid, the writers didn’t even bother to explain how this one happens. Further, their timeline, dates and technology do not mesh in the slightest. As the film is theoretically set about fifty years from today to create the Future, the main plot occurs in 1973 – for unknown reasons. It is amazing the robotic technology the super-genius villain is able to create using the most primitive computers. The sentinels of 1973 are more advanced than any technology we have now (40 years later). The age progression of characters seemed awkward because of this time travel plot.
Then there was the super cheesy characters and dialogue. Why is Wolverine the one to go back in time? Look people, he is kind of cool for his rapid healing, but there are lots of other really interesting characters in the X-men universe. Also, why does Eric have to be Evil all the time? Why did he supposedly kill JFK, only then confess he was trying to save the president? Why did Charles just accept this explanation so easily when he apparently spent the previous 10 years drowning his life and sorrows in drugs and alcohol? Why did this movie have to destroy the cannon set up in the first two films (the only two of worth)?
Most importantly, why am I even bothering to write about a film this bad? As my irritatingly observant brother noted, the writers, directors and general creators clearly didn’t care that much about the product they were creating. They didn’t bother to explain anything: the time travel, the magically amazing robots, the super-fabulous alloy that was not metallic, the room sunk beneath the pentagon that was accessed through locked doors but apparently not constructed of metal, the fact that whenever Raven/Mystique shifts she loses clothing when becoming herself but gains clothing when becoming someone else.
The visuals were nothing special, the acting was, the fight scenes were largely predictable (expect the use of portals – which was pretty cool) and the final product was boring. It was long, tedious and didn’t make any sense. But it was not nearly as bad as Last Stand, so I guess that is something.