Tuesday, May 20, 2014

X-Men Days of Future Past has Earned the Title "Must-See Film of the Year." Bryan Singer's Adept Knowledge of the Genre, and these Characters Make this a Much Deeper, and Satisfying Film

X-Men: Days of Future Past (4 out of 5 Stars)
Directed by: Bryan Singer (X-2: X-Men United, The Usual Suspects
Written by: Simon Kinberg (Sherlock Holmes)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Jennifer Lawrence, and Peter Dinklage



Imagine what X-Men: The Last Stand would have looked like 8 year ago, in 2006 if Bryan Singer, and Simon Kinberg had worked together.  Once you have seen X-Men: Days of Future Past you will be kicking Singer for taking Superman Returns, but this film more than makes up for, and maybe even corrects some of the mistakes of Last Stand.

The film starts in the Future, mutant and human kind have been hunted and tormented by the future versions of the Sentinels.  Few X-Men stand, but the ones that do must fight their lives as the Sentinels continue to hunt them down.  Kitty Pride played with stronger conviction than ever by Ellen Page has the ability to create allusions, which transport mutant Bishop back in time to warn the mutants of these attacks.  Along with the Professor X, Magneto, and Wolverine some of team plot for someone to go back in time to change the past.  Based on Wolverine's healing ability, he soon becomes the obvious candidate.

Wolverine's mind is transplanted into his body in 1973, a little over ten years after the events from X-Men: First Class.  The younger Professor Xavier (McAvoy) is in a much darker place, her along with Hank McCoy or Beast (Hoult) still live in the mansion but the rest of the group have disbanded, or been drafted to fight in the Vietnam War. Xavier and McCoy have been taking a serum to help control their powers, and limit the problems they have experience with their mutation.  Logan must connect these two with Mystique and Mageneto in order to prevent the catastrophic events of the future.

Bryan Singer has always been adept at bringing these characters to life.  Singer was at the forefront of super movie bonanza with X-Men back in 2000.  Most critiqued the first film, but Singer had a tricky task at hand with that film; he was tasked with being the first person to adapt a Marvel comic to live action film, not an easy task.  If you look back for the time period, and for what the film was its not bad, minus Storm's line about what happens to a toad when its struck by lightening, fun fact Joss Whedon wrote that line, learned that in Entertainment Weekly.  Singer stepped up his game, with X-2 (2003) the story was deep, the action was great, but then he had to step away.

With Singer back as director the franchise feels whole again, Matthew Vaughn did a fantastic job with First Class, in fact he brought the series back to life, but Singer is going to make these continue their relevance, while making a strong sense of competition for other comic franchise films.  Singer knows how to dive deep into this comic book cannon; he is adept pushing forward the great emotional depth of story and character, mixed with the humor to balance the tone perfectly.  Singer use of the great action sequences with these Sentinels of the future, are some of the most emotional and captivating i have seen on the screen.  Without giving too much away, its Singer's direction, which glues the film together; he creates the perfect tone, and the cast carries out his symphonic orchestrations perfectly.

Blending the cast of the original X-Men films, with the new cast, seemed like a brilliant but daunting task.  The good news is that film is carried by some of the most charismatic actors and actresses working today: Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence.  These four are at the heart of the story, and I would watch paint a house, well Jackman should be shirtless of course.  Along with these four you have Peter Dinklage, as a complex man trying to fight the good fight for humans, and he is just terrific.  Then you have old and new cast members like Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Ellen Page, Omar Sy, and Evan Peters.  I could go on and on about this talented cast, they are a fantastic ensemble, and make each moment count.

Days of Future Past, challenges what it means to fight for a cause, and how one ripple, one moment can drastically alter the future for better or for worse.  X-2 and First Class were great films because they got at the deeper meaning of what it means to be a mutant.  Future Past takes this a whole new level, dealing with the pyschology of the evolution of mutant powers, what path you will or should take on your journey, and then in turn, all mixed with some great characters, and terrific action.  Many listed this as one of their "must-see" films of the year, and they were right.  

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