This was definitely the Xmen film that everyone had been waiting for. It had been a while since First Class so it’s only natural that everyone was excited about this one. It would link up the original trilogy with First Class and finally tie everything together. It was a great move on Fox’s part and I’ve always loved time travel stories. I believe that the very concept makes plot holes jump in all at once, but they’re worth it for the sheer fact that it’s time travel! I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this was the greatest comic book film ever as I’ve heard around the web, but it was a good film.
The film starts out with the heroes in the future as they do battle against the Sentinels. It’s basically a wasteland at this point and there aren’t many mutants that are still alive and ready to continue the fight. The Xmen decide that their only hope is to go back in time and stop this from ever occurring. Professor X wants to go, but Wolverine is the only one that can handle the strain on his mind. They send his consciousness back into his body from the 70’s and Wolverine must assemble what’s left of the Xmen to correct the timeline. The question is…does it need correcting? We’ll talk about the ethics of time travelling later on in the review.
Mystique has decided that she’s going to destroy Trask for the suffering that he has brought to the mutant cause and she’s also freeing other mutants along the way. Professor X doesn’t want anything to do with this and Magneto has plans of his own. It’s going to be tough for Wolverine to bring everything together, but at least he has the Beast with him. He just needs to stop the Government from making the Sentinels…how hard can that be?
Wolverine is a pretty commanding figure as you may have expected from previous films. He still talks big and we get a classic scene where some guys try to shoot Wolverine and he quickly takes them down. The problem is that we are mostly seeing Logan and not Wolverine. Wolverine gets an extremely brief fight against a robot, but that is basically it. The rest of his action scenes are against humans who cant really fight back. He looked pretty intense in his future outfit, but the fight scenes were not meant to be. Unfortunately, his few action scenes were not very kind. Wolverine looks terrible against the robot and I cant say that his final fight was great either. His role was smaller than you may have guessed from the trailers and he’s basically there to be the “old pro.” That’s the vibe that I got from him. He’ll finish the job if the others are unable to do so, but he’s mostly there to watch. Unfortunately…he isn’t much of a last defense.
Mystique is one of the main characters in the film. As she continues in her investigation to take Trask down: Mystique needs to evade the heroes. She does pretty well and manages to make the heroes look bad at several points. She does a really good job of following Trask to his base, but she is outmatched by the heroes. Aside from outsmarting them, she doesn’t stand a great chance in a fight. She plays the part of the hardcore Anti Hero and she does it pretty well. You start to root for her when she saves the first mutants and it helps that her subplot is infinitely more interesting than Wolverine’s. She’s surprisingly good at following Trask’s trail and she’s basically a secret agent. She can definitely hold her own in a hand to hand fight and she ended up looking much more impressive than Wolverine. This is easily her best film appearance.
Magneto gets a bigger role in the past than in the present, but he looks pretty good in both. As an old man; Magneto is definitely still pretty good in a fight and he does inflict some damage. His powers have their limitations, but I thought that his portrayal was accurate considering his age. The past Magneto was pretty nostalgic because it felt like his role in First Class. He got to have his own plot on the side and nobody could really stop him. He’d go wherever he wanted to go and just cause mayhem. He had a clever plan involving metal and a group of Sentinels, which was pretty good. He should definitely be considered as a villain in the film due to his extreme sides, but one could make the case that he’s an Anti Hero. (Anti Hero is typically still a villain, but someone who is committing evil acts for a good cause. Magneto’s actions stretch this a little bit, which is why I just thought of him as the villain) Whether Magneto was a hero or a villain; he’s always been a pretty likable character. His scenes on the Airplane were good and I always enjoy a good veiled threat from one “hero” to another.
Professor X is one of the worst characters in the film. (Past version) I understand that he wants to get away from the whole mutant problem and seeing them go off to fight a losing war in Vietnam was probably sad…but it completely destroyed his personality. (Also, if America has Xmen in the Vietnam War…I’m confident that we would have won. Also, couldn’t Charles have just altered some memories so that the Xmen wouldn’t have to be drafted? It seems simple enough) Charles is now a drunk person who uses injections to keep his powers away. Any scene with him in it was pretty bad. Magneto even has to point out how awful Charles’ actions were as he let their students be destroyed through the years. Xavier definitely should have done a better job of trying to protect them.
It also makes you wonder how he goes back to normal. Without Wolverine entering the timestream…how could Professor Xavier become the man that we saw in the first film? As it stands, it’s really hard to picture him going bald and then deciding to help mutants again. I’ll assume that his shots ran out and it helped him go back to the way that he was, but I can’t say that it seems likely. A bit of a fault with this subplot in the film, but every time travel story has its issues. It’s just one of the unspoken rules about time travel. The current Xavier was pretty good and he’s about what you would expect. Unfortunately, telepathy has never been good against Sentinels.
I definitely was not a fan of the Beast in this film. I don’t like how they basically made him into a Hulk and I don’t like him in either form. The effects for his Beast Mode are surprisingly unrealistic and they over hype him. (I don’t see him doing so well against Wolverine) I definitely would have been glad if he wasn’t in the film and it’s a scary thought to see that he’s the only Xman left at one point. These were definitely dark times for the heroes.
Quicksilver was pretty good in this film and I have to say that it will be tough for Avengers 2 to top his portrayal here. Speedsters should basically be invincible when they appear due to how slow everything is in comparison. In Quicksilver’s scene, we see just how slow everything is compared to him. Bullets are in slow motion and those are already moving at supersonic speeds. I don’t see how he can endure it when characters talk to him because it must take whole minutes for the sound to get to him. It’s one of the phenomenons of super speedsters so I don’t generally think about it that much. Just accepting it is a lot simpler, but I can’t accept a random person landing a hit on a speedster. Luckily, Quicksilver’s speed is accurate and he looks very good during his speed scenes. I definitely can’t wait to see him in the sequel.
The Sentinels in the present are very cool. They’re powerful and the designs give them a very horrifying appearance that is perfect for them. Sentinels should definitely be intimidating and the film captured this. I’m a little skeptical about the humans creating something this hi tech, but I’ll just assume that they got some other worldy help on the project. Naturally, the Sentinels in the past are very unimpressive and downright weak, but they’re more than a match for Wolverine. It would be nice to see the present Sentinels get some more screen time, but their few scenes were very good. They can definitely hold their own against the mutants.
Aside from the main mutants in the past; we also have the team from the future. Storm, Sunspot, Warpath, Shadow Cat, Iceman, Blink, and Bishop. They have a pretty limited amount of screen time, but the cameos are still fun for fans. Storm is able to make a pretty impressive storm that takes care of some of the ships. I would have liked to see some more lightning as well, but we can’t have it all. Shadow Cat doesn’t get to fight since she’s busy with her time travel abilities, but she’s a decent character. Warpath is pretty silent for most of the film and the average moviegoer may wonder how a guy with two daggers is still alive in these tough times. Warpath is outmatched from start to finish, but at least he tries. Iceman and Sunspot use their elemental blasts, but none of them are really that effective against the Sentinels. Good for temporary measures, but that’s about it. Iceman’s idea to wake up Shadow Cat was decent since a tactical retreat could have been in order. With his ice slides, I like to think that he would have made it pretty far. Bishop had a cool design and his powers were epic, but he was pretty inconsequential. He didn’t do a whole lot of damage and he should have focused on releasing his energy quicker as they started to blast him. It was a waste of his abilities in that scene.
Blink did the best against the Sentinels and her powers are formidable. Creating portals wherever she wants too is an excellent ability and it’s one that should be more than enough to buy time against the Sentinels. Unfortunately, she lets her guard down and moves a little too slowly at one point. Something like that was bound to happen at some point, but I wouldn’t have minded if she had escaped. With her abilities, she can basically launch a one person offensive against the Sentinels for a long time.
Trask and Stryker are both extremely unlikable. It’s natural to dislike them since we’re supposed to be rooting for the heroes to win. Still, it is possible to make villains that are likable and these two don’t fit the bill. Since they are basically the only villains for the heroes to face in the past…it doesn’t really help matters. Both of them can’t fight at all so they have to hide behind other people with guns and just hope for the best. Stryker has a gun, but I don’t believe that it will really help him.
Back to the time travel part of the film. The Xmen send Wolverine back in time so that he can change things and help them all out. Naturally, it’s understandable that they would want to change things because of how everything turned out, but…why not use time travel for other cases. They could have used it to go back in time and stop the Phoenix from destroying Cyclops. They could have gone back in time to stop the bullet from taking out Professor X’s legs and so on. Ultimately, if you time travel once…there is no turning back. There will always be other things that they could have done with it. Why not save Abraham Lincoln or Kennedy while they’re at it? Ultimately, the Xmen are doing it to help their position and I’m sure that many others would do the same, but it’s still not the best move considering that the repercussions will be worse for others. Some will be better off and others will lose out thanks to this deal.
Another part of time travel stories that I never buy is the fact that things got so bad so quickly. I don’t believe that the humans could take down the mutant race with a bunch of Sentinels. There are far too many mutants and the government can’t hide something so big. The mutants would quickly find out about the Sentinels and it would be game over. Some of the mutants must have an EMP related ability and naturally we have control over time. Taking over minds or just nuking the planet…either way this wouldn’t work. There’s no way that the human race would band together for the Sentinel program and at least one country would fire the first nuke. World War III would begin and there wouldn’t be any survivors. The few that may live through such an event wouldn’t have time to form a government and launch thousands of sentinels. The whole situation is about as unbelievable as the Age of Ultron…and that was unbelievable! I just don’t tend to believe any scenario where all of the heroes are defeated so easily. (Not to mention the villains. Naturally this means that I will never buy into Spiderman 2099’s continuity. It just doesn’t make sense)
This time I can’t really say that there was much of a soundtrack. There are some light background themes playing, but none of them are really memorable and you may figure that they were free domain music. It’s not the next Winter Soldier or Amazing Spider Man 2 in that regard, but an unmemorable soundtrack is better than a bad one.
While Days of Future Past was good; I ranked Amazing Spiderman 2 and Captain America higher than it. This is mainly due to the following reasons that I will get into. First, the film lacks fight scenes. We get two fight scenes in the future with the Sentinels and that’s about it. In the past, the only opponents are random humans and unfinished robots. Beast has a small scuffle with Magneto, but it’s barely even worth calling it a fight. The past scenes are decently interesting at times, but also a little boring for others. I felt that the film could have used a little cut in the runtime or just focused on the present more. At least give Trask a mutant body guard to that we could have some fights. I was really surprised by how little fighting there was and that was the first big strike.
Next, I didn’t like how weak the mutants look. Wolverine yells in pain when some guys shoot him and then he yells again when someone throws in another bullet. By this point…isn’t he used to getting shot? I get that the regeneration factor doesn’t take away the pain, but his reaction felt very dramatized. The present scenes don’t help the mutants either. While it does make the Sentinels look tough in comparison; I would expect a much better fight from the Xmen. How about using teamwork and letting Warpath get a clean shot at the Sentinel’s head through a portal? Long range fighters like Iceman and Bishop should have fired from afar instead of running right into the Sentinel’s range. The Xmen were humiliated in the fight and we got to see them get completely crushed twice. Storm also let her guard down in a critical moment, which was likely sad for fans. Weakness in the heroes is something that I criticize Transformers 3 for (And likely 4 based off of the trailers) and it can definitely bring a film down if you’re a fan of the character. The Sentinels could have still looked impressive if they had some more resistance from the Xmen. It’s a delicate line to tread for the film, but it is crucial.
Those were my two big complaints with the film. Despite the new Spider Man film not being regarded as a masterpiece, it didn’t make these mistakes. There was constant action throughout and Spider Man looked very impressive during his fights. He never went in unprepared for action. The film never dragged on for me because it was a blast. Winter Soldier may have had a bit of a slow middle, but it made up for this with higher stakes than these two films and really great hand to hand scenes.
Naturally, the film has an after credits scene, which should lead to an epic sequel. I’ll admit that I was underwhelmed by the scene, but that’s because I had high expectations. I basically knew that this character would appear in the scene, but I expected him to look a little more grand. Like the Thanos scene in the MCU franchise. The scenery also wasn’t my favorite and I wanted a little more action, but it’s only a single scene so we can’t expect too much out of it. While this film may not have felt like an Xmen/Superhero film; the sequel could definitely get that vibe. If they adapt this villain correctly; then it’s safe to say that big things should be expected!
Overall, this was a good Xmen film. It lacked action and dragged on for a while, but it was good to finally have another film in the series. (Wolverine films can’t make up for the other Xmen not getting to appear) The stakes were technically very high since the future was dire, but it didn’t feel that way in the present. From the moment that Wolverine went into the past everything seemed safe. Even if he had to go, Professor X and Magneto are now aware of the danger so the Sentinel program would never be allowed to advance into such dangerous territories. The ending was really good and it’s a fun way to end the franchise. (Ignoring the sequel coming up) I’m pretty happy for Wolerine since he usually gets the short end of the stick, but he can finally enjoy himself now. I still recommend this film to superhero fans, but don’t walk in expecting a lot of action and explosions. Think of it as an Ocean’s Eleven tale as Wolverine must gather up some friends to take down the villain’s plans. As a side note, the final scene of the film is probably one of the best ones in the franchise. Wolverine finally gets taken down a peg as someone puts him in his place. The line was epic and it’s the type of moment that will make an audience blow up with rage and excitement. It’s a scene that you don’t want to miss!