X-Men: Days Of Future Past
Superhero films now dominate the blockbuster landscape. Gone are the days where big films were a mix bag of big-budget spectacles and star-driven comedies. While these still exist, sometimes it feels like those films are just padding until the next big superhero film arrives. Because of this, comic.book adaptations have become serious business. And while most of these stories have ludicrous and often-times silly pedigrees, audiences watch them as if they are part of real-life human history.
With the recent "Captain America: The Winter Soldier" having proven that superhero films can be as relevant as any political thriller, "X-Men: Days of Future Past" follows in its footsteps. This is serious business and despite being about mutants that can change form, turn things to ice, fly, bend metal, control weather, and go back in time, the latest X-Men film might as well be an allegorical history lesson.
This is the fifth film in the "X-Men" series with two Wolverine movies also in the canon, making this technically the seventh film about the beloved mutants. While it’s somewhat of a sequel to poorly received Brett Ratner directed "X-Men: The Last Stand," it is also a sequel to the PRE-quel "X-Men: First Class." Are you following me? If you are, then this film is for you. If not, well, you’ll just be going to be visually dazzled, but the finer story details will be lost on you.
Here’s what "Days of Future Past" brings to the table: It is the near future and mutants and their human supporters are being rounded up and/or killed by humanoid weapons called Sentinals created by Trask Industries. These robots are sentient and can mimic whatever superpower the mutant has, thus giving them the capacity to destroy their super-human targets. So as the film begins, many of our favorite mutants are in mid-battle, and even more are dying.
To combat this, Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) is tasked to send Wolverine’s consciousness back to 1973 in order to stop Trask industries from creating the Sentinels in the first place. By doing this, however, they will change the future for everyone involved. But it’s a price they are willing to pay, and as Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellan) watch, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back and wakes up in the groovy 1970s. His job is to gather the younger versions of Professor X (aka Charles Xavier, played by James McEvoy) and Magneto (aka Erik Lehnsherr played by Michael Fassbender) to stop morphing- mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). You see, it is the fact that she actually kills Trask that sends the government on a mission to destroy mutants and, thus, create the Sentinels. They are joined by Beast (Nicholas Hoult) and newcomer Quicksilver (Evan Peters).
This latest installment in the X-Men world does good work in creating emotional layers that give an otherwise silly premise some heft. Amidst the task at hand there are characters dealing with guilt, duty, and shame. There are nods to current societal issues, as well as strong comments on politics and the military. These are the things that make great science fiction and they are not lost here.