Review By: Nathan Ligon
I have been a fan of the X-Men series for over 20 years. 14 of those years there have actually been decent to really good X-Men movies for to watch. Yet, I have to openly admit that, while I enjoyed a number of the previous films a lot (X2 and X-Men First Class are awesome), I never felt like I had gotten the X-Men movie I wanted. You see, I was not really a comic book kid. I read them a little bit, but not until I had already gotten into the characters through some other medium.
With the X-Men, I had actually never heard of them until 1992. That was the year that the animated TV series began gracing my screen on Saturday mornings. A show that has stuck with me my entire life, X-Men was a groundbreaking tale of power, persecution, sadness, discovery, and just about any other thing you can think of. The whole season was filled with interesting situations and ethical dilemmas that were well over my 11 year old head, but I could not stop watching. The first time I saw a mutant named Jubilee get chased down by a robot Sentinel I was hooked.
The world was almost post apocalyptic in a way. Mutants were in a constant war against these massive machines and attempting to convince the world that they were more than they seem. It was frightening, funny, exciting, and so much more. Which is exactly what I would say about X-Men: Days of Future Past. Like my favorite animated series, this film takes place in a world where massive Sentinel robots are chasing down mutants in an attempt to eradicate them. The Sentinels are absolutely frightening in their future form and bring a real menace to the world. They are actually so horrible that even human beings are beginning to go extinct.
Which is why Professor X (Patrick Stewart in the future) must have Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back 50 years to convince his former self (James McAvoy in the past) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender in the past) to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing the creator of the sentinels. This one action is enough to lead the nation down a path to genocide. Sound a bit confusing? It’s actually not and it works exceptionally well here.
The script is so good that it really gives almost every actor on screen the opportunity to shine. Michael Fassbender gets the chance to go much darker with Magneto than anyone has ever gone before. Jennifer Lawrence makes Mystique a more interesting and conflicted character than I thought she was capable of being. Hugh Jackman gets to show Wolverine as a more empathetic character and deliver many good comedic moments. James McCavoy is so good with his wounded Xavier act here that I almost didn’t want him to have to go back out and fight the good fight.
Hell, this movie is so good that it has two Xavier’s, delivering two fantastic performances, in the same scene. Yep, that’s right. The best scene in the movie is the scene where Patrick Stewart schools his younger self and McCavoy delivers the emotion. Great scene. Honestly, there are so many great scenes in this movie that it is hard for me to not go on about them all day and give up the best bits. Everything from the opening sentinel battle to the hilarious Quicksilver (Evan Peters) breaking Magneto out of confinement is expertly crafted for your entertainment.
However, none of this would matter if the overall story wasn’t so expertly conceived to begin with. Days of Future Past has always been one of the best stories in the X-Men cannon of comic books. So, it is not a surprise that the plot works, but to change it up by sending the most popular character into the past and being able to meld the casts of the old movies with the cast of the newest movie was just brilliant. Then they decide to make young Xavier’s struggle to accept his place as Professor X and things get even better. To see Wolverine attempting to bring him back from the brink is one of the many pleasures of this film.
There are so many pleasures that this film has in store for you and I don’t want to ruin them all before you get to the theater. So, go out and get your tickets right now. You can even see this one in 3D if you want. It’s not bad. Either way, you owe it to yourself to go out and see this movie this Memorial Day weekend. I guarantee that you will not be disappointed.