Anthony Stokes feels that X-Men: Days of Future Past is getting too much credit (warning: spoilers to follow)…
Nobody was more excited for X-Men: Days of Future Past than me. I absolutely loved X-Men: First Class and it’s not only one of my favorite superhero movies, but also my definitive X-Men movie. I read the original X-Men run and thought First Class did a decent job representing those characters, whilst also serving as a great preboot for the series. And yet, with Days of Future Past, I’m trapped in a similar dilemma as with Man of Steel. I can’t tell where my frustrations towards the actual movie stop and my frustrations with the hype begin. In no way is X-Men: Days of Future Past a bad movie; I won’t even label it a disappointment, but the way some people are acting like this is some kind of game changer is baffling.Days of Future Past didn’t change sh*t. This is a First Class sequel with Wolverine thrown in. The original cast are reduced to basically making cameos. The movie gave me a serious case of be careful what you wish, for because I wanted it to focus mostly on the First Class cast, and to my dismay it did so to a fault. None of the original X-Men cast do anything other than use their powers to fight sentinels. But that’s not as bad as the cast of First Class, which introduced an ensemble but tossed them all away here except for Hank, Magneto, Mystique, and Charles.
I like Jennifer Lawrence. She’s beautiful, charming, down to earth and above all a fantastic actress. But this is the second movie – the first being American Hustle – where it’s supposedly an ensemble cast, but she’s brought to the very forefront for no other reason than she has star power. Right now Fox can’t help but focus on the same damn characters. Every story now is exclusively about Magneto, Professor X, Mystique, and Wolverine. Which wouldn’t be a problem except these movies used to be an ensemble. I liked the love triangle in First Class because it wasn’t the focus of the movie. Here it’s kind of repetitive and bogs down the movie. If you think about it none of these three are any different than where the last movie left off. Their dynamics haven’t changed at all. Furthermore, by focusing so much on something that once again should’ve been apart of a bigger story, it takes away from other characters.
Traditionally, the X-Men movies works best when mutants are at their peak. The best parts of X-Men: Days of Future Past are when Quicksilver and Blink are using their innovative powers to create riveting action scenes. But most of the movie follows Beast, Wolverine and Xavier and all three of them have basically been made ineffectual. Beast and Charles have this magic formula that gets rid of their powers, and Wolverine is just hanging around not really doing much. I’m not one of these fanboys that throw tantrums over the fact that Wolverine is the main character of the franchise, so to see him on the sideline was frustrating. Everybody wants to complain about Hawkeye in The Avengers, but what they did to Wolverine was much worse here. And speaking of The Avengers I liked that every character had a little mini arc it being an ensemble and all. Here, and I cannot stress this enough, the only people who get a subplot or any development of any kind is the big three, and as I already said it’s not even really much of a change from where they left off.
My main issue with everyone saying this revitalized the franchise is that X-Men was dead in the water after the two missteps of X-Men: The Last Stand and X-Men Origins: Wolverine, but since then we have had two good X-Men movies in X-Men: First Class and The Wolverine. First Class is the reboot that gave the series new life and was the backbone for this movie. Sure, Bryan Singer had a hand in writing the script but Matthew Vaughn was the driving force behind First Class, and The Wolverine also redeemed its titular character and made him interesting again. But now everybody is giddy over the fact that this movie completely undercuts The Last Stand and Origins and spits in Brett Ratner’s face (something I never understood, because Ratner didn’t script The Last Stand and overall I thought the movie was competently directed). What nobody has mentioned is how Days of Future Past also spits in the face of Matthew Vaughn and James Mangold, but taking the characters and storylines from their movies and either tosses them to the side or completely omits them from this movie.
Financially, sure, this is the X-Men franchise getting back on track, but people suggesting that X-Men: Days of Future Past is the next Avengers need to relax. It’s not even as innovative as X-Men: First Class. It’s also full of unanswered questions, like where did Kitty Pryde get her power to send people’s conscious back in time, and how has Patrick Stewart’s Professor Xavier returned after his “death” in The Last Stand. And the movie has a nice wrap up that explains just enough to set up for future movies, but instead goes for a cop out cliffhanger ending. Still, flaws aside I’m not going to advise anybody not to see this movie – I’m sure to anyone not as attached to First Class as myself will enjoy it. Just don’t give a movie such credit unless it truly earns it.
What are you thoughts on X-Men: Days of Future Past? Does it deserve the plaudits?
Anthony Stokes is a blogger and independent filmmaker.