‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Movie Review – Infinite Possibilities
When it comes to movies, ambition is one of the few things I can appreciate no matter what. There have been movies in the past (Cloud Atlas most recently comes to mind) that try so hard to succeed in a new way. X-Men: Days of Future Past needed ambition to work. Being part of a franchise makes it tough for the storyline because by the seventh iteration, the writers are usually grasping at straws when it comes to plot. However, Days of Future Past shows plenty of ambition to make the plot something we haven’t seen before. If nothing else, this is why the movie stands out above most superhero movies.
Stick with me on the plot because it gets kind of messy. The movie begins about a decade in the future (2023) and sees some of the beloved superheroes from X3 (Kitty played by Ellen Page and Iceman played by Shawn Ashmore) getting pummeled by a group of robots called Sentinels. Luckily, Kitty can project a consciousness back in time to convince the group to fight again, thus keeping themselves alive. The result never changes, though, because the group is continually killed off.
That’s when they bring in the help of Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen), and Wolverine (Hugh Jackman). They piece together a plan that’ll send Wolverine back to the 1970s in order to stop one event that was the catalyst for the rise of the Sentinels. It’s a great plan, but the feat is going to be difficult to achieve.
This time-travel part of the story utilizes the Butterfly Effect chaos theory, which basically states that whatever is changed in the past ripples throughout history to the present. If they can stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from being captured, they can stop the Sentinels. However, this also opens up an infinite number of other outcomes – some being obviously very dangerous.
In some ways the movie reminds me of Inception. Rather than changing an idea, they’re trying to change an event. When everything comes together, the two concluding scenes feel very similar (if only Hans Zimmer’s “Time” had been playing in Days of Future Past).
Some people are going to knock Days of Future Past for being too confusing. As you can tell by my explanation of the plot, it is confusing. However, I’d rather have something be too confusing than be something that insults our intelligence.
That being said, do they pull of the confusing plot with perfection? No. Not even close, really. I won’t get into some of the specifics because it is spoilery, but I don’t think it gives anything away to question the present-day versions of X of Magneto. When we left off after X3 (the last time we saw the older versions of the characters besides the post-credits stinger in The Wolverine), they both were virtually powerless (or arguably dead). They magically have their powers again, making it a bit of a head-scratcher. This doesn’t mean there is something wrong with the plot necessarily, but more like there are some significant holes to fill in.
Still, after all the itty-bitty problems I find with the plot of Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days of Future Past, I still harken back to ambition. Too many superhero movies/summer blockbusters seem to only be ambitious in the action/visuals category. Singer and company take a step further and utilize a non-linear plot which helps freshen up the narrative. More importantly, they create tension by showing us the cause-and-effect nature of storytelling and letting the possibilities become endless. Then, as an audience, we are free to be wow’d by the action and visuals without having our intelligence insulted.
This is what all big blockbusters should strive for.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is available in 3D and conventional theaters nationwide. Check it out if you can!
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