Geeks, rest assured, Bryan Singer has returned. After directing the first two X-Men films and then departing the third to make Superman Returns instead, he’s back, and he’s brought us a superhero movie that dares to bend the genre. As Captain America: The Winter Soldier showed us, superhero movies are no longer just genres, but instead a medium for other genres to play out. The Winter Soldier was a superhero movie, yes, but at its core it was a spy thriller. With Days of Future Past Singer serves us up a fine tuned science fiction movie, with the X-Men being the central characters. Sound great? There’s more. Try stuffing the cast from the original X-Men films (X-Men, X2, X3) and the cast from X-Men: First Class into the same movie. Try a plotline that involves the modern day X-Men sending Wolverine back into the past to convince the younger X-Men to make a key decision to change the future. Sound epic? It is. This is the best film of the X-Men franchise.
I’ll quickly give my thoughts on the previous entries. I love the original X-Men. It’s cheesy and there are some utterly atrocious lines, but that was the movie that gave comic book fans hope. After Batman & Robin, comic book movies should have died out. Thankfully, Bryan Singer showed us that they can still be relevant. X2: X-Men United is a better and more substantial film for sure, taking its characters seriously and delivering gold for X-Men fans. Apart from this most recent entry, X2 is the best. Then X-Men: The Last Stand crushed everyone. It sucks. Cyclops died. Moving on. X-Men Origins: Wolverine sucked monkey balls, and it managed to take Deadpool’s mouth, his strongest aspect, and sew it shut. Idiots. Then came the breath of fresh air that was X-Men: First Class, which proved to be a massive achievement of a film, and the only X-Men movie without a need to be carried by Wolverine. And then 2013’s The Wolverine delivered strongly as an awesome depiction of the sheer beast unleashed, with good character development as well. Thanks James Mangold. But they all fall short of this.
Would you scoff at me for saying Hugh Jackman owns the role of Wolverine? Don’t do that. He really does. He’s been playing this character for a decade and a half and he’s still got it. He was his best in the role in The Wolverine, and he is also great here. This isn’t a Wolverine show, though. Charles Xavier and Eric Lehnsherr (Professor X and Magneto, duh) are central, as is Mystique, which is absolutely awesome. Mystique has always been a side character, and to see her in what is technically the center of the plot was fresh and cool, especially when she is being played by Jennifer Lawrence, who knocks the role out of the park. James McAvoy kills it once again as the younger Charles Xavier. Michael Fassbender, one of this generation’s greatest actors, is fantastically enthralling as Magneto in his younger days once again. Returning again from First Class is Nicholas Hoult as Beast who again does fine work. But how great it was to see the original X-Men back on the big screen. Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian McKellan aren’t given a lot to do, but it’s enough to generate fanboy nerdgasms. I loved seeing them back. Also, Halle Berry’s Storm is back, Shawn Ashmore is back as Iceman after wrapping up the fantastic second season of The Following. More are back, including Ellen Page as Kitty Pride. In the Days of Future Past comic arc by Chris Claremont, Pryde is the one who is sent to the past. Wolverine is the one here, but it was very cool to see them use Pryde as the one in charge of sending him back as a direct reference and homage to the comics. But I’ll stop there. Experience it yourself. Joining the cast is Peter Dinklage, obviously known for his role in HBO’s magnificent fantasy Game of Thrones. Dinklage is excellent in the film, as any fan of the show, like myself, would come to expect. Now one of the major issues fans had going into this film was Quicksilver. I can understand. The silver suit and hair seems a bit campy, on paper. But when you see Evan Peters (American Horror Story) in action, it’s actually amazing. Quite frankly, he has the best scene in the entire movie. One that demonstrates his powers in a comedic light. It’s one of the most well constructed and endlessly funny scenes I’ve ever seen in a superhero movie. Also, if you are familiar with Quicksilver’s parental situation in the comics, which isn’t directly addressed in the film, then it will make some of the conversations and situations between the characters (you know who they are) really awesome, given the time travel elements incorporated.
If the plot line and ensemble cast aren’t enough to get you stoked, then maybe Bryan Singer’s return is. After leaving the franchise after two films to work on Superman Returns instead (why man, just why), Singer realizes what happened after his departure was bad. He uses the time travel element to his advantage. No spoilers. I will say no more. But my god. As an X-Men fan I would just like to say thank you so much to Singer, as well as writer Simon Kinberg, with story contributor Matthew Vaughn (director of First Class) for making the X-Men films’ future bright again.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is truly, incredibly great. As an X-Men fan, this is exactly what I’ve been wanting. Sure, I’m fanboying out, but that’s okay. It’s a stellar science-fiction movie, and it’s X-Men! Original X-Men and new X-Men collide in a brilliant feat. 2014 is a great year for movies. Superhero movies in general. We’ve had three, and two of them (Winter Soldier and now X-Men, screw you Spider-Man) are among the best superhero movies I’ve ever seen. And we’ve still got Guardians of the Galaxy to look forward to!