22/05/2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past

It must take some serious balls of steel to pitch a movie that acts as a sequel to three different films, straddles two different timelines and adapts one of the most popular Marvel storylines. But as The Avengers has made every producer with rights to a comic book franchise seethe with jealousy, going hard is apparently the only option these days. With so much to do in so little time and pre-release marketing doing nothing to alleviate fears of an epic clusterfuck of Spider-Man 3 proportions, we should all be relieved and overjoyed to discover that X-Men: Days of Future Past is just fine. Yeah, I mean it's OK. It's watchable. It's just fine.

It's 2023 and we've reunited with some of the original X-clan including Storm (Halle Berry in a shit wig), Professor X (Sir Patrick Stewart, clearly not wearing a wig), Magneto (Sir Ian McKellen), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) and Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) who are trying to figure out a way to stop the Sentinels and create a world that isn't so shit for mutants. They devise a plan to use Kitty's powers to transport Wolverine back to his younger body (Professor X couldn't handle the ride) so he can stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and setting off a chain of events that leads to the crappy world they're currently living in.

Wolverine may get all the attention, as always, but it's Mystique's transformation into the leg-flailing semi-nutter Rebecca Romijn played so well in the original trilogy that's important, so why am I so unconvinced by her? Similarly Bolivar Trask is a pretty vital piece of this puzzle as it's him who figures out how to use Mystique's power against her people but we have no idea why he's so adamant to be done with them. Is it fear? Jealousy? Or just a quest for control and power? I dunno, and neither does Dinklage who comes and goes in-between conversing with the world's worst Nixon impersonator.

Maybe I'm being a tad harsh because like Batman and most things created in the '80s I just can't be impartial when it comes to the X-Men. I expect too much and since the still-flawless X2, I always seem to feel disappointed. When this task fell into the hands of Bryan Singer we all breathed a sigh of relief because we know this is a man who gets these characters and can bring their stories to the screen. He does that yet again but unlike his previous instalments there's nothing particularly fun about it. Were it not for the shit-looking Quiksilver (Evan Peters) and his standout scene after breaking Erik (Michael Fassbender) out of his underground prison, the entire film would be a bit of a bummer, and I'm not just talking about Hugh Jackman's bare arse in 3D.

It's nice to see some old faces even if Halle Berry is blatantly pregnant and Anna Paquin flew to Canada to film a two-second cameo but the greatest thing about DOFP is how it gives The Last Stand the finger. The events of this film practically makes Brett Ratner's cinematic shitstain obsolete, and that's just wonderful. However it doesn't excuse the man gaping continuity issues that only widen the more I think about it. I'll leave those niggling questions to the experts/nerds who know better, but while this is a better film than First Class that successfully merges past and present into a watchable and satisfactory blockbuster, it's just no fun.