It’s been a long while since I’ve been on the edge of my seat in anticipation at the release of a new movie. This hasn’t actually happened since the final instalment of Christopher Nolan’s Dark Knight Trilogy; The Dark Knight Rises. X-Men Days of Future Past had me on edge, primarily because of X-Men First Class(2011). First Class jumped straight to the front of the X-Men Universe queue ahead of the original X-Men(2000). It did this by creating a story arc beyond what we had spent the last 10 years watching(and by the end, hating) through the introduction of a new cast(McAvoy, Fassbender, Hoult and Lawrence) and director(Matthew Vaughn). With the solid performances provided by this new band of X-Men, some people myself included, forgot about the car crash that was X-Men The Last Stand(2006). Believing that maybe there was a way they could revive the tired, worn out “Beast” and breathe new life into this portion of the, bigger, Marvel Universe. I really do applaud Matthew Vaughn for this, he really did restore faith among the visor-wearing, cutlery-between-knuckles donning public. But how was Vaughn’s 2011 Brit-busting prequel going to be built on? What could Fox build atop the foundations?
Using The Last Stand as a basic springboard we jump into a fresh(ish) conflict of mutant/humans relations and how it is a PR nightmare. Essentially, they should come with a Warning label like Gizmo(Gremlins) did: “DO NOT HOUSE OR FEED THE MUTANTS” as we see prisons of mutants. and humans alike, being ushered down galleys and walkways. Some scarred, all helpless.
With the reprisal of fan favourites like Ice-Man, Colossus and the more recent Kitty Pryde getting pushed straight into action, it grips you from the beginning. A brief introduction to the Sentinels making them your new worst nightmare and a depleted X-Men faction sets the dark, ominous tone this movie looks to keep you holding on to.
X-Men Days of Future Past director Bryan Singer has learnt from previous lessons in audience understanding and creates a spectacle that traverses 2 timelines centralised around the same subset of characters and manages to make it great to watch! The time travelling timey-wimey mess could easily have died worse than Oberyn in Game Thrones, but he bridged the gap nicely(although don’t expect an explanation to why).
Hats off to Singer also for taking the decision to set the story arc of the movie around the stronger, younger cast. James McAvoy(Filth) particularly delivers a stellar performance of a broken, dejected Charles Xavier. It is a shame that Peter Dinklage(Game of Thrones) isn’t in the forefront more as bitter inventor Bolivar Trask. As he is capable of remarkable storytelling, as seen in hit series Game of Thrones. The lack of strong acting presence and a reluctance to provide a back story to the future war take a little away from the caliber of the movie but not much.
The ending, however, well that is going to be another discussion entirely…..