‘Days of Future Past’ is the best of both worlds

Days of Future Past
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“X-Men: Days of
Future Past”
Bryan Singer
May 23, 2014
4/5 stars

The “X-Men” film franchise has seen its ups and downs in the almost-14 years it’s been around. The first two, directed by Bryan Singer, are generally seen as superhero classics. The next two, “The Last Stand” and “Origins: Wolverine,” fans perceived as sinkers. The next two after that, “First Class” and “The Wolverine,” were seen as improvements. And now, “Days of Future Past” tasks Singer with wrapping up every dangling plot thread, and the result is spectacular — for the most part.

In the year 2023, deadly machines known as Sentinels have wiped out most of mutant-kind, in addition to the humans that dared to side with them. The world, as a result, is in ruins, and the few remaining members of the X-Men and Brotherhood are in hiding trying to scrape by. They hatch a plan to send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman, “Prisoners”) back in time to prevent the government’s approval of the Sentinels. Wolverine must mend the emotional wounds brought about in “First Class” in order to unite the mutants against the threat of the Sentinels before it begins.

As one can expect from an “X-Men” film, the acting is top-notch. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine has gained a lot of wisdom in his years since the first “X-Men” — more than he’d like to admit. All of the actors from the original films are as great as they were back then, and the actors from “First Class” reprise their roles with gravitas. Even the new mutants introduced are likable and enjoyable characters.

The film borrows from the best that both the original trilogy and “First Class” had to offer, and it blends all of them together seamlessly. Everything that was great in “First Class” is here, and everything that was great in the original films is here. The story, as a result, is going to be confusing and difficult to follow for anyone who hasn’t seen the other films, so watching all of the films beforehand is a prerequisite.

While the film is perfect in many, many regards, it still has one major flaw: its ending. Without spoiling anything, know that it’s one of the most contrived and market-driven endings in any superhero film. It’s comic-book-like in the worst possible way, and while some may be able to stomach it, it may leave some hardcore fans feeling a tad disgusted.

That said, though, “Days of Future Past” is worth seeing for any “X-Men” fan. While the ending leaves much to be desired, the rest of the film is sublime superhero bliss for anyone caught up. People new to the series may be lost, but that’s just a great excuse to break out the older films and give them a watch. Up until the end, it’s everything that “X-Men” fans have been waiting for.