I read a review of X-men: Days of Future Past that claims it gives Avengers a run for its money. I just don’t see it. In fact, I don’t even think it’s as good as The Amazing Spider-Man 2. If I could travel to the past to save the future, I would change three things about this movie.
Change #1: Pay tribute to your fandom.
TAS2 gave the nerds the death of Gwen Stacey exactly as it should have been. If Gwen would’ve opened her eyes and survived the fall, we would have shouted at the screen and left. But Marc Webb knew that it would not only reward the truest of fans but also be a compelling story. Now, if you read my article on the comics on which this film is based, you know I have no objections about sending Wolverine back in time instead of Shadowcat. I certainly am not the fanboy who demands the movie be exactly like the comic.
But why couldn’t Bryan Singer at least recreate this iconic image in the film?
It would have been received with ecstatic shouting from the fanboys and fangirls, and it could have easily been included. Fox and Singer need to take a note from Marvel on knowing your core audience.
The Sentinels were stupid. Why couldn’t we have Godzilla-sized Sentinels? Why couldn’t they adapt through their own technology instead of being Mystique-powered? If it aint broke, don’t fix it.
Yes. I do have to admit that there were a couple of moments in the film just for us nerds. Quicksilver’s reference to Magneto being his estranged father, Pietro and Wanda watching dad on TV, and Nathaniel Grey as the future-world scavenger, were nice little Easter eggs. The Apocalypse stinger was also equivalent to the Thanos stinger at the end of Avengers. But nothing made us shout “heck yeah!”
Change #2: Assemble an all-star team and let them kick butt
The best part of Avengers is that it has all the fan-favorites in one film. There is an iconic scene in the film where the camera pans around all of the members of the Avengers as they stand back to back. These are the best of the best of the Avengers.
Here would be the equivalent X-Men team: Wolverine, Cyclops, Jean Grey, Storm, Gambit, Rogue (with Ms. Marvel powers), Beast, Nightcrawler, Iceman, and maybe Angel (or preferably Archangel). I know, I know. Singer couldn’t give us this all-star team because he already screwed it all up in his previous films, which each get progressively further from their source material. So I guess I’d have to go further back in time and fix all the X-films.
I’m not hating on the other X-Men characters. It was cool to see Blink, Bishop, Sunspot, Colossus, Iceman, and Warpath battle Sentinels in the future. Blink and Sunspot were especially fun to watch in action as new additions. But they were barely in the film and only as stock characters. Why couldn’t Bishop shoot his power through his hand like he does in the comic? Also, could Shadowcat be any more boring of a character? She just runs, hides, and bleeds.
Just so you don’t think I thought the entire movie was a snooze. I loved Magneto. Like in First Class he once again steals the film. He has a Darth Vader-like dominance as a villain. Quicksilver was also an excellent addition to the film. His action scenes and snarky remarks were a nice highlight. More Quicksilver would have been good for the movie. The same can be said for the Havok cameo. Why not add him to the team?
As for Wolverine, perhaps I’m alone in this, but I find a Wolverine with bone claws to be like going to prom with the best friend of your high school crush – not bad, but comparatively disappointing. In the future, when he does have his adamantium, he doesn’t slice a single Sentinel! Then, when I was actually excited to see a Wolverine without a metal skeleton square off with Magneto, he gets punked by rod iron.
Finally, what happened to Emma Frost? Was there only room for one mostly-naked mutant in this movie?
Change #3: Tell a compelling story
Both The Amazing Spider-Man 2 and Captain America: Winter Soldier told compelling stories. TAS2 was character driven. X-Men Days of Future Past has very little character development. The storyline of Xavier struggling with choosing to walk over having powers was tedious. His anger towards Magneto and sense of loss towards Raven (Mystique) seems fabricated because the story jumps ten years from First Class with no back story. The same can be said for Mystique, whose struggle to do what is right is never really in doubt. The only character development that was entertaining is Magneto’s further fall from grace.
The X-Men films (and comics) are best when they are making social commentary about our society’s lack of tolerance for those who are different from us. This theme has taken a back seat when it might be more relevant than ever.
Days of Future Past also lacks an engaging plot. It seems we are supposed to be on the edge of our seats when the Sentinels are about to finish off the future X-Men as Mystique contemplates shooting Trask. It just isn’t compelling. I’m not invested. The only way the plot could have been rewarding is if Mystique accidently shoots Xavier. Then, instead of a happy future, we are given the Age of Apocalypse just like in the comics. But this would have been a twist that likely would have only rewarded the comic readers and not the fans who are solely fans of the movies.
Look. I didn’t hate this film, but I didn’t love it either. I’m mostly perturbed that Singer doesn’t reward the most die-hard of fans. It’s not as terrible as some of the other X-films but it’s nowhere near as fun as Avengers like that article I read suggests.
I give X-Men Days of Future Past 3 out of 5 Nerdskulls.
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