The future is what you make of it. Unfortunately, this future made me a bit angry.
I’ve tried to cover the latest X-Men film as extensively as possible leading up to its debut, as it was the one movie in the franchise I’ve been anticipating the most. Ever since first seeing these iconic stories unfold on the classic ‘90s cartoon show, Days of Future Past has always intrigued me. It comes as no surprise that a plot involving time travel would immediately captivate, considering Back to the Future is one of my favorite films of all time. I’ve literally been counting the days. And while I missed opening weekend (much to my chagrin) the wife and I had a chance to catch a late screening this past Saturday night.
While I did enjoy the film, part of me is seriously bummed that they dropped the ball in several key areas.
I think it’s important to preface my complaints by giving some context first. Much of what you’ll read below has to do with left-over baggage that director Bryan Singer had to deal with from previous entries (one’s he had nothing to do with). However, my BIGGEST pet-peeve in film making is when conflicting plot points are just swept under the rug for the sake of convenience. While I feel the overall story of ‘Future Past was done well, for me, many of these loose ends dangled over everything like an unresolved dark cloud. It not only taints the experience a bit, I sort of feel like I was lied to going in. Everyone from the studio head to Singer himself teased that fans would receive answers to many of the problems posed in previous sequels. However, as I’ll highlight below, this was apparently a ruse to tamp down any fan backlash that might hurt the film’s momentum early on.
So exactly what is it about the film that’s got my panties in such a knot you may ask? Let’s take a look.
WARNING: Not even Kitty Pride can send you back in time to un-read the spoilers you’re about to see. Proceed with caution mutants.
How does Professor Xavier return from death?
The third X-Men film is wildly panned as one of the worst in the series, ranking up there with the first Wolverine spin-off (which I liked by the way). Among many of the ridiculous things seen in this film, the killing (and by killing I mean disintegration) of Professor X comes as a huge “’Da fuck are they thinking?” kind of moments. Now, we see him miraculously reappear in ‘Future Past. A hidden scene at the end of Last Stand suggests he could project his consciousness into the body of another person (IE: his body died but his mind didn’t). However, this small throw-away scene doesn’t go nearly far enough to explain things. Even if you buy that idea, it still doesn’t account for why he appears as his old self or the need for a freakin’ wheel chair for that matter! I’ve heard theories that Charles is projecting an image of what people expect him to look like into the minds of everyone around him. While that’s a pretty weak explanation, at least the fans have tried to offer up SOMETHING! Singer didn’t even bother.
Wolverine has adamantium claws when he shouldn’t!
If you saw the second Wolverine origins movie, you know he faces off against the Silver Samurai. During the climax, his adversary uses a giant mechanized suit (with a heated adamantium blade) to slice through Wolverine’s claws. This results in him regenerating the original bone versions from his pre-Weapon X days. Problem is, we start the film years in the future and now he HAS THEM AGAIN! Last I heard (based on claims a Producer made during an interview), Magneto would manipulate the remaining adamantiumin in his hands to forge new ones. Guess what, that didn’t’ happen either. And we have no idea why or how he has them again. That’s bullshit in my book.
Sentinels are so bad ass, we don’t see them for over 30 years.
The giant mutant-hunting robots were a huge part of both the comics and the animated series. However, they’ve yet to make any real impacts in the film series (yes I remember that training room scenario in the Danger Room). Even though they are introduced in ‘Future Past, one thing doesn’t quite add up. If Trask’s assassination in the original continuity happened in the ‘70s (and the Super-Sentinels wipe out mankind in the future) where the hell were the in-between Sentinels during the original trilogy? They should have been one of their biggest threats, yet they make no mention of them or even seem to be on their radar during X1, X2, etc. I’m not sure if this is just poor writing or yet another deliberate oversight as to not have to deal with those sticky details.
While some may see the above as “nit-picky,” I truly see these as legitimate points that could have put this film WAY over the top in my mind. Instead, it left me walking out of the theater shaking my head. Don’t get me wrong, if this were a legit review, I’d be giving ‘Future Past a fairly high rating. It was interesting and really opened up the future of the franchise. With the timeline being rewritten, it hit the reset button on many things seen previously. Cyclops and Gene are now alive (with Gene embracing her “good-Phoenix” persona), Mystique is apparently no longer evil and all of Stryker’s experimentation on Wolverine never happened. On top of this, it appears that the Age of Apocalypse saga is about to unfold (stay for the after-credits scene).
So despite disappointments, I’d give this film a solid 4 out of 5. A fun ride that I will definitely see again when the Blu-ray hits store shelves.