Bryan Singer’s most recent contribution to the X-Men franchise, Days of Future Past, has just come out in cinemas, and what a wonderful return it is. Following his work on X-Men and X-Men 2, Singer took up the mantel from First Class director Matthew Vaughn, tying in the portrayal of the mutant’s past selves with the characters and events of the original trilogy. Adapting the Days of Future Past storyline, the film presents us with a bleak future in which Mutants and carriers of the X-gene alike are persecuted by Sentinels and the surveillance state. The X-Men, unable to defeat the Sentinels, resort to travelling back in time in order to prevent the events that created the dystopian future, specifically Mystique’s assassination of Bolivar Trask. It is up to Wolverine to reunite the estranged friends Xavier and Magneto and save the future.
From the offset, the film kept up a relentless pace and maintained an effective balance between action and dialogue. In addition, the character development in the film was gratifying, especially Mystique’s transformation into a character with her own agency and sense of self. This allows Singer to provide the audience with a strong female lead in an otherwise male dominated film, the importance of Kitty Pride being perhaps the only other exception.
While a bit disappointing, the lack of female cast in no way created a lack of chemistry on screen. The relationship between Charles and Erik, especially, provided some of the most memorable moments in the film. This was emphasised by the chemistry between McAvoy and Fassbender, and made wonderful by the reprisal of Sir Patrick Stewart and Sir Ian Mckellen in their roles from the orginal trilogy. Adding another impeccable performance to that list was Peter Dinklage, who produced a portrayal of Bolivar Trask that truly resonated with me. The true breakout character of the film, however, was Quicksilver.
Evan Peters’s Quicksilver stole the show. Without quite being able to describe why, I feel as though Peters became the character and lightened the tension of the movie while also adding dimensions to the relationships between the other characters. It is obvious why he has become the breakout character of the film. The ‘time in a bottle’ scene, especially, was so well crafted that it is the most memorable scene for me. The choice of song and cinematography were wonderful, and the lyrics, in particular, add a dimension to the relationship between Erik and Charles, foreshadowing their future conversations.
The plot was well executed throughout the film, but I would have preferred less emphasis on the importance of Wolverine. While I understand that Wolverine is the most well-known of the X-Men, and that Hugh Jackman does a great job of portraying the character, it seems that the production companies are trading in on his popularity and are thereby decreasing the visibility of the other characters. In fact, it was only through further research that I discovered who the new mutants were. The time used for the scene of Wolverine’s awakening and subsequent fighting could have easily been used to show more of the future and given lines to the new mutants. Moreover, I was disappointed that Kitty, who is an amazing character in her own right, was relegated to a supporting character rather than the starring role she played in the original comic storyline. Also, the film makes it unclear how a person whose abilities allow her to become intangible, is suddenly able to facilitate time travel.
Ignoring these grievances, Days of Future Past is a brilliantly crafted super-hero film and is a must-watch in my opinion. The film is out in cinemas nationwide.
Written by Roxy Simons.