Logan: Patience isn’t my strong suit.
Growing up, I was a huge X-Men fan. One might even have called me a fanboy. The first X-Men movies, directed by Bryan Singer, were, to put it mildly, a massive spit wad on that part of my childhood and I hated every thing about them. X-MEN: FIRST CLASS, the 2011 pseudo reboot, was still off from the comic books themselves, but at least it was a step in the right direction for the series. So, for the latest entry, entitled X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST, you would think they would bring back the writers of what is considered by most to be the best one so far. No, instead they went with the writer of the third instalment (LAST STAND, Simon Kinberg), which is considered to be most hated of the original trilogy. I would have thought this would be a massive mistake but then I watched X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST and realized that together, Kinberg and Singer knocked this one right out of the park.
A great part of what makes this the best X-Men movie to date is Kinberg’s decision to adapt an original two-part comic, written by Chris Claremont, also entitled “Days of Future Past”. For the life of me, I don’t understand why movie studios don’t do this more often. Here is a medium that is already in storyboard form and is already widely popular, you’d think it would be a no brainer to take direct adaptations from existing comics, but more often than not, familiar elements from the comics are lifted and incorporated into all new stories. Instead, Kinberg stays true to the source material but tailors it to what is needed for the screen. For example, in the original comic, Kitty Pride (Ellen Page) is the lead character despite having only joined the team not long before that. Kinberg goes with the much more obvious choice of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) to lead his version, as he has been the furry face of the franchise so far.
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST takes place in the unspecified future. The world has been ravaged by mutant hatred and giant robots called “sentinels” have been tasked with hunting down all mutants. The men who designed them initially are advancing the program to include the eradication of non-mutants whose DNA might lead to a mutant being born further down their blood line. Mutants, mutant supporters, and potential mutant gene carriers have been either confined to concentration camps or eliminated altogether. In an effort to prevent this future from happening, the remaining X-Men have devised a plan to send Wolverine back to 1973 to stop the event that sets off the chain reaction that leads to this future: the assassination of the guy who designs the sentinels. (The original comic had this event as the assassination of Senator Kelly, the man who spearheads the Mutant Registration Act, but since Magneto already killed him off in the first movie, we’ll just gloss right over that one).
Going back in time allows for many of the original actors from the first X-Men movies to cross over with their younger versions established in FIRST CLASS. Time travel can be tricky though, especially when balancing the past, future and present within the already complicated X-Men universe. For example, Magneto (Ian McKellen/Michael Fassbender) loses his powers in the third movie, and has them back in the future despite taking a massive dose of the serum that gets rid of your powers. Also, Professor X (Patrick Stewart/James McAvoy) was killed horribly in the third movie, and is alive and well with no explanation in the future. Continuity was already a mess in these movies and now they add time travel? It would be one thing if they were just trying to say that this was a reboot and ignore the originals, but they make too many references to the previous films throughout this movie for that to be the case.
Time travel is almost always confusing but despite all the discrepancies here, I can’t help but love X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The acting is solid and this cast of all-stars delivers great performances all around. The score by John Ottman (a Singer regular) added to the already suspenseful scenes in a way that is usually only achieved by the greats, like Hans Zimmer. X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is easily Bryan Singer’s best movie in a very long time, if perhaps of all time, and it does everything a summer blockbuster should do to entertain its audience and beyond. And even if much goes unexplained, this movie is written in a way that pretends like the first three films never happened, which gave me a warm and fuzzy feeling inside.