After three X-Men movies, two Wolverine spin-offs and a prequel in the shape of X-Men: First Class, original series helmer Bryan Singer returns to the director's chair for X-Men: Days of Future Past.
We catch up with Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Magneto (Ian McKellen), and Storm (Halle Berrie) in a post-apocalyptic future ruled by giant sentinels. Made of a non-metal polymer and able to adapt to any mutant power, these giant robots have laid waste to everything and everyone in their way.
Conveniently, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has a gift for being able to send people back in time (mentally at least) to occupy their younger selves. As Wolverine is the only one able to survive a journey far enough back to prevent the Sentinels creation, the future lays squarely on his shoulders. Or rather, mind.
Back in 1973, James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender reprise their X-Men: First Class roles as Charles and Erik, along with Nicholas Hoult as Beast. Here Wolverine is at his comedic best, readjusting to life before his adamantium skeleton, and armed in the knowledge of what is to become of everyone. It transpires that Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is the inadvertent catalyst for the sentinels’ creation, but how do you stop a shape-shifting mutant? Magneto is equally complex, seemingly on-side with their plan one minute, and levitating a sports stadium in the sky the next.
The lightning-fast Quicksilver (Evan Peters) also makes his triumphant cinematic debut. After a few fantastic introductory scenes however, he disappears at high-speed from the rest of the movie. The character can next be seen in 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron, albeit played by Aaron Taylor-Johnson of Kick-Ass fame.
There are still a few plot holes left over from X-Men: The Last Stand that go unaddressed here. But in many ways the entire film aims to undo their third adventure entirely and course-correct the universe. Another head-scratcher emerges in the 1970’s as Dr. Trask (Peter Dinklage) warns President Nixon not to make metallic weapons to avoid any mutant manipulation, but then does so with the prototype sentinels anyway. Magneto certainly didn’t complain though…
Based on the Uncanny X-Men storyline from 1981, Days of Future Past is hugely ambitious in scope and arguably one of the best films in the series. The collision of past and future characters is fantastic fun to watch, even if its greatest addition, Quicksilver, is ultimately under-utilised. By the time the credits roll, the franchise is left in excellent shape, making 2016’s X-Men: Apocalypse a very exciting prospect.
Final note: be sure to stay to the very end for a glimpse at the future of the Days of Future Past’s present. Got that?