Saturday, 24 May 2014

Film Review: "X-Men: Days of Future Past" (2014).




“The future: a dark, desolate world. A world of war, suffering, loss on both sides. Mutants, and the humans who dared to help them, fighting an enemy we cannot defeat. Are we destined down this path, destined to destroy ourselves like so many species before us? Or can we evolve fast enough to change ourselves... change our fate? Is the future truly set?” Which is what X-Men: Days of Future Past is asking in this is American superhero film, based on the fictional X-Men characters appearing in Marvel Comics and on the 1981 Uncanny X-Men storyline Days of Future Past by Chris Claremont and John Byrne. Directed by Bryan Singer and distributed by 20th Century Fox, it is the seventh film in the X-Men film series and the third X-Men film directed by Singer after 2000's X-Men and 2003's X2. Days of Future Past acts as a sequel to both 2006's X-Men: The Last Stand and 2011's X-Men: First Class. In this installment, the X-Men send Wolverine to the past in a desperate effort to change history and prevent an event that results in doom for both humans and mutants.

Producer Lauren Shuler Donner stated in August 2006 that renegotiations would be required to continue the X-Men main film series. Newer cast members of X-Men: The Last Stand were signed, while the older cast members were not. Donner stated, "There is forty years worth of stories. I’ve always wanted to do Days of Future Past and there are just really a lot of stories yet to be told." She later pitched Bryan Singer on doing a fourth installment of the previously established X-Men franchise, following the completion of X-Men: First Class. In March 2011, Shuler Donner revealed that the film was in "active development at Fox," saying, "We took the treatment to Fox and they love it... And X4 leads into X5". 20th Century Fox envisioned the 2011 prequel as the first film of a new X-Men trilogy. Donner compared the franchise plans to be similar to the darker, more mature content of the Harry Potter film series. Early reports had Matthew Vaughn and Singer returning to direct and produce the sequel, respectively. While still attached to the project as a director, Vaughn stated, “First Class is similar to Batman Begins (2005), where you have the fun of introducing the characters and getting to know them, but that takes time. But with the second one, you can just get on with it and have a rollicking good time. That's the main difference between Batman Begins and The Dark Knight (2008)." Describing how the next movie could open, Vaughn stated, "I thought it would be fun to open with the Kennedy assassination, and we reveal that the magic bullet was controlled by Magneto." Singer has stated that the film could be set around the civil rights movement or the Vietnam War, and that Wolverine could once again be featured. Bryan Singer also talked about "changing history" in an interview with Empire Magazine that he doesn't want people to panic about them erasing the movies, and he believes in multiverses, explaining the possibility of certain events as they would be part of the history of alternate universes. According to Singer, the story will partially be set during the 1970s and former United States president Richard Nixon will be a character in the film. He also stated that the film will be the biggest movie that he's ever made, and he mentioned that he approached film director James Cameron to talk about time travel, string theory and multiverses.

It stars an ensemble cast including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Peters, Fan Bingbing, and Lucas Till. The performances in this film were all superbly and emotionally portrayed and it was the cast's finest performances yet. The acting was better than usual for a superhero film. Hugh Jackman gave the best performance, not only in the X-Men cinematic universe but also in his entire career. After appearing in seven X-Men films including the cameo in X-Men: First Class. McAvoy gave his most emotional performance yet. Fassbinder gave a superbly complex performance. McKellen - superb as always. Lawrence gave a kick-ass performance, more kick-ass than her role in the Hunger Games films. It was nice to see Berry, Page, Hoult, Ashmore, Cudmore and Till again, even though their roles were not that major, apart from Page's Kitty Pryde. Dinklage gave his most menacing performance, very reminiscent to his role as Tyrion Lannister from Game of Thrones. According to Dinklage, Singer picked him to play Boliver Trask because of his height: "With my dwarfism, I'm a bit of a mutant. I can't move metal or anything, but I thought of it as self-loathing. Deep down, Trask is quite sensitive about that aspect of himself." As well as being a huge fan of Game of Thrones. It's also funny to think that Singer based Boliver Trask on Adolf Hitler. He commented: "As Hitler used the Jews as a scapegoat to bond the darker parts of Europe, he's doing the same thing with mutants. But he wasn't a six foot, perfect blond Aryan - he was a short, funny looking fellow!" Peters gave a mesmerizing performance as Quicksilver. I'd imagine that every kid and/or teen in the theater watching this movie wants to be him. Finally, it was nice to see Fan Bingbing in her first international film. I hope the filmmakers bring her back in future X-Men films.

With X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer was able to masterfully handle so many characters in one film. It is rare for a sequel, let alone a fourth film, to be better than its predecessor. For a 14 year-old franchise, the film still carries emotional themes that are still present in the world today. In addition, the acting was better than usual for a superhero film. Especially Jackman’s, who heavily improved his performance since the last one. The film is a summer firecracker. It’s also a tribute to outcasts, teens, gays, minorities and even Dixie Chicks. However, the film’s story did not exactly live up to its potential. However, the film’s ending was perfect for future installments.

Simon says X-Men: Days of Future Past receives:


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