The X-Men movie franchise has had it’s ups and downs. The first two movies were very good despite the myriad changes and tweaks to the characters, while X-Men 3 and X-Men Origins: Wolverine were on the rough side. First Class was good, but went a long way towards making the continuity issues worse (How much older is Havok than Cyclops? Are they even related? Xavier knew Mystique as a child?). The Wolverine went a little sideways for the ending but I freaking love Yukio. A lot of eyebrows were raised when the next team movie was announced as Days of Future Past, with a cast of thousands. I only exaggerate a little there. DoFP (see my review of the comic) is a time travel story that covers both the younger First Class version of our favorite mutants, and the dystopic future that needs to be stopped. I was very curious to see if a time travel story could be pulled off, and am happy to report that Singer and company probably did the best you could expect.
First things first – if you read the comics, you know that Kitty Pryde is supposed to be the one that goes back in time. Unfortunately, they change that to Wolverine (who else?) mostly so they can keep both casts involved. I really liked Kitty in those issues of the comics, and love Ellen Page, so it’s hard to see her basically stuck holding onto Wolverine’s brain for 2 hours instead of kicking ass herself. We do get Storm and Blink with the future mutants, and with Blink in particular, I hope we see more of her.
The story hits the major comic beats as much as possible. Mystique’s killing of Bolivar Trask (played ably by Peter Dinklage) sets their terrible future in motion, and Wolverine has to stop her. We meet Quicksilver, who turned out to be a ton of fun. Uneasy alliances form, and are crushed.
I had a lot of fun in the movie, but there were a couple of oddities. They explain Wolverine having to be the one sent back that far with his healing factor, that only his mind could handle it. The serum that Beast and Xavier use is stupid. Something that can suppress mutant powers? Why would beast be surprised at the ‘cure’ when he was halfway to making one decades before? And young Xavier being able to walk while using it is almost as bad as the 90s cartoon, which also had his legs working while his powers were suppressed in the Savage Land. The framing of Mystique’s arc as the choice between two men was a head-scratcher.
Despite all of that, you can tell Singer was here instead of Ratner – he manages to get some real emotional moments from these characters. The big reveals after they win are great, and the setup is there for Apocalypse to take the stage. Definitely worth a watch, though fans of Kitty may have a tough time with it.