The X-Men franchise has always been a money spinner for Marvel and 20th Century Fox. But to be honest, the films that have come out of this franchise have always had the “Could have been made better” tag attached to it barring to some extent the reboot X-Men: First Class. X-Men: Days of Future Past is the 7th film from this franchise. Bryan Singer directed the most popular first X-Men and X2. He left the franchise there and moved on to direct Superman Returns, Valkyrie and Jack the Giant Slayer. Now, he has come back to revive the franchise which saw a sort of redemption for itself with First Class. The manner in which Bryan Singer has made this film, it’s almost like he has stamped his authority all over this franchise saying that it is his and no one else’s.
This is the true revival of X-Men. The film almost feels like a tribute to all the good things the X-Men films represent. Also it is worth noting that, apart from the characters being similar to previous installments, there is a definite sense that we have to forget the X-Men films that released before X-Men: First Class for this film to work. The story feels more like Science Fiction involving people with superpowers. The moment time travel becomes a plot element, the stakes are raised with “What is happening where?” and “What would happen if that happened now?” type scenarios cropping up time and again. Also it eventually leads to plot holes that are filled only if one accepts the governing principles of time travel the film sketches out. So let’s just agree to agree with the film’s version of time travel.
In apocalyptic 2023, the Sentinels, which are robot like creatures with special powers created by Boliver Trask (Peter Dinklage) to detect and annihilate mutants are on the verge of wiping out all the X-Men. As a last ditch effort, the X-Men send back Wolverine/Logan (Hugh Jackman) to 1973 to stop the event that led to the creation of the Sentinels: Raven/Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) assassinating Trask. But the more challenging job for Wolverine is to get a reluctant young Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and young pessimistic Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to work together to save the future.
As far as the plot goes, it sounds simple enough, but the icing lies in the characters. This is as much a character oriented film as it is a superhero movie. We have considerable scenes showing a young drug addict? Charles Xavier, a morally conflicted Mystique, a determined cold-blooded Magneto and of course Wolverine who for the first time is out of his comfort zone as here he has to take up the role of mentor which is usually reserved for Xavier. There are plenty of action sequences including the show stopper scene involving the lighting fast QuickSilver (Wish I had seen more of him). We also get our fair share of the older versions of Charles Xavier(Patrick Stewart) and Magneto(Ian McKellan) along with Storm(Halle Berry) and other X-Men favorites.
Another interesting plot element used is the “past meets future” cultural clash. Of the cast, everyone appears to be in top form except Peter Dinklage who feels out of place (or maybe I can’t see him outside Westeros). In order to enjoy this rebooted franchise, its best to accept it the way we accept J.J. Abram’s Star Trek reboot. One issue needs to be addressed though: it feels like the movie is trying too hard to please viewers by cramming in as much nostalgia, action and character moments in its 140 minutes running time as possible resulting in it feeling too clever for a summer blockbuster film. It feels almost like it is aspiring to reach the levels reached by The Dark Knight Rises or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. I found that the best way to enjoy this film is to not think about any of the previous X-Men movies while watching it. Enjoy it for what it is. A passionate comeback for X-Men through the eyes of Bryan Singer who first bought these characters to life on celluloid.