X-Men: Days of Future Past seems to have taken a very long time to come to the cinema, rather like Mr Peabody and Sherman, although this time not quite as long. Normally, films only take around 3-4 months to reach the home market, but while this one was released in time for the late May bank holiday in the cinema, I can understand why they waited for the Christmas market to release it to buy.
It is the second in what will no doubt end up as a trilogy of ‘young X-Men’ films, where the younger roles of the two lead characters are played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, and here they’re referred to as Charles Xavier and Erik Lensherr, rather than Professor X and Magneto, who the cast list reminds us are played by Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen, and you may indeed need reminding of that because it feels like they’re only in it for five minutes when the trailer made it feel like they’d have much bigger roles.
Erik is in prison for a crime he didn’t commit. Despised by the government, like Erik, if you have a problem, if no-one else can help, and if you can find them, maybe you can hire the X-Team.
Yes, the current existence for the X-Men is in turmoil because a group of what looks like flying USB hard drives are heading to X-Men Towers to dispense baddies and wipe out all the good guys one by one. It turns out that it all stems back to a time in 1973 when Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) created a group of robot-like creatures called Sentinels who would tower over most buildings in any city and so come across like a “sledgehammer to crack a nut” response to improving upon policing the place, yet obviously their purpose is far bigger than that.
But how to stop them, then? Well, Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) is able to send anyone back in time, but only by a matter of days, rather than several decades. The man, or rather mutant, picked for the task is Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) who does go back in time – in spirit, yet he’s still there as a physical presence because he’s been transported back into his own body in 1973 and no-one notices because he doesn’t age (never mind the fact that his 1973 existence has to go somewhere in its place, but that’s the point where I stopped quite understanding how that was all meant to be working – to seek out Charles, get him to find a way to pull Erik out of chokey, and then instead of working against each other, he wants the two to work *with* each other to defeat evil and restore peace etc.
How does he convince them once he gets there? He tells them what we’ve already learned at the start – it was their idea!
There’s a consistent storyline to this latest movie in the X-Men franchise, as well as a reason for Wolverine to go back into the past, but there’s a lot of pontificating from time to time, while other entries in the series would be getting on with some action, so it’s let the side down a bit there.
Also, while X-Men: Days of Future Past is the first in the series to be presented in 3D – and is also shot in 3D – I went with the 2D version at the cinema for two reasons. (A) – I can get cheap tickets for the Odeon, but they’re 2D-only, so I would be laying out a sizeable sum for a 3D screening, and (B) – I’ll go and see a 3D film if I think I’m going to get the benefit from it, and in this case, the trailer didn’t appear to demand it. On originally watching the film, I could only think of one scene which would benefit from it – Quicksilver’s kitchen scene in the Penatagon. The rest just looked like you’d only get a basic effect of 3D, which is the sort you’d get from natural perspective anyway.
Now, watching the 3D Blu-ray, while that scene certainly did benefit, as well as one with a bullet being tracked through the air, a lot of the 3D effect in the rest of the film ends up looking ‘cardboard cut-out’. I think this is because the background is often green-screen and it just hasn’t been blended in with the foreground as it should, and for this film it feels like 2D is the better option in the main.
Go to page 2 for more thoughts on the film, plus the package’s presentation and the extras.
Reviewer of movies, videogames and music since 1994. Aortic valve operation survivor from the same year. Running DVDfever.co.uk since 2000. Nobel Peace Prize winner 2021.