When I was 10 years old I arrived home to find a curious package sticking out of my letter box. The clunky battered brown item contained an X-Men video tape that I would watch over and over and over again.
Entertainment.ie’s Mike Sheridan gave me a blast from the past when he pointed out that the franchise was now 14 years old, but it was nothing compared to the wonderful nostalgia that Bryan Singer’s latest X-Men adventure offers up.
From opening sequence to closing crescendo, X-Men Days of Future Past proves that, in the words of Charles Xavier himself (albeit paraphrased) just because a franchise strays off the path, it doesn’t mean it can’t right itself.
Those who walked out of X-Men: The Last Stand feeling cheated will understand where he’s coming from.
DOFP sees the X-Men battling for survival in a post-apocalyptic future, where robot Sentinels reign supreme. The terrifying robots aim to eradicate every mutant and they’re doing a pretty good job. So, Professor X and the crew decide to send Logan (that’s Wolverine, obvs) back in time to stop Mystique from setting off a rather unfortunate series of events.
If you’ve read the comic you’ll get the picture.
Now we all know I wouldn’t ever class myself as a ‘film critic’ because I prefer to talk about movies in rather simple terms and there’s very little I can say about Days of Future Past that doesn’t involve spoiling the film but I’ll attempt to contain the fangirlish joy and explain why it’s worth paying in to see.
We kick off with a fierce X-citing (sorry) battle between some familiar and not-so familiar mutants and the seriously scary sentinels.
There’s no doubt but that these creations are seriously scary and what they do next will have cinema-goers glued to their seats. Who doesn’t love a villain who could possibly give you nightmares eh?
Try not to think about this while you’re watching: It won’t help.
Peter Dinklage’s determined Bolivar Trask just doesn’t compare to his creations and, to be honest, seems to serve as little more than a plot device. That said, the actor is a welcome addition to the cast and certainly makes his presence felt when he is on screen.
Speaking of welcome additions, it’s an absolute joy to see old friends Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen together again.
Having spent much of First Class (and indeed Days of Future Past) with Fassbender’s young bloodthirsty Magneto, it’s rather nice to see Sir Ian bring the villain’s tormented side back to the big screen.
That doesn’t mean Fassbender’s Erik isn’t fantastic though. He’s ditched the Kerry lilt this time around (boo-urns) and certainly channels McKellen from beginning to end but seems to have put his own, rather wonderful, stamp on the magnetic villain.
And while we’re on the subject of Magneto, we definitely need to talk about Evan Peter’s Quicksilver who definitely x-ceeded (can’t help myself) expectations.
They said he’d be terrible. They mocked him all over the internet. And then he went and stole the show in the film’s most enjoyable scene.
I’m not even slightly joking: The entire cinema applauded.
Major props to the writers for a wonderful yet subtle nod to his rather amusing parentage too.
Terrific time shifts, James McAvoy joy, and a cutesy performance from Nicholas Hoult warrant honourable mentions, as does Jennifer Lawrence’s transformation into the Mystique we know and love.
I couldn’t help but wonder if JLaw would quite simply be too JLaw for the role but Rebecca Romijn’s gloriously twisted character is in safe hands. Even if I still prefer her original incarnation.
So, is X-Men Days of Future Past worth a trip to the cinema? Well, if you haven’t figured out the answer to that question yet, let me spell it out for you: Y-E-S.
It may lag a little in the middle and some scenes could probably have been dumped on the cutting room floor but the final five to ten minutes more than make up for that minor indiscretion.
Somebody call Conchita Wurst: She ain’t the only one rising like a phoenix this summer.