I recently re-read the two issues of X-Men that together tell the original story of Days of Future Past. It was a big hit at the time, preceding Terminator by a few years. The story in the books is somewhat different than the movie but much is the same. The focus is different--mostly on Xavier, Magneto and Raven/Mystique. But that makes sense both because it is a sequel to First Class and if you have one of the hottest actors, Fassbender, and the hottest actress--Jennifer Lawrence. The outcome is also different. The comic books tend to suggest that the future was uncertain but probably still quite dark, and subsequent arcs make that pretty clear as well. The movie? The future is so bright someone has to wear shades (more on that below). Kitty Pryde takes the place of Rachel (Summers)--with her new power of sending consciousnesses back in time. More Ellen Page is good, but she could not do much in this version alas. Everyone still dies in the future... The sentinels in the future are amazing, and the classic ones, with their purple, are quite true to the comic books.
I was so sucked into the movie, I didn't recognize the scenes shot on campus at McGill. Perhaps the next time I see it. The best parts?
- Every scene with Quicksilver, of course. Folks were very concerned beforehand of how this character would be portrayed. It was perhaps the best depiction of a super-fast person. This raises the bar just a bit for the CW Flash show starting in the fall.
- It was not as Wolverine centric as some folks feared, but it was nice to see some touches where Wolvie reacts to being pre-adamantium.
- Magneto's plan to put metal into the 70's sentinels, just like Mystique put metal into the bloodstream of Magneto's guard in X-2. Much smarter than destroying him. Indeed, the perfect plan would have simply had the Sentinels attack humans at the ceremony, discrediting the program, but that is not Magneto's way. He must grandstand, speechify and then drop some grandstands on the White House lawn. Very true to the Magneto we know from the comic books and from the non-first class movies.
- Anytime Mystique fights.
- The future X-Men fighting well as a team. The scenes of the present day lacked that special team-ish ness.
- Whiny Xavier. So, his boyfriend and his sister left him. That leads to a decade long stupor? Very different from the comic books, of course. What snaps him out of it in the reality where Wolvie does not come back in time?
- The ending with Wolvie and Mystique. Just not clear enough about what is happening there.
- JFK was a mutant? Not so sure about that. What was his power? Seducing women? Does that make Clinton a mutant, too? And if JFK was a mutant, does that mean RFK was one too?
- Nixon. I actually liked the depiction of Nixon, but always strange to see him or any real historical figure in an X-movie.
That it erases much of X-3 will be liked by many. I don't mind the time travel erasing old canon stuff here as much as in the new Star Trek movies because the comic books always took quite seriously the challenges of time travel. And it was not just an excuse to erase the canon to free up the new movies.
Oh, and if you did not understand the stuff at the end of the credits, you are not alone. But it is a reference to Apocalypse and his Four Horsemen. Which leads me to say yuck. I am not a fan of that character or the arcs in related to him.
Anyhow, this X-movie exceeded my expectations, with many chances to go off the rails. They made changes that I did not always like, but came together in ways that made a very engaging movie.