Wednesday, 18 May 2016

X-Men: Days of Future Past Review – The point of no return

In an attempt to regain control of the writhing X-Men money machine, Fox brought back Bryan Singer (director of the first, and best, two franchise instalments). Together with screenwriter, Simon Kinberg – and X-Men: First Class scribes, Jane Goldman and Matthew Vaughn, on story duties – Singer provides a final contortion to the already tortured X-Men timeline with X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Image courtesy of Fat Movie Guy.

In the future, evil Sentinels patrol the skies finishing off any rogue mutants. Our future team (Patrick Stewart’s Xavier, Ian McKellan’s Magneto and Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine etc.) have just about survived thanks to a time travel-based warning system. However, the only way to solve this problem for good is to send Wolverine back in time to stop the Sentinels from ever being created. So back he goes to meet up with the past team (James McAvoy’s Xavier, Michael Fassbender’s Magneto and Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique etc.) and get the job done before the Sentinels find the future team and end mutant-kind for good. Yeah, that’s the kind of plotting we’re dealing with here…

The impressive assembled cast outmatch pretty much every blockbuster in recent memory, and they all deliver solid performances without any of them ever really shining. Unfortunately, the conglomerate consumes each individual character, leaving the cast to function as an indistinctive, albeit highly efficient, whole.

But, it’s okay, I guess, because we’ll see most of these actors in the freshly released (and poorly received) X-Men: Apocalypse. But, characters like Peter Dinklage’s moustachioed villain, Boliver Trask (great name, right?), are left utterly wasted and lost in the swirling mess of plot lines and exposition-less action.

Even as someone who’d seen four of the six X-Men movies leading up to this, I was utterly baffled by the action onscreen. But, I knew that everything would be fine in the end… because, hey, it’s a comic book movie and that’s how comic book movies work.

Unless Singer has performed miracles with Apocalypse, I fear that Days of Future Past has taken the entire X-Men franchise beyond the point of no return. Convolution after laboured convolution has driven these movies into the ground.

★★