Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Days Of Future Past Movie Review by Special Guest: Stevie B!

Editor's Note: Today's post is from my friend Stevie B! One of the hosts of Nerds of the Apocalypse podcasts (as well as several other podcasts to which you will find links below.) As I've been unable to see Days of Future Past this weekend, I asked Stevie B to help me out with a review of the movie.
Warning, this review has spoilers, so if you haven't seen it yet, you might want to come back after you have. Now with that disclaimer out of the way, let's see what Stevie thought of the movie. - Jim

My first blog post! Go easy on me! Jim and I decided the best thing to do would be for me to tackle an X-Men: Days of Future past review. I was trying to decide the best way to go about it and I came to the conclusion that it would be best to just do an open forum with some key points and then a final thought. So here I go!

X-Men: DOFP, in my eyes, was Fox’s attempt to put right what once went wrong. They, mostly, succeeded with this.

First, let’s talk story. It had its differences with the classic Claremont and Byrne story, but still kept the fundamental points. There’s a desolate future where only a few X-Men are left and on the run from Sentinels. Some we’ve seen, some we haven’t. Blink, honestly, stole the show for me in the future sequences. I’ll get to her more in a moment. Mystique murders Bolivar Trask alone instead of Senator Kelly with The Brotherhood of Mutants.  Apparently, the newly formed Brotherhood we saw at the end of First Class has already been disbanded and Magneto imprisoned. I did enjoy the use of Trask. It really worked for the story being told but, I also missed Kelly. I think he was underused and killed off too quickly in the first X-men movies. Kitty Pryde still has a lot do with saving the future but, she projects the consciousness of other mutants back in time, not hers. Enter: The Wolverine. Of course, we need him for this movie to be successful!   That was my initial thought as well but, it was great to see The Wolverine from-old mixed with those that are left from First Class. I ended up enjoying that choice over Pryde.

This was a period piece; but not as much as First Class.  Once Wolverine wakes up in the 70’s, I got a big terminator vibe which lasted long enough for it not to be annoying. We, quickly, find Xavier and Beast alone in the mansion. As in the Brotherhood, Xavier’s X-Men, who started in FC, is also in shambles and Xavier is in a very Dark Knight Rises Bruce Wayne like depression. The classic, “I’m drinking my woes away, leave me alone!” kind of way. He is, also, walking and Beast is not blue. This is quickly explained by a serum that Beast created. Of course, the serum allows Xavier to walk but he loses the ability to use his X-Gene.

After this, the movie changed for me. I was expecting to see a “get the band back together movie” but that didn’t happen, and honestly it was a bit refreshing. Wolverine enlists Quicksilver to help break Magneto out of prison, but this is all we see of him. This was his only part of the movie. Which was really disappointing. He ended up being one of my favorite characters in the film.

Magneto, in Magneto fashion, turns on everyone shortly after joining up and it becomes a “how do we convince Mystique to do the right thing” story, while Magneto tries to kill her: His absolute way of stopping the Future events. If she dies, the future sentinels (which are powered by a technology learned from Mystique’s X-gene) can never be built. They are so devastating because they can learn mutants’ ability and use them in battle. The initial assassination was thwarted, but Mystique was still hell bent on revenge killing Trask. She learned about the death of many of the throw away mutants from First Class at his hands. I thought this to be understandable motivation. It worked for me.

With the events that Trask avoided, this convinced the President to push forward his Six Sentinels that he’s already built, that Magneto takes control of simply by injecting metal into them. Trask built them with… well, I don’t remember, but not metal! The movie concludes with a gigantic fight on the lawn of the White House, and the future X-Men fighting the future sentinels. Unfortunately, the White House scenes where my least favorite parts of the movie. I was expecting a huge drag out fight with the Sentinels; instead, Magneto is in control of them using them against humans. This, to me, was more about character than action. Xavier has his powers back. He had a redemption talk with his older self through Wolverine to become the Xavier we all know and love. He’s using his new found old abilities on Mystique who, at the end, sees things his way. She stops Magneto and shows the world that Mutants really can be good! They allow Magneto to leave, which pondered me. He put out a message for other mutants to join him; so hopefully we will the see the development of that later. 

The final scenes were probably the best. Wolverine wakes up in the “new future” where some amazing cameos are made. The best being the return of James Marsden as Cyclops! This says to me, “Sorry about X-Men 3, we will try to do better”. The movie ends with a post credits scene of the upcoming Apocalypse movie which looked really cool. My final thoughts about the story soon, but first, my favorite mutants!

I decided to add this because there really was some impressive new mutants in this movie.

Let’s start with Blink, one of the Future Mutants

Her portal powers where used so well on her own and in unison with the other X-Men! It was a delight to watch.

Then, we have Quicksilver.

When I first saw this getup, I thought the same thing you probably did. WHAT A JOKE! How pleasantly surprised was I to find out that he actually stole the show. He was by far my favorite character in the movie. My only issue is that he wasn’t in more of it. But, honestly, if he was in the rest of the movie wouldn’t have needed to take place. With his power set, he could have easily completed the goals the other cast members struggled so hard with. I really, really hope we see more of him in future movies. There was even a backwards mention of Magneto being his father. Which is something I thought they were going to shy away from in this flick, but it seems they gave us a tease and are shelving it for another time.

I thought it would be fun to do a quick “things I liked and didn’t like” section.

Things I liked:

The future scenes where great. The old cast actually had me reminiscing on the old movies and were, actually, put together really well. The new mutants where all unique and fun. Seeing Bishop, as well, was a delight.

As I said before, Quicksilver was one of the best parts of the movie. I still think it sounds crazy when I say it out loud.

The last ten minutes of the movie, when Wolverine wakes up and is in the new timeline, there was a sense of relief. Everyone is back.  Everyone is fine; and we can finally look forward to something that won’t have anything to do with Last Stand.

Things I didn’t like:

The past sentinels. I didn’t really like their design. I was, also, raised in the nineties so my first introduction to the sentinels was this:

And what I got was this:

This may just me being nitpicky, but I just wasn’t into it.

The final fight in the 70’s portion of the movie was kind of a miss for me, as well. I sort of expected an epic mutant/sentinel showdown (which we did get in the future portion of the movie), but that culminated with all the future mutants being destroyed. I have to be honest, though, my biggest let down from those scenes was Wolverine. He doesn’t have his metal claws in the 70’s, so we have a bone-clawed Wolverine the entire time. So when it comes down to fighting the sentinels, he can’t cut through them. Which is something I was really looking forward to. In this Days of Future Past, wolverine centric movie, he doesn’t tear a sentinel apart with his claws. What?

Final Thought:

Days of Future Past is a step up from what we’ve seen in the past few iterations of the X- movies. I, almost, feel like a full reboot after First Class was planned, but then they decided to mix the universes and kept only the major Characters. This movie was a great way to erase the terrible that has come before it. There were some last stand flashbacks and this movie acted like Origins Wolverine never existed. As do most of us. I really liked this movie: I did not love it. My biggest let down was that Magneto was by himself. I do like the group of out- for- themselves mutants. Some people may take that as a plus, though.  This was not the typical X-men movie. There was no one side of mutants VS the other. Just misguided Mystique and classic destroy- all- humans Magneto. It’s exciting to see where things go from here. The sky is the limit and I think that was the point. We have no idea what has happened in this new timeline.

I’ll end with an analogy with the viewer’s being young Xavier and Fox being the old. Old Xavier, at one point, is able to communicate with young Xavier and asks him to hope again. And just like young Xavier, I am hoping again.

- Stevie B

Thank you Stevie for that excellent review!

You can hear more from Stevie B by checking out out Nerds Of the Apocalypse here:

Stevie B's personal Twitter @stevieb5986
You can also find them on iTunes by searching for Nerds of the apocalypse. 

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