Title: X-Men:Days Of Future Past
Director: Bryan Singer
Major Players: Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen
Out of Five: 3
My quest to understand the appeal of Marvel movies continues, this time with the seventh in the X-Men franchise, X-Men:Days Of Future Past. And, while I’d be the first to admit that my knowledge of the previous films will be somewhat lacking, I’m struggling to understand what all the fuss is about.
The younger and older versions of both Magneto (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen) and Professor X (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) are all brought together for the first time in the ultimate battle – so far – to save the mutants. In the future, they’re under constant attack from mutant destroying robots called Sentinels and their prospects are looking slim. They have one chance for survival: change the course of history in the 1970s that brought about the creation of their deadly enemies. And that job goes to Wolverine (Hugh Jackman).
Sound familiar? OK, take away the robots and the mutants and what have you got left? Going back in time to change the future – or, put more succinctly, Back To The Future. There’s no DeLorean, admittedly, but the echo is most definitely there.
Anyway, back to the mutants. There is a sixth one alongside the five I’ve already mentioned, and that’s a resplendently blue Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique. She’s actually the key to the whole problem. In 1972, she kills the inventor of the Sentinels but is subsequently captured, tortured and her DNA used to make the mutant destroyers a reality. All Wolverine, and the younger versions of Magneto and Professor X, have to do is stop her from pulling the trigger. Easier said than done.
It’s a refreshing change to see a female character in such a pivotal role. But then the film lets itself down by leaving all the other female mutants languish on the sidelines, with precious little to do. Before the film was released, there was much debate as to whether Rogue (Anna Paquin) would end up on the cutting room floor. She didn’t, but I only managed to spot her once. Storm (Halle Berry) sees off a couple of Sentinels and that’s about her lot and Kitty (Ellen Page) spends almost the entire film with her hands on either side of Wolverine’s head so that he can go back in time.
There’s a couple of new arrivals but they don’t fare much better. Like all the others, they’re defined by their individual super power. So Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is lightning fast. End of. And Blink (Fan Bingbing) can create different portals in time and location, which is a neat trick when up against the Sentinels. But she only crops up at the start and end of the film and all she does is open up and close those portals. Wouldn’t they have been useful for Wolverine on his time travels?
It’s actually the opening scenes and the climax of the film that are the most exciting. At the start, we get a loud, fast ‘n’ furious battle between the mutants and Sentinels, which kicks off the film in style. The climax involves the younger Magneto making the most of his metal fetish by transplanting an entire baseball stadium to surround the White House, thereby trapping President Nixon and his cohorts, while taking over control of the prototype Sentinels. It’s genuinely spectacular.
If only the rest of the film had a tenth of its impact. As it is, it’s competent and routine, but certainly nothing out of the ordinary. The whole thing left me underwhelmed. The arms on my seat remained intact and so did the colour of my knuckles.
X may hit the spot for the legions of fans but, for me, it was wide of the mark.
X-Men:Days Of Future Past is released around the UK on Thursday, 22 May.