X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Perhaps I’m just getting weary of superhero movies now, but it’s not just me, surely? Days of Future Past, while hardly being terrible (sorry, X-Men Origins: Wolverine), is not the equal even of its immediate predecessor, X-Men: First Class (2011, although I’m setting aside 2013’s The Wolverine). I had hope for Marvel movies after the surprisingly enjoyable Captain America: The Winter Soldier, but that was made by a different studio. By comparison, Days of Future Past just seems lazy and bloated. There’s an end-of-days apocalyptic plotline, including a thin excuse to bring together the different timelines (and their respective actors), but it’s no more compelling than Star Trek: Generations so many years before, another franchise to which Patrick Stewart has lent his considerable actorly gravitas. As with that franchise, here too it’s ultimately the younger generation who are more convincing and enjoyable in their roles, James McAvoy as Xavier and Michael Fassbender as Magneto nicely playing off one another, though Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine remains dependable across both timelines. There’s also an expanded role for Jennifer Lawrence, and it’s just as well she’s such a fine actor as she’s required to express plenty of fairly uninflected rage and caprice. Indeed, if there’s anything I’ll remember about Days of Future Past in years to come, it won’t be the special effects or the big setpieces or the now-canonical protracted final battle sequence, but the sense of so many very talented actors (those named above, along with a smaller role for Peter Dinklage, and poor Anna Paquin all but left on the cutting-room floor) being wasted on over-extended big-budget bloat.

X-Men: Days of Future Past film posterCREDITS
Director Bryan Singer; Writer Simon Kinberg (based on the Uncanny X-Men comic book storyline “Days of Future Past” by Chris Claremont and John Byrne); Cinematographer Newton Thomas Sigel; Starring Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage; Length 131 minutes.
Seen at Cineworld Shaftesbury Avenue, London, Thursday 22 May 2014.

7 thoughts on “X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

  1. I enjoyed the ride, but am not as big a fan of the movie as most bloggers seem to be. Nice refreshing review to see a different opinion.

  2. 131 minutes of bloat! I haven’t actually seen this (or Captain America 2, or Spider Man 2 for that matter) as I’ve been actively avoiding all things superhero for a while, but I expect I’ll check this one out at some point. Enjoyed reading though as this is the first ambivalent or negative review I’ve seen. And incidentally: couldn’t they have crammed another half-dozen characters on the poster above? There’s some wasted space in the top-left corner.

    1. I’m pretty sure I’ve heard other less positive opinions, but yes, I wanted to get a less gushing review out there. To be honest, 131 minutes isn’t as bloated as it could have been, given all the actors, and the denouement wasn’t even as tediously over-extended as, say, Avengers Assemble, but it didn’t really feel very interesting. I enjoyed the reboot with the younger actors, and was rather hoping for more of that…

  3. As regards your last sentence, it does have the distinction of having its four main female actresses comprised of three Oscar winners and an Oscar nominee! Though that’s by credit order, which I understand weights Anna Paquin for her original role rather than the 10 seconds which made it into the film.

    Apparently Kelsey Grammar’s similarly brief cameo was one that he was keen to make into a more meaty role, but that came to nothing due to his commitments to the most recent Transformer film. I’m not sure how seriously to take that claim, but if it’s true then possibly time to find a new agent – whatever you may think of this film, it is at least a place where acting is possible, unlike Michael Bay’s meatgrinder.

  4. A fun and exciting ride that reminded me exactly why I cared for this franchise in the first place. Let’s just hope that they keep the good graces up. Good review Ewan.


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