Time travel can be awesome. Marty McFly did it in a frickin’ DeLorien, whilst some drunk American’s did it in a hot tub, of all things. What we have learned from time travel movies is that a) it’s fun, and b) it can get really confusing. Usually, A overcomes B, and as long as we’re having a good time we can overlook a little confusion, mainly because the whole thing is impossible anyway.
“X-Men: days Of Future Past” is inspired by/based on a two part comic story from the Eighties by Chris Claremont (who cameos as a senator here), often seen as one of the finest X-Men stories of all time, proving you don’t need fifty seven issue crossover bobbins with foil covers to get your point across. In the original, there’s a nasty future where mutants have been systematically wiped out by giant robot Sentinels, with the whole mess being traced to a single assassination of a senator in Magneto and his minions. Kitty Pryde (Shadowkat/Sprite/etc) has her mind sent back in time to her younger self so she can thwart Magneto’s plans and save the future.
The new version is set some years after the events of “X Men: First Class”, with Vietnam a very pertinent part of the background. Xavier has not been at his best since Magneto crippled him, and with most of his students drafted he’s fallen into a bit of a blue funk. Meanwhile, genius and general mutant hater Bolivar Trask is trying to get congress to approve the funding for his mutant hunting Sentinel robots. Even more meanwhile, we see fifty years into the future, where the last few mutants are struggling to stop themselves being obliterated by, you guessed it, mutant hunting Sentinels. Holy time travel plot, Batman!
The film takes this basic idea from the comics, expands on it, twists it several times and runs with it. Someone has to be sent back to try and change the pivotal point from the past, and only has a limited time to do it, but as to who (although I’m sure you already know) and what it is, I’ll remain spoiler free because I may be a bastard but I’m not a fucking bastard (name the film).
There has been a few moans that this is a confusing time travel film, but I didn’t feel so, as long as you just go along with the rules as set out by the writers. Because there is no such thing as time travel, everyone has their own rules. What it is, is a strong, character driven film that is not afraid to have way more dialogue then action, although when the action comes it’s beautifully handled and often frenetic. There’s an expanded cast of future X-Men that will delight comic fans, whilst most of the alumni from “X-Men: First Class” are discarded in favour of a small group. Not surprisingly, Hugh Jackman stands out a mile as Wolverine. The performances are boosted by some incredibly good special effects and camerawork, with director Bryan Singer creating a well structured and well shot narrative throughout.
“X-Men: Days Of Future Past” is a definite success. The return to the franchise of Bryan Singer is a blessing, as he handles multiple character drama so well. Unlike the recent Woverine film there is a lot of respect given to the comics it is based on, even if they have been adapted to fit the cinematic universe, and the result is a smart, well made, interesting addition to the franchise. Like “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” it’s essentially a period piece, and whilst I prefer the former this will certainly sit in the upper ecelons of any list detailing the best Superhero films to date.