Friday, May 23, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Movie Review

Jennifer Lawrence stars in X-Men: Days of Future Past
Out with the Old, In with the New

Given a choice between less and more, I'll take less (almost every time.) Notable exceptions include breakfast, lunch and dinner at Roy Rogers, beautiful women and vacation days. Meanwhile, director Bryan Singer aims for the exact opposite in X-Men: Days of Future Past, squeezing this, that and the other into 131 minutes of valuable screen time. Despite moments of confusion, déjà vu and seemingly endless cameos (everyone but January Jones) Singer's return to the franchise is a triumphant one, bathed in cool action, plenty of humor and waterbeds. It doesn't quite equal Matthew Vaughn's X-Men: First Class; but it's plenty good enough to replace Captain America: The Winter Soldier as this year's top blockbuster (so far.)

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: The ultimate X-Men ensemble fights a war for the survival of the species across two time periods in X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST. The beloved characters from the original "X-Men" film trilogy join forces with their younger selves from the past, "X-Men: First Class," in order to change a major historical event and fight in an epic battle that could save our future.

What’s Best: Kudos to Michael Fassbender, Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence for "dancing their buns off" on an overcrowded dance floor. Lawrence out-Wolverines Jackman, kicking butt with reckless abandon; and almost single-handedly keeping the movie afloat early on. As for Jackman, there's a reason he's in every X-Men movie (including two of his own.) Nobody steals the screen from Hugh Jackman. Nobody. Fassbender continues to shine as Magneto, even when asked to deliver RFK Stadium to a new address. It's too bad X-Men VII couldn't take place solely in 1973... Why bother rebooting, if you're going to marry old and new later on?

What’s Not: The Matrix, Star Trek Generations and The Terminator... Days of Future Past copies all three with no apologies. Screenwriter Simon Kinberg & co. must be mighty naive, if they think no one will notice the obvious similarities (Sentinels... can't you at least change the name?) As for jumping in and out of portals (courtesy of Fan Bingbing's Blink) a thousand times? Once again, less is more: Marvel movies should never be this hard to follow or understand. Toss in a jive ending, and an alarming number of needless cameos; and it's a wonder I still managed to like it so much.

Best Line: Logan's 'Peaceful thoughts' notwithstanding, it's impossible to trump Mystique's pillow talk with a Vietnamese general. 'I speak many tongues,' coos Raven, to which General Nhaun (Thai-Hoa Le) can only reply, 'Show me more, Baby. Clothes off.' Careful what you wish for, General. Honorable mention goes to Logan for asking Magneto, 'You wanna pick all that shit up?' after making a mess on an airplane.

Overall: I should have included him in What's Best, but he disappears from the movie just as fast as he enters it. Evan Peters absolutely thrills as Quicksilver, the ultimate Get Out of Jail Free card. His turn reminded me of the brilliant debut by Alan Cumming as Nightcrawler in 2003's X2, only with laughs to boot. It also cinched Days of Future Past's ultimate grade of B+. To be frank, this movie deserves a B; but the good parts are spectacular, and spectacular doesn't come around all that often... especially in a summer blockbuster. Hopefully, Singer will bid farewell to the old, once and for all; and turn his attention to the new X-Men in the upcoming X-Men: Apocalypse. After two great showings, they've certainly earned it.

Grade: B+