Remember the 90s when the X-Men cartoons were all the rage? Entrenched into episodes which always seemed to have good plots and intriguing characters. Two such episodes were known as Days of Future Past 1 and 2. The episodes featured a brief glimpse into possible dystopian future where mutants were detained or hunted and killed. The viewers were also introduced to the future X-Men, what was left of them anyways. Bishop travels to the past to stop an assassination. While the assassination is stopped the future is still a dystopia.
There have been many great X-Men incarnations that were birthed outside of the comic world. In 2000 the world became acquainted with the X-Men film series, which had highs, and unfortunately lows. As the series fell into disarray, a “new” series came onto the scene. X-Men: First Class (2011) sought to initially create a new series. However something far more ambitious was spawned instead. The idea being to pair the new younger X-Men from First Class with the X-Men from the original film series. The old and new came together to formulate X-Men: Days of Future Past, directed by Bryan Singer. For starters it does deviate from both the comic and animated series of the Days of Future Past story.
While many people may think that Days of Future Past tells one story, in reality it tells three. The main plot being that Wolverine is sent into the past to reunited the X-men in order to stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask, which in turn is thought to prevent certain events that will usher in the creation of the Sentinels. As this is occurring the future X-Men, from the original series, are hold up at a temple and as a result are forced into what likely their final battle for survival against a huge Sentinel force. Lastly the final subplot revolves around the past X-Men trying to stop Magneto from from killing the president of America.
Unlike the last few X-Men movies DOFP is able to balance itself nicely. There isn’t too much comedy distracting from the story, instead we get lots of references to elements from the X-men comic lore as well as references to the original X-Men film series and their rebooted counter parts. One such reference being that Magneto is Quicksilver’s father, which is executed in a subtly comic conversation between Magneto and Quicksilver. Another is Wolverine passing through a metal detector, in which Logan is surprised that the alarm has not went off being that he has bone claws. As he likely is accustomed to alarms going off, due to his Adamantium coated skeleton. Theres also a reference to Stryker having a kid, who later appears in X2.
As the story begins in the future we are shown a setting that beyond hopeless. Mutant extinction is a very tangible reality, oppression and genocide are fact. This is the world of future. The last mutants alive have banded together, with no real solution of a brighter future. Seeing every mutant’s power in action is visually appealing. Ice Man’s powers are a fond reminder of the og X-Men films. Although Blink’s powers are the most stunning to watch in action. With every portal she opens you may find yourself trying to keep up with the action. The sentinels are also an interesting antagonist, as they’re much more high tech then their original forefathers. With every X Man slain you can feel a bit of fear creeping into your body, thats how terrorizing the sentinels are versus the comics/cartoons. As a result theres a bit of a struggle, as you know the X-Men can’t stave off their robotic tormentors for very long. Despite this seemingly hopeless revelation, you still have to root for the X-Men going down with dignity. The situation is further dramatized when Logan is sent into the past, through Kitty’s powers.
In 1973 Wolverine awakens with his mission clearly laid out, uniting the X-Men and stopping Mystique from killing Trask. Much of the drama is played out in this part of the story. While Charles is still very angry at Magnus, and vice versa, they still miss their friendship and try to understand one another. The hatchet is buried, though not fully. While both mutants understand what will happen in the future, each one has a differing way they want to avert the distant atrocities to come. Things are further complicated with Mystique as she has not killed anyone in her life, but is dead set on Killing Trask. She still leans towards Magnus’ ideals, however Mystique ultimately must find where she stand philosophically. Magnus tries to kill her, which causes a big stir among the world and leads to the premature birth of the Sentinels, which are less hi-tech. This also detracts from Trask being the main antagonist. Trask himself is a bit odd, as he doesn’t seem to hate mutants, but rather sees them as a solution to humanity’s division. His master plan is basically to use mutants as a catalyst for fear, which would lead to world unity.
Nearing the end of the end of the film Charles is actually able to communicate to his future self, through using Logan’s mind as a proxy. He has an epiphany that Raven (Mystique) must be able to make her own choices in life, instead of himself or Magnus trying to guide her. Charles is able to set aside his romantic feelings for Raven in order to finish the mission. In an awe shocking scene Magnus seals off the White House by using a huge stadium as a makeshift barrier, as well as gaining control of the Sentinels. Charles manages to subdue Magnus and convinces Raven not to kill Trask. Thus saving the future. Charles then proceeds to let Raven and Magnus flee, through each takes a separate path. While Beast questions whether they should be let go, Charles is hopeful that they will all be united one day.
Back in the future the X-Men are being slaughtered by the Sentinels, as a huge convoy descends upon the temple where they make a final stand. Eventually all the mutants guarding the door are killed. The Sentinels begin breaking down the door, Magnus tries one last tactic to hold them off, Ice Man is killed tying to stop them. The end is finally here and the Sentinels prepare to deal a death blow to Charles, Magnus, Logan, and Kitty. Since the past was changed, the future begins to change as well.
In a now alternate future Logan awakens in the X Mansion with his memories intact. No one recalls the Sentinels or his mission to avert their original dystopian future. Although this raises more questions as some mutants who were dead in the og X-Men films are alive. Particularly Jean and Scott, something to note is that they don’t act like a couple. Logan proceeds to ask Charles in helping him recall events following 1973, Charles knowing why happily does so. What follows is a prelude to the next X-Men film. Overall the X-Men: Day of Future Past does everything it needs to be a successful film. While some people might fret over small congruity issues, the movie hits most marks. Particularly in uniting the X-Men reboot series and the original series. Fans on both sides of the spectrum will be very pleased. The dystopian future in particular is very intriguing, because you really feel the plight and hopelessness of the mutants. The story moves fairly quickly and able to keep the audience’s attention, but alternating between the Future and Past X-Men teams. Moreover we get to understand more about Charles, Magnus, and Mystique. specifically their strained relationships to one another. Likewise Logan feels a great pressure to be a teacher instead of just a soldier or weapon. Action, drama, and an engrossing story make up X-Men: Days of Future Past. Its definitely a movie you can more than once. If you don’t watch it in theaters, you should go and rent it, you won’t be disappointed.