'X-Men: Days of Future Past' a confusing title, phenomenal movie

By Garrett Strother
Entertainment Editor

The latest installment of the X-Men franchise ties together 2011’s 60’s-set “X-Men: First Class” and the original modern day trilogy, while wisely choosing to almost wholly ignore the train wrecks that were “The Wolverine” and “X-Men Origins: Wolverine.”

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” does this by introducing us first to a not-too-distant war-ravaged Earth where adapting machines called Sentinels have only one objective, to destroy all mutants (or superheroes, as normal people call them). Here we have the Future part in Days of Future Past, where the filmmakers really hoped everybody in the audience is too young to have ever seen Terminator 2: Judgment Day.

The future is merely action for the sake of action, and is full of hollow drama and cliche after cliche. The movie finally kicks off when we get into the past, more specifically 1973, where Wolverine has been sent to stop the Sentinels from declaring war on the mutants. In order to do this he will have to reunite the very people who sent him back who back in the 70’s were sworn enemies: Magneto and Professor Xavier.

All of this is merely the first 15 minutes of the movie, and it gives the audience very little room to breathe. Eventually, however, things slow down back in the 70’s and we get to really dive into a few key characters. Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine is the character we follow predominantly, but he delivers more exposition than actual character development. He is a bone-clawed plot device.

The film’s biggest strength is its phenomenal performances from the rest of the 70’s ensemble, most of whom are returning from the previous and best X-Men installment, First Class. James McAvoy shines as young Professor X who has truly gone off the deep end, contrasting well with the now cold and calculating performance from Michael Fassbender as young Magneto, who has emotionally matured and become even more ruthless since First Class. The medium between the two is Jennifer Lawrence’s incredibly nuanced performance as Mystique, a blue shape shifting mutant who is torn between protecting herself from humans and trying to make peace with them.

But there are two true standouts in the movie. Peter Dinklage plays the inventor of the Sentinels, and the extremely talented actor steals every scene he is in despite his secondary role. The other is mutant Quicksilver, who is new to the big screen. Aaron-Taylor Johnson will be taking the character for a spin in 2015’s non-X-Men affiliated Avengers sequel Age of Ultron, but he will have a hard time following up Evan Peters’ hilarious 70’s punk interpretation. Quicksilver is faster than everybody else, and he definitely knows it. His smugness and superiority somehow keep the character likeable, and when we finally see the world from his perspective we get a slow-motion bullet-themed sequence that puts even the Matrix to shame.

The plot of movie, while crowded, is engaging and thought-provoking, especially when keeping in mind the gay rights overtones director Bryan Singer has woven throughout the franchise. The time travel is simplistic but needs to be to keep the movie flowing. If you don’t like the series, this movie could definitely change your opinion. All of the movie’s parts, while dragged down by the melodrama of the future scenes, work together well to create a morally complex, surprisingly cohesive storyline and the best X-Men movie to date. Just don’t think about the title too hard, you won’t get anywhere.