After a semi-historically long hiatus from seeing live-action movies in the theater, I knocked out my two most anticipated movies of the summer in a four day stretch. Up to this point, the only movies I'd seen in theaters this year were Frozen (twice, actually) and The Lego Movie. January through April is generally home to the doldrums of wide-release filmmaking anyways, so I don't feel like I missed a whole lot. Agree?
When I was a kid, very few television shows entertained me the way that X-Men did. I've been a fanboy for a long time (not the kid that read every comic book ever, mind you), so I try to view each X-Men movie as objectively as possible. Objectively speaking, the Wolverine spin off movies aren't very good, however, I have really enjoyed, not all to the same level, every pure X-Men movie thus far. They really started the whole wave of comic book films that (unfortunately) has overflowed today's cinema-scape. Before X-Men, the old school Batman and Superman films were about it. Director Bryan Singer came along with a bold new vision for the X-Men, and it became one of the best-reviewed movies in 2000.
Singer is back to direct the “sequel” to X-Men: First Class - X-Men: Days of Future Past. This time around, the mutants are once again on the brink of extinction. Set in the distant future, a small team of X-Men are barely able to continue outrunning advanced machines that are wiping out mutant kind. A plan is hatched to essentially go back in time to change a major historical event that could alter reality and prevent the machines from ever being created.
You tracking? Anytime you mess with time travel things get sticky; take the title “days of future past” as your easiest example. Again, to be fair: are there some unexplained plot holes? Yes. Does everything transition together perfectly? No. With a lesser director and a lesser cast, this could prove to be a fatal issue in the narrative.
What we have, however, is a proven director and a cast that includes (hold your breath) Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Ellen Page, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Peter Dinklage, and Jennifer freakin' Lawrence, among others.
Singer is able to weave together an action-packed, suspenseful race against time that is laced with plenty of signature X-Men fun, witty humor, and the depth of characters we know and love in order to keep the whole engine running smoothly. Our heroes are forced to hold out history in their hands, deciding whether they'll give in to their personal demons or make sacrifices for a higher cause.
It's the humanity of the mutants that makes them so appealing, and Singer hones in on that with ease. It's a big part of what made the franchise a hit in the first place.
Get your summer movie season off to a great start by seeing a movie that reminded me of why I love heading to the cinema so much. I'll leave you with this quote from Professor Charles Xavier:
“The greatest gift we have is to bear their pain without breaking, and it comes from your most human part – hope.”