Movie Review: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’

X-Men: Days of Future Past Press Conference
Hugh Jackmen, Michael Fassbender, and James McAvoy in ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ (Photo by Alan Markfield © 2013 Marvel, Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation)

Four letter word. Four letter word. Four letter word. Four letter word. Yeah, I thought about going for the actual profanity but while the nerd rage inside of me wants to just press the caps lock key and go to town, somehow after giving it a night to think over, I’m not going to let X-Men: Days of Future Past get the better of me … anymore than it already has.

Now, if you’ve read my review of X-Men: First Class, you probably know I haven’t warmed to Twentieth Century Fox’s ideas about how to bring the characters from the comic book to the screen (basically it’s been largely a heaping pile of bullshit). As such, before you go flying off the handle, I’m going to reiterate something I try to be very clear about: I’m watching X-Men films through the eyes of a comic book fan whose FAVORITE comic book is The Uncanny X-Men.

As such, I’ve watched as character after character within my beloved comic has been given horrifically terrible treatment; whether it’s in the official X-Men films or in any of the solo spin-offs that also crush my soul more often than not. The core stories which are the basis of these “scripts” are also victimized throughout this film franchise. Any X-fan can probably give you a 15 minute extemporaneous speech about how wrong they got the Dark Phoenix storyline.

And now we come to one of the most beloved, well-known, and frankly perhaps the best storyline ever to inhabit the pages of an X-book (there are so many adjunct titles it would make your head spin): Days of Future Past.

Now that I don’t have to spoil things for you, let’s just get this out of the way. I hate this movie. I hate the way they changed the story. I hate the way it’s basically ANOTHER movie of watching the triangle of Xavier, Magneto, and Mystique (and don’t get me started on the changes they’ve done to add Mystique into this mix. Short rant: It’s horse manure). I hate that they didn’t quite get the point of what makes this story so important from a civil/human rights issue. And almost most importantly when I even attempt to separate the comic from the script, I hate the way the repercussions of this movie affect the entire X-universe in a cinematic sense.

Don’t worry, I won’t spoil this element. However, without giving it away, I can safely say that the effects of what happens here are the product of lazy, greedy, and uninspired screenwriting. If someone had bothered to read the original story, they would have seen why the manner in which things were resolved were so perfect … and see what a travesty they had wrought with their version.

I could go on for days about each element in the movie I found sickening. Even the most light-hearted and fun moments, which revolve around the inclusion of Quicksilver, are a slap in the face to comic book fans. Google the origins of the character and how he and his sister (The Scarlet Witch) are connected to Magneto to see why.

Of course, the best bits still involve people cast as Professor X or Magneto. However, their characters feel like hollow archetypes here and lack any of the real pathos exhibited in brief moments in previous films. And again, let me just say it: WTF are they doing with Mystique here? Do we like hot women walking around half-nude? Of course we do. Does that mean the character should get a HUGE push into the limelight at the expense of other characters far more integral to not only this story, but the fabric of the X-Men? (*cough* Kitty Pryde)

So for all the reasons I mentioned above, and so many more I’m trying to bury deep inside my weeping soul, I’d rather watch Freddie Prinze Jr. do Shakespeare in the Park than watch the Days of Future Past storyline get tangled and warped to no good end again. But obviously, I’m looking through the lens of a comic book fan. If you never read the books and have liked the movies, then you’ll be fine here. It makes far more sense than First Class but still has plenty of moments that just seem to drag on for no good reason … and did I mention Mystique?

But no matter what I’ve said, people will turn out in droves. X-Men: Days of Future Past will make a boatload of cash and in a few years, I’ll be back at my computer typing about how much they got wrong with Apocalypse in the next movie. I wish all of my slings and arrows meant a damn when it came to this franchise but I suppose I’ll just have to quote Forrest Gump: “Sometimes, there just aren’t enough rocks.” And seriously, there aren’t.

X-Men: Days of Future Past was directed by Bryan Singer and is rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language

GRADE as a film: C-

GRADE as a comic book adaptation: F