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Vault Movie Review: "X-Men: Days of Future Past"

There are many movies that are worth seeing, but there are a lot of stinkers as well. My goal here is to weed out the good from the bad.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past," Theatrical Release: 5/23/2014

"X-Men: Days of Future Past," Theatrical Release: 5/23/2014


In a dystopian future, humanity has grown tired of the mutant problem. It has made way for Trask Industries, a company that has developed technology to round up and eliminate mutants. The mutant killing machines, known as Sentinels, are able to detect mutants, and they are able to quickly and effectively adapt to seemingly any mutant’s powers, making fighting the Sentinels an impossible task for almost any mutant. It has become clear that Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellan), Storm (Halle Berry), Logan (Hugh Jackman), and their team of mutants are not enough to stop Trask Industries' Sentinels. Fortunately, they have come up with an innovative potential solution, one that would involve Kitty Pride (Elliot Page) using her powers to send Logan back in time to 1973, when Trask Industries was still in its infancy.

After being sent back in time, Logan will need to round up Charles Xavier (James McAvoy), Hank (Nicholas Hoult), Raven (Jennifer Lawrence), and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to make them aware of the threat mutants face in the future. The hope is that this team of mutants would be able to stop Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and prevent his technology from ever seeing the light of day. This task will not be an easy one for Logan, as Charles, Magneto, and Raven are not on the best terms in 1973. To make matters worse, keeping Logan's consciousness in 1973 will require most of Kitty Pride's focus, and it may only be a matter of time before the Sentinels locate the mutants in the future.

Official Trailer

The Pros & Cons

All movies start with an average score of 75pts, points are then added or subtracted based on each Pro and Con. Each Pro or Con is designated points, ranging from 0-10, to convey how significant these Pros or Cons are.

The ProsThe Cons

The Timelines (+8pts)

Secondary Mutants (-1pts)

The Wolverine & Mystique (+8pts)

Easy Climax (-3pts)

Quicksilver (+4pts)

Changing Time (-3pts)

Past, present, and future collide in this "X-Men" film entry.

Past, present, and future collide in this "X-Men" film entry.

Pro: The Timelines (+8pts)

I will admit that I was a little worried when I found out this movie would be bringing multiple timelines into one story. I was excited to see both casts in one movie, but I was nervous that the filmmakers would make one timeline irrelevant, or that they would struggle to justify and explain the whole time travel thing. Fortunately, I thought the filmmakers did a really good job with it here. Both timelines felt important, both sets of casts had their time to shine, and I enjoyed the whole time-travel storyline.

Each timeline had its own sense of purpose, but the two were very much tied together. In the future, the threat was far more real, and far more imminent. The mutants were very much fighting for their lives, and as much as they had their plan—sending Logan’s consciousness back in time—the Sentinels could have found them at any moment, and if they did not complete their mission by then, it was all over. In the past, the threat was far less imminent, but if Logan could not pull the mutants of the past together and stop Trask from reaching success—and if Logan could not do that quickly—then his consciousness would be pulled back to the future once the mutants of the future were inevitably found, and it would all be over then as well. The stakes felt very high, and both timelines were essential in this mission, which made the whole movie feel really intense and engaging, as even the slower sections of the past timeline felt intense because I always felt the future timeline was in trouble. I was definitely nervous going into it, but I thought the filmmakers did a really great job of making the two timelines feel essential and engaging.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

Con: Secondary Mutants (-1pts)

My issue here was really only with the secondary mutants in the future storyline. In addition to Logan, Storm, Charles, Magneto, Kitty Pride, Iceman (Shawn Ashmore), and Rogue (Anna Paquin), the future storyline also had Colossus (Daniel Cudmore), Bishop (Omar Sky), Blink (Bingbing Fan), Sunspot (Adan Canto), and Warpath (Booboo Stewart). The problem with having so many characters in the future timeline was that there was not anywhere near enough time to develop them all properly. The vast majority of this movie was spent in the past timeline, and what little screentime was left for the future timeline, the filmmakers understandably spent most of that time showing and developing the future timeline mutants that we were already familiar with from previous movies. The secondary mutants—Colossus, Bishop, Blink, Sunspot, and Warpath—had some cool action moments, but that was about it. None of them got any real development, and it made them all forgettable.

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

"X-Men: Days of Future Past"

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Pro: The Wolverine & Mystique (+8pts)

Logan was the natural choice to send back in time, because of his healing, and the fact that he was alive with his body being more or less the same in both timelines. He was the natural main character, but this was not why I liked Logan’s story in this movie. I liked that he was stripped of his metal claws, giving him an extra challenge, and I liked that he was put in the role of the recruiter. It was an interesting place to see this character. He was once a loner, and very much not a team player, but now he was responsible for pulling a team together, and the fate of all mutants in the past, present, and future depended on his ability to do so. I never feared for Logan’s life—he was the Wolverine after all—but the fates of countless mutants across all timelines really raised the stakes for this movie, and it made his survival irrelevant, as he could easily survive but still fail on an epic scale.

Mystique was arguably the main character of the past timeline. She was the one whose actions directly resulted in Trask achieving the power and success that he did, so she was the one whose actions needed to be stopped or altered. It was all about Mystique, what made her do what she did, and what it would take to stop her from doing so. With Charles and Magneto, there were two different ideas of how to change the past, but it was very much Mystique’s story, and I thought Jennifer Lawrence did a really good job bringing the character’s inner turmoil to the screen in an interesting way that made the story feel both personal and engaging.

Magneto in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Magneto in "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Con: Easy Climax (-3pts)

Without giving anything away, I thought the climax of this movie felt too easy. After all the buildup, and with the high stakes established right from the beginning of the movie, I was expecting this big, epic mutant showdown in the climax, but that did not really happen. The whole thing sort of just ended through dialogue, and to be honest, I did not really understand how the way it all played out would have changed Trask’s rise to power. I liked the road to the climax a lot, and I also enjoyed what came after it, but I thought the climax itself could have used a little more work.

Still from "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Still from "X-Men: Days of Future Past."

Pro: Quicksilver (+4pts)

This character was not in the movie much, but boy did he leave an impression. Evan Peters played Quicksilver, who Logan and Charles needed to help free Magneto. Evan Peters gave the character a jovial and entertaining personality, and the scene when he was doing his thing was an absolute blast. The character was fun, Evan Peters played the part well, his powers were awesome, and he made for one of the most memorable and entertaining scenes in the movie. You cannot ask for much more than that from a supporting character with so little screen time.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique.

Con: Changing Time (-3pts)

I had a few problems with the whole changing the past strategy. First, I did not understand why they sent Logan back to the time they did. They could have just as easily sent him back to an earlier time in which the X-Men and Magneto were all already together on good terms, with none of them in a maximum-security prison, and it would have let Logan warn Mystique, Charles, and Magneto long before Mystique's actions. The filmmakers basically chose one of the absolute worst possible times to send Logan back to, and there was really no reason for it.

I also did not like how convenient the changing of time was for the writers. When the writers wanted to stack the deck against the protagonists, they just arbitrarily stated that certain points in time could not be changed and that time would always correct itself. When the writers were ready to wrap up the story, they just let time be changed, and they did not really make it clear how those actions actually changed anything. It was just blatantly convenient, so much so that it actually took me out of the story.

Grading Scale





























James McAvoy portrays a young Professor X.

James McAvoy portrays a young Professor X.

Grade: B+ (88pts)

This movie had your typical time-travel logic issues. The characters chose a nonsensical point in time to travel back to, and the filmmakers kept the whole concept of changing the past conveniently vague. One thing the filmmakers did really well, however, was that they made both timelines feel important and suspenseful. The mutants of the future were on the run, fighting for their lives, and it was clear that their doom was imminent. This meant that, while the mutants of the past were responsible for altering the past, the imminent demise of the future mutants also meant the slow sections of the past timeline had a sense of impending doom, so the movie never felt slow or boring.

I thought the climax of the movie felt a little too easy, and I thought the future timeline had way too many secondary mutants, but this movie was still pretty good. I really liked the character stories for both Logan and Raven, as one was once a loner who was now forced to pull together a team, and the other was the focal point of the entire story. Their stories were the fuel for this entire movie, and both Hugh Jackman and Jennifer Lawrence did a great job with their respective parts. I also really enjoyed seeing Quicksilver doing his thing, as his big scene was one of the best parts of the movie. It was a movie with plenty of logic and plot issues, but there was plenty of awesome mutant action, an assortment of interesting characters, and a suspenseful story.

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