Thursday, May 22, 2014

Movie Review: X Men DOFP

Ah, finally. A great X Men movie. It took them long enough. First Class was fun, but it wasn’t great. Days of Future Past is great. I think it’s the best X Men movie I’ve seen. It brings back the nostalgia of X1 and the magic of X2, and makes you forget about every other movie made in the canon. 

The first X Men came at a time when the superhero genre was in limbo and no one really expected anything better than Batman and Robin. It was fresh, classy and it defied expectations. That is what Days of Future Past does – director Bryan Singer makes a grand return and cleans up the mess made by Brett Ratner (X3) and the studio (Wolverine).

The story picks up immediately after the events of the previous Wolverine film. The ‘present’ X Men are under attack by an unstoppable force called The Sentinels. To cover their asses Professor X and Magneto team up to send Wolverine back in time and change the event that help create the Sentinels. It’s a clichéd time travel plot but there’s too much fun to be had to let it bother you.

For one, the pacing is intense. There’s no time wastage and brooding - you’re thrown right into the action from scene one, and from then on it’s a non-stop marathon from one glorious action set piece to the next. Plus there’s the bonus of seeing the old X Men back in action. They’re all back – old X, Magneto, Storm, Shadowkat, Colossus, Iceman, along with the folks from the past including young X, Magneto, Mystique, Beast and a host of newcomers. But thanks to Singer’s solid direction the barrage of characters don’t feel cluttered (like in the recent Spiderman movie)  - they’re all given an emotional heft and some seriously cool action scenes.

The Sentinals eye candy is epic but that would have been useless with bad acting. The love hate bromance between X and Magneto is itself worth the price of admission. Both James McAvoy and Fassbender are pretty awesome while arguing, and Wolverine’s muted snark is as usual fun. Jennifer Lawrence continues to validate why she’s the biggest contemporary movie star by kicking ass. There’s a fantastic scene where the humans suddenly discover mutants prowling around them – it’s shot in cinema verite style and renders a really gritty layer to the sequence.

After seeing a glimpse of him in Captain America 2 I had doubts about the X-Men version of Quicksilver. Surprisingly, the best part of Days of Future Past is Quicksilver. I’m not going to spoil anything, but there’s a sequence where Quicksilver demonstrates his power – it’s hilarious and it’ll blow you away. Unfortunately Quicksilver goes away too soon, I wish they’d used more of him. A minor complaint I have with this film is the chief villain Bolivar Trask is mostly inconsequential. Peter Dinklage is fine in the role but we’re never told why the character hates mutants and why he’s executing his plans.

I could have awarded this movie four stars, I really wanted to. But I have to subtract half a star for one big reason. The 3D. It’s awful. It’s one of the worst examples of 3D I’ve ever experienced. It’s The Last Airbender level terrible. I’m not sure whether this was the problem with the movie or the glasses or the theater I watched it in, but I’d recommend you see the movie only in 2D, or don’t see it at all. It’s sad that irritating 3D gets in the way of a good movie. I wish I could send Wolverine back in time to stop 3D movies from being made.

(First published in Mid Day

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