X-Men: Days of Future Past

There must not be a limit to the number of blog tags I can put in, because if there was I think I would've found it just now. First of all, lots of people from X-Men: First Class are back, plus a lot of people from the first three X-Men movies (at least in cameos), plus a few new people, which makes a lot of people.

There's a lot going on, too, so you have to pay attention, though considering it's basically a time travel story it could have been much harder to follow. If you've read the original Days of Future Past, published back in 1981, the movie does follow that plot fairly closely, except since Wolverine is so popular, he gets to travel back in time with Kitty Pryde's help, instead of Kitty going back herself, so poor Ellen Page is stuck in the dystopian future the whole movie.

And it is awful. The Sentinels, created by the obsessed Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage, who I'm told is in something called Game of Thrones), are hunting mutants to extinction because he thinks that they're the worst enemy mankind ever had. He's still subscribing to the theory that the Neanderthals were wiped out by Homo sapiens instead of the current theory that they were simply absorbed through interbreeding, so I can sort of understand why he's worried, but yikes. But I guess back in 1973, when the whole Sentinel project really got going, the extinction theory was still the best one they had.

What really gets the project going is Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence, Hunger Games), though she doesn't mean to. Hearing about the Sentinel project, she not surprisingly wants to stop it, and decides that killing Trask is the way to go. Also not surprisingly, this plan goes hideously wrong, and no, I don't know what she was thinking, either. So now our heroes are in the uncomfortable position of needing to go back in time to save the one person in the world who most wants them all dead. Our heroes plus Magneto, I should say.

It's only Wolverine's consciousness that goes back in time, 'possessing' his own younger self so that he can meet the young Charles Xavier and young Magneto (James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender) and persuade them to help. You may recall that he told them to go away, only more rudely, in X-Men: First Class. And this is Wolverine we're talking about, so not exactly a diplomat. Also, 1973 looks like another planet. Maybe it's different if you actually lived through it and remember that stuff, but I kept gaping at how huge and clunky everything looked.

I'd love to tell you everything, but much more and I might spoil some surprises. Confusingly, they introduce a character that's already been introduced in the Avengers movies, except this is a different version of that character because two different companies each own some of the rights to various Marvel characters and they just don't play well together for some reason. Well, money is the reason, I suppose, which is too bad, but they are in the business of making money, after all. That was confusing all by itself. Sorry.

Anyway, there are a couple of plot points that come close to not making sense even in comic-book land, but despite those I thoroughly enjoyed the show. Four and a half out of five's worth of enjoyment, in fact. Watch for the cameos, as there are bunches of them, and don't forget to stay for the teaser. People are getting better at that, but at least a quarter of the audience still took off early. It's a subtle teaser, which only real comic geeks will get, probably, but stay to see it just so you can harass your more impatient friends about missing it.

Dr. Trask looking obsessive. Did I mention the alarming 1973 fashions?


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