X-Men: Days of Future Past Director: Bryan Singer
Screenwriter: Simon Kinberg
Cast: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Peter Dinklage, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Ellen Page, Nicholas Hoult, Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Peters, Fan Bingbing 20th Century Fox | Marvel Entertainment
PG-13 | 131 Minutes
Release Date: May 23, 2013
“As new species are formed through natural evolution, others will become rarer and rarer, and finally extinct. The forms which stand in closest competition with those undergoing modification and improvement will naturally suffer most.” – Charles Darwin, “Origin of the Species”
With X-Men: Days of Future Past, director Bryan Singer and screenwriter Simon Kinberg rewrite history and right the wrongs of sequels past. Based on the celebrated storyline from Chris Claremont and John Byrne‘s 1981 run on Uncanny X-Men, Singer’s latest X-film acts as a sequel to both 2006’s X-Men: The Last Stand and 2011’s X-Men: First Class, as well as a follow-up to 2013’s The Wolverine.
2023. In the post-apocalyptic ruins of New York City, mutants are enslaved by Sentinels, biomechanical hunter-killers that have decimated the Earth’s population and reduced the world to rubble. In Moscow, the remaining X-Men plan to send Wolverine back to 1973 to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing scientist Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), whose assassination triggers the Sentinel Program’s approval by President Nixon.
As the X-Men take cover in a monastery, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) must unite Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) in the past to prevent Trask’s assassination and stop this nightmarish reality from ever happening. Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) uses her quantum tunneling ability to send Logan’s consciousness back through time into his younger body while the rest of the X-Men – Storm, Warpath, Blink, Colossus, Sunspot, and Iceman – fend off the Sentinels.
X-Men: Days of Future Past seamlessly combines the best elements of the series to produce a fast-paced, action-packed film that ranks among the franchise’s best installments. McAvoy, Fassbender, and Jackman steal the show with fantastic performances – some of the best we’ve seen in this series – and Lawrence takes Mystique from a supporting character to a strong female lead with her conflicted-but-confident femme fatale. A welcome edition to the cast is Evan Peters (American Horror Story) as Quicksilver. In one of the film’s stand-out set pieces, the super-fast mutant speeds into the Pentagon to break out Magneto – who is in an underground prison for the assassination of JFK.
Jim Croce’s “Time in Bottle” plays as everything halts to a stand-still. Quicksilver – moving so fast the world around him appears in slow motion – runs along the walls of the Pentagon, setting up an elaborate series of pratfalls and pranks that will cause the armed guards to knock themselves out. With time to spare, he rearranges their bullets (which hang suspended in mid-air) to aid his mutant brothers in escaping. It’s an elegant, exciting, and smile-inducing sequence that brings levity to the gravitas.
It’s a thrill to see new mutants like Bishop (Omar Sy) and Blink (Fan Bingbing) – who creates inter-spatial portals to teleport allies and displace enemies – mix it up with established characters like Iceman (Shawn Ashmore) and Colossus (Daniel Cudmore). Every character gets their moment to shine, using their abilities in ways we’ve only dreamed of.
Iceman slides down a wave of ice, freezing foes while Colossus goes punch-for-punch with a Sentinel. Beast flips and swings upside down from chandeliers and Magneto stuns us with his impressive mastery of metal. It’s money shot after money shot without sacrificing story or character – a near impossible feat in this age of empty, pixelated wonders.
Singer unspools the film’s intricate narrative effortlessly, delivering powerful humanism and crowd-pleasing fan service amidst the shock-and-awe. X-Men: Days of Future Past is a fun summer blockbuster that expands and streamlines the franchise’s convoluted mythology. Instead of attempting to address the various plot holes and continuity errors that have plagued the series for years, Singer makes them irrelevant. By changing history itself, he has nullified the previous timeline and rebooted the series without recasting his beloved characters.
X-Men: Days of Future Past is the most satisfying entry in the X-Men series, with a cathartic ending that will leave hardcore X-fans misty-eyed. There is real, honest-to-goodness redemption here – not just for the characters but for the franchise as well. Singer’s bold, ambitious film has breathed new life into Fox’s 14-year-old superhero series. For Professor Xavier and his gifted youngsters, the future is bright.