X-Men: Days of Future Past (dir. Bryan Singer)

Posted: July 3, 2014 in Uncategorized

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” can be read one of two ways. Either the Xavier side is meant to represent peacenik Democrats and the Magneto side represent Republicans, and the movie is arguing that both sides must eventually put aside their petty squabbling to defeat a common enemy that threatens to destroy the world (radical Islam, which I suppose the US government in 1973 represents, with Vietnam as a stand-in for Iraq); or, they represent moderate Muslims and radical Muslims who are afraid of the imperialist US, and how they must join together if they are to hope that the west won’t attempt to annihilate them in the future.

There is some plainly surface stuff here, though. The Sentinels are clearly the stand-in here for drone warfare. Having the Peter Dinklage character specifically mention the lack of collateral damage the Sentinels will produce (by homing in on the mutant gene) seals that. The Sentinels then turning on humans who may pass on the gene later is, I suppose, a reference to collateral damage of drone attacks leading once-moderate Muslims to then radicalize out of revenge (if you start by killing mutants/radicals, eventually you will have to go after those carry the gene/those who will become radicalized by the original killings). You could probably read an anti-eugenics message in here as well, but it’s not as surface as the drone thing.

Aside from whatever social message the film is trying to convey, it is quite an enjoyable film. I’d rank it as my second favorite X-Men film, after the terrifically character-driven “First Class”. Watching a bunch of CGI heroes fight CGI villains has gotten really boring to me as I get older, so I don’t become invested unless there’s some good character work involved. While DOFP lacks the true character focus of “First Class”, it still keeps the action centered more on personality and motivation than the lava lampy entertainment of a sound and light show.

Seeing the present-day cast interact with the past cast was pretty cool, even if the present-dayers, save for Wolverine, aren’t given much to do. Jennifer Lawrence’s Mystique isn’t given as much meaty material as she was in the last film, but kicking ass in that make-up still steals the show. Speaking of stealing the show, the Quicksilver slow-mo sequence was so fun I almost wish I’d shelled out the extra dough for the 3D showing.

Perhaps the best thing about the film, though, is SPOILER ALERT the way it completely erases X3 from having ever happened. Nobody liked it, Brett Ratner is a hack with only one good movie under his belt (“The Family Man”), and now we can safely ignore it. A well-deserved retcon.

It’s not a masterpiece or anything, but it makes me happy when, in the midst of an orgy of special effects and time travel jargon, a big budget comic films doesn’t forget to keep things focused on the people on screen, and not the animated busyness. B+

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