Let’s be honest, the X-Men movies are a bit of a mess. With the different movies in different eras, you sometimes find yourself asking what is or isn’t canon? X-Men: Days of Future Past has the task to not only juggle the past First Class characters and the future versions but there’s also the ‘present day’ versions from the original movies to think about. Can this movie tie everything together? Yes and no. But that’s not necessarily something to spend too much time worrying about.
You can easily say this is an ambitious movie. Besides attempting to adapt a classic and well known story, there simply is a lot of ground to cover in the different time periods. My fear was we’d only get a tiny glimpse at the future world as it was clear from the trailers the majority of the focus would be in the past with Wolverine, Professor X, Magneto. Thankfully, this wasn’t the case.
The movie starts off showing the grim and desolate apocalyptic future the few remaining X-Men have to deal with. We see some familiar faces as past actors have returned and there’s a really cool opening battle. What’s refreshing is having the movie occasionally flip back and forth between the past and the future. It’s not always at the most ideal moments and there can be some jarring transitions but the main crux of the story is changing the future is dependent on the past events. Besides allowing us to see the future mutants in action, it reminds us how much is really at stake.
Unfortunately some of the mutants in the future are not allowed to be fleshed out. Having Daniel Cudmore return as Colossus is great but he’s only allowed action scenes because of the dire nature of the future. Blink was another great character to see in action. Quicksilver may have been a huge departure from his comic book counterpart but that can be slightly overlooked with how enjoyable a character he was and how cool seeing him in action was.
Other “new” mutants such as Bishop and Warpath felt like they were there just to add more to the roster. As much as we get to keep jumping back to the future, it would have been nice to see a little more of the time explored. Were the mutants put in camps by the Sentinels? Were these last remaining X-Men all the mutants that were left? How did the mutant that sends Wolverine’s mind back able to do so? Secondary mutation? (I won’t mention who in case it’s a bit of a spoiler). These are small concerns but ones you’ll be thinking about.
The meat of the movie deals with 1973. That makes this about ten years after First Class. If you were wondering about the other mutants from that movie not in this one, there is an explanation. The main focus is on Wolverine, Professor X, Beast, and Magneto trying to stop Mystique from assassinating Bolivar Trask, which would lead to the dark future. Realistically, yes, these are the main and important characters returning from First Class (with one other exception reduced to a cameo) plus, of course Wolverine.
The problem with this small band of mutants trying to stop a horrible future is it feels as if they’re not taking it completely seriously. We know the status of the other mutants from First Class but with so much at stake, was there really no one else that could help? Quicksilver may have been too young but his powers could have made things easier.
Compared to other X-Men movies (which I’ve recently re-watched most), I could say this might be my favorite one. We have a deep story and don’t have to sit through character origins. There are some minor plot holes in it but it can be overlooked as you watch everything play out. We have a nice mix of action with the story. We don’t get to see Wolverine fully lash out in the past and only get a few moments of Beast in action but we do get to see the story get fleshed out.
As for what this movie means to the entire X-Men movie universe and continuity…that’s an interesting thing to think about.
Days of Future Past is one of the most cherished stories that could be adapted for the big screen. It was an ambitious decision and the filmmakers and actors pulled it off, for the most part. We do have some obvious departures and changes that are necessary for the movie to work. These can be overlooked because you simply have fun while watching. While I have enjoyed most of the past X-Men movies, I would watch them and then want some time to pass before watching again. With Days of Future Past, I’m ready to watch it all over again.
And yes, there is an after-the-credits scene you won't want to miss.