Thursday, June 5, 2014

X-Men return to X-cellence

With more Mutants, more conflict and more POW! than ever before, X-MEN: Days Of Future Past dazzles and delights more than any X-Film than ever before.


ARTH VADER (AV): It has been said that the  “Days Of Future Past” story arc is one of the best in comics, if not in all of pop fiction. Yes, it’s that good. It’s story is that of one mutant hero sent to the past at a critical point in history, to avert a terrible nightmarish future. And while this film is different enough from the original content, this is one of the instances where I didn’t mind. The creative liberties taken by Bryan “Stop trashing my crappy X-MEN movies” Singer is perfectly balanced and seems to unfold naturally onscreen. 

THE PONTIFICATOR (TP): Continuity has always been a major subject with these X-Men films since day one, mainly because they departed from comics almost immediately. That said, continuity between the films is the only real measure left and this film manages to tie up all the loopholes of the previous films, while also delivering an alternate version of a classic X-Men story.


AV: Never have so many A-List actors appeared in one movie have DoFP. Even though this film is crammed with top acting talent from the X-Men film universe with the addition of Peter “Tyrion Lannister” Dinklage and the return of dozens of old familiar faces like Fassbender, MacAvoy, McKellan, Stewart and… ah heck you get the idea. The direction was remarkably seamless for such a complicate screenplay and so many actors to corral. There is a level of cinematography that few movies can aspire to. Lastly, the acting was solid on all fronts. Lesser (or bad) actors had few-to-no lines and characters with substance and depth were allowed to explore the qualities that make the characters great. What did you think, Pontificator? 

TP: I found the pace of the film to be a bit slow at times Vader, stagnant in areas that could have been abbreviated, making room for a bit more action. The casting was well done though, and the cast was vast. There really isn’t much I can say that hasn’t already been said about Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, and Michael Fassbender (easily my favorite performance, again). They know their roles and delivered. Jennifer Lawrence got a great amount of screen time and although she was adequate as Mystique, much of the mystique of the character came from the use of her abilities. It’s hard for me to see Peter Dinklage as anyone but Tyrion Lannister, but of course he gave a great performance as Bolivar Trask anyway. Evan Peters as Quicksilver, was perhaps the biggest breath of fresh air to come around in a long time, and with such a simplistic character, was certainly one of the highlights of the film.


AV: With a full on production budget of more than $180 million, we dang well better get some beautiful set designs, top notch actors and eye-popping special effects. Thankfully, that is pretty much what we got. The vicious conflict between man & mutant is conveyed to horrifying reality on the big screen as we watch X-Man vs machine duke it out to the death. The transitions of Mystique are spectacular and the Sentinel scenes are awesome—in particular the final fight sequence. I was delighted at this film and I am not alone because as the time of this blog writing, the movie has crossed the $500 million mark worldwide and is still going. Well done, Mr. Singer. 

TP: IMAX 3D wasn’t an option for this film, and that is a shame. I still saw it in 3D and it was still a stellar display of special effects, but a film like this needs to be pushed beyond the envelope. That said, the effects displayed in conjunction with the cinematography were awesome, especially the Quicksilver sequence (reminiscent of the Nightcrawler display in X2). I thought the future Sentinels could have been done better, but they still delivered the ominous feel of impending doom, as intended. It should also be pointed out that the sets used were done extremely well and instrumental in establishing the tone of the 70’s and of a future gone horribly wrong.


AV: So when the rubber meets the road, this movie stands as one of the best in it’s genre. The course of events this film leads the audience on quite literally ties up lose ends, resets the history and timeline and threads all the movies together to have a common historical context. What’s more, the film is genuinely fun, even if you don’t watch or care about X-films. Clearly the actors, film production people and everyone affiliated had a great time making this film. What’s more, the laugh-out-loud, scene stealing antics of newcomer Quicksilver makes his part of the film a… wait for it… run away hit. The scene is so good it’s almost worthy the price of admission by itself. Seriously. 

TP: Of course this film is going to raise some questions while giving some answers. Firstly, I’d like to know how Kitty Pryde acquired the ability to shunt someone’s consciousness backward in time? Secondly, I’d like to know exactly how Magneto and his Brotherhood got caught? They were brimming with incredible power when we last saw them at the end First Class, so how a bunch of regular humans catch them is beyond me. Thirdly, if experimentation followed by death was the order of the day for the captured mutants, why was Magneto himself spared this fate when he was easily the most dangerous of any of the captured mutants? How is Emma Frost dead, before she is even born? There were a plethora of questions this film brought up that haven’t been answered (yet). Although I enjoyed the film, am I the only one that realized things would have been a lot easier if they simply brought Quicksilver with them?

AV: This is really two solid X-Movies in a row, now Ponty. We can’t really chat about the future of X-Movies without discussing the post credit sequence Pontificator. The throngs of loyal followers screaming out the name of En Sabah Nur (The comic book name of the ultra mutant badass Apocalypse in Marvel comics) as he constructing the great Pyramids and the four horsemen ride into view at the end of the scene. Might I speak for all of comic fan-boy nations and say a resounding (and I quote): “Yeeesss!” Between the events of this movie and the stellar implications of the post-credit scene, the X-Men as a franchise has a strong set of legs to stand on going forward.

TP: There is no question about this Vader, as X-Men: Apocalypse is already in the works… along with X-Force (BOOM!), and I can’t wait to see where they take us next.


ARTH VADER rates X-MEN: Days Of Future Past: There are few franchises that can do a complete turnaround as well as this one clearly does. This movie is action-packed, well written and well delivered. It’s a total package that shows that greatness can come if you keep at it. A stellar cast, magnificent effects and non-stop action compel me to give X-MEN: Days Of Future Past 9 busted blocks that may travel back in time and offer an alternate rating. Who knows? Pontificator… you have the con. Bring it home! 

THE PONTIFICATOR rates X-Men: Days of Future Past: Although I feel it could have been a bit heavier on the action, it was certainly a great story that helped out the franchise tremendously. The acting was solid, along with the special effects making this film an instant classic… able to hunt down and destroy eight (8) mutated busted blocks.

XMEN: Days Of Future Past: 8.5 / 10 Busted Blocks

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