It is 1:24 am in the morning and I am fresh off of seeing the premiere of this promising film. I had waited over 2 years to see X-Men: Days of Future Past. My expectations, whether I wanted them to be or not, were high. Now did they meet them? Before I answer that question, you need to know what this film is about, do you not? Many people have been incredibly confused at the notion of this film when in reality, its plot, for all intents and purposes, is quite simple. If you have seen the trailers for it, you might have not got what they were going for, so I will simplify. A person, Wolverine, is chosen to travel back in time to stop a chain of events from happening that lead to the apocalypse.
I want to start off with by pointing my finger at all the weaknesses I found with the film. I know we all want to hear the positives, but I don't. Let's tear this film apart!!! Ok, just joking. Though, in honesty, I would prefer to start with the vegetable of negatives before indulging into the dessert of positives.
To begin with what could be considered a small flaw is how the dialogue is presented in the beginning of the film. The majority of the dialogue in the first act is entirely plot driven. I know that a lot of this is needed in a film that has so much depth going on and transition from previous films, though it felt a little too rushed without giving enough of the human element to feel their suffering.
Then the acting from two actors in particular are entirely confusing. Jennifer Lawrence and James McAvoy at times appear to be putting on a clinic for Oscar level acting, then at other moments they seem completely subpar. I'm not sure if this is due to bad script at moments, bad acting, or me reading into things too much when they might be fine. Whatever it is, their performances feel unbalanced and provide, in my view, a small blemish to the film. Hopefully, I don't see this again upon second viewing.
Also, as with any action film, there is cliché timing. I know a certain level of this is needed to create an enthralling experience. Too much of it, though, can feel like to much frosting on a cake. I can point to one important moment towards the end that is a little too cheesy. In the end, I'm not going to dock points from the film for it, because I don't know what could have differently without compromising a certain level of suspense. There is just a discussion to be had about predictability and switching things up on timing.
When it comes to the positives, there is always Hugh Jackman. He has transcended from acting Wolverine to being him. Michael Fassbender, Patrick Stewart, Ian Mckellen, and Peter Dinklage are predictably great. Then there is Evan Peters playing Quicksilver. Many of us were worried about Quicksilver and how he would be portrayed in the film with his cheesy 70's outfit and cheesier hair. I don't care about that anymore. He is flat out awesome and provides a touch of humor to balance the film's tone. I could also put out a long list of other actors that were quite good, though I will just stick with saying the cast is very strong.
The fighting in this film is also more than excellent. Bryan Singer not only gives us conflicts that feel as if they leap out of the page of a comic book (in a good way). He also maintains it in gruesome violence and emotional gore to ground it in reality.
When it comes to being funny in films like these, sometimes writers will over extend there hand to get a laugh while a lot of the time ending up short. This is not the case in Days of Future Past. The film doesn't take itself to seriously, though doesn't cross the line of stupidity. It could have felt self indulgent, ignoring the need for humor here and there to balance the mood. Instead, there is plenty of laughs to go around used to lighten an otherwise incredibly dark movie.
Some people have complained that this film doesn't have a transcendent purpose, theme, or important subtext. I would disagree. While the main purpose of Days of Future Past is to provide entertainment, which there is nothing wrong with that if done well, it does go into deeper questions. Many of these all have to deal of what measure should one go into to provide peace for the future. What is the right way to achieve peace? What sacrifices need to be made? Who can you trust with these decisions? Are countermeasures for possible war stem from fear or are they more than that? And more importantly, are wrong ways of thinking perpetuated or can the world change for the better?
When all is said and done, this film did meet my expectations. It might not have surpassed them, but this is to be expected with the unhealthy practice of waiting for a film for over 2 years. To put it in culinary terms, X-Men: Days of Future Past is more than delicious and is worth going back for seconds.
Personal Preference: 4.5/5
Critical Analysis: 4.5/5
(Make sure to stay to the end of the credits for a post credits scene.)