X-Men: Days of Future Past Reviews

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skactopus
Super Reviewer
½ April 5, 2015
Bryan Singer sets the future with X-Men: Days of Future Past.

Traveling in at a solid 2 hours, the film finds its strength in the storytelling, especially in the early going. The opening act is an attention grabber, but the meat is definitely in the middle; this is where the picture shines. The character driven formula proves successful in holding the action oriented opening and conclusion together.

The action is CG heavy and it has its moments, especially when it comes to Quicksilver and Blink. For the most part, the CG gets a passing grade.

There are a ton of characters that pop up, but the show is carried by the right people. James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence make this film what it is. Hugh Jackman is just along for the ride at this point.

X-Men: Days of Future Past meddles with time and while not perfect in its delivery, it finds its place among the mutants.
Super Reviewer
March 11, 2015
The seventh installment in this now long running franchise! who'd of thought it...not me. So as far as I know, the original trilogy got buggered up after number 2 and then there was the X-Men Origins failure, things looked pretty grim. Then we got 'First Class' which was a prequel to all of it and it worked, nuff said. Then we got another stand alone movie in 'The Wolverine' which followed on from 'Last Stand' (the original trilogy) and I think eliminated Origins from the franchise? not too sure there. Now lastly we have yet another X-Men movie which is a sequel to 'First Class', 'Last Stand' (the original trilogy) and 'The Wolverine' (Jesus!).

The funny thing is (and I'm come out and say it right now) because this movie is a time travelling adventure, what happens effectively erases everything after 'First Class'. Yep the original trilogy, 'The Wolverine' and 'Origins' are all now basically defunct and pointless, all undone, all redundant, complete franchise reset! Gotta be honest...that took balls, big balls, Bryan Singer has super big brass balls. On one hand I think to myself...what a waste! you just eradicated five movies! are the studios happy about that?? Holy shit they only just churned out 'The Wolverine' and you unravelled it Singer!! you literately pissed all over their picnic! Yet on the other hand I gotta give major kudos for having the guts and bowling ball sized cojones to do it!

Right so...its just 'First Class' and this, everything else obsolete...errr thanks? Anyway don't get carried away Hollywood, just because its worked this one time that doesn't give you carte blanche to go ahead and do...oh wait too late.

So good old Wolverine is back in time (mentally) to try and stop Mystique assassinating this guy called Trask. This dude invented the Sentinels which are huge robots capable of adapting to any mutant power making them unbeatable, a problem for mutants because they are set to destroy all mutants to protect mankind...kinda. The assassination gave the world a reason to use the Sentinels against mutant kind plus Mystique's DNA gave the sentinels the much needed mutant power...power ups. So in short the whole idea has a very Terminator-esque vibe about it. OK its pretty much 'Terminator 2' for Pete's sake...there, you know its true, accept it.

Everything follows on from 'First Class' very well, all the locations, outfits, vehicles, set props etc...all look perfectly 70's, I have been consistently impressed with the dated visuals in both movies. The characters in general all look great and spot on continuity wise, although I have a few comments. Beast...is it me or does this guy look worse in this movie? in 'First Class' he admittedly looked a bit slim and scrawny but that's understandable with his age plus he was more animal-like facially. In this movie he has lost his animalistic facial features and kinda looks like a blue shaggy caveman. This also seems very out of place when we get the neat little cameo surprise at the end because this new Beast look doesn't fit if you ask me, his blue hair is completely different in this, its all curly. The main issue I had though was the fact Beast now 'Hulks out' into his Beast form...just like whatshisname, the big green dude. You can't do that! there is already a character that does that but in green...you know...whatshisname.

It also annoyed me that throughout this movie Mystique never listens to anyone, including Xavier. I can understand why I guess but come on, if there's one thing most of these characters should have learned by now its always listen to the bald guy (Xavier). OK sure she's conflicted big time but come on, all these people telling you the same thing over and over, maybe its true? Staying with Mystique what the hell was with that end twist? you think its Stryker with Wolverine (you know, taking him off for adamantium surgery), but its really Mystique? So does that mean Wolverine will no longer have metal claws? I don't like knobbly bones claws. I'm sure they will sort it out but wow talk about leaving question marks.

It was cool to see some more new characters plus a bit more of classic ones, to a degree. The present day scenes gave us some nice battle sequences showing Colossus, Iceman and Storm alongside Sunspot, Warpath, Bishop and Kitty Pryde. I would have liked to see these guys more involved as it does get a tad boring watching the same regular X-Men trio (Xavier, Magneto and Wolverine), but what we get does suffice with some cool trademark mutant power effects. I did also like the new look for Toad, much better than the original Ray Park version. Of course the highlight (for most it seems) was apparently Quicksilver looking very...odd...with his grey hair and natty sparkly outfit.
His big sequence where we see how time looks for the character at his breakneck speeds was indeed cleverly done and looked great but somehow I wasn't as thrilled as everyone else it seems. Yeah sure it captured the essence of the character perfectly and the musical track ('Time in a Bottle', Jim Croce) was a nice touch but did it make me wet my pants in awe? no. The scene was a quirky break from the usual type of action and showcased another character very well but I wasn't blown away by it. Personally his very brief cameo-like appearance just felt out of place because he virtually pops up to solve a problem then leaves, it felt a bit cheap really. And I gotta say his attire didn't appeal to me, yes its the 70's but silver sneakers and jacket? and why would his hair be like that seriously? I know his comicbook counterpart looks a bit silly but sheesh! should of made his hair light blonde or ginger maybe.

The grand finale was indeed grand in every way, how could it not be showing every character getting killed off, but it was still a cliched concept. As the music swelled things slow down to a crawl with both time lines seemingly on the brink of going tits up, in the present/future the X-Men are getting whacked one by one in a very emotional slow motion manner...just like many war movies before it. Whilst at the same time back in the past everyone is trying to stop that stupid blue female mutant from killing the President and at the same time wiping out mutant kind. It is sad to see the main heroes getting killed yet at the same time...kinda cool? or is that just me? The most touching easily being old Xavier and Magneto together with Wolverine's body at the very end, friends again, as it always should of been, going out together.
Although this armageddon sequence did raise a small query. The Sentinels are suppose to be nigh on indestructible yet we see Bishop shooting a few down quite easily plus a few more getting blown up. Don't they adapt to anything thrown at them or do they need time to evaluate the attack or something.

I did really like the final scenes showing all the old cameos which was great continuity on Singer's part, kudos. It wouldn't have been the same if the original cast couldn't have been reconvened. At the same time it also bookended the entire idea nicely going way way back right to square one virtually flawlessly...whilst obliterating all the other movies as already mentioned, still on the shelf over that massive swift move. On the whole the special effects are very good but still not as outstanding as other sci-fi movies I've seen, the Mystique transformation still looking hokey and some characters looking a bit...cosplay-ish (yes I said it). But I can't deny the movie had me from start to finish with its thrilling rollercoaster plot and authentic 70's visuals. Its clearly the best X-Men movie thus far although there isn't too much competition in that field lets be honest.
Super Reviewer
½ November 23, 2014
A worthy addition to the X-Men franchise which successfully mixes in time travel into its plot in an attempt to link the old X-Men movies to the current ones, something it pulls off marvelously. The heart of the characters, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) returns here as the last hope for the mutants to maintain their existence, a feat that involves him going back to the 1970's and changing the past in order to improve the future for his kind. The special effects are fantastic, and the story remains entertaining and beautifully links the old with the new so well. The cast (notably Jackman, Patrick Stewart, and James McAvoy) holds the story together well, and if you are a fan of the comics you can't miss this movie.
Super Reviewer
October 31, 2014
The ending is a bit too overdone. Otherwise it's stunning enough to make it to the must-watch list.
Nikhil N.
Super Reviewer
June 5, 2014
A redeeming and surprisingly very funny entry into the series. It is a great summer blockbuster, but it is not nearly as dark as the trailers make it out to be. Fassbender and McAvoy are still the best things to have happened to the series, and I seriously hope that the series finds a way to keep them involved for future installments.
Super Reviewer
October 18, 2014
Michael Fassbender is fantastic. And the film's pretty good too!
Super Reviewer
½ May 24, 2014
A return to form for a franchise that needed it, former X Men director Bryan Singer arrives to deliver a satisfying combination of retro and futuristic elements that makes the X Men fun to watch again. Brilliant cinematic sequences and an engaging narrative push the film beyond the limitations of the series' films prior.
Super Reviewer
May 29, 2014
If "X-Men: First Class" is the best entry in this long running superhero franchise, "Days of Future Past" isn't far off. Bryan Singer brings a level of visual sophistication and narrative clarity to this daunting production that not only raises the bar for the X-Men on screen, but for superhero movies in general. Heightened by a terrific ending and the coolest action set-piece of summer (courtesy of Quicksilver).
ajaymuthecooldevils
Super Reviewer
½ July 20, 2014
Even though Matthew Vaughn got all the credit for making 'First Class', but honestly now all the credits should gone to Bryan SInger for completing what he already started 14 years ago.. Not only 'Days of Future Past' are considered as the best X-Men movie, but also one of the best movies about superheroes ever made.. Forget MCU cause X-Men universe itself still attracts a lot of attention especially with all the nostalgic with the character who already died in the third installment, but also the nicely introducing for new character such as Quicksilver, Bishop, Blink, and the others were perfectly fine.. I just can't wait to see another installment of this series because Bryan Singer just made everybody wants another story in X-Men universe again..
Movie Monster
Super Reviewer
July 15, 2014
X-Men: Days of Future Past has a lot going for it. You got the casts of First Class and the first three films sharing the screen, a celebrated story arc for the film's inspiration, and Bryan Singer back as director. So can these factors result in an awesome movie? I am happy to say that the answer is yes. This is a movie that both met and succeeded my expectations.

The film serves as a dual sequel to First Class and The Last Stand. In the film, murderous machines known as Sentinels have wiped out the majority of mutants in the future. They have also killed anyone who is on the mutants' side. As the remaining members of the X-Men struggle to survive, Kitty Pryde sends Wolverine back in time to the 1970s to stop the event that leads to the creation of the Sentinels from ever happening. It is here where Logan meets up with the younger versions of Charles Xavier, Erik Lehnsherr, and Hank McCoy. Now it is up to Wolverine and the 70s mutants to change the past in order to save the future.

It is so nice to Bryan Singer direct an X-Men film again. This film marks the return of John Ottman's theme from X2, the Cerebro opening sequence, and the "X" in the 20th Century Fox logo being emphasized. The first few minutes of this film brought back good memories of Bryan Singer's first two films before Brett Ratner stepped in and ruined it with the third one. I always felt that Singer was able to show the themes of prejudice and intolerance in his X-Men films and those were some of the things that made the first two films so special. While I thought Matthew Vaughn did a great job with First Class, I think Singer was the right person to connect the first trilogy to the prequel. For goodness sakes, he was the guy who kicked off this franchise!

I simply loved the look and feel of the film. The way the future is depicted is so grim and depressing. Being an X-Men fan, there were times where I got emotional. It was depressing to see some of my favorite mutants go through some of the events depicted. The look of the future is bleak but stylish. I wouldn't be surprised if the filmmakers were inspired by Terminator and The Matrix for the futuristic look. I loved the way the film portrays the 70s. The culture, the clothing, the music of 1970s America was all here with mutants thrown into the mix. The film was shot digitally but there was a scene that emulated the look of a Super 8 camera. The way this particular scene looked made it feel like you were witnessing what was going on. It was a great touch. I love how this film brings its two time periods to life. Not to mention, the film's directing is superb. The action scenes are shot with much intensity and the cinematography is beautiful.

One thing I appreciate about this series is the acting. The film has rounded up a great ensemble cast. Hugh Jackman returns as Wolverine for the sixth time (seventh if you count his brilliant cameo in First Class). Jackman simply kicks butt in this role and I can honestly see nobody else play this role. He's rough and tough but is able to carry the emotional weight of the character. Some people complain that the films are too centered on Wolverine. I agree they overdo Wolverine sometimes but in this film, and although he's the one sent back to the past, he's more of an observer to all the events. The film is more about young Charles Xavier and Magneto. Patrick Stewart also reprises his role as the wise Professor X and he did a very good job here. Ian McKellen was also pretty good this time around as older Magneto. Some returning cast members such as Halle Berry and Sean Ashmore do not have roles in the movie, but in the small time they had, they did an awesome job as Storm and Iceman. Ellen Page also did a good job. There are new additions to the team. There's Blink played by Chinese movie star, Fan Bingbing, Bishop played by French movie star Omar Sy, Warlord played by Boo Boo Stewart, and Sunspot played by Adan Canto. I'm not very familiar with these characters but I enjoyed their roles in the movie. They have very cool powers. I especially enjoyed Blink and Sunspot's powers. But the best new mutant who was introduced had to be Quicksilver who was portrayed by Evan Peters. His role may have been small but he was entertaining during every second of his screen time. He also gives us one of the best sequences in any comic book movie. This scene got a huge approval from the audience I saw the film with. By the time the scene was over, I wanted to see it again. I doubt the Quicksilver we're going to see the next Avengers movie is going to come close to this.

And now on to the characters who reprised their roles from First Class. James McAvoy returns as young Charles Xavier and he is perfect in the role. In the 70s portion of the film, Charles is at the lowest point of his life. James McAvoy is able to make you feel bad for him. He really comes off as a struggling man who is losing everything. Nicholas Hoult once again plays Hank McCoy aka Beast. He's great at playing a nerd but when he's Beast, he is one awesome creature. The Beast makeup is an improvement over the last film as well. His transformation was obviously CG but it still looked cool. Jennifer Lawrence is absolutely awesome as Mystique. She was beautiful, angsty, and tough. I'm glad that they gave her a big role in this movie. Peter Dinklage was good as the creator of the Sentinels, Bolivar Trask. Lastly, Michael Fassbender is incredible as Magneto. Sorry, Ian McKellen. Your take on Magneto is good and all, but for me, Fassbender IS Magneto. His suit is pretty close to the comics and his motivations come out more clearly than McKellen. He's not only one of the best villains in a comic book movie, he's one of the best villains in any movie. Fassbender simply killed it.

In my opinion, the X-Men mythology is one of the best stories ever conceived. It's exciting, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. This film was able to tell a story that was exciting, heartbreaking, and thought-provoking. The plot is wonderfully crafted, the dialogue is smart, and the time travel aspect of this film made sense. Most films involving time travel have flaws in the way they use this plot device. With this film, the way they time traveled was easy to follow and there were basically few flaws. Well, I personally, didn't catch any flaws. The film's plot takes inspiration from the Days of Future Past story arc which I happen to own. I bought it in preparation for the film. While the film is a loose adaptation of the arc, the screenwriters were able to capture the essence of the arc in the film. The film has a lot of emotion. There was a scene where Charles and Erik argue over their beliefs and this was a great scene. It showed two very different sides and each of them made very good points. The scenes with the Sentinels were intense. I don't know about you guys but the Sentinels scare me. They are giant, lifeless robots that are programmed to commit genocide. If such a thing happened in our world, we'd all be screwed. I also liked their design. It's different from the comics but they still looked great.

With its amazing storyline, terrific cast, and spectacular special effects, X-Men: Days of Future Past is not only the finest installment in the franchise, it's one of the best films in the superhero genre. Throughout the film, I was reminded why I was a fan of the X-Men. They may be fictional characters with superpowers, but they are fleshed out characters that have flaws of their own. The mutants are some of the best characters in the Marvel Universe and you will root for them and cry for them. In my personal opinion, this is the best Marvel film. I had absolutely no gripes with it and it enthralled me from beginning to end. Bryan Singer, the cast, and the whole crew have created a film that is simply incredible. Don't forget to stay after the credits to see what's coming up in the series. This exceptional entry to the X-Men series is my favorite film of the year so far.

"Just because someone stumbles and loses their path, doesn't mean they can't be saved."
Super Reviewer
November 2, 2013
This new film fuses together everything good about the original films, as well as the recent Marvel films, and does so with gusto. There's just so much to love about this film, from the reassembled cast, to the asides for fans of the comics, to the awe inspiring action and it all works well together. This film comes on the heels of the rights transferring from Fox to Marvel, and it shows in the production value, which obviously has help from Marvel Studios, to set up for their newly announced 2016 film for the X-Men canon. It's just brilliantly constructed, bringing all your favorite characters together, while also showing new information and new characters for us to love. Most of what we see comes directly from the comics, and that's something to rejoice over, but it's also pure, perfect, psychological action thriller. This is the new breed of X-Men, and they're far more intelligent and calculated than ever before.
Super Reviewer
½ June 21, 2014
Easily the best X-men movie to date, granted that's not much of a feat considering the franchises unfortunate run of bad instalments but still. It's quite the impressive movie.

Basically it has everything fans have been waiting for, iconic time-traveling premise, iconic characters, all playing out a very fast paced, respectable, sensible story that's not overdone with tacky CGI. Many of the plot points are soaked in political and social issues, stakes are higher than ever with the end of the world drawing near but this never really builds to anything too preachy or larger than life as we're continually delivered raw character emotions that makes all these conflicts intimate in nature.

Despite coming off as a well written and almost dreary drama it manages to take all those wonderful "Superhero movie" elements that we've come to love and throw it into the mix almost seamlessly. All the immense property damage action, humor, flashy special effects are still there! (Thank your Quicksilver for keeping it light) Just toned down to a level that's reasonable and works coherently with a tension based drama rather than needlessly smashing through our 3D lenses (TAS2, please learn something.)

Xmen: DOFP is a great step in the right direction for the franchise. Here's to hoping for their continued success!
Super Reviewer
June 21, 2014
If you've read the many other reviews on this one then you already know: cause they speak truely. This one arrives, as the saying goes, to kick ass and chew gum ... and is all out of gum. Let the ass-kicking commence!
The Quicksilver scene is indeed great movietime fun, too. And Jennifer Lawrence absorbs attention like GrapeNuts suck milk up.
sanjurosamurai
Super Reviewer
½ June 19, 2014
an excellent concept for the series, and a perfect way to "reset" everything that has gone wrong with the series over time. the uniting of characters and story lines were very well conceived, and the action sequences effective. however, my one knock on this film is in considering its purpose. the need to "reset" things should have probably led the studio to realize that the series wasn't mapped very well, which should have led to a full stop and a reboot. The way it stands, this film now holds as the brightest spot in a mostly average series, which holds this film back a bit. as a stand alone, it's a great film, as part of this series it's still very good but loses something as it is tied in to too much mediocrity.
Super Reviewer
March 9, 2013
This is the greatest X-Men movie ever made. Director, Bryan Singer has returned to his rightful place as the helmer of this franchise and breaths new life into the universe and has all barrels blazing with intrigue and imagination. A mind-blowing and spectacular epic that totally knocks you out. A gargantuan action-packed thrill-machine from its explosive beginning to its incredible conclusion. The slow motion speedster scene with Quicksilver is by far one of the most impressive scenes in the series since the tel-porter scene in X-Men United. The story is so strong and multi-layerd and packs serious emotional punch. This film will move and touch you like you wont believe it is that powerful and deeply moving. But it's still a great time at the movies that has its fare share of humor and spectacle. A masterpiece plain and simple. A tremendously entertaining and truly unforgettable movie experience that all movie fans will love. It was great to see all the old and new cast members together in one film, it was huge joy to see them correspond and have scenes together. Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen are brilliant as usual, it was amazing to see them together again on the big screen playing theses great characters. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy are sensational, they give powerful performances. Fassbener is pure force. McAvoy is a powerhouse. Nicholas Hoult is excellent. Jennifer Lawrence is fantastic. Hugh Jackman is spectacular once again in the role of Wolverine, he as at the top of his physical and acting form doing what he does best and showing he is the character we all love to watch and has some great scenes. Peter Dinklage is terrific. It does not get any better than this. Its one of the best movies of the year 2014, remember it.
Super Reviewer
September 26, 2012
The best film in the franchise since X2 and one of the better superhero films of the past couple years. The plot can be a little dense because of the time traveling mechanics, but the acting is top notch. The action & set pieces are memorable as well, although a few times I could easily tell the difference between green screen and real imagery, which I don't remember that happening in the last couple. I really enjoyed seeing all the old and new actors come together to reboot this franchise and push it forward, although I am a little annoyed how it basically makes everything beside First Class completely obsolete thanks to the ending which I won't spoil. This film is just a continuity nightmare. I do think this needed more Quicksilver. Evan Peters knocked it out of the park. I'm looking forward to seeing what they do next with the Apocalypse saga.
hunterjt13
Super Reviewer
June 6, 2014
In a bleak, Sentinel-ravaged future, Professor X sends Wolverine to the 70s to prevent the chain of events that leads to the Sentinels' creation.
As superhero films go, this one is fine. Whereas The Dark Knight is substantive and remarkable and Captain America is borderline immoral and shit, X-Men: Days of Future Past is inoffensive and unremarkable. There are a few moments when the film insults the intelligence of its audience: why must Magneto move RFK Stadium to the White House? Is such a show of power really necessary, or is it just an excuse to show off the film's special effects? Does Professor X not consider the possibility that other inciting events cause the apocalyptic future? What about the law of unintended consequences? But every superhero film needs its suspension of disbelief.
The actors are all fine, including Evan Peters who has inexplicably received high praise.
Overall, this film is fine, worth the price of admission, but the popcorn better be damn good on its own.
MANUGINO
Super Reviewer
December 3, 2013
Every hero, every power will unite.

Excellent Film!!! Fans of the original trilogy and First Class will definitely enjoy this one thanking its nostalgia and its perfect and well balanced mix between the original characters and the new ones. This movie delivers a surprising top notch entertaining with a potent story and some good twists that help to live up expectations mixed with terrific special effects and cinematography. The actors are fantastic. Fassbender and McAvoy still delivering amazing performances meanwhile Stewart and Mckellen give their reflections in the same excellent way that in the trilogy. Hugh Jackman finally finds his character as a true important one in comparison with the last movies. Wolverine/Logan finally has a proper treatment in this movie that will help anyone who could be annoyed with his solo adventures to love him again. They are the five main stars of the story with the inclusion of a spectacular and skillful Mystique (impressive Jennifer Lawrence who steals almost every scene of hers) who is undoubtedly the sixth one. The other actors made good performances and make possible the transitions of the story until the amazing finale. Days Of Future Past practically radiates a bravery and freshness that you'd never expect from the seventh film in a blockbuster franchise. Instead of playing it safe and sound, Days Of Future Past mashes up past, present and future, sweeping up a lot of what has been taken for granted in the X-Men cinematic universe and, well, chucking it out of the proverbial window. The ending of this film truly opens up an intriguing plethora of narrative possibilities that stretch in any and all directions. On the strength of this outing, that's something to be anticipated, rather than feared.

Sentinels, robots that were created for the purpose of hunting down mutants were released in 1973. 50 years later the Sentinels would also hunt humans who aid mutants. Charles Xavier and his X-Men try their best to deal with the Sentinels but they are able to adapt and deal with all mutant abilities. Charles decides to go back in time and change things. He asks Kitty Pryde who can send a person's consciousness into the person's past to send him but she can only send someone back a few weeks because if she sends someone back further it could harm them. So Logan decides to go back himself because he might be able to withstand it. So Charles tells him that it's Mystique who's responsible because when she learned about the Sentinels she sought out Bollivar Trask the man who created them and killed him. She would be caught and studied and her ability to change was somehow added to the Sentinels which is why they can adapt. Logan must go to the younger Charles and ask him to help; problem is that he was despondent at that time and without his powers because he took a drug which allows him to walk but takes away his powers. Logan is also told to find Magneto.
366weirdmovies
Super Reviewer
June 4, 2014
The X-Men send Wolverine back in time to avert a dystopian future where the Pentagon build a mutant-destroying super-robots. It's pretty overstuffed, with two sets of characters and some of the trippiest scenes ever put in a superhero movie (a remarkable "bullet time sequence" set to Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle"). Solid popcorn entertainment set in a silly universe.
TomBowler
Super Reviewer
May 25, 2014
My initial review gave Days of Future Past four and a half stars. Big mistake. Huge. I recently watched it again and it's clear now that this is a five star film. Not just because the action, the story, the performances and music are fantastic, but it's clear from the very start of this sucker that Bryan Singer, and by extension this franchise, are finally having fun again.

It's been years since we've seen this level of sheer entertainment from this particular bunch of heroes. The X-Men franchise has been floundering for a while. Ill-advised spin-offs have kept it limping along but since Brett Ratner and X-Men 3 flipped a giant (hopefully accidental) middle finger to both fans and audiences, the astonishing X-Men have been in desperate need of resuscitation. The Last Stand made audiences feel simultaneously condescended to and confused by what was going on, X-Men Origins was just a mistake and The Wolverine, while it featured a hell of a sequence on a bullet train, was seriously lacking in fun. Even in the highs of X-Men 2, in my book the franchise's best entry just ahead of the original, there was still a sense of lethargy, a feeling that eventually weighed down the whole series by only its third outing. This kind of arthritis never really held down various other superhero franchises. I'm not saying Iron Man 2 was great but the series itself was always buoyed by Robert Downey Jr. and co. seemingly having the times of their lives. Part of the problem was the giant cast which was fundamental to the DNA of the X-Men series. An X-Men movie which left out half the characters meant it wasn't an X-Men movie. An X-Men movie with the lot of them turned out the bloated and messy Last Stand.

Then Matthew Vaughn and Jane Goldman came along with X-Men: First Class and injected a whole host of new characters and performances and a whole lot of new life in the process by going back to the roots of the team. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender especially brought in some ferocious energy as the duelling geniuses Charles and Eric. But for all the terrific set-pieces the film sets up and gleefully knocks the hell down, there's a still a bunch of issues in there (that, "we should have nicknames" speech being one of the better examples) which only seem more glaring when juxtaposed against all the things the film does so very right.

Then comes Days of Future Past. Matthew Vaughn, apparently continuing his one-and-done streak with superhero movies after Kick-Ass, bailed on the project (though he and collaborator Goldman still have a story credit) and made way for Bryan Singer's return. After giving us the original one-two punch of X1 and 2, as well as a host of fantastic films, chief among them the amazing Usual Suspects, there's no doubt that Singer can put magic on the screen. What I didn't expect going in was just how much life he could get out of a franchise which should, by now, be dead by rights.

What's immediately apparent is the urgency in this film. The opening credits sequence itself is like a super-speed version of the previous X-Men DNA + music openers. It's as if everyone involved is rushing through all the formalities to get to the good stuff. After the five previous entries, Singer and his collaborators are freed of the heavy lifting of origin stories or explanations. Characters are introduced in seconds flat and then freed up to break stuff and go nuts. The first action sequence will leave you gasping for air as Singer effortlessly pulls together Iceman, Kitty Pride and Colossus with some newbies (Sunspot, Blink, Warpath and Bishop for anyone keeping track) in a sequence that feels like it's been ripped straight from a comic book. The scale and dexterity of the action especially shocked me throughout the film, as set-piece after set-piece seemed to break the elementally-bound shackles which occasionally frustrated throughout many of the previous iterations. Vaughn's influence on the action here cannot be overstated. After showing the limitless nature of the X-Men with First Class in scenes like Azazel's night time attack or Magneto's complete control over a cool hundred or so missiles, it feels like the team behind Days of Future Past have found a way to push that idea even further. Iceman is a force of nature, Colossus is a metal badass, Blink, Sunspot and the rest of the new crew are tested to their absolute limit and it definitely feels like it. And the X-Men drop like flies here. Sequence after harrowing sequence leaves this film with a whole lot of bodies piling up and it's a credit to the team that each death feels earned, not just some throwaway that had to happen because the script said so. You're not going to be walking out asking why the X-Men didn't just try harder. These guys push it in battle after battle and the consequences feel brutal and real. The sight of the crew being taken out early and often keeps the movie tearing along at a cracking pace. The ticking clock is established quickly and the mechanics are laid pretty bare early on and then the film gets right down to business.

Obviously if you've even seen one trailer you know that there's time travel involved here and it gives the story a huge scope to play with. It's a credit to the writers that each story feels equally important. The future setting could easily have been left to its own devices while we went back in time. Instead, we cut back to and fro to see how just how quick that clock is ticking away and the race to the finish will leave you feeling frantic in the final moments. In the midst of all this there are the smaller grace notes which feel perfectly placed. Things like Wolverine's reaction to a water bed or Mystique's nonchalant reading of an invitation while her victim slides slowly down a wall are all small but welcome moments within the overall doom of the plot.

And then there's the film's crowning achievement, the coup de grace. Quicksilver. Oh my god. Days of Future Past contains not only the best action scene of the franchise to date, but probably the action scene of the year with Quicksilver's inspired prison break through a kitchen. Set to Jim Croce's "Time in a Bottle," the sequence is one of the funniest, most inventive, breathtaking scenes you'll ever see in a superhero film and is sure to be the talking point of the film, if not the series. It's a scene that will most likely have Joss Whedon completely re-evaluating anything he's written for the character in the next Avengers film and deservedly so.

It's also wonderful to have John Ottman back on board for the score. After writing the playbook for the series' sound, hearing the gleeful brilliance he brings through the cracking composition is a welcome return. The music helps to set that headlong rush into motion by the opening credits as it whips through the arrangement in approximately a third of the time spent on it in previous installations.

What's even more impressive is the amount of time the films spends on its characters, specifically the central trio of Magneto, Mystique and the Professor. The rift between these three left at the end of First Class has been exacerbated by the war and the growing awareness of the mutant species and it shows in the crackling scenes between them. Michael Fassbender and James McAvoy spend the most time together out of these three and they make every beat count. Put two actors like that in a room together, of course the scenes are going to be gold but the script puts such care into crafting their points of view that it gives the film some real emotional heft. Jennifer Lawrence has more to do than she had in First Class and she uses every moment well, showing us a Mystique which we haven't really seen before in the series. Of course, outside of this central trio there's the always fantastic Hugh Jackman as Wolverine who simply is Logan by this point, Patrick Stewart as the Professor of the future and Ian McKellen as Magneto. These two are always spectacular in their roles and have given the series gravitas from the start, as they do here once more. Stewart's heartfelt speech to his younger self is a highlight of his performance. The rest of the cast also play their parts well, Ellen Page especially making the most of her expanded role as Kitty Pryde and Nicholas Hoult doing the same with Hank McCoy/Beast.

If this review hasn't spoken much about Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask, it's because his character may be one of the scripts main problems, as it fails to address or even provide some kind of a motivation for his character's actions towards mutants. He's supposed to be the main villain of the film but its seems more like he's a pawn for the story to set Magneto up to be the bad guy once more, rather than a character in and of himself. The script also shoehorns in an unnecessary detour to Vietnam with Mystique. Whether it's a showcase for the state of the world at the time or just to give J-Law some extra badass cred (hardly necessary for the Girl on Fire), it's mostly a waste of time in what is a lean, fast-moving story. And don't even attempt to think about how the Professor actually exists in Patrick Stewart's body after the events of The Last Stand.

Despite these couple of missteps, Days of Future Past is a breath of fresh air for the series, and a necessary one if the planned Apocalypse instalment is going to have any traction at all at the box office next year. If the film had simply been the Quicksilver scene followed by 90 minutes of stock footage on a loop, I probably still would have been happy, but when it's surrounded by a story which feels urgent and relevant, performances which elevate what's already some pretty strong material and direction which seems to show that Bryan Singer is actually having fun again, it's the strongest entry in the franchise and a hell of a film to boot.

Defining Scene:
I feel like I've covered this. The Quicksilver scene. Of course. What else?
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