Film Review: ‘X-Men: Days of Future Past’ Dares to Richly Invest in Story First, CGI Second

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Average: 4.5 (2 votes)

CHICAGO – After a string of superhero movie disappointments in recent memory, last month “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” renewed our faith in Hollywood blockbusters once again. Just 7 weeks later, can “X-Men: Days of Future Fast” impress us again?

Not only does it deliver, but it manages to pull together the tastiest ingredients of its strong subject matter and dish up one of the best films in its franchise history. The film – with its $200 million production budget – has already earned back $36 million in its first day of release to nearly 4,000 domestic theatres.

HollywoodChicago.com Oscarman rating: 4.0/5.0
Rating: 4.0/5.0

The new X-Men film follows 6 others in the last 14 years – one, in fact, as recent as 10 months ago. These 6 previous films have been hit or miss. “The Wolverine” in 2013 was a lukewarm hit, “X-Men: First Class” was a hit in 2011, we saw a mega miss in 2009 with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine,” a miss in 2006 with “X-Men: The Last Stand,” a hit in 2003 with “X2: X-Men United” and a hit in 2000 with “X-Men”.

While so many memorable characters exist in Marvel’s X-Men universe, many of the films have either been directly focused on The Wolverine (even in the film’s name) or primarily in the story line. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” stays true to the theme of respecting The Wolverine’s importance, but also brings the spotlight onto so many other mutants.

More clearly defined than any previous X-Men film and even better than most other superhero movies in general, it is this X-Men outing that figures out how to deliver the important message of “you’re unique but not alone”. This X-Men film even accomplishes a feat that most superhero films can’t: honoring the hardcore comic-book fans while equally allowing the layperson who isn’t invested in the franchise to fall in love with it for the first time.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.

In addition to The Wolverine, now it is “The Hunger Games” star Jennifer Lawrence who especially shines most brightly in the plot’s center with her Jekyll and Hyde role as the good Raven and the evil Mystique. And it’s not just because she’s basically naked and covered in an enhanced blue suit the whole film.

Much of this story is told through Hugh Jackman’s eyes while time traveling to the past. While his claws (bone in this movie rather than the typical metal) are a bonus, Wolverine’s true mutation is his ability to heal. He’s the only mutant who can survive Kitty Pryde’s (Ellen Page) power of time traveling as far back as he needs to go.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” stars Hugh Jackman, Jennifer Lawrence, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, Ian McKellen, Peter Dinklage, James McAvoy, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore and Nicholas Hoult from director Bryan Singer and writers Simon Kinberg and Jane Goldman. The film, which has a running time of 131 minutes, opened on May 23, 2014. It is rated “PG-13” for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language.

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.

Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in X-Men: Days of Future Past
Jennifer Lawrence as Mystique in “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.
Photo credit: Alan Markfield, Marvel, 20th Century Fox

StarRead Adam Fendelman’s full review of “X-Men: Days of Future Past”.

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