A lot hinges on “X-Men: Days of Future Past” not only doing well in the box-office but in also fixing continuity errors because if die-hard fans of the X-titles were to be asked, they may have just had enough with how 20th Century Fox has treated this well-loved Marvel franchise.
The common notion is that X2 or X-Men United was the last good X-film and that X-Men: The Last Stand and the stand-alone X-Men Origins: Wolverine were, in a word, abhorrent. And apparently, series producer Lauren Schuler Donner agrees when, during the U.K. premiere of “Days of Future Past”, she said that those two films are better forgotten. That’s right, X3 and Origins: Wolverine are no longer canon.
I won’t get into the mistakes that were made in those films and will choose to focus instead on the right ones that 20th Century Fox did thereafter.
In 2011, X-Men: First Class I went into with guarded optimism because I was thinking, ok, so this is the reboot and I don’t know half of the cast. So what, am I just supposed to forget the first three X-Men films?
But right from the opening scene, I immediately recognized the different mood the film had. It is, as abused film definitions go, “darker”. Showing the stark contrast between the childhood of an Erik Lehnsheer and a Charles Xavier gives the casual watcher an understanding of why the two, who would grow up as friends, end up as rivals most of their adult lives.
Even Lehnsheer’s revenge plot in the first half of “First Class” had a James Bond-esque vibe to it, which I credit to Michael Fassbender practically owning the character. If you’d watch the yacht scene with him in the water, you’d see the intensity he brings as the master of magnetism. And while I cannot diminish James McAvoy’s portrayal of Xavier, I’m quite partial to villainous characters, which is why I also enjoyed the calm that Kevin Bacon brought as Sebastian Shaw.
Jennifer Lawrence I was scratching my head why she was cast as Mystique but after “Days of Future Past”, I could actually see the potential of a stand-alone espionage film for her along the lines of “Salt”.
In my opinion, “First Class” was a step in the right direction for the X-Men cinematic universe and, skipping “The Wolverine”, I was hoping that “Days of Future Past” would get the same first class treatment.
Before I get into that, however, it would be important to mention what the aforementioned die-hard fans are saying months before “Days of Future Past” would hit theatres. Issues such as why is it that Wolverine would be the one going to the past instead of Kitty Pryde, why does Bishop have red eyes, why does Quicksilver look goofy and, on a larger scale, why would there be two silver quicksters with the other one appearing in “Avengers: Age of Ultron”? But looks aside, Evan Peters’ version has proven to be quite a surprise and is one of the coolest highlights of “Days of Future Past”.
However, if you read what is being said online, you’d realize that there are those who are practically hoping that “Days of Future Past” flops. The reason being that, if 20th Century Fox screws up the X-Men franchise which they have the movie rights to, then there is the possibility of it reverting to Marvel the way Daredevil, Punisher, Ghost Rider and a couple others have. Similarly, there is clamor for Sony’s Spider-Man rights to revert to Marvel just so he and Wolverine can finally join The Avengers on the big screen.
I personally would be the first to sign a petition to bring these characters together for a major Marvel storyline: Infinity Gauntlet, Civil War, or World War Hulk but I don’t see “The Amazing Spider-Man” franchise flopping in the box office in the coming years especially with plans of expanding his universe by introducing the Sinister Six and even talks of a Venom film.
And if you go and see “Days of Future Past”, you’ll realize that 20th Century Fox won’t be losing their rights to the X-Men franchise any time soon. Once again, it’s thanks to the “First Class” actors who were made to be the stars of this film. Though Wolverine figures prominently here, I felt that he was effective as a messenger from the future than the rabid feral he was made to be in the six previous films. (Yes this is the seventh time Hugh Jackman has played the character and since “Days of Future Past” will practically clean the slate, I think it’s only right that he finally dons a variation of the yellow suit in his next outing.) And I’m glad that my wish for the corny turns or close ups when he gets shot or sliced to be done away with was heard.
Peter Dinklage as Bolivar Trask was a hit or miss for me. I’m a Tyrion Lannister fan and Dinklage is a fine actor but I had just seen “The Laws of God and Men” (Game of Thrones Season 4 Episode 6) prior to “Days of Future Past” and comparatively, Trask just pales in comparison.
The dynamic though that is shared by McAvoy, Fassbender, and Lawrence is what moves the story forward. While the future X-Men are fighting for survival against Trask’s “Sentinels that transform”, the three are fighting for their own future as they struggle with the decisions that they have to make based on their personal beliefs.
The parallels are there especially in the final act and the ensuing resolution is just so satisfying that the idea of 20th Century Fox finally having its own “The Avengers” is just so exciting. I won’t even get into the possibility of the mutants’ supposed next adventure yet but I have faith it’s only going to get better as they have proven themselves fitting survivors.
It took them long enough but I'm hoping that with Fassbender, McAvoy, Jackman, and Lawrence headlining the film franchise, I guess it's safe to say that the X-Men are finally standing on solid ground.