Days of Future Past is set in two different time zones. One is a desolate, dystopian future, in which the original trilogy’s set of mutants, including Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), Professor X (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellen) and Storm (Halle Berry), find themselves on the losing side of an existentially catastrophic battle against an unstoppable force of formidable robots called Sentinels. The other is set 50 years before, in 1973, when the younger Professor and Magneto (played by James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender, respectively) couldn’t be further apart, after their devastating altercation in First Class in which the good Professor lost his legs. In order to stop the sentinels from destroying the mutant race entirely, the future mutants hatch a plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time (using the talents of Ellen Page’s Shadowcat) to stop a vengeful Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing sentinel creator, Bolivar Trask (Game of Thrones‘ Peter Dinklage), and therefore also prevent the advancement of the sentinels in the future.
The premise is interesting for sure, and the twists and turns (mainly caused by Fassbender’s blind-sighted, arrogant younger Magneto) are certainly intriguing – often leaving the future mutants’ fate hanging precariously in the balance. The ending however, without spoiling, is a little frustrating, if only because it makes the original trilogy and the whole story we’ve seen up to this point seem kind of irrelevant. The main cast, though, (i.e: Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender, Lawrence, McKellen and Stewart) are brilliant, and Evan Peter’s Quicksilver in particular gives the first half a mischievously exhilarating breath of fresh air. Sadly, among all the other character development, the new future mutants and even to an extent, original favourite Storm, feel incredibly underwhelming – to the point that an actual non-mutant induced storm could have happened with no-one being any the wiser to the few utterances Berry gets on screen.
Overall, the film doesn’t quite gel together mutants, old and new, but it is still an explosively fun watch, with an incredible ensemble cast, that will leave you hungry for the next piece of the puzzle in 2017’s Apocalypse.
A Note On The Disc: Anyone looking for a Peter Jackson-esque technical commentary on the behind the scenes making of the film may be disappointed, as most of the featurettes on the extras are very character-centric. However, as you would expect with as spectacular an acting ensemble as this, there is a lot of attention focused on both the old and new members of the cast, through the use of feature interviews and a rather entertaining gag-reel. You can also download the Cerebro app (on iTunes, Google Play or the Amazon app store) for an extra-content-as-you-watch experience.
X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014), directed by Bryan Singer, is released on DVD and Blu-Ray in the UK by 20th Century Fox, Certificate 12.