Tuesday, May 27, 2014

X-Men: Days of Future Past Critique

It's important that I start this article off by saying I enjoyed X-Men: Days of Future Past quite a bit.  In fact, it is probably my favorite X-Men related movie to date.  The reason it is imperative that I state this is because I will spend the rest of this "critique" ripping the movie apart.  I promise it's out of love for these mutant characters. While X:DoFP is an extremely entertaining and enjoyable film, it is also riddled with issues that keep it from being the best comic book movie of all time.

On Friday evening, as I was walking out of my local theater after having just watched the new X-Men sequel / prequel, I was struck by the feeling of slight unfulfillment. This was the BIG mutant block buster and it had lived up to what it had promised, but somehow I wasn't overjoyed.  What's wrong, I wondered.  Had I just reached my satiation point with comic book properties?  No, I'm still as excited as ever to see my heroes on the big screen.  Captain America: Winter Soldier had knocked my socks off just a few months ago and Amazing Spider-Man 2, while incredibly flawed, still delivered the best Peter Parker to ever be on the big screen.  What was it then?  

I think the problem was that even after 6 movies (if you include the Wolverine movies), there were still so many lessons that hadn't been learned.  Below, I have made a list of various topics that jumped to mind when I reflect back on X:DoFP.  Some are very good items and are truly commendable and others are things that bug me that they have yet to be resolved.

  • Continuity issues:  I know the Bryan Singer has stated that he hopes that fans will be able to overlook some continuity issues. Well, I can't. There are just far too may of them.  Picking and choosing what is and isn't important in previous movies by just out right ignoring them, is just lazy.  Did Singer learn nothing from his terrible Superman "sequel"?  Other movies don't cease to exist just because you don't like them, especially if they have had a huge audience.  Some things could have been resolved with just a simple throwaway line.  Why does Wolverine have adamantium claws again?  Because of their future alliance, Magneto used his powers to fuse the metal to his bone claws.  How is Professor X still alive in the future?  He put his conscience in a new body and uses his powers to make people think he looks like his old self.  So why is he crippled again? Because he is REALLY unlucky.  Why did He and Mystique not seem to have a previous relationship in the first 3 movies?  Because they are both cold-shouldering pricks.  See, it's all fairly easy to explain, but it's still the movie maker's responsibility to explain it.
  • Xavier's problem:  When we meet Professor X, he's in a total downward spiral.  With good old Doc McCoy's help, he's just doing drugs and living a hermit's life.  Luckily Wolverine comes along and has words of encouragement to straighten out his act.  The question is, what originally cleaned him up?  In the old timeline, Charles Xavier went on to be a well and proper gentleman and he founded a successful school for children.  The Xavier in the 70's that we meet doesn't seem to be going down that road.  I would have liked some acknowledgment as to what originally transpired to correct his course.
  • Wolverine is underused:  Yes, I am well aware that he is a big part of the movie and that in the comic book his role is played out by Kitty Pryde, but really, does Wolverine do anything other than tell people, "Believe it or not, I'm from the future" or something along those lines?  Simply moving him into the role of main protagonist isn't enough.  He needs to DO something that only Wolverine can do.  You know, something he's "the best there is" at doing, something "not very nice".  Sure he's there throughout the movie, but does he really do any ass-kicking other than when he first goes into the past?

  • Quicksilver made a fool out of me:  When the pictures of Quicksilver first started making the rounds I couldn't help but look at them in disgust.  I just thought he looked so awful, the silver pleather jacket, the goggles, just everything screamed annoying rebellious youth in the lamest way possible.  Then, I watched the movie and I was won over. Quicksilver was easily the best new mutant added to the series and he has the most interesting powers to watch in action.  I found myself very disappointed when the X-Men just dumped him after using him for what they need.  Which leads to my next point…
  • Not enough mutants:  Okay, you may think I'm crazy for this but I didn't think there were nearly enough mutants in this movie.  In the future, I get it,  most mutants have been killed off and what we are seeing is just the last few remaining mutants.  In the past, however, we don't even get much of a team of mutants.  The X-Men just consist of Wolverine, a way too emo for his own good Xavier, and Beast the enabler.  Quicksilver unfortunately comes and goes, Magneto keeps switching sides, and Mystique is doing here own thing.  I guess I was just hoping for more of a team.  Even just one or two more would have been fine.  They could have used some of the mutants that were freed from the military.  Have Havok rejoin the team and maybe Toad could be Magneto's sidekick.
  • The school should be more wondrous:  Xavier's School for Gifted Youngsters should be a cross between Hogwarts and the cantina from Star Wars.  At the end when you see the school full of children it should be a mixture of ordinary looking kids doing unusual things and strange looking oddities walking down the halls like it's an regular school day.  The kids in this movie just looked like regular prep school kids.
  • Lack of comic costumes:  This one has bugged me since the first movie.  At this point there is no reason what so ever that we can't have movie costumes that are closer to the comics.  It was one thing in the first movie when people just weren't sure how that would go over, but now we live in a world were the movie Avengers and Spider-Man are sporting costumes that look like they're right off the printed page.  I'm just sick of drab black costumes.  First Class gave me the impression that things were headed in the right direction, then they took another step back with this movie.
  • Too many blue mutants:  I'm not sure why it bothers me so much, but it does.  Between Mystique, Beast, and Nightcrawler, there just seem to be a lot of blue mutants in the movies.  I know that's the fault of the comics, not the films, but it bugs me.  It just seems like you're either fairly normal looking with strange powers or you're blue and you have powers.  I'm not sure what could have been done.  Maybe if they had some students in a variety of colors or maybe just made Beast a little more gray like his original appearance rather than bright blue, it would have helped.
  • Not so special effects: Most of the CGI we see in the movie is phenomenal.  All the powers displayed by the mutants in the future looked better than I could have imagined.  Yet there where a few little things that just did not sit right with me.  Wolverine's claws looked pretty bad at times.  Not X-Men Origins: Wolverine bad, but worse than the practical props that were used in the first few movies.  There were also a few scenes with Mystique where it is was way too obvious that they had colorized her eyes yellow rather than have here wear contacts.  Finally, with Beast, some of his transformations didn't look convincing at all.  It was nearly NBC's Grimm level of bad.
  • Wolverine is too veiny: Hugh Jackman needs to tone it down a bit.  His insanely veiny arms are getting more and more distracting in each movie.

Based on what I've written above, you probably believe that I did, in fact, hate the movie, but I promise you I did not.  As it stands right now, it's probably close to being in my top 5 favorite superhero movies.  The points I brought up above are just things that would have placed it in my number one spot.
This is all just one fan's opinion.

 Click Here to read my thoughts prior to seeing the movie.

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