X-Men: Days of Future Past – Road to Dark Phoenix

Nicholas Hoult, James McAvoy, and Hugh Jackman in 20th Century Fox's X-Men: Days of Future Past.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is certainly one of the best films in the entire X-Men series and unites both the new and old casts with stakes on the line.

After being set up in The Wolverine, the action starts in 2023.  By this point, the elder Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Erik Lehnsherr (Ian McKellan) have gotten over their differences.  The two of them are working together in order to save both mutants and humanity.  The film makes a change from the comics by sending Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to 1973 rather than Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page).  Kitty still plays a role in sending him back for what it’s worth.

In 1973, neither Charles (James McAvoy) nor Erik (Michael Fassbender) makes it easy for Logan.  In fact, it takes some major selling to convince Charles of the stakes at play.  On top of this, Logan recruits Peter Maximoff (Evan Peters).  A lot has changed since 1962.  Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) is out on her own.  Charles has completely let go of himself while taking takes a serum to get his legs back.  Erik is in the most secure Pentagon prison after killing JFK.  Though there’s more here than meets the eye as we learn later on.

The major task at hand is to stop Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) from wrecking havoc with his Sentinel program.  It also means reigning in Mystique.  If she gets captured by Track, the Sentinel program will doom the mutants.  To change the future, everyone must work together.  Mystique is the biggest question mark.  Both Erik and Mystique aren’t happy at what Charles ended up doing.  Many mutants were drafted into Vietnam.  Moreover, Trask would experiment on some of them with the help of Major William Stryker (Josh Helman).  There is simply no escaping Stryker no matter what era!

The Paris Peace Accords replaces the Cuban Missile Crisis.  The rift between Charles and Erik proves to be too much.  Erik is fully intent on taking out Nixon and Trask.  Much to his surprise, Mystique went into the White House Bunker.  She has a chance to change her own future and she rises up to the occasion.  The day will forever be celebrated as M Day.  It’s a day that will inspire mutants across the world.  We’ll see some of this during the next film.

When Logan wakes up in 2023, it’s an entirely different timeline.  Both Jean Grey (Famke Janssen) and Scott Summers  (James Marsden) are alive along with other mutants long dead in his previous timeline.  This is where it is natural to assume that the X-Men films are going in a different direction.  While the original films happened for Logan, the events of this film mean a completely different history.  It’s impossible to know what this history will be because of the Disney purchase.

I especially love that Jennifer Lawrence is given more work here.  The actress is in a large majority of the film in Mystique’s natural form.  Mutant and proud, right?  Seeing what Trask is doing to mutants, Mystique turns up the fight for mutant rights.  She draws this trait from Erik more so than Charles.  Still, it’s weird to see Mystique acting heroic after watching the original trilogy.

The thing I love the most about this film is that it completely retcons the very sour X-Men: The Last Stand.  Though the film’s ending does leave open some questions.  Which films no longer exist because of this new timeline?  Or do any of them end up getting pushed back at all by a few years?  What we do know is that Mystique is the one who rescues Logan from the river at the end of the film.  She may take the form of Major William Stryker but to where we she take him?  We know he eventually ends up in the real Stryker’s hands because of what happens during X-Men: Apocalypse.

Meanwhile, the visual effects here are very impressive.  It’s the first X-Men film to take home an Oscar nomination for visual effects.  Honestly, why didn’t this happen before?  Evan Peters’ Quicksilver is a scene-stealer.  There is one scene that is especially awesome!

Enhanced by the political themes of the day, X-Men Days of Future Past is a very fun film to watch.

DIRECTOR:  Bryan Singer
SCREENWRITER:  Simon Kinberg
CAST: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Nicholas Hoult, Anna Paquin, Ellen Page, Peter Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Omar Sy, Evan Peters,  Josh Helman, Daniel Cudmore, Fan Bingbing, Adan Canto, Booboo Stewart, with Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart

20th Century Fox opened X-Men: Days of Future Past in theaters on May 23, 2014. The film is available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, DVD, and Digital. Grade: 4.5/5

Danielle Solzman

Danielle Solzman is native of Louisville, KY, and holds a BA in Public Relations from Northern Kentucky University and a MA in Media Communications from Webster University. She roots for her beloved Kentucky Wildcats, St. Louis Cardinals, Indianapolis Colts, and Boston Celtics. Living less than a mile away from Wrigley Field in Chicago, she is an active reader (sports/entertainment/history/biographies/select fiction) and involved with the Chicago improv scene. She also sees many movies and reviews them. She has previously written for Redbird Rants, Wildcat Blue Nation, and Hidden Remote/Flicksided. From April 2016 through May 2017, her film reviews can be found on Creators.