After hearing the premise of Days of Future Past, I was a teensy bit worried that this latest mutant outing would be little more an attempt to clean up the continuity mess made by Fox ever since The Last Stand. The return of Bryan Singer to the franchise and the very genre he helped popularise 14 years ago showed promise, but I had this niggling feeling that the film would be nothing more than an excuse to start afresh, à la Star Trek 2009.
The film begins with a bang. The opening five minutes boasts some fantastic action that, whilst not quite as good as Nightcrawler’s introduction in X-Men 2, comes damn close. After that point, however, things take a wrong turn. Yet again, Wolverine is front and centre, and there’s absolutely nothing for Jackman to work with here. I know there are a lot of characters to take into consideration, but if you’re going to have Wolverine as the primary focus, you need some kind of character arc for him. He’s not even angry in this film.
He is of course surrounded by an extraordinary cast. It’s great to see the old guard back again, but I was disappointed to learn that Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Shawn Ashmore, Halle Berry and Ellen Page don’t actually have much to do in Days of Future Past. Then, to make matters worse, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence get lumped with a story that’s simply…not very interesting. It was only after the film ended that I realised there was no real villain. There are many narrative twists and turns, but the plot holes are legion. The film doesn’t even seem to line up with the post-credits sequence we got in The Wolverine ten months ago.
The only bright spark in the film comes in the form of Evan Peters’ Quicksilver. His scenes are the only time the film feels fun and exciting, reminiscent of the first time we set eyes on Singer’s X-Men back in 2000. The gauntlet has been thrown down, Mr Whedon; let’s see how you handle Quicksilver in Avengers: Age of Ultron.
The most grievous crime committed by Days of Future Past is that it’s boring. In fact, this is probably the dullest superhero movie I’ve seen since X-Men Origins: Wolverine. We may be suffering from superhero movie overload, but Captain America: The Winter Soldier and Iron Man 3 taught us that, with some subtle changes to the formula, the genre still shows promise. Rather than an evolution, this film feels like a case of same old, same old – just yet another movie about repressed mutants. At least First Class felt fresh.
Maybe it’s because I’ve been spoiled, having just seen the brilliant Steins;Gate, but Simon Kinberg’s screenplay didn’t even take full advantage of the time travel conceit. At the very least, I expected this to get me excited about the prospect of X-Men: Apocalypse. After seeing Days of Future Past, I care about X-Men less than I did after X-Men Origins: Wolverine.Rating: