Today I had the pleasure of watching the latest superhero offering from 20th Century Fox et al, X-Men: Days Of Future Past.
In the dystopian future of 2023, sentient robots known as Sentinels are exterminating mutants and oppressing humans, since humans harbor the genes that lead to mutant offspring. A small band of mutant survivors manage to evade the Sentinels thanks to the powers of Kitty Pryde, who has the ability to project a person’s consciousness back in time to deliver warnings.
Kitty’s group rendezvous with Magneto and Professor Charles Xavier in a monastery in China. They hatch a plan to send Wolverine’s consciousness back in time to prevent Mystique from murdering Bolivar Trask, the lead designer of the Sentinels. Trask’s assassination will make him a martyr, Mystique will be captured and her mutant powers will be reverse-engineered and used to create the formidable Sentinels of the future. A caveat of the plan is that they will have to stand and defend Wolverine and Kitty until Wolverine finishes his trip to the past and returns, otherwise the changes he made to the timeline will be lost.
Wolverine wakes up in 1973 in his younger body. He travels to the X-Mansion, where he encounters the young Hank McCoy and a disheveled Xavier. His school has failed and most of his original X-Men are dead, and this has left him a broken man. He has also lost his telepathic powers through taking serum which allows him to walk again. Wolverine convinces Xavier to free Magneto — who was accused of murdering John F. Kennedy (a charge he denies, stating that Kennedy was himself a mutant) — from a prison cell beneath the Pentagon. They do this with the help of Peter Maximoff, a mutant who can move blindingly fast.
Trask unsuccessfully lobbies to Congress for approval for his Sentinel program. Meanwhile, in Saigon, Mystique prevents a young William Stryker from appropriating a group of mutant American GIs for Trask’s research. Mystique investigates Trask Industries and discovers he has been capturing and experimenting on mutants, including some of her old comrades. Knowing that the assassination of Trask occurs in Paris, Xavier and Magneto board a private plane with Beast and Wolverine in order to intercept Mystique, although the two argue over abandoning each other.
In Paris, the Americans and Vietnamese are negotiating the end to the Vietnam War. Mystique impersonates a Vietnamese general to infiltrate a meeting with Trask. As she is about to kill Trask, Wolverine, Xavier, Magneto and Hank arrive. To guarantee her powers can never be used for the Sentinels, Magneto tries to kill Mystique, who flees out a window. A fight on the street ensues, in front of onlookers and television cameras. Wolverine’s upsetting encounter with Stryker causes his future body to react violently and injure Kitty.
Although Trask is saved, the world is horrified by the existence of mutants. President Richard Nixon approves Trask’s Sentinel program and arranges an unveiling in Washington, D.C. Trask’s scientists recover Mystique’s blood from the battle site in Paris, and Magneto fears Trask could still create the future Sentinels. Magneto intercepts the Sentinel prototypes on their way to Washington and laces them with steel. At the mansion, Xavier eschews his regular serum dose to regain his powers. Through Wolverine, Xavier communes with his future self and is inspired to struggle for human-mutant peace once again. He uses Cerebro to track Mystique en route to Washington.
Nixon unveils the Sentinel prototypes on the White House lawn. As a show of force, Magneto raises RFK Stadium and deposits it around the White House. He also commandeers the Sentinels and has them attack the crowd. Nixon and Trask are taken to a safe room, followed by a disguised Mystique. Xavier, Wolverine, and Beast try to stop Magneto. Magneto impales Wolverine with rebars and flings him into the Potomac River. In 2023, the X-Men make their final stand as the Sentinels assault the monastery.
Pulling the safe room out of the White House, Magneto aims the television cameras at himself and prepares to kill the President with the whole world watching. Disguised as the President, Mystique wounds him with a plastic gun and reveals her true form. Xavier persuades Mystique not to kill Trask and allows her and Magneto to flee. The Sentinel program is cancelled and Trask is arrested.
Wolverine wakes up in 2023 in Xavier’s school, where he finds the X-Men all alive and well, even Jean Grey and Scott Summers. Logan asks Xavier to fill him in on the 50 years that he has missed out on, stating that the history he knew was a different one. In 1973, Mystique, impersonating Stryker, has the younger Wolverine rescued from the river.
In a post-credits scene, a cloaked figure telekinetically assembles the Pyramids of Giza as four horsemen stand behind him and a throng of worshipers chants his name: En Sabah Nur.
It was an absolutely brilliant film, with a great story idea managed superbly with an engaging plot. There was ahealthy mix of dialogue and action, as well as past and future. The acting was superb from all of the returning cast, with a special mention to Nicholas Hoult who really expanded on Hank’s character in brilliant ways. There were a lot of interesting new additions, Sunspot and Blink were good; and it was great to see BooBoo Stewart as Warpath – a character I’ve wanted to see on screen for a long time, played by a really good actor. However, there was one character in particular that stole the entire film for me – Pietro Maximoff/Quicksilver, played supremely well by Evan Peters. He was everything that Quicksilver should be – entertaining and awesome – and I hope to see him in future films.
There are still plenty of questions left over that can be answered in the next installments, so I can’t wait to see them. I can’t recommend this film enough for fans of X-Men, or a wider collection of people who enjoy good cinema.
Thanks for reading.