X-Men: Days of Future Past

* Rather than subject you to yet more lame over-photoshopped nonsense official poster art, I thought I'd instead give you a piece of amazing fan art courtesy of artist Harlan Elam

Directed by: Bryan Singer
Category: Action

So here was my experience this past $5 Tuesday at the theater. Being as I rarely, if ever, get to an actual theater, you can bet your ass it will always be either the "early bird" special or on $5 Tuesdays, where every showing is just $5, no matter what time of the day. Godzilla had already been out for 2 weeks now and so I figured the crowds have surely died down somewhat enough to be able to enjoy seeing the film without a filled to capacity theater, especially when you take into account the new X-Men film just came out this past Friday. Well I was wrong. Even though Godzilla took a considerable drop percentage wise in it's second week of release, a LOT of people are still hitting the theater to see this latest iteration . My intent was to see the big guy on the big screen, one of only a few times I would actually get my lazy ass to a theater, but unfortunately my showing was sold out and the only other film I was interested in seeing that was playing relatively close to the time I had intended to see Godzilla was X-Men: Days of Future Past...........in 3D. Ugh! I'm not a fan of 3D....at all. And it's mainly for 2 reasons. One, it's just fucking ridiculous how expensive it is. For the two of us to see X-Men, it was $30. I'm always left thinking what better way I could have spent that money. Secondly, 3D glasses darken everything in the film, and I find that annoying as hell. And if you're watching a film with a lot of "night" scenes, then 3D only makes everything more muted and seriously takes away from the experience.

But alas! Here I was, in a theater, watching a major blockbuster, in 3D, and very apprehensive. So was it a terrible experience? Absolutely not. In fact, I was flat-out shocked at how much I enjoyed this. Despite it's many, many night sequences, it's outright obvious that director Bryan Singer took great pains to make this a 3D movie experience, and it was a blast. For me, even with all the segments that involved the present day that took place at night, it wasn't that bad and above all else, the many awesome things that this film has going for it trump my petty issues with the muted color tones and annoyance of having to wear 3D glasses over my existing ones. The 3D works effectively well when incorporated and when it's not, you barely notice.

As with Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Days of Future Past starts with a bang with it's very first shot where you're thrown head-on into the fold. It's a dizzying 15 minutes of insanely technical action that left me both in awe and confused. But that's just something to wet your appetite. Once the film keeps going from it's opening attack of the senses you're treated to one of the two best X-Men movies to date, next to X2. I've said it before and I'll say it again; Bryan Singer was born to make X-Men movies. He just needs to stop trying anything else and stick with what he's great at. Sure he's done other things, and succeeded rather well in the Thriller genre with The Usual Suspects and Apt Pupil, but when he continues to go after big budget effects heavy films like Jack The Giant Slayer or Superman Returns, well we know how those ended. Jack was a mess. But I won't beat up on Superman too much. There's just as much to love about it as there is to hate it. Visually stunning and brilliantly cast, especially Brandon Routh as Clark/Sups, but way too dopey, sad, boring, and most of all, melodramatic. I don't think we were prepared for an existential Superman movie. We wanted action.....a lot of it. Something Superman Returns was sorely missing.

But after the Jack the Giant Slayer debacle, it was announced he'd be returning to the franchise, where he famously abandoned X-Men: The Last Stand in favor of directing Superman Returns, much to everyone's excitement. Now he's set to direct another X-Men film after this titled Apocalypse. The X-Men films just seem like the perfect fit for a man of his talents. When you go all the way back to the first X-Men film in 2000, while the film's effects work wasn't anywhere near spectacular the way we come to expect these days, his talent for telling the story and combining all the right elements shine through above all else. Regardless of the substandard effects work, the film looks great as a whole, visually, thematically and stylistically.

14 years later and we are now at Days of Future Past, his 3rd go around as director in the franchise, and one of the best films in the series, including the Wolverine standalone films. The Days of Future Past storyline, which ran for 2 issues in The Uncanny X-Men in 1981, is highly debatable as there have been obvious changes made to the story as well as deleted scenes and plot holes aplenty. You can rip this film's story-line to pieces if you wanted to, but is it worth that effort? No. Just enjoy the film for what it is and go along for the ride. In doing so you'll find a film rich with subtext and fascinatingly enjoyable from beginning to end. Thrilling, exciting, funny, and most of all entertaining.

I began collecting comics in the 80's, but after this particular story-line. I even followed along when Jim Lee revamped the series in the 90's and so on. But I was never a huge X-Men fan. I enjoyed them and they were a fun read, but I could never win a debate or have an intellectual discussion on them. So as far as how close these films and characters follow their comic origins is not a big deal to me because I just don't know. I guess that's why the last X film, The Last Stand didn't bother me as much as it did everyone else with the changes they apparently made to the Phoenix story-line. Going into each of these films always end up a fun experience overall for me.

The effects work is top notch, the actors have all brought their A-Game to the table; most importantly Hugh Jackman, who continues to kill it as Logan/Wolverine, bringing new depth to the character every single time he returns to the role. What I loved more than anything though is how the film is peppered with plenty of "Wow" factor. The Quicksilver sequence in particular was just balls-out nuts and amazing! If that sequence doesn't put a smile on your face, then you're not human.

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