HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: X-Men: Days of Future Past
HTS Overall Score:92
Superhero movies are on the top of the pile right now, raking in huge profits and getting the big bucks from studio backers, and with the inclusion of some fantastic comic book legends coming to TV as well, we’re pretty much living in nerd heaven. The X-men franchise started the modern blockbuster superhero flick rampage, as it was the first one to bring them into the spotlight as something that could be taken seriously and not just written off as a joke (some might argue that “Blade” started it, but most people don’t recognize it as a comic book film). Bryan Singer directed “X-men” and “X2” only to be ousted for Brett Ratner who gave us a lackluster “X-Men: The Last Stand” and then the series pretty much performed Seppuku on itself with “X-Men Origins: Wolverine”. They made a try of it with “X-men: First Class”, but the re-casting of the major characters as they went back decades into the show’s past to create a part prequel, part reboot didn’t pan out as well as they had hoped. Years later the series has risen like the phoenix (nerdy little pun there intended) and given itself some new like with “Wolverine” last year and this years “Days of Future past”.
Bryan Singer is now back in the saddle again, as he directs his third “X-men” movie to date and shows us why we really missed his absence since “X-2”. Bringing past and present casts together in one single movie we get to see some of the much dreamed about future X-men and the newness of young blood. It’s a modern holocaust in the year 2023 as Mutants advances in technology allows for man to create robotic creatures that can hunt down and target the Mutant X gene inside a person, rounding up or killing any who fall in their targeting reticle. Even humans who dare to help their mutant brethren are rounded up, leaving only the worst of humanity in charge of an ever shrinking population. All hope is not lost, as Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart), Magneto (Ian McKellan) and a few of the core mutants in the X-men have come up with a plan, send Wolverine back in time to 1973, to stop a young Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from flicking that domino that starts this whole chain reaction of pain. Kitty Pride uses her special abilities to shift Logan’s (Hugh Jackman) consciousness back 30 years in the past to his younger body in hopes that he can persuade a young Professor X (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) to help him stop Mystique.
On arriving Logan finds out that he’s in for a bit of a rougher ride than he thought, as Professor Xavier has lost his way, using the same serum that Beast (Nicholas Hoult) used to suppress his transformation in “First Class” in order to gain the use of his legs (and suppress his psychic abilities). Even after being able to persuade the professor to give it the old college try, they trio has to break Magneto out of the pentagon’s top secret facility in order to track down Mystique. For that they’re going to need the special help of a young Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in order to break Magneto out and then stop Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) and starting the chain of events that creates the Sentinels.
I’m a huge X-men fan from back in the 80s and that love has transferred to this day and age. I loved the first two X-men adventures, and thought the third movie was underrated. It certainly had its flaws, but it was nowhere near the travesty that some people make it out to be. “Origins”, on the other hand, deserves all of the hate that it gets. “First Class” is where it started to pick up again, as director Matthew Vaughn, gave the series a bit of new life. The problem with “First Class” was that too many people (myself included) really didn’t like the recasting of characters. James McAvoy and Michael Fassbender did great jobs as the two leads, but the pack of mutants they chose to surround themselves with were largely forgettable and boring characters. Even the villain was lackluster in that department. Fans were not well pleased with the results and the end results met with middling monetary gain compared to what they were hoping. This time around the powers that be decided that the only way to get people on board with the new cast was by intermingling the old cast in with “future” scenes in order to satiate both sides. This comes off with mixed results as now we have a direct comparison between both “classes” of actors. “Days of Future Past” is a good film that hovers on the edge of great, in my opinion, with the one thing keeping it from rising into greatness is once more focusing too much on the new crew in “past” (that’s a mind bender for you there). With both young and old versions of the characters in the movie it only becomes painfully clear who are the superior actors and the superior versions of the characters. Hugh Jackman is the quintessential Wolverine and there is can be no disservice to the franchise there, but watching Michael Fassbender vs. Ian McKellan and James McAvoy vs. Patrick Stewart just further accentuates the longing we have for a TRUE “X-men 4” as both actors outshine their younger counterparts by a huge margin. The battle sequences in the future are awe inspiring as we finally get to see some of the mutants break out with their full powers, Like Bishop, Blink, and Ice man actually breaks out his famous ice slide in his ultimate form for once in the movie. Every time the future team came on screen the energy was just palpable, with people leaning forward in their seats and watching these guys blast away at Sentinels. Even Ian McKellan, with all his health problems, is able to emote with just an eyebrow raise and a hand gesture in ways that just outshine Fassbender (who I’m not knocking, he’s a fantastic actor, but compared to a great like Ian McKellan he seems second best). When we cut back to the 70’s it all just goes back to “good” as we see the younger cast do their best playing these iconic characters.
Now, with that being said, “Days of Future Past” is nowhere NEAR a bad movie. It really is quite good, and only hindrance is seeing what “might have been” with the other actors. Hugh Jackman is awesome, James McAvoy does a solid job with Xavier and Fassbender is a probably one of the best choices they could have made for a young Magneto (well, despite the British accent). The one area that I was REALLY worried about in the script was the inclusion of Evan Peters as Quicksilver. He’s such a fantastic character that I, and many other people online, were really worried that he would muck it up. Not only did he not muck it up, but the 15 minutes where we actually get to see Quicksilver was actually the highlight of the entire “past” section of the movie! I don’t want to spoil anything, but his 15 minutes of fame is worth the price of admission alone, as he adds a much needed bit of goofy humor and will have your jaw on the floor with his prison break sequence. Amusingly enough, in the comics Quicksilver is Magneto’s son, and they do a little tongue in cheek nod to that history when Quicksilver learns of who they’re breaking out, “He can control metal? My mom used to know a guy like that!”.
The action scenes are just plain awesome and have really become polished compared to the first few movies, especially in the acrobatics that Mystique can pull off compared to the Rebecca Romain days. Wolverine has really matured as a character, and is less the beast that everyone knew from the first few movies. He’s now become a bit more hardened with cynicism, but also filled with that hope that Professor Xavier spent so many years teaching his students. Well, he also seems full of about 2 Hugh Jackman’s as I’ve never seen the man look so gigantic! Seriously, it’s like looking at ‘The Rock” 4 years ago, then looking at him now as Wolverine has gone from cut and muscular to just plain ginormous and looking like his biceps are about to split every shirt he’s wearing.
Rated PG- 13 for sequences of intense sci-fi violence and action, some suggestive material, nudity and language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30417[/img]This is another one of those releases where I could just say “perfect picture, perfect sound”, drop the mic, and just walk away. Yes, it’s that good, although I don’t know what I was expecting with a day and date superhero movie. These days the superhero film are the crown jewels of the respective studios and treated with kid gloves. To say that the 2.40:1 AVC encoded image looks spectacular is an understatement, as the colors just pop off the screen and the detail is so astounding that I honestly rewound the film a few times in places to marvel at the levels of detail. When Logan is parking outside of Quicksilver’s place and it focuses in on his face, the sheer amount of facial detail is just astounding, and the levels of detail in the surrounding backdrops are no less exquisite. The ONLY complaint I may have is that once or twice the CGI stood out a bit, especially on the prototype Sentinels, where you could definitely see that they were CGI creations. Black levels are amazingly inky and just filled to the brim with shadow detail that doesn’t lend itself towards any crush. This is honestly one of the prettiest pictures I have seen in quite some time and actually rivals, or even exceeds in some places, the already excellent “Captain America: The Winter Soldier” in its perfection. Bravo Fox, well done.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=30425[/img]I already said I should just drop dat mic and walk away, but let me regale you for a bit with my gushings. The 7.1 DTS-HD MA track that Fox gave us is nothing short of awe inspiring. The sound stage is simply enormous with an incredibly detailed and pinpoint accurate presentation. The Dynamic range is off the charts as one moment you’re listening to Michael Fassbender’s soothing British accent to hearing the shrieking of metal as a steel bunker is torn to shreds at his hands. I have to say that the first few moments of the film queued me in to the fact that this would be a very active film, as the surrounds were just bubbling with activity and that activity never slowed down once the entire 2 hour plus runtime. Details come flying at you from all directions, constantly shifting in the soundstage and INCREDIBLY nuanced. You can hear the sound of a latch clicking shut as a car door slams, the whoosh of falling paper that was disturbed by Quicksilver’s speedy disturbance and the clicking sounds as the hammer of a gun is cocked behind your left ear. I was pleasantly surprised by the LFE, for as much as I love a loud and powerful bass experience, I really enjoy these extremely tight and accurate LFE encodings as well. The bass came and went, adding a nice low end to the film, but when needed it tears the roof off, digging quite deep in the process. When Magneto started ripping up the stadium my subs started going down to those levels where your hairs stand up on end and start vibrating as your room starts to flex, even if you can’t audibly hear the frequencies.
• Deleted Scenes
• Kitchen Sequene
• Double Take: Xavier & Magneto
• Gag Reel
• X-Men: Reunited
• Classification M
• Sentinels: For a Secure Future
• Gallery: Trask Industries
• Theatrical Trailers
• Second Screen App
• Sneak Peak of "Exodus: Gods and Kings"
I have a huge soft spot for the X-men films, even the really bad ones like “Origins” and with Bryan Singer at the helm once more, it’s nice to see the cast coming together for a cohesive story once more. It’s not as PERFECT as I’d hoped it to be, but after viewing it a second time, I must say that this is one of the top 3 “X-Men” films to date, ranking just under 1 and 2. The audio and video experience are truly off the scales, making this one of my new demo discs for sure, especially for the video department. There’s some decent extras on the disc as well, so I really don’t see any reason not to give this movie a pick up (unless you’re really holding out till next year when the “Rouge” cut is supposedly being released). Recommended.
Starring: Ian McKellan, Patrick Steward, Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Written By: Simon Kinberg, Jane Goldman
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: ENGLISH: DTS-HD MA 7.1, English 5.1 Descriptive Services, Spanish, French, Portuguese, Russian, Czech, Ukrainian DD 5.1
Studio: 20th Century Fox
Runtime: 131 Minutes
Blu-ray Release Date: October 14th 2014
Buy X-Men: Days of Future Past 3D Blu-ray on Amazon
Buy X-Men: Days of Future Past 2D Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Watch It
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