Sunday, May 25, 2014

X-men: Days of Future (Undoing the) Past - A Painfully Detailed Review


When it comes to providing quality awesome to the fine folks to who follow this mess of drunken ramblings some call a blog, I am fully willing to put myself through plenty of punishment. I will endure hangovers, brain damage, and strange burn marks on my ass that I don't remember getting after blacking out at a rave in Miami. That's how dedicated I am. Now it's easier for me in some respects because sometimes pain gives me a boner. But what I just did is nowhere near as enjoyable as paying a couple of strippers to bite my nipple and choke me while I touch myself. Since I know some fans would be clamoring for it, I sucked it up and did it. I saw X-men: Days of Futures Past.

Now I had planned to see this movie at some point, preferably when it came out on cable so I could go to the bathroom during commercial breaks and throw up when I needed. But I decided to just bite the bullet, sneak some whiskey into a movie theater, and saw the movie so that I can at least give the impression that I know what the fuck I'm talking about when I discuss it. Sure, I left drunk, but I also left with a full assessment of this movie that was supposed to give the X-men movies a fresh start.

Let's start by getting one thing out of the way. X-men: Days of Futures Past is NOT as awful as X3 or Wolverine Origins or The Wolverine. But again, that's like saying punch in the jaw feels better than a kick in the balls. The bar for quality in the X-men movies has been set so fucking low that Homer Simpson has the athletic ability to jump it. So making a movie that didn't make fans want to violently shit out their intestines through their eye sockets wasn't very hard. However, that doesn't mean it was worth massaging Bryan Singer's ego.


Because that's really the impression I got when I saw this movie. X-men: Days of Futures Past was all about ego. There's a very salient scene that was blatantly spoiled in a trailer where Xavier and Magneto have this little exchange:

Xavier: You took the things that meant most to me.

Magneto: Well maybe you should have fought harder for them.

Then Magneto fucks up the plane to make his point, which is a pretty effective way to win an argument. But when I saw this, I got the sense that this same conversation happened at some point behind the scene.

Bryan Singer: You destroyed something that meant so much to me.

Brett Ratner: Well maybe you should have fought harder for it.

That really is what this is about. Singer himself stated outright that this movie was meant to fix the steaming mountain of shit that Brett Ratner created when he spewed out X3 through his colon. But let us not forget the context of that epic tragedy. Singer is the one that ditched the X-men movies. Ratner was just the dipshit Fox hired to try and replace him. Singer put Ratner in a position to desecrate his own mountains of shit and for what? So he could make a movie that turned Superman into a fucking deadbeat dad? I'm sorry, Mr. Singer, but you have nobody to blame but yourself for this shit.


And that is very much the same situation that Charles Xavier finds himself in. He just fucking up and quit, turning into a burned out Saturday Night Fever wannabe after he lost his team and his students. And it wasn't like Magneto took them from him. They all got drafted into the Vietnam War because back in the 60s and 70s, public lynchings of minorities were less tolerated so the the government did the next best thing and sent their asses to war. Yes, it's a dick move. But it's an even bigger dick move to not do dick about it.

It's only when Xavier and the rest of the surviving X-men in the dystopian world of 2023 concoct the plan to send Wolverine back to the past to give his younger self a good kick in the ass. This in and of itself reeks of the same bullshit that made X3 such an infuriating subject for drunken X-men fans. In the same way Wolverine was forced into the main role that Cyclops should have had in X3, Wolverine is forced into the main role that Kitty Pryde should have had in X-men Days of Futures Past. At the very least, this time Kitty Pryde still plays a significant role. Unfortunately, she plays the role Rachel Grey should've played, but that's to be expected since Rachel Grey's parents were fucking killed. So from the beginning, this movie walks the same shit-stained path of X3.


However, it doesn't stay on that path. X-men Days of Futures Past actually relies less on shitty action and more on actual plot. There is a greater emphasis on making character moments that actually bring out a little emotion. The problem is those emotions still ring hollow. At no point in this movie does it make anyone forget just how badly the previous X-men movies were fucked. These emotions feel like nothing more than teases, like a stripper only pretending to take her top off. They never feel totally sincere.

That's not to say there isn't a concerted effort, but they leave me more confused than touched. Like why the fuck would Mystique get all weepy and teary-eyed over the deaths of Emma Frost, Azazel, or Banshee? There was absolutely no material in this movie or in X-men First Class to establish that she gave more than a partial fuck about them. I understand that they're all mutants and they're all supposed to be one big happy mutant brotherhood, but it's hard to take those emotions seriously when we have to just assume that Mystique, a character who has given fewer fucks than anyone in the X-men comics for the past decade, was actually really close to her teammates.

That's another thing that made me wish I snuck in another bottle of whiskey into the theater. A lot of the characters from X-men First Class were dead before this movie even began. Apparently, they had all been captured and subject to Nazi style torture by Bolivar Trask. No flashbacks. No teaser scene. They're all just dead and that's supposed to be what sets Mystique on the path to killing Trask, which somehow ushers in the dark and dangerous future that needs to be undone.

And that's yet another thing. Mystique is supposed to have killed Trask in 1973. And somehow THIS was supposed to be the trigger point. Yet in that time, the events of X1, X2, and X3 were able to transpire. Xavier said it himself. Trask's death is what kickstarted the Sentinel program. Yet his X-men, with all their power, did absolutely jack shit about it in all that time. The X-men are many things, but they're not nearly as inept as the fucking government. It lacks so many details, the least of which involves Bolivar Trask being alive and black in X2. Those are details that can be ignored in some circumstances, but this movie is trying to squeeze itself into the same universe as every other X-men movie. And therein lies the biggest flaw of X-men Days of Futures Past.

In Singer's effort to save his baby and his ego, he forgets that there are a fuckton of inconsistencies that should've made X-men First Class a reboot from the get go. 

First off, why the fuck is Bolivar Trask in X2, black, and not dead?

Second, how the fuck did Xavier and Magneto team up in X3 to recruit a young Jean Grey when they were clearly mortal enemies?

Third, how was Xavier able to walk when he met a young Jean Grey in X3 and still wield his telepathic powers when this movie established that so long as he took this drug to treat his legs, he couldn't use his telepathy?

Fourth, how is it that Xavier and Beast developed a serum that effectively suppressed their powers back in fucking 1973, yet they claimed they couldn't help mutants like Rogue or Cyclops, who couldn't control their powers?

Fifth, if a cure for mutant powers was developed that long ago, why the fuck was it such a big deal in X3?

Sixth, if Emma Frost is dead, then who the fuck was that same diamond-skinned woman in Wolverine Origins?

Seventh, if the Sentinels had working models as far back as 1973, why the fuck didn't they ever show up sooner? William Stryker knew about them. Yet he didn't bother using them when he attacked the X-men in X2?

Eighth, after Magneto demonstrates his power by taking an entire fucking football stadium and plop it down around the White House, how is it that Richard fucking Nixon, of all Presidents, basically shrugs his shoulders when Mystique decides to stop him? This is Richard Nixon, the man who began the drug war and spied on anyone who he couldn't make his bitch. Yet he's not paranoid enough to come up with some insane weapon to stop mutants like Magneto?


I could go on. There are so many inconsistencies in this movie that the idea that it takes place int he same universe as the other X-men movies makes no fucking sense, no matter how much LSD or weed anyone ingests. The only thing that can be said about this movie is that it did succeed in one important way. It completely undid the events of every other X-men movie, from X1 to The Wolverine. None of that shit happened. In the end, Cyclops, Jean Grey, and Professor Xavier are alive. Rogue is still at the school and not swapping spit with Iceman, hinting that her powers aren't cured. The Xavier Institute is still intact and Wolverine didn't turn into a complete fucking pussy by ditching the team to run off and hump Mariko Yashida. I admit this did make the movie feel satisfying. All these other X-men movies that I hated with the passion of a billion lit farts have officially been nullified. However, the same problems still persist.

Characters like Rogue are still horribly underdeveloped and utterly different from their entire history in the comics. Cyclops is still just the pretty boy who acts as an obstacle to Wolverine humping whoever he wants to hump at the moment. Jean Grey is still this passionless, dead-eyed barbie doll that exists only to turn Wolverine into Edward Cullen. Storm still lacks the grace and charisma that she's supposed to have because it doesn't jive with Halle Barry's acting style. And since Singer is staying on board, there's no reason to believe this shit will change, even with the complete reboot that this movie created.


So what more can I say about X-men: Days of Futures Past that I can't say while sober? In terms of comic book movies, this one has to be graded on a reverse curve because every other X-men movie sucks so horribly that it's impossible to compare it to other movies like the Avengers or Captain America: The Winter Soldier. But it did at least attempt to catch up to the new, refined style of comic book movies by undoing the shitty movies that came before it. 

However, it tried way too fucking hard to make X-men First Class fit into the same world. It would have been much easier and opened so many new doors to just say, "Fuck it, X-men First Class is a reboot." But Singer just had to undo the shit that fucked up his precious X2. I can't give this movie too high or too low a score in that respect. Right now, I'll give it a 5 out of 10 because while it still sucked when it came to details, it did succeed in what it was supposed to do. Now we can all just cheer that X3, Wolverine Origins, and The Wolverine officially didn't happen. Then we can look forward to Singer fucking up this new timeline. For that, I'm going to need way more whiskey when I go into the theaters to see X-men: Apocalypse. Nuff said!

15 comments:

  1. Finally, someone with critical opinion. Especially liked "the bar of quality" comment, because it's so true it hurts.
    I still can't understand why they made Raven so special and why couldn't they get Cyclops visors right, even in the future.
    If what I heard is true, they are going to introduce even more mutants in the next movie.

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  2. IceColdEmmaFrostMay 25, 2014 at 2:34 PM

    There was so much of this movie that could have been cut and left on the editing room floor. I liked that Mystique got a larger role and put her on par with Charles and Magneto b/c it makes it more like Messiah Complex and i get that Jennifer Lawrence is able to carry the weight of Mystique much better than Rebecca Romain ever could. YTF didn't Fassbender use a British accent? Why kill off Emma Frost? Why use DOFP, and Apocalypse at all!? This honestly is the kind of movie you HAVE to know the comics/stories/previous films to understand. It wasn't a good film, but since when were ANY of the Xmen films "good?"

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  3. I love how they completely ignore the existence of Wolverine Origins.
    Was it explained why they didn't take Hip-silver with them ?
    Can't wait to see how they going to explain his sudden uselessness in the next movie.

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  4. Cyclops is blatantly misused... why can't they just let the X-men film revert to Marvel Studios like Daredevil? sure, most of us would say negative about this film - including me, actually - but as much as i hate to admit and as much as i want to boycott this, i'll still watch this freakin' movie... why? because it's a freakin' X-men movie! so i freakin' hate the fact that Marvel sold the rights to Fox...

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  5. If this were the first X-Men movie ever, it'd probably go pretty great if you cut out most of the future references like Jean's death and such. But because the continuity is all over the place and there does feel like a good amount of "phoning it in" from many of the actors it's just hard for me to be excited by this franchise anymore. I thought the movie was ok, but I was never on the edge of my seat.

    But at least it brought Jean (and others) back. I can live with that I guess.

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  6. Interesting movie. We're guessing most of you already watched it. By any chance did any of you notice the #fabulous PANGOLIN Backpack right at the beginning of the movie? If you didn't you have to watch all over it again, you will love what you are watching.

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  7. I think this movie is good. But The most Importante is that the film is very enjoya le and feeling to true fans, cause these are so many references to the entre saga and it brings backmscott and jean, A very very feeling final. this is Why so many people I know love the movie

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  8. Fuck this directors that kill cyclops. Im not watching it and gave up from X2


    Delfierro

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  9. That's a pretty critical review of a movie that basically fixes everything that went wrong. Scott and Jean are back, Rogue has her powers again and First Class crew are basically the new timeline now and no longer the prequel. The action scenes in the future were great (especially Blink), the scene with Quicksilver was phenomenal, and that ending with Logan back in the future and all the ruined characters fixed was like a dream. I felt like it was a good blend of the original trilogy with the new cast and they did a kind of hand off between them.

    Scott and Jean are supposed to be re-cast in the next one and hopefully they'll get it right this time around making them as important in the movies as they are in the comics. I was disappointed to hear Erik say Emma was dead, however, in the future at the end, right around or after you see Rogue and Bobby, there's a girl dressed in a white top, white skirt and white boots with blonde hair walk through the hallways. Maybe the experiments they were performing on Emma was cloning and that's one of the Cuckoos.

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    Replies
    1. If Singer didn't leave, there would be a need for fixing... maybe.
      How many X-men did they ruin before deciding to just reboot the franchise. How many more movies will they have to make until we see the X-MEN actually doing something and not just follow Logan's story ?
      IF the rumors are true, they will be even more mutants in the next one and as we learned, this franchise can't make a TEAM movie and usually just picks a couple as main heroes.
      Quicksilver breaks this movie, they should have kept him Juggernaut as originally planned. The dude is just too overpowered.

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  10. dang, Jack, I can tell you've got some, um... feelings about this one. the other commenters seemed to agree with you.

    I watched all the X- and Wolvie movies leading up to this one, and I actually didn't hate any of them... something must be wrong with me... or perhaps I'm just better able to suspend any preconceived notions of what the X-Men are, and understand these are movies based on the concepts of the characters from the comics, not strict literal interpretations of the comics on screen? if you just forget about things like continuity and the comics versions of the characters, they're actually pretty fun movies, overall.

    in fact, i did get bothered a bit by your 4th point (if Hank had developed a temporary cure already, why didn't he hook Rogue and Cyke up with it?), but then I just let it go when I remembered Singer and Co. expressly stated they were doing this as a soft reboot, a way to fix the other movies. i was also bothered some by Singer's douchiness and maybe some gay rape stuff, but then i looked past that and watched the movie for what it was, not judging it by its creators' flaws.

    I thought DOFP was really cool, man. Check out why on my blog:

    http://cobyscomics.blogspot.com/2014/05/x-men-days-of-future-past.html

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  11. While I sort of see a few of your points there are others I heartily disagree with.

    1.) Nixon: It was also the fact that Raven saved him and his entire Cabinet despite having every reason to let them die at Magneto's hands. She spared Trask even though she loathed him, in a way that wasn't staged, so that helped. But finally, the fact that Magneto easily made the sentinel's his bitch demonstrated that they could easily turned on humanity. Given that the bad future was caused when setinal's attacked humans who could give birth to mutants (or have mutant grandchildren) that's still a win.

    2.) Magneto: The contrast between old and new was well done. Think about it. In the old sections he's mellowed out. His final act is to protect his friend WITH HIS POWERS whereas young Mag would have simply used it to attack the sentinels. Seeing him as someone who's realized what his radicalism helped unleash was awesome.

    3.) Wolverine worked as a full circle. During his darkest hours Xavier was the one who guided him, gave him a sense of purpose and ultimately helped him become a better person. Now when Xavier's in his darkest hour Wolverine returns the favor by saving his spirit and motivating him to regain his idealism and fight. There's also the fact that he DOESN'T SAVE THE DAY. The most he does is be a conduit for old xavier to have a heart to heart with young xavier, and in the end Magneto kicks his ass and throws him in a river.

    4.) Mystique. I loved what they did because it culminated in both her and Charles finishing their evolution. Xavier regains his fire and wins not by being a bossy prick. He calmly outlines why killing Trask would be stupid, and by apologizing for trying to control Mystique and denying her the chance to make her own choices. Mystique joined Mags partially for rebellion so it was great to see that finally come into play, and for THAT to be what saves the day. Xavier owns up to his flaws with Raven, and appeals to her better nature.

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  12. also the tvtropes headsratcher page does address most of your points (the cure, was much weaker and had to be reapplied. As such it was never going to be a big deal.

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  13. Days of Future Past gives us the X-Men film we've been waiting for. Harrowing, breathtaking, hilarious and epic in every sense of the word, the film is worth seeing twice.

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  14. Ambitious and epic in scale and intimate in execution, X-Men: Days of Future Past seal[s] the deal on the slow-burn comeback started by clever prequel X-Men: First Class and pulpy spin-off The Wolverine.

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