4 ½ stars
In a word: Determined
If I was ever so apprehensive about a movie in 2014, it was this one. X-Men: Days of Future Past, right from the outset, was a huge risk. Time-travel and alternating timelines, the huge ensemble cast, being a follow-up act to First Class and Bryan Singer’s return to the franchise set up quite a high bar.
It can be so easy to declare the latest film in an immensely popular franchise with an ever-growing fan base the ‘best one so far’. For DOFP, however, this is the only statement worthy of the film. It takes the best elements of every X-Men film so far, and throws them together in a near-perfect exercise of superhero storytelling.
Despite its forgivable minor narrative shortcomings and franchise continuity errors, DOFP is a fast-paced and engaging film with a once again vastly impressive cast including Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, Jennifer Lawrence, Nicholas Hoult and Peter Dinklage along with original trilogy favourites like Halle Berry, Patrick Stewart, Ellen Page, Ian McKellen and Shawn Ashmore. Bryan Singer nails the tone as the film flawlessly balances its emotional weight, apropos humorous fun and exhilarating action.
Visually the film is impeccable. The effects are top-notch and the design of both the 70s setting and the 2023 setting is fantastically detailed. Desaturated colours, excellent costuming and set design and a wonderfully apt soundtrack and score bring the 70s to life, while a foreboding and apocalyptic future is made appropriately dark and ominous with shadowy cinematography and a brooding, emotive score.
Unquestionably deserving of his own one sentence paragraph, Quicksilver’s (Evan Peters) brief scenes are perfect – just perfect. He’ll be back in X-Men: Apocalypse and I’m counting the days.
DOFP is a rollicking sci-fi adventure that is heartfelt, smart and bold, delivering the franchise’s best installment SEVEN films in (although I guess we’d all like to forget X-Men Origins: Wolverine).
REVIEWER: David Thomas Williams