BY Joanna Mendoza
Last night, my husband and I saw X-Men: Days of Future Past. He enjoyed it so much that he couldn’t stop talking about his favorite parts while we were waiting for the end credits teaser. I remembered he was like this only with The Avengers, so I asked him which ensemble piece he thinks is better. “The Avengers,” he said without hesitation.
The Avengers will always be The Avengers and the cool kids will always like it better. But even if no one is comparing the ensemble pieces (rightly so) except for both movies’ respective versions of Quicksilver (vote here for your pick!), I couldn’t stop myself from comparing my levels of awe after seeing both movies.
Even though it sometimes confuses me, I always love a good time-travel plot. The two Masi Okas on that bus is what drew me to Heroes back in 2006. And the old X-Men franchise-ers posing in the photo below with the First Class-ers is the reason I’ve been waiting for Days of Future Past ever since director Bryan Singer tweeted the pic sometime in early 2013.
I noticed that every time I watch a super buzzed about movie for the first time, I’m super excited and I tend to love everything about it. But when I see it again a few days later, I tend to be more critical.
Since reviews are to be written as early as possible, I decided to reverse my process: to be critical the first time I watch a movie, and reserve pure, unadulterated enjoyment for succeeding screenings.
So let’s start this thing, shall we?
Old and new cast unite
Seeing James McAvoy interact with Patrick Stewart in the two Xaviers’ very first trailer gave me chills. And Hugh Jackman living the past with the old-timey versions of Professor Xavier and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) was, erm, magnetic. I couldn’t look away. Sure, there was quite a lot of expected past-future crossover humor from Jackman’s Wolverine, but they were always funny.
All those new mutants
I admit that I didn’t know most of the superheroes/actors in that post-opening credits refugee scene in Moscow. And everything happened super fast for me to understand what was truly happening as it was happening. But in those precious few minutes, I cared about the new mutants. Perhaps the powers? Maybe the limited screen time (the focus was more on the past) made me want to see more? Whatever the reason, these kids were a great addition.
When I first saw the Twitter pic above of the joint cast, I saw a nasty commenter who asked what Evan Peters was doing with that esteemed group. I bet that person is one of those people who hate successful things and people. Peters is not exactly super successful, but he’s an American Horror Story staple so he is at least known to a niche group of TV-loving people. Anyway, I’m so glad that Quicksilver’s scenes stood out. He was cool and funny, and a lot less of the Zoolander type that Aaron Taylor-Johnson’s Age of Ultron version seems to have been inspired by. Peters’s version was young and the way he portrayed it was just perfect for his age in the movie. Considering that Quicksilver is apparently super minor that he hadn’t had the spotlight on him until the Days of Future Past vs. Age of Ultron Quicksilver wars began early this year, I think credit should be given to Peters for making Quicksilver such a scene-stealer in Days of Future Past.
Though important, Dinklage’s Trask wasn’t really super memorable. But because Peter Dinklage is Peter Dinklage, he’s always part of The Good and Best in everything.
After the J-Law charm offensive brought by Catching Fire and then the Oscar season, I suffered a bit from Jennifer Lawrence fatigue. Suddenly, her jokes weren’t as funny anymore, and she just wasn’t as charming. I even cringed during her Golden Globes speech. But seeing her here made me realize I can never really get tired of Jennifer Lawrence. She’s so badass in a non-intimidating way. And her face is so expressive that I didn’t even notice she was wearing a midriff in one scene. Despite her abs being so toned.
The retro fashion
As with any ’70s throwback, the wardrobe here made me envious about how cool and fun everyone back then seemed to be. Lawrence’s outfits were also pretty, but I don’t really remember them except for the one with the midriff. The guys though were so suave.
The action scenes
There was plenty of them and they were fairly scattered. The most kick-ass of them all? Mystique’s high kicks. If Lawrence did her own stunts, she’s even more amazing than she already is.
Ian McKellen‘s Magneto being stuck in the future, he didn’t really have much to do except wait for his and Stewart-Xavier’s past-tinged plan to work. So all the Magneto greatness was left to Fassbender to portray. And boy did he. It’s hard to decide if Magneto’s or Mystique’s power is more dangerous, but because Magneto’s power is more showy, it looked a lot more damaging. Fassbender, in full Magneto mode, didn’t really have to do much except raise his arms, but the evil in the character was palpable. I think it was because even before he donned the iconic costume, Fassbender already showed the true capacity for evil of Erik Lehnsherr. And that’s even when Erik was being conflicted.
But the best part of the movie, in my humble opinion, was James McAvoy. Despite that sometimes-awful ‘do, he sold it. The pain on his face, the arrogance, stubbornness, everything. Admittedly, his powers in this movie weren’t as showy-cool as Magneto’s or even Mystique’s, but the focus on past-version Xavier was his emotional journey. And McAvoy did everything perfect.
Poor Nicholas Hoult. I’m not a fangirl so I don’t really know if Beast was a cooler character than he was in the movie, but he was pretty much useless here. He didn’t seem to be anything but serve as McAvoy-Xavier’s lackey. Not that that wasn’t an important role, but perhaps they could’ve given him more stuff to do and say?
Xavier can walk
This was my husband’s nitpick actually. But I saw online that some others apparently complained about this, too. My husband has made peace with this, and I hope that all those other people have or will as well. It’d be a shame to not enjoy this movie over one gripe.
Overall, X-Men: Days of Future Past was really good and really enjoyable. I daresay it’s how superhero ensemble movies must be made. Definitely worth another go.
X-Men Days of Future Past, distributed by 20th Century Fox, opens in Philippine cinemas on May 21, 2014. That’s tomorrow, fellow movie lovers! Click here, here, here, or here to buy movie tickets now!