(This review contains spoilers)
Starring: Hugh Jackman, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellan, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Halle Berry, Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Daniel Cudmore, Omar Sy, Josh Helman, Bingbing Fan, Booboo Stewart, Adan Canto, Lucas Till, James Marsden, Kelsey Grammer, and Famke Janssen
Directed By: Bryan Singer
Thank God for Bryan Singer. He’s literally breathed life into a franchise that was almost beaten to death by Brett Ratner, and saw the horrific X-Men Origins: Wolverine spinoff happen that made almost no sense. X-Men First Class was a nice step in rebuilding trust, but Singer puts the whole franchise on course correct, and gives you the promise that with him behind the wheel, the X-Men franchise will never be steered wrong again.
Of course, if you really sit down… the X-Men franchise as a whole doesn’t make any sense. It’s impossible to watch all 7 movies (including the 2 Wolverine solo missions) in any kind of order and watch them make sense. That’s not Singer’s fault. He left the series on a high note with X2. Everyone after him just made the franchise worse, and not make any sense.
I loved this film, though I still think X2 is my favorite. It’s a great film, and the additions of a few new mutants (Blink is incredible) help highlight that the X-Men universe still has untapped potential. I mean, two fan-favorites, Psylocke and Gambit, have yet to join the X-Men and make their impact on the franchise. Quicksilver is also a brilliantly written character.
However, I do wish that Singer hadn’t thrown away almost all of first class. I would have appreciated Banshee sticking around, or Havok, or someone other than Beast. Or at least, re-recruit them. Havok could have easily rejoined the X-Men after his encounter with Mystique in the film (which isn’t really a spoiler if you stayed through the credits in Captain America 2).
I also would have appreciated Wolverine NOT seeing Jean and Cyclops at the end of the film. Are you saying that the Phoenix Saga never occurred, simply because Xavier kept his promise? That’s a HUGE part of the franchise. What if, instead of Jean Grey, Wolverine sees the redheaded girl, she turns around and Wolverine doesn’t recognize her. She introduces herself as Rachel Summers (or, alternatively Hope Summers). Bam. Mind blown. It would show that Wolverine put them all on a different path. After all, this IS the future, and the idea that Jean and Scott had a daughter at some point, who could now be an adult…. and possibly a love interest for Wolverine (since he can never actually BE with Jean), would be more special than that. Or if not a love interest, Wolverine could take a paternal interest in her, and protect her through the Apocalypse film. The Cyclops/Jean/Wolverine triangle was done, and should have stayed done. That girl should have been Rachel or Hope.
What if the future he projected wasn’t perfect? You could have cameoed any number of mutants as teachers at the Xavier Institute. Namely, Emma Frost, who is a much bigger character in the comic book series than she was in First Class. Had Magneto not called her death, she could have reappeared as a teacher at the mansion in the future. What if there were some new faces teaching at the Mansion that he didn’t recognize. Really? Colossus teaches a class at the Mansion? Shadowcat? When did they go to college? I would have much preferred seeing a “good future, but slightly altered” than seeing some bizarre alternate reality where the Phoenix saga never happened. And IF the Phoenix saga never happened, than why are Shadowcat and Colossus teachers? When did they get a chance to stand out? And if this is a perfect world, wouldn’t it have been cool to see Pyro and Iceman hanging out together with Rogue? Because if all the bad stuff never happened, then Pyro never left the school.
I probably should have prefaced this review by saying that I am a huge X-Men fan. Comics. Cartoons. Toys. You name it. I have always loved the franchise and always will. Even with my nitpicking, Days Of Future Past is still the film that X-Men fans have been waiting for. Craving. Deserving.
FINAL GRADE: A