“X-Men: Days of Future Past” has strong acting, weak plot

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox
Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” marks the seventh film in the superhero franchise. Although this is a direct sequel to “First Class,” all of the other films are in the same universe. In true “Avengers” fashion, the cast from the original “X-Men” films join their younger counterparts from the last film in a time-traveling romp. The cast is truly star-studded and the list of mutants we get to see on screen together would make any comic enthusiast scream in joy. Marvel films seem to have mastered the ability to give every character their due time, giving each one an important task as well. Though “Days of Future Past” has some strong acting, the same can’t be said about the plot, unfortunately.

Starting off in the future with the cast of the original mutant films, our heroes now live in an apocalyptic future, where not only mutants, but humans alike are now being exterminated. Loosely following the plot of the comic book with the same title, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back to 1973 to attempt to join mortal enemies together to prevent a war they will eventually lose. We get to see a young Xavier (James McAvoy) as he struggles to deal with losing everything he ever loved, and Erik Lehnsherr who is imprisoned for killing in the name of mutants. Professor Xavier is less of a professor and more of a bum at this point. He has lost his way so we get to see one of the best known mutants in the X-Men franchise sacrificing his powers for the use of his legs and drinking his days away. Seeing one of the wisest heroes in comic books in shambles brings a nice touching twist, especially since the original films showed an already-aged Xavier, who has already gone through his trials and tribulations.

The movie is action-packed and rivals some of the best summer films. Even more impressive are all the computer-generated moments. We get to see the Beast turn from human to monster on screen and it looks absolutely great. The CGI is good for the most part and rarely took me out of the film. Recent superhero films, such as “The Avengers,” also incorporate a lot of big names into one screen and X-Men delivers on that. New additions feature the likes of Quicksilver (Evan Peters), Bishop (Omar Sy) and Blink (Fan Bingbing). Each one has an important role in the film. One of the best scenes in the film involves Quicksilver and some humorous slow motion. With his quickness and quirkiness, he steals the show so it’’s a shame he isn’t in the film more.

As you can imagine, having so many films in one franchise that all exist together can create problems with continuity. For the most part there is no big issue with continuity and they even attempt to rectify issues fans had with the original three films.

It is impressive that the cast from the original three films can co-exist with the new cast so well. All of the credit has to go to the acting by these A-list stars. The chemistry between John McAvoy as Charles and Hugh Jackman as Wolverine in particular helps dismiss a few of the plot holes.

The plot is where the film falls apart. Granted, this is a universe where mutants run free and have superhuman abilities, but if someone claims to be from the future you would think it would take more than the person telling you they are from the future for you to accept it. That is the case here. It is not the biggest plot hole but it is the only one that is spoiler-free. Everything is just too convenient and it is a problem when it’s what makes the story move forward. There are several things that happen just because a certain character has a tendency to be evil. The action is much bigger than “First Class” but the story is not as strong. Despite being a fantastic actor, Peter Dinklage’s portrayal of the villain, Boliver Trask ends up feeling one-dimensional.

Summer is here and with it the big action films as well. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a fun summer film, but that is as far as it goes. Despite having such a strong cast and some extremely entertaining action scenes, the plot falls flat. It may not appease the real hardcore X-Men fans, but it is a start. What this film does is set things up for the next film set to hit theaters in two years, which promises to be an even bigger mash-up of mutants.

Rating: 3 stars

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