TR Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past Is...Okay

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Comics, Movies
Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 4:40 pm

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Of the new characters introduced, I suspect Fan Bingbing's Blink is likely to be the biggest hit with kids; essentially a human Portal gun, her abilities to totally mess with spatial distortion feel like exactly the sort of thing that would have sparked my imagination on the playground. Bishop (Omar Sy) is a bit of a disappointment - once a huge fan-favorite in the comics and cartoon, he does little here but fire his big gun, and if he has more than two lines, I don't remember them. Peter Dinklage isn't playing a mutant - he's the creator of the Sentinels, with utopian Cold War motivations cribbed more from Watchmen's Adrian Veidt than the actual X-Men comics - but he delivers some of his lines in such an odd cadence that I really hope David Lynch works with him soon.

And then there's Quicksilver (Evan Peters), who gets to be the key player in the movie's best setpiece, a sequence involving breaking in to the Pentagon. He's great...but he is also a crutch, brought in exclusively for that one scene only to just as quickly exit the narrative once it's over. It's as if writer Simon Kinberg simply couldn't figure out a way for Professor X and Wolverine to do it alone, so he went scrambling through the X-Men archives for a deus ex machina (and one who will be in the Avengers sequel as well, played by Peters' Kick-Ass costar Aaron Taylor-Johnson, so yay for bonus visibility). In any other movie - ANY one - don't you think it would be a big deal if the illegitimate son of one of the main characters finally shows up? Not here; his relationship to Magneto is only alluded to in one passing line that the casual non-comics fan likely won't even catch. Peters makes the character pop, but he's written as a cheap device.

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Unusually for me, I don't recommend catching this in 3D Imax. It was great for Godzilla, and made the action scenes in Amazing Spdier-Man 2 quite palatable, but if X-Men: DOFP were any more obviously NOT shot with 3D considerations, it would be Man of Steel. Shallow depth of field, cityscape composites that look fake when blown up that large, incongruous mixes of 3D with pseudo 8mmm "found-footage" - it doesn't work, and many of the bigger setpieces have that pop-up book look that plagued Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland.

At the very end of the credits - not halfway through, as is the norm for other studios that do Marvel movies - we get an exciting tease of what the next film will bring. I'm glad they're going to start fresh without the burdens of needless continuity porn, and frankly First Class is still my favorite of the films, so the fact that it alone remains timeline-intact is also a plus. I just hope that the plot next time around boils down to more than "catch the blue chick who shows up in the most obvious places."

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