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Review: X-Men: Days of Future Past (2014)

Directed by: Bryan Singer | 132 minutes | action, adventure, fantasy, fiction | Actors: Hugh Jackman, Ian McKellen, Patrick Stewart, Michael Fassbender, James McAvoy, Jennifer Lawrence, Halle Berry, Elliot Page, Nicholas Hoult, Evan Peters, Dinklage, Shawn Ashmore, Lucas Till, Booboo Stewart, Omar Sy, Fan Bingbing, Larry Day, Adam Canto, Daniel Cudmore, Evan Jonigkeit, Gregg Lowe, Josh Helman, Robert Crooks

Time travel. Often it is a very easy attempt to make something of a story. Just like the addition of aliens, it mainly masks a lack of inspiration and originality. When a story or character comes to a dead end, these sidelines are lazy Deus ex machinas. The Marvel Universe is no stranger to such artifice. The arrival of aliens is undeniably part of the storylines of and The Avengers, but otherwise the writers often go too far. Reboots, forced crossovers and superheroes returning from the dead. They are all easily recurring writing techniques. It is not without reason that the well-known adage “No one really ever dies in comics” is almost the motto of the well-known publisher. The X-Menserie cannot escape this trend either. While it is a series that must have excellent character enhancements. Raising social themes such as discrimination, identity formation and anti-Semitism give the series a sense of necessity that goes beyond the standard comic. Religious minorities, people with a different sexual orientation or ethnic diversity – they are not essentially different from “ordinary” people. The same should be true of the mutants of The X-Men.

But now there is “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. A time travel story in which Wolverine is sent back to save the mutants from destruction. Set in a dystopian world, the X-Men from the original movie trilogy are cornered by the Sentinels, robots whose goal is to exterminate the mutants. The battle against the creations cannot be won. Many mutants have already died. All hope is on Wolverine. His goal is to keep the inventor of the Sentinels from actually starting his plans. In doing so, he gets the help of the members of “X-Men: First Class”. A race against time unfolds in which the survival of all mutants is at stake.

The magic word of these kinds of time travel stories is continuity. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” goes wrong in three areas. The first is continuity with the original comic books. Director Bryan Singer previously indicated that he uses his own interpretation of the X-Men universe. Fifty years of stories have thus been reduced to a great simplification in which a lot of depth has disappeared. Some characters are almost absent, others play the lead role again. Certain connections seem to have been completely forgotten. The character of Maximoff / Quicksilver, who plays an important supporting role in “X-Men: First Class”, is the son of Magneto in the original books, a fact that is not mentioned here. After all, the real Marvel feeling is pretty invisible. It is mainly the laws of Hollywood that apply here. Lots of fast-paced action, sentimental and countless delay techniques. As a result, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” becomes a superficial fairground attraction. The special effects are beautiful, but nowhere in the service of the story.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” seems to refer primarily to the earlier films due to the break with the original. But that has to be done in a consistent way. This refers to the second lack of continuity. All the actors from the previous parts return. By means of a few well-placed pinpricks, the connection with those previous X-Men films is emphatically sought. But at the same time, it takes so much distance that the other films never seem to have happened. All to put the same characters in the spotlight. It’s Wolverine again who gets to play the lead role (by comparison, in the original stories it was Kitty Pride who took the journey back in time). The conflict between Professor Charles Xavier and Magneto is once again the focus. In addition, there are numerous secondary characters that are mainly used for figuration. While it’s a nice reunion with some of those old and more unknown characters, most of it remains filling. The relationship between Hank McCoy / Beast and Mystique introduced in “X-Men: First Class” seems forgotten. Even Halle Berry as Storm has no more than two lines of dialogue. In a very moralizing speech by Xavier, exactly the same theme is ultimately promoted. More depth was also required here. The deterministic dilemma remains on the surface. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is for ral a repetition of moves.

Everything that goes differently in the past affects the future, according to the first line of the time travel story. Here too, “X-men: Days of Future Past” easily gets rid of it in terms of continuity. Past and future appear to have little to do with each other. Ultimately, everything revolves around preventing the Sentinels from forming. “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is an infantile due to its simplicity. The cringe-worthy dialogues show very little level. The contrast with the very first and best part is immense. This is clearly a movie for ages 16 and under.

“X-Men: Days of Future Past” doesn’t look bad at all, but the story is negligible, inconsistent, repetitive and childlike. In the epilogue after the final credits, an advance is given on the next film. Let’s hope that the X-Men and director Bryan Singer are back on the upward trend.

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