In the early 1970s, Dr. Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) began a campaign to create sentinels designed to hunt down and kill mutants, in an attempt to prevent any threat they might eventually create. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) plans to kill Trask before he can start manufacturing the sentinels. In her attempt, she inadvertently gives him the key he needs to give the sentinels the ability to adapt to any condition, creating even more powerful sentinels.
With the help of Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page), Charles Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) send Logan (Hugh Jackman) into the past to stop the attempt before the slaughter of current day mutants.
Logan must convince a young Xavier (James McAvoy) to help with this task and, with a young Magneto (Michael Fassbender), stop Mystique before it is too late.
Days of Future Past, like many time travel movies, is one you have to really pay attention to, otherwise it becomes very confusing. It would be easy to lose track of who is in what timeline, what exactly is happening, and most importantly, why it is happening.
Taking the formula that worked so well in First Class, and ignoring the mess that is the stand alone Wolverine spinoff series, Days of Future Past actually has a story worth telling, and actors/characters who can carry a film.
Keeping Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart in the film almost instantly makes it better than anything the X-men have done recently. These two, in addition to Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine pretty much guarantees box office results.
The younger characters, James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence are more satisfying in this film than in First Class. This is probably due to a better story being told. Of course, they cleverly incorporate some real life history points, tying the X-Men to our universe. Magneto’s involvement in JFK’s assassination is much more successful than the World War II stories the last film tried to pull off.
The action is nonstop and the effects are top-notch. As the sentinels dispatch mutants with relative ease, nothing feels mediocre or pulls you out of the moment. It is what we expect and deserve from a graphic novel movie.
As with any time travel movie, there are certain paradoxes that come into play. The first that came to mind was how these sentinels were never mentioned before, given that they were introduced in the early 70s. The movie adequately, if not conveniently, explains this away in a manner that makes sense and doesn’t ask you to suspend too much belief. At least, not any more than you are asked to suspend with an X-Men movie at all.
After seeing the trailer for the upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, one can’t help but feel the two stories are very similar. Robots become somewhat sentient and are bent on destroying what they perceive as threats. With the inclusion of Quicksilver (Evan Peters) in both Age of Ultron and Days of Future Past, this could easily be the same story told in alternate universes.
Going back to what made the X-Men franchise so successful, Days of Future Past takes what the other films have done and steps it up a notch. It is one of the best in the series yet.