X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST (Bryan Singer, 2014)
X-MEN: DAYS OF FUTURE PAST is the ultimate throwback movie of the year not only because of all the time-traveling back and forth, but also of the return of some of our beloved X-MEN characters, such as the good old Professor X (Patrick Stewart, whom we haven't seen since Jean Grey cut him up in tiny little pieces in 2006's X-MEN: THE LAST STAND) and his nemesis Magneto (Ian McKellen, who is tailored to the role). Storm (Halle Berry) is back, but there's really not much here for her to do, except conjure Mother Nature's wrath.
A very welcome returning character is Kitty Pryde/Shadowcat (Ellen Page), who was one of the major players in THE LAST STAND. Here, she sends Wolverine's consciousness back in time to convince a major character to deviate from an assassination attempt.
Colossus (Daniel Cudmore) is back as well, and also Iceman (Shawn Ashmore). But where the hell is Rogue (Anna Paquin)? Did she finally rid herself of her mutant powers? And why does Kitty suddenly have telepathic powers? And why does Wolverine have adamantium again?
Plot holes are as abundant in XMEN:DOFP as there are scales in Mystique's body. This prevented me from immediately hailing the movie as the electrifying surprise I thought it would be.
Also, having watched almost all the trailers for DOFP prior to its release ruined half of the film's surprise for me. Bad decision.
Nevertheless, DOFP is still a fun summer popcorn flick that puts closure to the X-MEN storyline, for now (because we all know there's another sequel coming out in 2016). DOFP is unmistakably Mystique's (Jennifer Lawrence) movie, with the fate of the mutants resting on her hands. And Lawrence successfully carries the enormous weight on her shoulders by showing Mystique's emotional vulnerability, torn between vengeance and reason.
Michael Fassbender is as always, magnetic as the younger Magneto (excuse the pun) while James McAvoy, who looks like a hobo when we first see him here delivers his downtrodden Charles with enough tenderness.
Hugh Jackman as Wolverine is pretty much in every single X-MEN movie that it may prove tiresome to just look at him, but Jackman is such a fine actor that he disappears into Wolverine completely, and he always brings a unique amount of emotional gravity vis a vis ferocity to his character in every movie.
Nicholas Hoult also reprises his role as Beast from X-MEN FIRST CLASS, and it is wonderful to see him become Charles' defender slash muscle. In that gorgeously shot Parisian action sequence, where Mystique leaps out of a window followed by Beast and Magneto squaring off in the fountain, Beast captures the screen in all unrestrained glory.
Many other names pop up as the film goes on, and unless you're a fanboy (which I'm not by the way, although I have read a few X-MEN comic books back in the day and was old enough to have seen the animated TV series) you'd need a pen to keep track of who's who. There's Bishop, Sunspot, Havok, Warpath, and Ink. but the coolest of them all would probably be Blink (played by Chinese actress Fan Bingbing) who creates portals like it was a daily routine, say taking a bath or eating breakfast.
Then there's Quicksilver (Evan Peters), and him breaking out Magneto from the Pentagon is probably one of the action sequences you'll remember from the film. But wait, there's a back story to that, and you would have to be a keen observer in order to unlock the subtle hint about Quicksilver's origins (presumably).
William Stryker is also here, played by Josh Helman (the film is so much a throwback, Deathstrike and Nightcrawler and Deadpool and Sabretooth ought to pop out, too!) but when such character has been previously played by Danny Huston, and more importantly, Brian Cox, the shoes to fill become considerably big. Stryker is here, but we don't mind him so much.
Last but not the least, I believe a slow clap is due Peter Dinklage for his amazing turn as Bolivar Trask, the mind behind the Sentinel Program which will ultimately wipe out the mutants in the future. Dinklage, who is best known for playing Tyrion Lannister in HBO's GAME OF THRONES noticeably avoids the biting sarcasm and the make faces that made his Tyrion so iconic, thus making Trask completely his own and completely unique- a dangerous man to be feared not by his looks, but by his capability.
In summation, DOFP could have used more action sequences, provided more room for logic, and have given more respect for Storm, dammit (afterall, she is one of the founding characters in the X-MEN movies), but still it was a nice enough time at the movies. It's like seeing friends you haven't seen in quite a while, and no matter the changes they have undergone, you still miss them so much.