Days of Future Past is the X-Men Movie the People Deserve
Today’s post is going to be short and sweet, thanks to a few (pleasant) developments in my life that have had me running around like a mad man this week. I want to take a few moments to reflect on the heaping pile of awesome that is X-Men: Days of Future Past. X-Men fans have finally gotten the movie they deserve. (light) Spoilers ahoy!
Personally, I had grown pretty disenchanted with the X-Men movies. Once my favorite Marvel title, the movie treatments (particularly X2, X3, and X-Men Origins: Wolverine) were just so terribad, that I actually started avoiding the comic too. Basically, the bad movies, combined with how they started to feedback into the comics (costume changes, character quirks, and the like) made me fall out of love with the X-Men. That dislike slowly began to reverse for me with the release of X-Men: First Class.
First Class was a thoughtful re-imagining of of the X-Men universe. It created a sense of historicity, and really positioned the “mutant struggle” in a time and place in a way that the previous films failed to. So what if First Class played jump rope with the canon? Screw canon! As long as a movie is entertaining, thoughtful, and not full of holes, let ’em make their own canon. Hell, it works for the MCU… Nevertheless, as much as I enjoyed First Class, I’ve been given the bad touch by too many X-Men movies to not be at least a little reluctant when a new one comes along. A badly edited first trailer, and relegating Quicksilver’s first appearance to a Carl’s Jr./Hardee’s commercial (what were you thinking, Fox?), didn’t ease the way for Days of Future Past, either…
That said, Days of Future Past is easily the best X-Men movie yet (tied, perhaps, with the original film).
A time travel plot that remains cogent throughout? Check.
An amazing cast portraying beloved (and reviled) characters in novel ways? Check. (Double check for McAvoy’s troubled young Xavier, who was heart wrenching as a
heroin walkie-making drug addict, and Peter “Motherf*ckin’ Tyrion Lannister, biatch” Dinklage as a wormy Bolivar Trask).
Best Nixon since The Watchmen? Check.
But more than any of that, the best part of Days of Future Past is that it managed to somehow undo the big stinky fart(s in the room… In a deft stroke, it made the bad movies go away.
I had sort of nodded along throughout the movie going, “this is fun, this is fine,” until the last two minutes of the film, when *bam* I was given the greatest gift an oft-wronged movie-goer can ask for: a retcon that simultaneously makes sense in the context of the film continuity, and that comes across effectively on the big screen without seeming ham-fisted or overly contrived. Days of Future Past delivered that in a big way, and in my opinion, saved the franchise by officially saying, “You know those crappy movies? Yeah, those don’t count any more. Well, except for X-Men Origins, that stinker still counts. But those others other ones? Finito!”
A kindly Redditor put together this timeline of the X-Men cinematic universe, blending the official Empire timeline with the timeline posited by the viral marketing campaign leading up to Days of Future Past. Take a look: it’s a great resource for untangling the knot work of the post-Days universe. One thing is clear: Fox deserves a big kiss for this one. Now, they just need to recast Jackie Earle Haley to replace the Jackman…