Director: Bryan Singer
Starring: Hugh Jackman, Patrick Stewart, James McAvoy, Ian McKellen, Michael Fassbender, Nicholas Hoult, Peter Dinklage, Evan Peters, Jennifer Lawrence
Let’s come out and say it. This film is terrible and it makes no sense. To start you have the film opening on a dystopian future, giant ships containing the Sentinels flying over London and we’re informed that everyone, mutant and human, are being exterminated. We also receive a title card here just to inform us that we’re in London. The film cuts to a monastery (the card just says China which is very specific as it’s a small place) with no explanation why we’re here and the remaining X-Men from the first three films all die. Now that’s a great opening. Except that Kitty Pryde (Ellen Page) has developed another power and can now send people back in time. That’s convenient as the entire film depends on this. Apparently the X-Men are the only people that can stop this apocalyptic future from happening (no idea why anyone else couldn’t do this) but it is an X-Men movie so of course this would be the case.
Here is where the first major problem comes in to play. In The Wolverine, Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) loses his adamantium claws and instead has his old bone claws just as he did before Weapon X took place. The end credits show time slowing down to a standstill thanks to the powers of Professor Xavier (Patrick Stewart) and we see Magneto (Ian McKellen) has his powers back. The opening of Days of Future Past shows Wolverine with his adamantium claws back, Magneto with his powers, and Xavier alive and well. None of this is explained. Why does Wolverine have his claws back? Why does Magneto have his powers back after a cure was developed in X-Men: The Last Stand? Why is Xavier alive after Phoenix vaporised him? Unless you’re familiar on X-Men lore then you wouldn’t know that the cure was temporary giving Magneto his powers back, he then stretched the adamantium back over Wolverine’s claws, and Xavier transferred his consciousness to his twin brother who had been in a coma since birth. Xavier is in another body but this doesn’t explain why he still needs to be in a wheelchair. And where is Yukio who swore to be Wolverine’s bodyguard? We’re only five minutes in and already nothing makes any sense.
The main problem with this movie is the time travel. When Kitty sends peoples consciousness back in time in the opening scenes the future changes immediately which allows the survivors to change their plans and evade the Sentinels. Most films regarding time travel obey this principle. Back to the Future Part II gives a visual representation of this – if you change anything then the future is entirely different. As Wolverine can heal he is sent back to 1973 as the Sentinels came about because of events that transpired in this time. Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) assassinated Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage), the creator of the Sentinels, and was captured soon after. Her DNA was then used to create Sentinels that could adapt to any mutant power which made them invincible. What we now see for the rest of the film is the events of the past and the present running simultaneously with Wolverine having to hurry up in the past else the future would be destroyed. Surely when Wolverine came in contact with the X-Men of 1973 the future would have changed and he wouldn’t have been sent back at all. He wouldn’t have been disturbed in the past and as such wouldn’t have wounded Kitty in the future. What’s more, trying to stop Mystique killing Trask lead to the Sentinels being produced at a much earlier point in time and so the bleak future would have taken place in the early 1980’s. The film should have stayed firmly in the past.
Next let’s have a look at the cast. The problem with having a film in two different times is that it’s just an option to fill up the cast with big named actors. Halle Berry (Storm), Anna Paquin (Rogue), Shawn Ashmore (Iceman), Famke Janssen (Jean Grey), Lucas Till (Havok), James Marsden (Cyclops). These characters have around five minutes of screen time in total between them. Yes most of them are included as they were in the first X-Men movies but it’s not needed. Then there’s Jennifer Lawrence who must be the most useless actress in the entire franchise. Mystique spends the majority of the movie disguised as someone else (and so is played by a different person), and the rest of the time as Mystique meaning that she appears to be blue. Lawrence is hardly featured as herself and as such the character could have been played by literally anyone else on the planet. She’s of no value and adds nothing to the movie.
X-Men Origins: Wolverine was released in 2009 and acts as a prequel explaining how Wolverine became Wolverine. The film shows William Stryker (Danny Huston) recruiting Wolverine and Sabertooth (Liev Schreiber) in 1975 whilst they are involved in the Vietnam War. So why is Wolverine in New York two years before and where is Sabertooth? The two of them had been inseparable since 1845. With only two years separating DoFP from Origins it also makes no sense for them to use a different actor (Josh Helman) to play Stryker. However in DoFP, Mystique is pretending to be Stryker and she is the one who takes custody of Wolverine. The two aren’t meant to meet for another two years.
Quicksilver. Played by Evan Peters, we are introduced to Quicksilver because Wolverine, a young Professor Xavier (James McAvoy), and Beast (Nicholas Hoult) need to break a young Magneto (Michael Fassbender) out of prison as it is believed that he assassinated JFK. Now that is a brilliant way to explain the Magic Bullet Theory. It is alluded to that Quicksilver is the child of Magneto and later we see his sister, Scarlet Witch. Why Quicksilver is being used here in 1973 when in the same year (real time) he’ll also feature in Avengers: Age of Ultron will possibly never be explained but why is he wearing headphones that have only been around for the past couple of years (real time again)? If he can basically stop time and so can stop bullets then why doesn’t he join the team on their venture to Paris and help them capture Mystique before anything happens? And why do the Sentinels look so much cooler and technologically superior in 1973 than they do in the future? Of course the future does look like something from The Matrix with robots ruling and with there being no sun so they would look worse.
The film is a mess. It’s hard to say with this many people who the main character is. Is it Wolverine because he’s in both timelines? Is it Mystique because she’s the one who destroyed the world? Is is Xavier because he has to deal with his own personal problems in order to save the world? Is it Trask for trying to clean up the problems in the world after someone tried to kill him? Or is it Magneto because he has to save humanity by becoming the ‘bad guy’? Who knows. It’s a complex situation balancing this much talent and not making it a Wolverine movie with everyone else merely having cameos. Though somehow there’s still time for a ten minute scene involving Trask explaining everything that we’ve already learnt in the opening scenes of the film, and for Mystique to spend another couple of minutes doing the same later on. Instead of this can Singer deliver some scenes which explain who is the hero?
By the X-Men timeline, the events in The Wolverine take place in 2013 and at this point the Sentinels have been in operation for at least four years. Why would Magneto and Xavier approach Wolverine at an airport that looks perfectly normal during the post credits of the film (set in 2015)? Magneto says “I want your help” and it’s clear that the two of them are there to recruit him for the events that are about to come. Surely the Sentinels have been commissioned for the past fifty years? They’ve been working for six years at this point and Wolverine would know what is happening. Why is it so important for them to have Wolverine with them when the world will turn into hell in a few years regardless? They only decide to send Wolverine back in time a few minutes before he goes and so they must have just wanted him to join them for a fight. Surely every other mutant would be of more benefit than tracking down Wolverine? Days of Future Past takes place in 2023 meaning that Wolverine has been with them for eight years and they could have sent him back a lot earlier. Waiting around for the world to end must just add to the threat of impending doom that they must thrive on. It makes no sense at all. What’s worse is that the young Magneto is even worse than the old one. He impales Wolverine and sends him crashing into Potomac River and Wolverine drowns. He then wakes up when a boat has managed to find him and bring him back to the surface. Wolverine isn’t immortal. He just heals. Drowning would kill him. His healing factor doesn’t create Oxygen. Yet another thing that makes this film confusing.
Then there’s the finale. Magneto puts some metal inside of the Sentinels and as such can control them. Doesn’t really make sense but let’s go with it and see what happens. He then lifts the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium and puts it around the White House so that no one can leave. Obviously this is because having control of Sentinels and of metal (which the people no doubt have on them) isn’t enough to stop people from running away. Magneto turns the Sentinels on Wolverine, Xavier and Beast and a fight ensures that wipes away the memory of all previous fights in films. Actually that doesn’t happen because that would be too easy. The three X-Men hide and take cover from the Sentinels. The finale of the film is a game of hide-and-seek. The fight against the Sentinels of the future happens at the same time (somehow) and this fight is slightly better as there’s some action involved. It could have been improved if the fight wasn’t at night and the Sentinels didn’t appear to be shadows. This would allow the audience to actually see what was going on.
And for the best thing about the entire film – the ending. Wolverine wakes up. He looks around. He’s back in Xavier’s mansion and it’s a school once again. He spots Rogue, Beast, Jean, Cyclops, and everyone else from the early X-Men days. He makes his way to Xavier’s office and Xavier realises that Wolverine is back to the timeline where to travelled back, but in an alternate future, and as such doesn’t know what is going on. At least they got time travel right for the end of the film. By stopping the assassination of Trask, and for Mystique saving the president’s life, the Sentinels never got built for destroying mutants and the future is saved. But what does that mean for the other X-Men films as everyone is now alive? Although the majority of events should have still transpired, it seems as if they haven’t. Throw away your copies of X-Men, X-Men 2, X-Men: The Last Stand, X-Men Origins: Wolverine, and of The Wolverine. None of these events have happened in the same way and as such Hollywood has robbed the public of over $2 billion for films that never existed. Cheers for that. Trade-in value for the DVD’s will probably see you make a couple of pounds.
With the next X-Men movie also being a prequel (although that would be sequel now since the original X-Men movies no longer exist) it looks as if fans won’t get to see how saving the world and having fifty years of the wrong memories will affect Wolverine for a couple of years. The next movie will be X-Men: Apocalypse in 2016 and will include more young versions of characters for the X-Men series with Channing Tatum playing Gambit (even though Taylor Kitsch played him in 1981 for Origins). Hopefully Hugh Jackman will not be in the film. Though he is the best character from the whole franchise, he doesn’t belong in the past with the other X-Men. X-Men was good. X-Men 2 was good. The Last Stand was pretty bad as ultimately nothing happened. Origins has been dismissed by most fans due to the hilarity of Deadpool and The Wolverine also boils down to nothing happening. First Class may have changed the majority of the X-Men history from other movies but was saved by Kevin Bacon. Even with a few bad outings in the franchise, Days of Future Past must be considered the worst of the bunch as nothing is safe. Everything is changed to fit around the script and the nothing that has been on film before is safe from being destroyed. Though Days of Future Past may be enjoyable in parts it is, as a whole, underwhelming, disappointing, confusing, and is a terrible film if you give the majority of scenes a second thought.