Critics' Corner: X-Men: Days of Future Past

When Bryan Singer left the X-Men franchise behind to tackle Superman in 2006, Brett Ratner stepped in for "X-Men: Last Stand" and delivered a shot to the gut of the franchise. Not only did he crowd the movie with numerous 'who the heck is that' mutants, finished the movie off with a silly, restrained and hokey battle and rushed through the X-Men comic book story-lines in two hours, but he delivered a real knockout blow by killing off characters that left fans stunned; and not in a good way.

Following "Last Stand", the X-Men franchise came with three more movies; two Wolverine solo movies and "X-Men: First Class", which meant to go back to the beginning and somehow get things back in line. All the other superhero franchises were thriving at the box office, why not X-Men? Singer, with "Days of Future Past", has completed the task with some skillful writing, some head scratcher moments, some coincidental moments and a large dose of 'bare with us folks'.

As is the case with many superhero movies these days, in order to get somewhere, you have to endure much of that 'bare with us folks' and "Days of Future Past" is no exception. Not only is the entire movie obviously a setup for future films and a successful attempt to right the wrongs of previous films, but the opening sequence is so delicious, it leaves you hungry for what could be coming and never does. There is much to be corrected in the X-Men universe and after a slam-bam beginning that had me hungrily on the edge of my seat, the movie slowed to a series of talking head scenes. Sure they are talking heads with interesting powers, but the action became sparse; not non-existent, just sparse.

Fortunately the writing for "Days of Future Past" is extremely interesting and the story moves with a lot of creativity. The dialogue is frequently witty and the drama is effective. Wolverine's mind is sent back in time in order to prevent a catastrophe. He's the only one that can survive the trip. You would think that Wolverine was the only X-Men character that anybody actually cared about. Nobody else has received solo movies and he's received two; three if you count that he's the main star of this one as well. Personally, I was always a Cyclops fan, but they killed him off in the aforementioned "Last Stand".

Despite being teased into thinking we would be watching a movie like the first five minutes and not, "Days of Future Past" is a well crafted and successful juggling of many elements. Thanks to this 'bare with us' film, the X-Men universe should live to see another day. It certainly wasn't the movie I thought it was going to be and some of the character decisions and plot motivations were a little sketchy, but sometimes you have to wade through thick mud to restore order, even in the fictional world.