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X-Men: Days of Future Past

XMenDaysofFuturePast

Days of Future Past is one of those weird titles that everyone seems to look over with robotic acceptance. The comic came out in the 80s, so maybe people have kinda dealt with the chronological absurdity of the name…

Assault On Future Pasta is X-Men’s attempt at Terminator. Apparently a lot of crap’s gone down, and Wolverine (because it is always Wolverine) must go back in time and wake up naked to save Sarah Conner…I mean, save Tyrion Lannister so Stark massa…I mean the mutant massacre can be avoided.

Though the X-Men movies have continued undeterred and unaltered since 2000, Days of Crispy Pop-Tarts is probably the biggest reset button of ’em all. If I may accidentally spoil the ending – the timeline’s continuity gets completely wiped. Every character who died has put the bucket back under their feet. Everything begins afresh and everyone can enjoy another fifteen years of X-Men shenanigans, unhindered by the corners the writers backed themselves into.

And I’m still not sure if I like that.

Chuffed as I am about the prospect of new beginnings, the feeling can’t be shaken that the sole purpose of Days of Extra Bacon was to undo all the narrative dead-ends. Multiple characters were…well dead, there wasn’t much ground left to tread and the series had developed an over-reliance on Hugh Jackman’s muscled antics (and that probably won’t change).

Albeit, though essentially a reboot it has a decent time getting there. The high-profile performances portray, as they always have, a chemistry and believability that makes it hard for any X-Men film to fail. As such it has a strong foundation, but other parts of its structure are rather inattentive.

Days of Future Cucumber knows it should be an emotional story, and plays with the visage of one. The narrative gap between The Wolverine and now is somewhat large however. ‘Mutants were enslaved’ was about the jist of the audience’s history lesson. Without investment, without illustration, and without time to explore the prior tragedies – a potentially moving story is nullified by its own assumptions and short cuts.

It’s a matter to tell me something – it’s another to show me how.

To the surprise of probably no one, Weeks of Past Yesterday explores the same thematic ground as all the others. The X-Men series has always been an interesting platform for exploring prejudice, differences and acceptance. After several movies though, with the same themes told in the same way, the message is feeling second-hand. I get it; people are afraid of what’s different though they shouldn’t be; there are good and bad on both sides; people can’t be stereotyped into one category.

I’m all for probing such ideas. They have a timeless, universal relevance, but there’s more that can be done with these characters and this world than recycling the same notions.

It’s clear by credits end that the film had its own volition. But rather than spend the time to weave a truly great superhero tale, it feels like everything compromises to set up a new blank slate. For that reason Days of Future Movies is small on integrity and large on agenda – one which may not be in its best interests. Though for all its scheming this is a franchise well practiced with experienced hands behind it. Even when it gets it wrong, it still gets it right.

 

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