So…what is the verdict on the movie the entire fandom predicted would be a colossal train wreck? Is it a pentacle of amazement, or a deep dish of disappointment and shame? Its a little bit of both. The verdict is in and the results are mixed. Some say it is a pleasant surprise, while others are not so quick to write it off as any kind of success. There are some spoilers in this. I will try to keep them small, but be warned.
To be perfectly honest, like the majority of comic book readers I did not hold a lot of expectations for this movie. I am glad that it surpassed my expectations of a colossal (pun) flop. But it was far from a great pentacle of X-men ever.
It opens with a voice over being given by older Charles Xavier, played by Sir Patrick Stewart and we see the world of the future, a desolate world where mutants are well..disposed of in a matter fitting of a genocide (if you’ve ever seen Holocaust pictures, remember the body piles) and there is a small glimpse of a kid with an M burned over his eye. It breaks you heart.
We learn that Kitty Pryde has a power to send someone’s consciousness back in time. Where this power came from when she has only ever walked through walls, I do not know, as in the comic of the same name it was Kitty Pryde who went back in time and Rachel Gray (a telepath) who got her there. But seeing as Kitty wouldn’t have been alive in the 70’s its up to Xavier…except, wait a minute, they need someone with a healing factor to get the job done and Logan volunteers himself. Granted though, to keep Charles’s mind from getting fried. Kitty has to keep him juiced on this power of hers while his consciousness goes back and there goes the movie. Logan convinces McAvoy’s Charles to trust him, there are quips with Beast, and we meet “Peter” Maximoff, who we, comic nerds know as Pietro Maximoff, aka Quicksilver who is only too happy to help them break Magneto out of the Pentagon.
Despite this there is little allusion to his parentage (son of Magneto), with the exception of one line. Even with the name change, he has become a fan favorite. Of course his attitude was more like his comic book nephew, Tommy Shepherd than himself, but hey, it worked. The slow motion scenes were entertaining, but slightly irritating, I didn’t really like them. I liked seeing the quick speed of Peter instead of seeing it from his perspective. But that’s just me.
The subplot of the film is Raven aka Mystique and her journey to becoming a killer as her assassination of Trask, played by the brilliant Peter Dinklage, is what sets of the mutant hunting Sentinel program. This was done excellently and we see how much she has changed since the days of First Class and her characterization was interesting to watch. Another excellent aspect is actually Wolverine. This is not his movie and it is not about him. He is supporting cast. His job is to tell them about the future and help them stop it, not to lead the charge and ultimately, he is brushed to the side during the climax of the movie.
The future Sentinels and the future in general were very heart wrenching and despite the lack of characterization of the supporting cast in the future we do feel for them and I was pleased to see the return of Shawn Ashmore as Bobby Drake and great new faces like Bingbing Fan as Blink and Omar Sy as Bishop. The future scenes were accented by just the right kind of music to intimidate and show a sense of danger, desperation, and urgency.
This movie tied in the original trilogy, the two Wolverine films and X-men First Class together and while Marvel is excellent at tying films together, Fox still has a lot to learn in that department, for example, if you’re going to tie in the films together, make sure continuity is kept. Its….tweaked, not quite Glee level continuity screw ups, but minor things do pop up, they’re minor and aren’t too damaging and do not harm the entertainment of the film too terribly.
When we find Charles Xavier young, he’s walking….UH NO! The idea of Charles being a druggie in order to walk around kind of bugged me. I suppose it make sense since Charles is still very young and flawed, but it was not well written. There were however a few excellent nods to the previous films, including the friendship built with Erik Lensherr, Magneto and a couple of flashbacks.
Another irk was Magneto being a bad guy, yet again. The comics had amazing redemption arcs and this would have fixed the fub of Charles and Eric at the start of X3, where they meet a young Jean Grey. But they didn’t do that. The climax of the film is a bit disorienting as the motivations and really the plan are unclear and there are a few plot holes tossed around here and there so we know this is a Brian Singer movie. It bothered me that Magneto didn’t really comprehend what was going on and wasn’t willing to listen, and Charles wasn’t really willing to explain (the parallel future scene of Magneto and Charles talking about the wasted years of fighting, however was great). There was a nice nod (though I think it was unintentional) to, House of M Civil War of all things, which as a huge fan of that series, I caught it and was pleasantly surprised. Even if the film didn’t go into that direction.
Overall it was better than expected, and wasn’t a flop, it was entertaining and set up a truly intimidating future world. It showed how something small can have unforeseen and grandscale consequences (and yes, that includes the after credit scene for Age of Apocalypse). However, it was much like the rest of the X-men, with weak writing and some liberties that I genuinely disagreed with and others I enjoyed. So it wasn’t a total disappointment, but it certainly had plenty of heavy set flaws and moments where I just went “really?” It is worth seeing for any previous fan of the X-men films, just don’t hold your breath for a brilliant masterpiece.