Last night I went on a date to see “X-Men: Days of Future Past” and really enjoyed it. The movie focuses on an alternate timeline in which Sentinels, robots that sniff out and kill mutants, have killed all mutants except for a few. The remaining mutants, including Professor X, Magneto, Iceman, Kitty Pride, Bishop, Colossus and others retreat to a mountainside building to fight the Sentinels and send Wolverine back in time with the hope that he’ll be able to divert the timeline and avoid the age of the Sentinels.
First, I really think that this movie was a good follow up to “X-Men: First Class” as it provides a good embellishment of certain story lines. I really think that “X-Men: First Class” did a good job of creating a basis for viewers to understand the dynamic relationship between Xavier and Magneto. This helps us understand better their relationship in “X-Men: Days of Future Past” – in the dystopic future, Xavier and Magneto have banded together to fight off the Sentinels and provide a way for Wolverine to go back in time to change the timeline so that the Sentinel program is never developed. I also think that “X-Men: Days of Future Past” did a good job showing how Mystique is breaking free of Magneto and Xavier and going down her own path. Although in the comics Mystique has almost no dealings with Magneto, the movies seem to have taken some liberties with her storyline (something that I don’t particularly approve of as Mystique is a more powerful female in the comic books).
It was the bond between Xavier and Magneto that I found one of the more interesting parts of the “X-Men: Days of Future Past”. I guess it’s not a surprise that Professor X and Magneto end up working together in dystopic, Sentinel laden future. I think that this alternate future that strays from the main timeline does a great job of pointing to the close bond that Magneto and Professor X share, regardless of their ideological differences. It is therefore sad to see that, by the end of the movie, the young Magneto still prefers a path of destruction based upon his ideology of mutant supremacy.
The undercurrent of racism is pretty prevalent in the movie – with Trask attempting to exterminate the mutant humans, this is a reminder of the world’s dark past, primarily with the attempted extermination of the Jewish population by Hitler, but also other mass exterminations, like the harm done to the Native American population by expansionists in the 1800s. Of course, this theme is nothing new to the X-Men – seeing as the whole comic book series and movie series is based upon racial tensions, it’s no surprise that the most current movie has this as one of its main themes. Racial tensions still exist, regardless of whether we want to admit it or not.
Something else that really sparked my interest was the apparent addiction of Professor X to the painkiller that he was using. To be completely honest, he looked like a heroine addict. His addiction to the drug relates to a deeper issue – his own brokenness. Professor X’s storyline then becomes more about surviving addiction and depression than about saving the world – in previous movies, Professor X has seemed put together and strong, not one to lean towards depression or hopelessness. In this movie, one of the central themes is Professor X saving himself. This movie really fleshes out his character a lot, showing a side of him that I don’t believe we’ve seen in past movies – we get to see the dark side of his gift and also watch him battle his own demons and come to terms with the fact that he’s not as “good” as he thought he was. He also, in his interactions with Magneto, must also concede that Magneto is not an evil person at heart – this occurs when he finds out that Magneto was actually trying to save President Kennedy because he was a mutant. This moment is poignant due to the realization that Xavier comes to – not everything is black and white as he thought previously, nobody is just good or just evil. It seems as though he suddenly realizes that the world is full of grey areas and he has to navigate those areas as a leader. Of course, his hope that Magneto may “see the light” is dashed as Magneto remains a static character – he will use others to get what he wants. His ideology of “survival of the fittest” also seems to remain quite intact.
There were, of course, certain characters I would have liked to see in this movie, like Rogue. I did think that it was pretty cool that other mutants were introduced to the movie series, including Bishop and Blink, whom I’m hoping will be in the next movie as well. I was also hoping that there would be more of a lead for the next movie, which was hinted at after the closing credits as dealing with the Apocalypse story line.
To be quite honest, I really enjoyed the movie. I’m not surprised that the IMdb score is 8.6 – it really deserves it, in my opinion. I think that the storyline was interesting and held my attention. I really liked seeing Xavier fleshed out in this movie and also the budding friendship between him and Wolverine. I was somewhat sad that Magneto’s character remained so static, but I guess that we can’t have it all!