X-Men: Daze of Movies Past

 

“Hey bub. Gimme 17 tickets for Guardians of the Galaxy.”

Fair Warning:  Here There Be Lots of  SPOILERS.  

You gotta hand it to director Bryan Singer.  It’s not easy to take 14 years worth  of X-Men movies spread  and essentially hit the “Reset” button on all of them,  especially the widely despised X-Men: The Last Stand or “X3” (for short because these titles are getting too damn long).

I don’t hate X3. I hate X-Men Origins: Wolverine. I don’t like X3 for two specific reasons.

1. Brett Ratner is a huge hack.
2. “I’m the Juggernaut, bitch!”

Many fans of the X-Men revile X3 as one of the worst superhero flicks ever, but as long as Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance, Jonah Hex, Batman and Robin, Green Lantern, Supergirl, Blade: Trinity, Catwoman, Elektra and Spider-Man 3 exist it won’t be and doesn’t even come close.

I finally got around to X-Men: Days of Future Past on Father Day’s as the guest of my daughter, though we got in with some passes I had.   I enjoyed the popcorn more than the popcorn movie.

Days of Future Past is what you get when you have movie studios trying to achieve Avengers-level success without bothering to lay the foundation for the success the Avengers achieved.   It starts right with the casting.  Why was Hugh Jackman even in this movie besides he was under contract to do another X-Men movie?   All he got was one fight scene at the beginning and then he spent the next two hours glaring and looking serious until Magneto totally punks him. I hope Jackman was well-paid to rock up, show his butt and do nothing.

Michael Fassbender and Jennifer Lawrence walked through the flick looked bored, especially Lawrence. She had a blank look glued on her face that practically screamed, “Dammit! Why did I sign that contract obligating me to keep making this crap? I’ve got another franchise that’s a license to print money and I’m the star of it.  I’ve got an Oscar now. I don’t need this shit.”

Halle Berry wasn’t even in this one long enough to be awful, so there’s a small blessing. Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde got to sweat, look intense and manifest a mutant ability she never had in the comics. Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart had so much makeup on they looked like they were embalmed–badly.

“Step aside Kitty Pryde/Ellen Page. I’m a bigger star then you’ll ever be.”

Peter Dinklage was okay in an underwritten and confused part.  One minute his Bolivar Trask is a Nazi scientist and the next he’s a grand humanitarian?  Like, I said, confused.   Most of the future X-Men were there to only to be introduced, fight and die. James McAvoy has never impressed me as young Charles Xavier. He comes off as such a clueless, boring dope compared to the charismatic Magneto.  It’s obvious what Magneto’s cause is. I haven’t the foggiest what Prof. Xavier expects to accomplish.

When the Sentinels (who really looked like shit) went wild on the White House lawn and started shooting up the joint, the body count should have been in the triple digits. If they’re such lousy shots it’s no wonder Trask needed Mystique’s DNA to actually hurt the X-Men.

Yeah, the Quicksilver scene was a nice touch, but it only updates what The Matrix did first and as it’s the movie’s money shot and comes way too early. Plus, as effective as the guy is, why wouldn’t you use Quicksilver on a mission where he could be pretty useful?

All the other roles were either underdeveloped or barely even a cameo. Anna Paquin was literally blink-and-miss her yet she gets seventh billing in the titles? She must have a really good agent!   No Stan Lee cameo? No problem. But no Nightcrawler? If you can recast the Toad, you can recast Nightcrawler.

I found the movie an improvement over X3, but nowhere as interesting as X-Men: First Class. A smaller cast and tighter story would have made for a better movie.   There aren’t even that many  X-Men for most of the running time except Wolverine and the Beast.  This is a bloated and overstuffed entry that proves bigness is all it takes to make billions.   X-Men: Days of Future Past is a “good enough” movie that wants to be great and isn’t.

Singer’s job was to deliver a reset of a franchise that probably needed one.  It would have nice though if he had delivered a better movie as well.

“Dammit, Ellen, you’re in my spotlight. Move, woman!”

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7 thoughts on “X-Men: Daze of Movies Past

  1. Thou shalt not talk badly about Blade, ever. Sorry I don’t care how bad the movie is so long as I can sit and drool over Wesley I am happy, no ecstatic.

    As to the rest, yes I entirely agree with you.

    • So you’re the one person excited about The Expendables 3, huh?

      Love Blade and Blade II. But Blade: Trinity? Not so much.

      I treat that one like The Godfather III, Alien 3, and the two Matrix sequels. It never happened.

  2. Though I found the movie to be rather entertaining, myself, I couldn’t get over how strange it was to cast 4 award winning actresses if only one of them was going to be a character.

    • I couldn’t agree with you more, Alex. The fact that the movie swapped out Ellen Page’s Kitty Pryde (and gave her a power she never had before) for Hugh Jackman’s Wolverine was an insult to anyone who enjoys strong female characters who aren’t just eye candy or plot devices to be rescued by the male hero. Giving Halle Berry, Jennifer Lawrence and Anna Paquin virtually nothing of interest to say or do, is a cinematic crime.

      Ever hear of The Bechdel Test created by cartoonist Alison Bechdel and how it applies to movies? The test has three rules:

      1. It has to have at least two women in it,
      2. who talk to each other
      3. about something besides a man

      X:Men: Days of Future Past completely fails The Bechdel Test. Too bad.

      • The only good part of what they did to shadowcat is after hearing a few lines of Ellen Page’s dialogue, I don’ think I could sit through an entire movie with that voice D:

        Also, I don’t think there’s anyone on the internet who hasn’t heard of the Bechdel test. It’s not necessarily a good measure of whether something is sexist or not either (the movie example in the original comic strip, Alien, isn’t even a very good example of a movie that isn’t sexist; sure Ripley was written as a gender neutral role, but you’d better believe if a male actor had been cast, Ripley wouldn’t spend the last part of the movie wearing pasties, ass-crack showing). I have more extensive thoughts on the movie at my blog, if you’re interested.

  3. Hey, Jeff. Would you be interested in doing some book reviews for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette? I’m the book editor and I would love to get your voice on that page. You won’t get rich. (I pay $75 a review), but there’s no cap on how many reviews you can do if you’re fast. Also, once you’re a regular, you can freelance for other sections. If this remotely interests you, give me a call tomorrow at 412-263-1631. I’ll need an address so I can send books and documents. Hope to hear from you. Tony P.s., have you weighed in on the latest season of “The Boondocks?”

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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