All original written content is (c) 2014 Mike Pascale. Visual content is (c) its respective owners. Bru-Hed is a trademark of All Ages Media and Mike Pascale.
THIS WEEK: Marvel aims to score a hat trick with its third superhero film of 2014, X-Men: Days of Future Past, a combination of the “new” (re: younger) X-Men after the reset in X-MEN: FIRST CLASS and the “older” blokes in X-MEN: LAST STAND. Based on the storyline in UNCANNY X-MEN #138-143 and X-MEN ANNUAL #4 by Chris Claremont and John Byrne, where Wolverine has to go back in time to get former best buds-later-enemies-future-friends-again Professor X and Magneto to be buddies again to stop the mutant-hunting Sentinels from ever being built. Got that?
NOTE: As you loyal readers know, I’m a man’s man and don’t bother with comic-book crap for fanboys. But the moron who draws me is a major geek so rather than let him butt in like he usually does and slow things down with his lame lines [MIKE: Hey, I heard that!], I already consulted him to get all his comic-related “insights”, which turns out ain’t much since he hasn’t really read an X-Men comic book since before the original storyline came out, which is like a hundred years ago in comic years. Anyway…
Written by Simon Kinberg with “story” by Jane Goldman, Kinberg and Matthew Vaughn (plus Chris Claremont and John Byrne, uncredited).
- Wolverine steals the show as usual. Hugh Jackman still has the presence (and the physique) to keep both the men and women’s attention. And he turns out to be the second funniest one in the movie (and apparently only the second X-man to have a sense of humor).
- Pietro, aka “Pete” Quicksilver, is the comedic hit of the franchise. Only you have no idea he’s Quicksilver until the credits. I thought he was someone who had power to stop time, but he’s really just insanely fast. How fast? Makes The Flash look like a slug. He really has fun with his powers, pretty much the only mutant who does. (Granted, the others are locked in a life-or-death struggle in a post-apocalyptic doomscape, which tends to suck all the fun out of things.) I have no idea if this will be the same one in Joss Whedon’s AVENGERS: THE AGE OF ULTRON (from Marvel Studios, not 20th Century Fox) but I sure hope so. This dude could have his own movie.
- Speaking cameos by long-time X-men scribes Chris Claremont and (Wolverine co-creator) Len Wein as senators. (They’re on pretty quick so that’s why I’m tellin’ ya now so ya don’t miss ’em. Old white dudes as politicians tend to look alike.)
- Lots and lots of mutants, most with very cool powers. [redacted (not exactly spoilers to reveal who’s in it, but fun to discover while watching)]…and more. If you know who all those and others are, you’ll get a lot more out of the thing.
- Much of the film takes place in 1973 and the costumes and cars look pretty good from what I noticed. [CAR-GUY MIKE: extra points for Logan’s boat-tail Buick Riviera! I almost bought a white one for $1500 as a teenager.)
- Mystique (Jennifer HUNGER GAMES Lawrence) just gets hotter and hotter! I would freeze frame a bunch of her scenes and put ’em on a loop. Why isn’t there a “Girls of X-Men” issue of PLAYBOY yet??
- Peter Dinklage (GAME OF THRONES) turns in a suitable performance for Dr. Trask, creator of the Sentinels. No real evil or menace, just a cold-hearted, misguided scientific-type vibe.
- Anyone familiar with Watergate will get a chuckle if not an out-right laugh at the quick drawer shot in the Oval Office office.
- A big name from the past returns…that’s all I can say!
- Only one “button” after the very end of the credits. It apparently sets up the next flick so you may want to stay. (But it’s pretty quick and will probably be on YouTube by the time you read this.)
- One of the USA’s favorite presidents was a mutant? You figure out what his powers were…
- No Stan cameo!
- Not one single word mentioning the source material. Not a one! Granted, neither Mike nor I ever read the graphic novel so we have no idea how much or little of it was used here, but the title is at least the same, so that should at least merit some mention, don’tcha think?
- Along those lines, I didn’t see any “based on characters created by Stan Lee, Jack Kirby, Len Wein, Dave Cockrum, Herb Trimpe, John Byrne, Chris Claremont…” anywhere. Not even a single “thank you” to the X-creators whose characters and plots were used here, like they did for Captain America and Spider-Man. NOT COOL. Without those guys, you got no franchise, Fox.
- If you haven’t kept up with X-Men continuity in a couple decades and didn’t re-watch the last couple X-flicks, you won’t have much of a clue as to who’s who and who does what. (Who I thought was the Human Torch was actually “Sunspot”. I had no idea who “Blink” was or what she did, though it sure looked cool.) Most names aren’t mentioned until after they’ve appeared, others not even til the credits.
- Kelsey Grammar’s (and the comics’) erudite, wise-cracking Beast is replaced by Nicholas Hoult’s nerdy, shy one. Thankfully he’s more interesting when he “beasts out”.
- Speaking of credits, I also had no clue who the hell appeared on the button after them. If you do, PLEASE let me (and other readers) know in the “comments” section below, will ya?
Maybe I’m just overloaded from three superhero movies in less than two months. Or maybe it was the complicated plot. Or not being familiar with a dozen characters. But the whole thing came off to me as being what they call “too ambitious”. Like they squeezed a whole TV season into one episode. (If yer a diehard X-fan, tho, you should go see it now with yer fellow X-nerds.) The acting , the direction, cinematography and effects were all tops, so nothin’ wrong there. It’s just that hardly any of it really stayed with me or made me want to see it again. There are a few sequences that take full advantage of the big screen, but that’s just not enough for me to recommend the whole theater thing. If you have a decent sized TV at home, I say wait and enjoy it on yer couch.
DISCLAIMER: The opinions expressed herein are not necessarily those of Wednesday’s Heroes, Mike Pascale or mutants of the future, present or past. Bru-Hed is a mutant himself, with the powers of beer-drinking without getting drunk, as well as super-sexism and bodily noise generation. The Sentinels would be offended.