X-Men: Days of Future Past

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X-Men: Days of Future Past

Superheroes exist in a strange world where anything is possible but the rules that bind them only allow a very narrow range of things to actually be possible. Around the middle of X-Men: Days of Future Past a mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters) is introduced whose power is super-speed, the ability to move at rates that leave everyone else standing still. This power is then used to help achieve a goal that, in the context of the film, they simply could not fail to achieve: co-lead and if not totally bad guy then at least someone often up to no good Magneto (Michael Fassbender) is in an escape-proof prison and they want to bust him out.
Story-wise, there is zero drama here. If he doesn’t escape he’s not going to be in the rest of the film, and as one of the stars of the film, he is going to be in the rest of the film. So while the big escape is a lot of fun to watch – it’s probably the most purely entertaining scene in the film – dramatically it means pretty much nothing. And then when it’s over the main mutants say thanks, and Quicksilver goes home, never to be seen (apart from in a montage) again even though with his powers our heroes could sort out all their problems in a half hour. And they have a lot of problems: in the future, killer robots called Sentinels have killed or rounded up almost all mutants and their human supporters, but Professor X (Patrick Stewart) and Magneto (Ian McKellen) have a plan: send the mind of Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back into his 1973 body to stop Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) from killing Sentinels creator Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage). But will the young and currently de-powered Professor X (James McAvoy) help out?
With a cast this strong it’s clear that a lot of story developments are more about showcasing stars than creating a gripping plot: Mystique’s story basically ends halfway through the film but she keeps on coming back because Lawrence is probably the biggest star in the cast, while Dinklage is pivotal to the plot in the same way as a suitcase full of cash is in a crime drama, and he gets about as many opportunities to act. But the super-powered fights are always thrilling and Hugh Jackman’s supernatural charm once again makes him the nominal lead even if he’s instantly sidelined in every single fight scene and once he passes on his time-travel message he’s basically just hanging around for the fun of it.
It’s fun to watch while it’s happening, but without a solid plot it’s nothing more than just a bunch of cool things that happen.
Written by Anthony Morris