This is an X-Men film that I think stands above all the others. It holds together an interesting dramatic time travelling storyline with multiple characters that on the most part have enough screen time to be of note. There’s fun and tension in equal measure as the plot goes on and though the action sequences are shorter and further apart that makes for a film with more room to grow in narrative terms, a welcome thing to set apart the usual influx of over action-y summer blockbusters.
DOFP sees the torn apart future open the film where Sentinels roam trying to seek and destroy all mutants. Their sleek devastating design is thanks to one Bolivar Trask (Peter Dinklage) who wants to experiment on those with special abilities back in the past, 1973 to be precise. To try and stop this future ever happening Professor X and Magneto (Patrick Stewart & Ian McKellen) send Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) back to the past to prevent the Sentinels ever being made. There he has more trouble to face as he needs to persuade a broken Xavier (James McAvoy) to work with him and Erik (Michael Fassbender) to find and help Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence) to put a stop to the dystopian future being experienced as they speak.
The first thing to mention about this film is that it seems to take pride in the fact it has a more engaging, deeper story to put across and that works for this plot of time travel, war ripped countries past and future and dark themes in general. The underlying tools of substance abuse concerning the prone to addiction character of young Charles Xavier is a neat one to show how much the end of ‘X-Men: First Class’ affected him. The one thing that he uses to stop himself feeling useless is actually rendering him useless, it’s a quite powerful thing to see this special man at a loss with himself suffering from a disability and not trying to be there for others that are being killed as he shuts himself away. The shifting between the future group and the past where the majority of the film takes place is on the most part effective. It only feels a tiny bit lost when jumping back and forth now and then.
Secondly, with this period set movie of 1970’s America we get the aftermath of the US’s involvement in Vietnam a pretty huge allegory for the war on mutants this film is heading for but it works so that massive blinking sign of parallels doesn’t bother too much. The war comedown backdrop sets for a more thriller vibe and like with the Captain America sequel that works to its benefits. The tenser darker line of events helps the film thrive as it moves away from needless CGI, over action and silliness to actually become a more intense worrying piece of work.
One thing I did feel that slightly let the film down was the ending where it all came to a head rather quickly. This felt more so thanks to a previous amount of plot that did drag mildly at times. The flicking between a showdown with government officials in 73′ and a mutant v Sentinel battle in the future feels all but over before you have time to enjoy it fully. It’s this and the method to get Logan back that is brushed over as in this day and age we just seem to accept the notion of time travel. I know I do but there could have been more describing of Kitty (Ellen Page) doing it and the way all of them were battling the Sentinels at the start. Maybe I missed something!
The acting like I said is rather good as it gives enough time for most of the cast members to breathe, get into the skin of their characters and gives the audience substantial screen time to enjoy each mutant do their thing. The rivalry and tense friendship of Erik and Charles is portrayed really well once again by Fassbender and McAvoy. James McAvoy this time doing more and providing more emotion as he tries to cope with the life he starts the movie with. Lawrence is a bigger slice of the action too providing more intrigue and kick ass chops as the girl in blue. Dinklage is sly and subtly menacing as one possible villain in this movie. Jackman is Wolverine. Hoult has more to do with Beast also which is a good thing as he suits the role well. I don’t even need to say anything about Stewart and McKellen as they’re always magnificent. I honestly think that Quicksilver was the best element of the film played with ease and super fun heights by Evan Peters. The escape scene in the Pentagon is the best sequence and I hope we get to see more of his character. I know he’ll appear in ‘Avengers: Age of Ultron’ but I liked Peter’s in the speedy shoes. The little allusions to his sister and father were nice too. Nearer the end there’s some cool little cameos that bring some homely comfort to the proceedings even if Anna Paquin’s character did go Rogue from the final cut aside from the tiniest of appearances.
A joyriding blast of a movie with darker threads of time and war haunting characters and the story. It has funny moments and spectacle when needed. It’s an exciting film that has enough intelligence and showy action to keep most amused.