March of the Sentinels

X-Men: Days of Future Past is the best X-Men team up 20th Century Fox has ever done. Since it brings together the original X-Men trilogy, X-Men: First Class, and Wolverine. Making it the biggest Marvel ensemble event at the time. I hadn’t been this excited for a new X-Men movie in a long time, but the thought of seeing both the new and original cast together was too big not to get excited. Especially after how the Mutants were treated in X-Men: The Last Stand. I left the theater overjoyed to have finally gotten the closure I needed. As a result X-Men: Days of Future Past became the highest grossing movie in the franchise and the first with a score over 90%. It was even nominated for an Academy Award.

X-Men: Days of Future Past is both based on and named after the famous X-Men storyline Days of Future Past. A comic I actually read before the movie came out for a change. The heavier science fiction/post-apocalyptic themes were definitely different than the movie’s more grounded portrayal of the X-Men. Yet they still manage to stay pretty faithful to the comic while continuing to follow their own continuity. Although director Matthew Vaughn intended to return, he decided to make other comic book adaptations instead. After 11 years and many offers to return, X-Men: Days of Future Past was finally the movie that brought back original director Bryan Singer…

13. X-Men Days of Future Past

The X-Men of the future

X-Men: Days of Future Past may follow the core ideas of the comic, but there are still logical differences that the franchise couldn’t avoid. In the comic, Mutant hunting Sentinels rule a post-apocalyptic world where Mutants are either killed or put in camps. The movie does the same, but the Sentinels are much different than the ones in the comics. Instead of giant humanoid purple robots, they’re slender and scaly with the ability to adapt to Mutant powers. Although I wasn’t crazy about the inaccuracy, I can’t deny how terrifying they are. Days of Future Past begins with a small band of surviving X-Men overwhelmed by the attacking Sentinels. The randomly assorted team consists of Kitty Pryde, Iceman, Colossus, Bishop, Blink, Warpath, and Sunspot.

Most Marvel fans know Kitty is originally the one who travels back in time. Her consciousness is sent backwards in time to when she was still a teenage member of the X-Men. Well Kitty still plays a big part in the events of the movie. Along with walking through walls, she’s also given the power to send someone’s mind through time. X-Men: The Last Stand wasn’t the best, but casting Ellen Page was a good decision. Shawn Ashmore is now beared and finally uses Iceman’s ice bridge. Daniel Cudmore still doesn’t speak, but Colossus’ strength is always welcome. Although Singer still goes for black costumes, the new Mutants at least have accurate appearances. Bishop has his scarf and energizing gun, Blink is still an elf with handy portals, Warpath is just like his Native American namesake, but Sunspot looks too much like the Human Torch. After Kitty sends Bishop back to warn the others of the attack, the rest of the X-Men formulate a plan to prevent this future from ever happening.

Hugh Jackman finally wears yellow & blue, but it’s hidden under black armor. While Wolverine’s hair has the grey temples that he had in the comic. It’s great to have Patrick Stewart back and it’s even better to see Professor X in a hover chair. Ian McKellen doesn’t wear a helmet, but Magneto still unleashes all his power. As does Halle Berry returning as Storm. Her short white hair was expected. I just wish the kiss Storm and Wolverine share was kept in the movie. Wolverine understandably ends up being sent to the past. Since he’s always been the main character and this version of time travel makes it so only someone with accelerated healing can be sent back. Plus Wolverine was around in 1973. With Wolverine incapacitated, the X-Men make their final stand against the Sentinels. After First Class tackled Cold War themes in the 60’s, Days of Future Past now focuses on the Vietnam War of the 70’s. You can tell by the lava lamp, drugs, hippies, and afros.

Just like Terminator, the indestructible Wolverine wakes up at a time when he was a bodyguard. Except he has those darn bone claws. The only downside for me is just seeing Wolverine’s Adamantium claws in the future. Logan goes to an abandoned X-Mansion where the school has closed due to Mutants being drafted. Charles Xavier has lost hope and his powers due to a drug that suppresses it. James McAvoy is hairier and probably only walks for the sake of convenience. Nicholas Hoult logically returns as Hank McCoy, but it’s obvious that his suppressed Beast appearance is because of makeup. Since Beast was never like the Hulk in terms of getting angry. Continuity has never mattered in these movies, so Charles misquotes Wolverine by telling him to “F*** off.” Logan’s purpose in the past is to reunite Charles with Erik Lehnsherr and prevent Mystique from killing Bolivar Trask. The man responsible for the creation of more comic accurate Sentinels. Trask is played by Peter Dinklage instead of Bill Duke like he was in The Last Stand. If Mystique succeeds, her DNA will be used to create deadlier future Sentinels.

Although Jennifer Lawrence was definitely big enough to get more screen time, Mystique is important in the original comic. Senator Kelly is just swapped with Trask. Mystique’s makeup is better and her seductive agile fighting skills are closer to her future self. While Mystique rescues Mutant soldiers from experimentation (including Havok & Toad), Logan, Charles, & Hank have to break Erik out of a metaless prison under the Pentagon. For apparently killing a Mutant John F. Kennedy. Instead of using a young Juggernaut, Fox exercised their joint possession of Quicksilver. Compared to Marvel, this version was American and had inaccurate silver hair, silver jacket, and goggles. Yet Evan Peters’ Quicksilver ended up being the better take. He breaks Erik out of prison (and even hints at their possible relation). Easily the best scene in the movie is Quicksilver moving so fast that he saves everyone to the tune of “Time in a Bottle.” Then they send him away for being too powerful.

Both Magneto & Mystique discover that the other Mutants from First Class were carelessly killed off. Charles clashes with Erik, but they work together long enough to find Mystique at the Paris Peace Accords. They arrive in time, but everything falls apart when Logan sees a young Stryker and snikts Kitty in the future. The Rogue Cut features a whole sidequest where Rogue is rescued and taken to finish Kitty’s work. Anna Paquin only makes a brief cameo in the finished film. Instead of simply rescuing Mystique, Erik decides she needs to die. Beast defends her and in the process, the world discovers the existence of Mutants. Mystique disguises herself long enough to get away, but the attack gives Trask enough reason to convince the President to activate the Sentinels. Nixon is a bit over exaggerated though. Charles and Erik go their separate ways with different goals in preventing the future. Charles regains his powers and wheelchair, but still needs an extra push. After experiencing Logan’s pain, he has a very heartfelt talk with his future self.

Meanwhile, Erik regains his Magneto helmet and infuses the plastic Sentinels with metal. Michael Fassbender’s performance and costume are closer to Magneto than ever before. After Charles uses Cerebro to locate Mystique in Washington, Days of Future Past is split between future and past. In the future, the X-Men are cornered by invading Sentinels. Storm harnesses the power of lightning and Magneto uses it to detonate the X-Jet. The rest of the new Mutants give it their all, but it’s all for not. Magneto is fatally wounded, Storm sadly dies, and the rest of the Mutants are killed one by one. In the past, Charles locates Mystique, but Magneto literally drops a stadium around the White House. He turns the Sentinels against Wolverine and Beast, while Mystique continues to target Trask. In a reverse callback to a comic where Magneto removes Wolverine’s Adamantium skeleton, Magneto impales Wolverine’s body with metal and throws him in a river. Leaving the fate of the future in Xavier’s hands.

Similar to the first movie, Magneto turns guns against the President. Mystique subdues him and finally decides not to go through with it. It was genuinely satisfying to see the horrible future erase at the last possible second. I was even more satisfied to see a brighter 2023 where Xavier’s School is better than it was before. Rogue & Iceman are together, Kelsey Grammer briefly appears as Beast, Storm is okay, Kitty & Colossus are teachers, and both Jean & Cyclops are alive. Finally erasing The Last Stand from existence. Logan has a heart to heart with Charles and the future looks bright. Origins: Wolverine seems to be erased too after Stryker picks up Logan in the past. Except revealing it to be Mystique makes no sense. The after-credit scene revealing a young pyramid constructing En Sabah Nur was the final push towards imitating the MCU. The stakes in Days of Future Past feel higher than they’ve ever been before. It was impressive to see Singer go all out with the X-Men after his more subtle debut. The ensemble cast works surprisingly well no matter the time period. After wiping the slate clean, X-Men: Days of Future Past should have been enough to end the X-Men franchise on a high note.

14. X-Men Days of Future Past

The X-Men of the past

Preceded by: The Wolverine & Followed by: Deadpool

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