I harped on this a bit with the last review, so I’ll just be short here.
So if you read from here, something may get spoiled.
Also, we’ll continue behind the cut.
So, if you’re a fan of the old X-Men Comics, you know from the title that I’m talking about an X-Men movie.
Yes, I know that Kitty gets little spots in the other movies. The special effects team wanted to show off putting people through walls.
But Days of Future Past, well that’s one of the great Kitty Pryde stories. We see not only how enduring her friendship with Logan is, but what a strong woman our favorite kid has become. She is such a tough character, she even chances the rigors of mental time travel to save the world.
Wait … what?
We’re sending Wolverine back instead because Xavier can’t handle the strain of the time shift.
The hell Fox! Come on!
I will admit, I was none too happy to know that Wolvie was taking the starring role away from Kitty. I could make this an analysis about the inherent misogyny in handing over Kitty’s agency to Wolverine. I’m very tempted to, actually. Maybe I’ll leave that for another day.
More about the movie, though. Okay, so Kitty is not going to go back into the past. Instead, she’s the one with the power to actually send Wolverine back. It seems she and her little group have this whole method of survival. Warpath senses the sentinel attacks. The team fight them off while Bishop and Kitty find some place safe. Then Kitty sends his mind into his past self to warn them of the coming sentinels and they clear out before the sentinels ever get there.
When Xavier, Magneto, Wolverine, and Storm arrive, they get the idea to use this to send not Xavier back, which would have been ideal, but Wolverine, since his healing factor makes him the best to survive. As Kitty explains, the strain is too much for that long of a trip back. So Kitty mind-links with Wolverine, and sends him back into the past.
Of course, we’re not really certain how Kitty goes from being able to be incorporeal to this time travel thing. I mean, I suppose if you look at time as simply a phase of existence, if Kitty can phase through matter, she could, potentially, eventually learn to phase through time as well. Only, where does the mind-link thing come from? Kitty’s never had psychic ability.
Oh come on! You took the starring role of Got To Save The World from Kitty and turned her into a McGuffin.
I’ll even give you the dictionary definition.
McGuffin – noun, British origin:
an object or device in a movie or a book that serves merely as a trigger for the plot
And I would love to say that we at least get some plot time with her. We don’t. We get some cool action sequences, her warning Xavier about the perils of mentally travelling back decades in time, warning Wolverine to think calm thoughts so he doesn’t get tossed back and forth between times, and Bobby being all worried that she’s bleeding to death after Wolverine stabs her – when he isn’t thinking calm thoughts and gets shunted back into the present/future time.
Not enough to be anything but the McGuffin, the McGuffin saying what she does, the McGuffin giving warnings about its use, and the risk of the McGuffin not working anymore.
They turned Kitty Pryde, one of the best X-Men characters, into a McGuffin.
Give me a moment …
Sorry. I needed a second because, all that aside, I actually really liked the movie. I know they keep casting my favorite character aside into “Oh, that’s right. You exist!” roles. And while she’s a McGuffin in this one, at least she’s important to what is happening, so there’s that, right?
I will give the movie props, though.
1. Consistency. In the fights with Bishop, he never gets hit and instantly redirects the energy back. Change from the comic, I know. But important in the movie, when at the end the Sentinels over-charge him and make him explode. That is a small thing to measure, sure. But it is always small things that catch movies like this. The movie was also aware of things like blood at the scene when Magneto shoots Mystique. Yeah, he gets it into his thick skull that the best way to prevent the dark future that he and Xavier have been warned about is to kill Mystique.
Because they’d never collect blood from the scene of a violent shooting or try to snag the body that can no longer get away from them by shape-changing. To be fair, though, Magneto pretty much shows this same level of not-thinkingness throughout the movie. He is not a dumb ass, but he has this tendency, true to character actually, to not look at the big picture and only focus on a single thing or obsession. You know, the opposite of Xavier, who usually spent too much time looking at the big picture and not enough time at the details. Sometime we don’t really get to understand in the movies. Here, it is key. Mystique/Raven had been part of Xavier’s whole school thing until his inability to focus on her as anything more than something to fix proved too much. Even when he’s in the fugue of realization about this fact, he still can’t get out of the mindset.
2. Young Magneto and Xavier. I already talked about Magneto, and they did a good job with him. Not sure about the whole JFK thing but whatever. I suppose it is supposed to be a bone to the comic fans. Pretty much the existence of the X-Men as a comic was an homage to the civil rights movement, and you can find echos of this in stories like Days of Future Past. It feels almost throw-away, though. Which I guess is what you do with a bone, after all.
Young Xavier is brilliant. He is a tortured young man suffering from the losses of X-Men First Class, apparently, and his students and teachers being taken off to war in Vietnam. He is a broken man, hiding from his powers with a serum that Hank creates. He is flawed and cowardly, but he does eventually do the right thing. I really like that as flawed as he is, as cowardly as he is, he is never dark. He still has his idealism, he has just given upon it. He’s failed and broken, not evil. And I like this because hopefully this means we will never, ever, ever see the existence of the Onslaught story line in the movies.
Don’t even get me started on that run.
3. Quicksilver. There’s a throw-away line about how his mom knew a guy who could control magnetism. Also, I did not miss the look on his mom’s face when she saw Magneto on television. He is far more powerful than he is in the comics. We’re talking at least Flash speeds. But, I liked it. When they are breaking Magneto out of his prison beneath the Pentagon, Quicksilver saves the day by using his super speed to mess around with things, including grabbing a hat to wear, moving the arms of the cops around into punching self or each other positions, then moving the bullets safely away. When he stops, the cops punch each other and the bullets hit the wall with no one harmed.
It was a great scene.
4. Blink. She is awesome in the movie. ‘Nuff said.
5. Colossus. We get to watch Colossus die several times, including at the end when the Sentinels pull him apart. Now, I realize that many readers will not necessarily find that enjoyable. I however did not mind it at all, and I almost suspect it was a nod to fans like myself who love Kitty Pryde. You see, Colossus is a big giant metal jerk who broke Kitty Pryde’s heart. It is not enough that he cheated on her. It is not even that he cheated on her with a woman who did not speak his language, and whose name he did not even know. When the timeline he cheated on her in is no more, and to be fair to him, if I recall correctly, he wasn’t even certain at the point he banged the alien chick that he was going to actually get back home, he remembered what happened. He was so overrun with guilt over something that technically never happened and would have no way of coming back to haunt Kitty that he told her anyway. Yeah, he told her not because telling her would be any kind of benefit to their relationship or warn her about something that could be problematic or that someone else could possibly bring up at an inopportune time, like the middle of a life and death fight. No. He told her because he did not want to feel guilty anymore.
Dick. Oh, I’m over reacting you say? So, there was this thing in the comic at the time where it was quite talked about that Kitty and Colossus were not having sex yet. He was waiting for her to be a little older because she was like two or three years younger than him. All noble. Him waiting for her by having sex with some chick whose name he did not know in a time line that never actually existed.
But I got to watch Colossus die repeatedly. Bonus!
6. The ending. While this is pretty much a movie inspired by the comic story Days of Future Past, and please do not have any illusions otherwise, it does stay true to the story in some ways. One is the ending. You see, the premise is mostly the same. Mystique wants to kill someone and that killing ignites anti-mutant hysteria. The target changes from Senator Kelly to Bolivar Trask, but all the same, it works out well. Trask’s sentinels end up under the control of Magneto, in one of his clever but short-sighted moments. It ends up being Mystique, all blue and obviously mutant, who saves the day for America to see. Horrid future averted … for now.
7. After the end credits. If you did not stay for the end credits, shame on you. We have the man himself, En Sabah Nur, building the pyramids himself while being worshiped. I’m hoping we’ll get an Age of Apocalypse as well conceived as this movie, for it’s faults – see my first rant, was. They need it. The over all story line appears to have the Marvel Universe’s knack for inconsistencies and ret-cons … namely that Jean and Scott are alive again. Nothing like an Alternate Reality (and yes, we are to assume that the ripples of changing the past somehow kept Jean from either going Dark Phoenix or otherwise kept her and Scott from dying) to fix things.
I actually would not mind an actual Phoenix/Dark Phoenix saga.