Going into this movie I tried very hard to not let other people’s opinions, and my own preconceived notions about the movie, in at the door of the theater. Trying to have no expectations was hard, but I think it helped me enjoy the experience. That being said, I think I know and love the X-Men way too much to actually fully enjoy this movie, and despite trying to be objective I found myself starting to nit-pick several issues.
There will be spoilers!
Before I get into what I was not thrilled with, I want to go over all of the things that I did like/didn’t hate because there were many of them. The opening fight sequence that I covered previously, while long, was still impressive and did a very good job of setting up the struggle the X-Men face trying to evade the Sentinels. I was surprised at how willing Singer was to kill off so many of the X-Men. It did seem odd that they didn’t seem very bothered by the death of their teammates but that was all explained with the reveal of the team’s ability to time travel.
It seems that in the not too distant future, Kitty Pryde (who is in a relationship with Bobby Drake) develops the secondary mutation of being able to project the consciousness of a person into the past. Not only are they sent to the past, but into their younger body. This is the trick the X-Men have been using to out run the Sentinels. It is a clever (if clunky) way to deal with the time travel aspect of the story while keeping what is happening in the future pressing.
Of course, Wolverine is chosen for this mission since his body is the only one that can handle the physical demands of having his consciousness projected back in time 50 years for a week. I understand why Wolverine was chosen to carry out this mission, causing the movie to depart in a drastic way from the source material, but it seemed pretty superfluous since his presence didn’t have much impact on the plot of the story, at least not in a way that couldn’t have been dealt with in other ways.
To this point, Wolverine’s first scene in 1973 has him standing naked, facing a mirror with his bare backside in full view. This was obviously fan service and an attempt to please female audience members. But as much as I might have enjoyed it, the scene was completely useless; nice to look at, but useless.
Once Logan finally makes it to Westchester and muscles his way into the ramshackle school, he finds a walking and strung out Charles Xavier that is easily swayed but lack luster, and less than inspired by the pep talk from Logan. I guess he would have to be, as Logan mentioned many times during the movie that this was not really his bag and he was the worst person to send on this mission in the first place. The presence of Beast, while nice, was again pointless except to be the sometimes muscle and to serve as Charles’ drug pusher who gets high on his own supply.
The best and most surprising part of this movie was Quicksilver. I never in a million years would have thought that he would have been my favorite character in this movie, especially given how much I hated him visually on the Empire Magazine cover from a while back. The way he handled himself around the elder mutants, and the badassedness of him breaking Magneto out of his underground fortress was amazing. Not only was he funny and free spirited, he was also efficient in ways no other mutant in the movie was. I found myself hoping that they would seek his help again; he could have made some of the events later in the movie easier to deal with and would have obviously helped them achieve their goals much faster.
Another pleasant surprise was the fact that the entire story is centered on Raven Darkholme. It was not surprising that it was an action taken by her in the original timeline that led to the terrible future Mutants faced. Jennifer Lawrence did a really good job of telling Xavier and Magneto where to shove it as they tried to convince her that killing Peter Dinklage’s Bolivar Trask was not a good idea, but this just felt like another squandered opportunity to give a character that usually does not get a lot of air time more of it. They could have taken the opportunity to push for some character development not only from Raven but Charles and Eric as well.
Magneto’s modification of the Sentinels, and his control of them, was amazing to see. I was not thrilled with the design of the Sentinels but watching them fly around and shoot at people that aren’t mutants was pretty amazing visually, as was Magneto flying a baseball stadium over Washington DC and using it to isolate the White House where the final show down takes place. The fact that Wolverine was completely taken out of the equation by Magneto shows just how much he does not need to be in the movie as much as he is.
Even though I enjoyed the movie as a whole, the ending of the movie left a bad taste in my mouth. Having Wolverine fished out of the river by William Striker was cool until the reveal that he was really Mystique. The implications that it has on Logan’s personal timeline are frustrating.
As for the new future, I was happy that they fixed the pairing of Kitty Pyrde and Colossus. It was good to see the school open again, but having Scott and Jean back was groan worthy for me. Thanks for the two-hour long reset that led to a weak after credit clip of a young Apocalypse (Evan?) being worshipped in ancient Egypt and building pyramids.