‘A Fun Ride through Time’
With “X-Men: Days of Future Past,” the concept of time travel gives viewers an intimate look at the storied franchise’s most memorable characters
by Matthew Thackray

“X-Men: Days of Future Past,” directed by Brian Singer (“X-Men”/“X-2”), opens with an incredibly disturbing vision of the future, in which both mutants and humans are being hunted down and killed by a new breed of enemy, the Sentinels. These machines are programmed to kill anyone who is a mutant, which is shown in the opening fight scene when numerous mutant notables are killed in a rather brutal manner. After this action-packed introduction to the world of the future, we are introduced to the driving concept of the film: time travel.

Kitty Pryde (played by Ellen Page) has the uncanny ability to “phase” people through time, and when she wakes them up, any changes that they’ve made in the past will take effect. The only problem is that you have to be strong enough to make the journey, therefore making Wolverine (Hugh Jackman), with his accelerated healing powers, the only viable candidate for the trip. On top of that, you can go back only as far as you’ve been alive, meaning that you will basically possess your younger self when you make the trip to the past. It’s a very original idea, and a fresh take on the mechanics of time travel.

This leads to many interesting scenarios that Wolverine has to face in order to change the future. This includes breaking the villainous Magneto (Michael Fassbender and Ian McKellen) out of a highly guarded prison and employing the help of an eccentric young mutant named Quicksilver (Evan Peters) who can run faster than the speed of sound. It also includes stopping an assassination at the hands of Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), which is the catalyst for the dystopian future from which Wolverine comes.

This movie is packed tight with action, but its core is made of much more than that. The fact that we are experiencing a time before Professor Xavier (James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart) as the wise mentor figure we have seen in previous films is actually quite captivating. We see Xavier as a broken man without hope, just as we see Magneto struggle to do what he thinks is right for the mutant species. This inevitably results in scenes that are volatile, emotional and, at times, breathtaking.

Speaking of action, there’s one scene where we see just how fast Quicksilver is, and it is one of the most satisfying things you could possibly watch. On top of that, with the surprise end-credits sequence, which has become something of a requirement for films based on comic books, we’re treated to a wonderful tease for what is likely the next installment of the franchise. All I can say is that it will make longtime fans of the X-Men quite pleased. I was smiling ear to ear the entire time.

Overall, “X-Men: Days of Future Past” is a fun ride through time with a cast of characters you can’t help but care for. For a movie whose main theme is hope, I must say that I’m hopeful for the future of the X-Men franchise.