This is the 7th movie since 2000 set in the x-men universe, and the series has been in a bit of a down turn as of late. Looking at adjusted opening weekend ticket sales of the last four movies there is a clear trend.
X-men the last stand earned 124 million in May of ’06. IMDB rating of 6.8
X-men origins wolverine earned 90 million in May of ’09. IMDB rating of 6.8
X-men: first class earned 54 million in June of ’11. IMDB rating of 7.8.
The Wolverine earned 53 million in July of ’13. IMDB rating of 6.8
Again, those were adjusted opening weekend ticket sales. The pattern is not hard to spot here. I’m writing this on Sunday night, so all the ticket sales might not be tallied yet, but DoFP is currently sitting at 90 million(if I tell you the IMDB rating it kind of ruins you reading the rest of my review, so I’m keeping it secret). A rebound in ticket sales definitely, but does the quality increase to match? (the IMDB rating is 8.7, I’m bad at keeping secrets, I swear I still have things of value to add!)
On one hand the answer to that question doesn’t matter too much since there are already three more x-men movies in some level of production. X-Men: Apocalypse is set for 2016(the post credits scene in DoFP gives us our first glimpse of the namesake villian). Wolverine 3 is coming out in 2017. There is also supposed to be an X-Force movie coming out at some point but there is no release date attached to that yet.
People who have read the comics or remember the early 90s cartoon show are familiar with the Days of Future Past storyline. For everyone who thought it was a weird jumble of words for a title, I can assure you the plot is pretty straightforward. Things in the future have gone terribly wrong for both mutants and humans, so a team of mutants sends Wolverine back in time to attempt to change the fate of the world. In the comic books it is Kitty Pride(played in this movie by Ellen Page), not Wolverine who is sent back, but 20th Century Fox didn’t make two movies specifically focusing on Kitty Pride.
This movie does deal with Wolverine fatigue pretty well. He starts things moving at the beginning of the movie, but is largely unhelpful for much of the movie and is even bodily removed from the climactic fight scene so the main movers and shakers of the plot can take center stage. It was nice to see some of the other characters get to show off a bit. There was less flashy showing off compared to the previous movies.
There are still two futuristic battles in which we get to watch a few established mutants(storm and iceman) fight alongside some newcomers to the big screen (warpath, blink, sunspot, and bishop). We also get to see Magneto lift the entirety of RFK stadium into the air. The movie didn’t lose sight of the story for the effects though.
The acting talents of James McAvoy, Michael Fassbender, and Jennifer Lawrence are all on display as the three characters go back and forth about the ethical questions that get brought up in the movie. One of the things that has always attracted me to the X-Men franchise is that the antagonists all tend to make fantastic points. This movie has a slightly more clear cut villain with the iconic sentinels who appear in a trendy 70s purple, but the battling philosophies will make for much better post movie discussion.
In the end I don’t think this movie will bring anyone into the X-Men fandom who hadn’t enjoyed any of the previous movies, and if you aren’t familiar with the X-Men world at all I can’t recommend this as a place to start, but for people who had become disillusioned with the direction the franchise had taken, DoFP is a welcome relief and an assurance that once again we can be mutant and proud.
★★★★☆ – Continues the trend of great movies to start the summer. A reminder of my rating system