X-Men: Days of Future Past
This unites the older cast with the newer cast, with Bryan Singer back at the helm. Peter Dinklage (Tyrion Lannister in Game of Thrones, Eitri the Dwarf in Avengers: Infinity War, Trumpkin the Dwarf in Prince Caspian, and the lead in the recent Cyrano movie) joins as Dr. Bolivar Trask, Evan Peters is Peter/ Quicksilver (yes, he appeared in WandaVision and SPOILER [in case you’re even later than me watching the show]: he plays the other version of Pietro…I just laughed when I saw in on the show and really wish more had been done because, he’s Peter, just the other one). Booboo Stewart (he’s Seth in the Twilight movies and Jay in the Disney Descendants movies [haven’t seen those]) is another mutant, named Warpath.
We open in a dark future, ruled by Sentinels, machines that hunt down and kill mutants and any humans who try to help. But there is a ray of hope left, for what’s left of the X-men are making for a hideout to meet with a few fighters, including familiar faces Bobby and Kitty. Professor Xavier (yep, he’s alive, not sure how, but it’s X-men, we’re not really going to ask) has a crazy idea, have Kitty send him back in time to 1973 to prevent Raven/Mystique from killing Trask and thus causing the Sentinels to be built. (Another quick question, how does Kitty have time travel abilities? She phases through walls.) Unfortunately, Xavier would not physically be able to withstand a trip that far. So Logan volunteers and has to meet a very different Charles and Erik, and convince them to work together when they couldn’t be further apart.
The time travel works and Logan tracks down the Professor, only to find the mansion run down, with only Hank McCoy as a companion. Oh, and he can walk. But, the tradeoff is he doesn’t have his powers. And wants nothing to do with Logan or his hope for the future; he’s a broken man, leave him alone. However…he relents and will do it for Raven. He still cares for her and will save her if he can. Except they’re going to need some more help, particularly to get Erik out of…wherever he’s being kept. Logan happens to know a mutant who is a teenager in the seventies: Peter Maximoff. He gets to break in and get Erik out of prison in the Pentagon; Erik was arrested for killing JFK. Peter is in fact very helpful, rescuing the men for a rain of bullets (Charles does get to hit Erik, then insist on no killing).
We see a brief glimpse of Havok in Vietnam, though Mystique impersonates a Colonel to rescue the mutants before they’re shipped off to Trask Industries under a young Stryker. She’s taken Erik’s lesson on one-track mind to heart. She later sneaks into Trask’s office and finds the reports on the dead mutants Trask has experimented on. And gets the clue to head to Paris, for the Peace Accords. There, she seduces a Vietnamese general and impersonates him to get into the meeting.
It’s a very tense plane ride for Charles, Hank, Erik, and Logan. Charles and Erik finally confront each other; it’s a wonderful scene and hints at the mental headspace that Charles was in following First Class. “You took her away and you abandoned me!” Charles shouts at Erik. Erik’s comeback is that Charles abandoned all the other mutants; “we were supposed to protect them.” Charles storms away and Erik levels the plane. Logan points out that Erik has always been an arse.
Erik later offers a game of chess to Charles as a peace offering. They discuss Raven, a woman they both love, in different ways. Charles remains concerned for her. Erik also admits he didn’t kill JFK, the bullet curved because he was trying to save him, because he was a mutant. The friendship starts to mend, but it has a long way to go, so Charles starts the game.
Action comes to a head at the Trask meeting, who is trying to convince foreign governments now of his machines since the American government shut him down (some members didn’t like the idea of targeting Americans who are living peacefully). Raven reveals herself and is briefly taken down by Stryker, but our heroes arrive. Logan glimpses Stryker and loses control for a moment, not remembering any timeline. Charles hilariously tries to pass it off as a bad acid trip, until Logan comes back. Raven is genuinely happy to see her brother, until Erik picks up the gun and is willing to kill her to prevent Trask from getting his hands on her and her DNA and thus wiping out all mutants. Raven tries to escape, but is nicked in the leg. Erik pursues her, and Beast jumps after him. Mind you, all of this is caught on camera when they land outside and use their powers. Trask escapes, but manages to get his hands on a small blood sample. Trask next meets with President Nixon himself and offers his machines once again as a response to the “mutant problem.” (And that’s apparently what the deleted recording was about.)
Raven is patched up, then catches up with Erik and demands answers. Erik attempts to persuade her to work with him to strike while they have the upper hand. But Raven draws a line. She’ll kill Trask because of what he’s done to her friends. But this won’t become genocide. Meanwhile, Logan convinces Charles to stop taking the serum, so that his powers will come back. They need Cerebro in order to find Raven and prevent the murder she is still planning. But Cerebro overloads since Charles is rusty. So Logan has young Charles read his mind into the future and talk to older Charles (another brilliant scene). Older Charles counsels his younger self that the pain Charles feels and fears will make his stronger if he embraces it. His greatest gift is to bear their pain without breaking. And that is born of hope. Charles needs to get his hope back; only then will the future change. Energized, Charles uses his powers to talk to Raven through others at the airport. She’s still set on her path and dislikes that Charles is trying to make a decision for her.
Everyone manages to meet up again in D.C., where the President is making an announcement with Trask to showcase the Sentinels that will protect Americans. Erik breaks into the Pentagon to retrieve his helmet to keep Charles out. He’s also put metal inside the Sentinels so he has control, which he has go off on the crowd at the White House. At the same time, the Sentinels of the future have found the hidden X-men. Young Erik wraps metal into Logan and sends him off to drown, then uses the cameras to speak to hidden mutants, calling for them to unite and fight for their rights. Raven duplicates the President as an offer to Erik, then shoots him. Charles, pinned under a structure, uses his powers to convince Raven to choose a different path. She can show the world that not all mutants need to be feared. She puts the gun down (which erases the future, one where everyone was on the brink of being destroyed), and Trask lives. But his program is scrapped and Stryker gives information to the President that Trask was selling secrets to foreign governments. Raven takes the helmet off Erik so that Charles can use him to free himself. He lets Erik fly off and lets Raven walk away. Though she appears to impersonate Stryker to rescue Logan.
And Logan is in the new future now. The mansion is full of students, Bobby and Rogue make a brief appearance. Hank McCoy is teaching, and even Scott and Jean are back. Logan needs a bit of help from the Professor, clearing up with the new history is after 1973.
Where we started with Patrick Stewart’s Charles asking if we’re destined to destroy ourselves, or can we change our fate. Is the future truly set? We end with James McAvoy’s Charles giving us hope that the past is “a world of endless possibilities and infinite outcomes. Countless choices define our fate: each choice, each moment, a moment in the ripple of time. Enough ripple, and you change the tide” and answering that “the future is never truly set.”
I adore that they brought familiar faces back and it’s wonderful to see on the same screen the differences between their younger and older selves. The greatest scene is watching James McAvoy and Patrick Stewart play the same character at two different points in life in the same shot. Patrick Stewart always gives us hope for humanity. I continue to enjoy the sibling relationship that they developed between Raven and Charles. They still care for each other, but Raven has grown. She wants to please her brother deep down, but now she’s own person. And she realized that Erik wasn’t going to lead her where she wanted, so she struck out on her own. And becomes the badass woman we love. Charles ultimately lets go and has faith, but he’ll pull himself out of a hole in order to save her. Work alongside the man who let him down in order to save her. And of course, Ian McKellen and Patrick Stewart are adorable alongside each other; there’s a funny blooper where Ian spouts some BS line and Patrick looks at him with “what did you just say?” on his face.
Really wish Erik would stop trying to rule the world! You’ve gotten your revenge, leave it alone. There are better ways to fight for mutant rights than reverting to killing all humans. Also, we want you to settle down with Charles…hey, older versions of them are friends again, we want to see them come around. Again, I encourage you to read Rumor Has It on either fanfiction.net or AO3.
Overall, this movie tends to give me a bit of a headache trying to keep timelines straight and I get that this re-writes a lot of what happened in the original trilogy and I like the happy ending, but it’s not always one I want to re-watch.
Up Next: X-Men Apocalypse