X-Men: Days Of Future Past Is A Great Superhero Epic

X posterX-Men: Days Of Future Past is a return to form for the X-Men film franchise and it’s more than that. It rectifies the misfires made with the franchise since the film’s director Bryan Singer left it to do Superman Returns. But more significantly, Singer has delivered the best X-Men film to date, even eclipsing favorites like X2: X-Men United and X-Men: First Class.

????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????The fifth X-Men film (not counting the Wolverine solo efforts) is a loose adaptation of the classic Chris Claremont/John Byrne comic book story arc in The Uncanny X-Men #141-142 where mutants are facing extinction in the future and one mutant’s consciousness is sent back in time to prevent the mutant holocaust at the hands of giant Sentinel robots. The opening scenes in X-Men: Days Of Future Past take place in the grim, dark future where mutants are being mercilessly hunted down by advanced, adaptive Sentinels. In a desperate move, the consciousness of the fast-healing mutant Logan/Wolverine (Hugh Jackman) is sent back to the 1970s into the mind of his younger self, which begins a wild ride.

The film switches gears and has the audacity to introduce much-needed humor as Wolverine does a fish-out-of-water routine when adopting to the new timeline. In the 1970s, Bolivar Trask ???????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????(Peter Dinklage) is a mutant-hating scientist who constructs the Sentinels. According to history, he is assassinated by the shape-shifting mutant Mystique (Jennifer Lawrence), which starts the chain reaction leading to the dystopian future seen in the film’s opening act.  Wolverine has to find a younger version of his mentor Charles Xavier (James McAvoy) and Magneto (Michael Fassbender) and convince the two men to put aside their differences and change history.

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X-Men: Days Of Future Past is genuine epic spanning across time and places with an intricate, but fast-moving story that is never dull. It’s so perfectly paced with exciting and tense sequences interjected with pathos and wry humor. There’s a smile-inducing segment where Wolverine, Xavier and Hank McCoy (Nicholas Hoult) recruit the speedster Quicksilver (Evan Peters) to break Magneto out of prison and he just steals the show. The way Singer demonstrated Quicksilver’s super-fast powers was so incredible to behold and fresh. It would’ve been easy to just show him as a streak, but Singer went the extra mile and showed his POV where the world around him slows to a standstill as he speeds up. This shows why Quicksilver is one of the coolest mutants and it’s too bad more time isn’t spent with him. His actions erases any complaints from haters and trolls who moaned about how dumb he looked in publicity shots. Of course, what elevates Quicksilver’s presence is how Peters played him as an ADD-addled, fun-loving type. Hopefully, he’ll pop up again in a future X-Men film and one can only speculate at this point on how Joss Whedon will present him in next year’s Avengers: Age Of Ultron.

X and WolverineAs with Peters, the rest of the cast elevate X-Men: Days Of Future Past by giving deeply emotional and captivating performances. This goes for major cast members like Jackman, McAvoy, Fassbender and Lawrence to those that had minor parts  like Ellen Page, Shawn Ashmore, Fan Bingbing, and Halle Berry. It was great to see the acting greats Patrick Stewart and Ian McKellen returning to their roles as the older versions of Xavier and Magneto. Also, there are surprising and most welcome cameo appearances by other mutants, which enrich this film and shows how Singer cares about the franchise and pays attention to its details.

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On the whole, unlike the other films, X-Men: First Class aside, this one felt like a true ensemble film and not just Wolverine And The X-Men. He does have a major part in the film, but he is not the only star, that is because the other actors get their moment to shine and Jackman portrays the famous superhero differently, he’s more in control of himself, more mature.

With this film, Bryan Singer takes firm control of the film series and heads it in a new and hopeful direction. It’s clear from watching the performances, the intricate storyline and all the Easter eggs with nods to other X-Men films that Singer is invested with the franchise. X-Men: Days Of Future Past can be seen as an apology of sorts from Singer for leaving the series. Thanks to his efforts, the film is at the same time a welcome superhero blockbuster that will leave many X-Men fans overjoyed.

José Soto

The Quicksilver Conundrum

quicksilver and petersThere has been a bit of a combination of both a cold and civil war when it comes to movies based on Marvel Comics characters. But lately things are heating up between movie studios and that’s best seen with the character of Quicksilver, the mutant superhero with superfast powers who is slated to appear in two competing movies: X-Men: Days Of Futures Past and The Avengers 2.

Here’s the background: before Marvel was acquired by The Walt Disney Company, Marvel sold the rights to many of its popular characters to different movie studios like 20th Century Fox and Sony Pictures, who co-produced them with Marvel Studios. That was the main reason characters didn’t crossover into other films. For example, in the Spider-Man films, you wouldn’t see a shot of Thor flying by the Daily Bugle’s windows.

Over time, Marvel Studios began regaining the rights to several characters, most notably the Hulk and Daredevil. These efforts kicked up into high gear after Disney acquired Marvel. The few remaining characters Marvel Studios doesn’t have the film rights to are Spider-Man, the Fantastic Four and the X-Men.

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The studios holding the rights to those characters know a cash cow when they see it and are fighting to retain the rights to the characters. Just recently Sony Pictures adamantly swore that they will never give up the rights to produce Spider-Man films, while Fox toyed with the idea last year to give back the rights to the Silver Surfer and Galactus–two Fantastic Four mainstays, in order to keep the rights to Daredevil.

Trying to get the X-Men characters will be a big problem, which is why Marvel seemed content to let Fox continue making X-Men films. That was until director Bryan Singer’s announcement last week. As the director of the upcoming X-Men: Days Of Futures Past, Bryan Singer stated that he had cast Evan Peters to play Quicksilver for the movie. Fans were excited with this idea, mainly because Joss Whedon announced weeks earlier that the same character will be in the sequel to his blockbuster hit The Avengers.

whedonAt first, it seemed as if this was to be some kind of crossover between the two film franchises but no so fast. Both studios are denying this is an attempted crossover. In fact, while Peters will play Quicksilver in X-Men: Days Of Futures Past, Joss Whedon, after confirming last week that Quicksilver will appear in The Avengers 2, said that he is still casting the role. If any of the two announcements were meant for the other side to blink, well it didn’t work. So the feeling for now is that both studios will just have to share Quicksilver.

The reason for the ability of both studios to use Quicksilver is that while Fox owns the X-Men film rights, Marvel does have the right to use Quicksilver and his sister, the Scarlet Witch, in their films just as long as there isn’t any mention that they are X-Men foe Magneto’s children. Meanwhile, in the X-Men films it cannot be stated that the mutant siblings are members of the Avengers (as is the case in the comic books).

This is a real treat for fans who clamor at the idea of a shared universe of all the Marvel characters. They can enjoy two different incarnations of the same character and imagine that both films take place in different time periods. For now, a completely shared cinematic universe is impossible but this casting conundrum brings that dream one step closer to reality.

Lewis T. Grove

Starloggers Asks Which Superheroes Should Appear In The Next Avengers Film?

 

Art by Marko Djurdjevic

Art by Marko Djurdjevic

 

Work is underway for a sequel to last summer’s mammoth blockbuster The Avengers. There is so much speculation about not only the film’s plot but if new superheroes will join the ranks of the Avengers. Our contributors were asked who should appear in The Avengers 2.

Annette DeForester: “Wonder Man as long as Nathan Fillion plays him. His character could set up another sequel that would feature Vision and Ultron. Sean Bean would be perfect as the Black Knight. If the rumors about Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch appearing in The Avengers 2 are correct then that would be fabulous! She (Scarlet Witch) is one of my favorite superheroes.”

C.S. Link: “Spider-Man, he seems to fit in with the group and many stories take place in NYC. Also, I’d pick Nova, he’s a cool character.”

Evan Rothfeld: “I’m not up on who’s who in the world of superheroes. Quicksilver? He looked like a cool guy and the Scarlet Witch, she was babe-licious. I would say in general, Doctor Strange, just as long as he’s not like that New Age wimpy version done in that ’70s TV pilot movie.”

GEO: “These are the characters I want to see in the sequels: Vision and Scarlet Witch, plus Quicksilver, who is Scarlet Witch’s brother and the siblings are founding members of the second lineup. Captain Marvell and Ms. Marvel, that way we can have the Kree-Skrull War! antmanWonder Man; his brain patterns were used to create the Vision’s brain. Tigra, she’s exotic, feline and would be as popular as Neytiri from Avatar. Black Panther, who is pure royalty and ties in with Captain America and his shield, which is made of vibranium and can only be found in Black Panther’s kingdom. And of course, Ant-Man/Giant-Man and the Wasp; they’re a great bickering couple.”

Jennifer Drucker: “My number one choice would be Spider-Man and then Wolverine. But Stan Lee’s the real superhero and he needs a better cameo in the next Avengers film.”

Jim McLernon: “I would like to see Ant-Man and the Wasp the most but only as long as they use the storyline where Hank Pym beats up on Jan as what happened in The Ultimates–and as long as Captain America beats Hank up for being a wife beater. Since they won’t do that I’d like to see Spider-Man and either the She-Hulk, Daredevil or War Machine as the new Avengers.

José Soto: “If the studios can work out an agreement then go with Spider-Man, that film would redefine the term blockbuster. But two people missing from The Avengers were Giant-Man and the Wasp. They’re two of the original founding members, have a good storyline and need to appear in the sequel.”

Lewis T. Grove: “I’ve always liked Hercules, and She Hulk could be a breakout character for The Avengers 2. I don’t understood the adulation for Ant-Man, he’s so uninteresting, although I liked his role in The Ultimates as Giant-Man.”

schwarmaWaldermann Rivera: “I have three picks aside from the obvious. Quasar, I liked that comic book from the late ‘8os and he would fit in with that cosmic angle Marvel is shooting for with Guardians Of The Galaxy. Valkyrie, not only does she tie in with Thor but could set up a Defenders film! Then do Spider-Woman before Sony snatches up the rights to that character…it will be the closest we’ll get to a spider character appearing in an Avengers film.”