Archive for May 23rd, 2014

Days of Future Past

May 23rd, 2014

Late night viewing of “X-Men: Days of Future Past” last night. What a strange, dark, oddly enjoyable film.

Like “First Class” it bears almost no resemblance to the comic continuity, continuing the alternative history retro by moving the story into the 1970s. Meanwhile, the gritty post-apocalyptic future is limited to two or three small sets and some storm clouds, barely there at all. Various performers too good for the material (Peter Dinklage, Ellen Page) and some who should have long ago left the franchise (Halle Berry, Anna Paquin, etc) wander in and out while the rest of a mostly decent cast tries very hard to stage a sort of Shakespearean morality play that seems less like a four-color comic franchise and more like a midafternoon action matinee in which all the characters just happen to have superpowers. This has its pluses; there’s not a single belief-straining spandex outfit (ala Winter Soldier) to be seen. The minuses are stretches of tedium where the actors seem to be twiddling their thumbs waiting for something to do and a sort of flat grey “Mad Men” pall over the entire thing. (The exception is about 15 minutes early in the film where Evan Peters of “American Horror Story” joins the ensemble. I’d have watched an entire movie starring his character alone.)

So when all is said and done, “Days of Future Past” isn’t a very good superhero movie but it’s odd and interesting in the ways it’s not. The studios have given every sign they intend to put three or four comic-derived properties in front of us every summer and in all likelihood most of them will be dull retreads like “The Amazing Spiderman 2”. With that in mind, odd but interesting seems like a pretty good deal.

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